Stars over Blue Mountains Observatory

Blue Mountains Observatory

Stars over Blue Mountains Observatory
[PD] [Public Domain] Dylan O'Donnell

CATEGORY: Photos - Astrophotography
VIEWS: 400
UPLOADED: 2014-08-26 [ enlarge ] [ download jpg ]

This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the Blue Mountains Observatory in Leura, NSW. Unfortunately despite staying for 3 nights during the moonless lunar phase, the site was covered by cloud, fog and rain the entire time. The only exception was 1 hour around 1am on the second night, by which time I was sufficiently inebriated enough to make operating my camera equipment fairly challenging. I managed to get a few decent shots that even the real (qualified) astronomers told me they enjoyed. This star trail photo is an old fashioned 11 minute single exposure at 16mm / f.28 / ISO 1600. There is some cloud behind the dome illuminated by Katoomba light pollution but the middle of the image is the glow of the milky way itself which runs horizontally across the image. I will post another version without star trails soon.



Recieve new photos in your email:

Your Email Address


Subscribe to the Photostream using RSS:



Follow Dylan on Twitter:

The Table of Scorpius Region

The Table of Scorpius

[PD] [Public Domain] Dylan O'Donnell 2010

[ enlarge ] [ exif ] [ download jpg ]
UPLOADED : 2014-08-19
CATEGORY : Photos - Astrophotography
VIEWS 1043

Still working out the kinks in my workflow, but here is a decent stack of exposures from my driveway of the Table of Scorpius region which is filled with all kinds of crazy star clusters, nebula, dust clouds, gas and basically anything you can imagine. If you held up a business card at arms length at the sky, that is about the size of what you are seeing here. The word space is probably a misnomer in some regards. It is pretty full really.

NikonD5100 piggybacked on Celestron 4SE / Several x 30s, ISO1600, f2.2, 50mm prime.

The moon

Perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun

[PD] [Public Domain] Dylan O'Donnell 2010

[ enlarge ] [ exif ] [ download jpg ]
UPLOADED : 2014-08-10
CATEGORY : Photos - Astrophotography
VIEWS 1463

Otherwise known by the media as the (sigh) supermoon. The difference in size is really quite minor and does not make a huge difference to the casual observer. Honestly, every full moon is pretty wonderful regardless. Most astronomy nerds who have to put down their telescopes for a few weeks waiting for it to go away know it better as the stupid moon.

Captured here with a 9.25" Celestron SCT in thin cloud unfortunately, but it turned out ok. 1/1600s / F11 / ISO 100.

The Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex

Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex

[PD] [Public Domain] Dylan O'Donnell 2010

[ enlarge ] [ exif ] [ download jpg ]
UPLOADED : 2014-08-02
CATEGORY : Photos - Astrophotography
VIEWS 1348

My New Zealand readers might be familiar with the big kiwi bird in the Sagittarius region of the milky way. Can you see it? It looks kind of like a big ball sack to me but I can go with kiwi bird, sure.

This tiny patch of the milky way is dominated by Antares, the bright orange star on the left. Dark wispy tendrils of gases and clouds in this area are star-forming nebula that are so large, I can photograph them with a regular DSLR 55mm lens as done here.

This image is made from 20 x 30" exposures stacked together to draw out the cloud definition. The camera was piggybacked to a telescope that was tracking the sky rotation so the stars would not streak.

The Lagoon Nebula

Lagoon Nebula

[PD] [Public Domain] Dylan O'Donnell 2010

[ enlarge ] [ exif ] [ download jpg ]
UPLOADED : 2014-07-18
CATEGORY : Photos - Astrophotography
VIEWS 2387

This is my first attempt at the Lagoon Nebula (M8) and after much fiddling and cursing in the dark I managed to grab a few short frames that were relatively ok. About 4 or 5 exposures stacked together. Though not as sharp or detailed as I would like (the view slipped behind a tree just as I was fine tuning my equipment), Nebula are easily my favourite targets in the sky. The colours here are natural, just as my RGB camera captured them. The diffraction spikes however, are added in post processing for that classic retro star shine that older lenses and equipment would produce. Interestingly, they still feature regularly in NASA and award winning astro imagery but are not captured by modern telescope optics!

A meteor

Little Meteor

[PD] [Public Domain] Dylan O'Donnell 2010

[ enlarge ] [ exif ] [ download jpg ]
UPLOADED : 2014-07-17
CATEGORY : Photos - Astrophotography

Hello there little meteor! You flew through the universe for aeons and came into my life briefly, until my planet burnt you to a crisp before you even had a chance to say hello. Now nobody knows you existed except for the small photons you deposited into the CMOS chip on my Nikon camera. Such is life.