A conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter over the beautiful San Jacinto Mountains in Palm Springs California, the last one of the year I believe. Jupiter is inching closer to the horizon as each day passes, and will soon disappear from view as it does its dance with the Sun. As the planetary season winds down, I will say I am going to miss Jupiter most of all. It put on one hell of a display during this years opposition, and easily dominated the night sky for months. As sad as I am seeing it go, I am also excited because the winter sky is starting to make an appearance in the pre-dawn hours. The great Orion Constellation (and nebula), the Pleiades, the Taurus Constellation with the mesmerizing star Aldebaran and The Hyades open cluster are all starting to make their way into the night sky. We all know what that means out here in the Coachella Valley...the best winter weather in the world! And the snowbirds...lots and lots of snowbirds lol
The Wild Duck Cluster, or M11, is an open cluster in the constellation Scutum. This cluster is a rich and compact open cluster, known to contain about 2900 stars. Its name is derived from the brighter stars forming a triangle which apparently resemble a flying flock of ducks (I don't see it, but that's just me).
This is a stack of 30x1 minute exposures + 12x2 minute exposures at ISO 1600, camera used is a Canon 450d, and a Celestron Nexstar 6se telescope + wedge and a 6.3 focal reducer, 60mm guidescope + asi120mc-s. Taken in Cathedral City, CA 7-12-16
This is not your typical Moon picture, but a mosaic of 11 pictures of the Moon stitched together to create a very large and detailed image.
This was actually created using 11 short video clips: I pointed at one part of the Moon, took a short video at 64 frames per second, and then used stacking software which picked the best of those frames and added them together to produce a single image. I then moved the telescope to a different part of the Moon and repeated the procedure 11 times, until I had images of the entire surface of the Moon. These were then processed to sharpen the details, and finally stitched together to create the mosaic.
The Eagle Nebula, also known as Messier 16 or M16, is a young open cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens. It’s the location of several famous structures including the Pillars of Creation.
One of the inspirations that led me down the road to astrophotography was the beautiful image the Hubble telescope sent back in 1995 of the Pillars of Creation inside the Eagle Nebula. It is truly a breathtaking image, one for the ages. I was blown away, as were many others I am sure.
This is a stack of 20x2 minute & 25x3 minute exposures at ISO 1600, camera used is a Canon 450d, and a Celestron Nexstar 6se telescope + wedge and a 6.3 focal reducer, 60mm guidescope + asi120mc-s. Taken in Cathedral City, CA 6-4-16
Messier 5 or M5 is a globular cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens. M5 spans 165 light-years in diameter, and is around 13 billion years old. This makes it one of the largest known globular clusters and is one of the oldest globular clusters in the Milky Way. M5 is about 24,500 light-years from us here on Earth. and is thought to contain as many as 500,000 stars!
This is a stack of 40x1 minute exposures at ISO 1600, camera used is a Canon 450d, and a Celestron Nexstar 6se telescope + wedge and a 6.3 focal reducer, 60mm guidescope + asi120mc-s. Taken in Cathedral City, CA 7-12-16
Here is a shot of Mars taken last night 6-23-16. Mars is shining brightly at the moment, due to its recent opposition last month. The desert heat has limited my deep sky imaging lately due to tons of image noise, but the planets are still shining brightly, as is the moon. This was taken with my new ZWO asi120mc-s planetary camera attached to a Nexstar 6se. This camera blows my old Phillips spc900 webcam out of the water! The surface details really stick out in this one, and you can see cloud formations. This is my best image of Mars...so far!
Here is another one from 6-25-16, way better seeing this night!
The Lagoon Nebula, or M8, is an emission nebula in the constellation Sagittarius. This nebula is a giant interstellar cloud some 4,000-6,000 light-years from us here on Earth. Currently, the best time to view the Lagoon Nebula in the Coachella Valley is around 2am looking south. It lies near the Milky Way core, and has plenty of beautiful neighboring eye candy such as the Trifid and Eagle Nebula. As with most nebula, this one is best viewed with a high powered telescope and nebula filter.
I always have such a fun time tracking the International Space Station, and this time I was at least halfway ready for it. I was in my backyard and spotted the station rising in the southwest and made a mad dash inside to grab the tripod and camera. I had only a moment or two, and was only able to capture its trail in a 5 second exposure, but boy was it bright! By the time I had taken the picture and previewed it, the space station was already heading out of sight in the northeastern sky.