The Deep Sky: Images from suburbia
see (non-interactive) Google map overlays of this area
This site is devoted to my new (August 2005) attempts at ccd imaging with the SBIG ST-8XME camera. When Kodak announced the demise of Technical Pan 2415 in December 2004, I knew it was time for me to move into charged couple device imaging. For now, my philosophy will remain unchanged ... to continue imaging in black and white (grayscale).
One of the advantages of ccd imaging is the ability to somewhat negate light pollution by adding short (seconds to minutes) individual exposures together to make equivalent multi-hour total exposure times (see my light pollution chart). So for now, I'm imaging from my home observatory in Thousand Oaks, California. The bright summer Milky Way is faintly visible on a dry, moonless night (Bortle scale 6 to 7, i.e. fifth magnitude stars may be visible at zenith), but with the ccd I found that I could shoot relatively good 5 minute (300 seconds) unfiltered exposures. However, it soon became apparent that more, and longer, sub exposures would improve the quality of the final image.
Beginning March 2006, I began using an old (circa late 1970's) glass Hoya 25A Red 50mm filter in front of the ST-8. This filter is (was?) an inexpensive (~$8) screw-on 50mm camera lens filter that I used when taking wide field film images with Kodak Tri-X, and later, with hypered Kodak Tech Pan 2415. It seems that the red filter mainly serves to combat my local light pollution ... it is by no means like a modern narrowband filter, but it seems to give the same effect as a darker sky (site). In June 2007, I discovered I had an old Lumicon Deep Sky Filter. This filter is like a 'light pollution' filter, and I imaged with this filter for about a year. Beginning July 2008, I have 'retired' the Lumicon Deep Sky Filter, and I am now using a newly purchased Lumicon Red filter. I have standardized on sequences of 10 minute (600 seconds) sub exposures for most deep sky objects, with a minimum of 10 to 40 sub exposures for most (non-nebulous) open clusters, and 40 to 72 (or more) sub exposures for extended (nebulous) objects. I have started imaging a few high surface-brightness objects (mostly Planetary Nebulae) with 3 to 5 minute (180 to 300 seconds) subs, and in some extreme cases, 1.5 minute (90 seconds) sub exposures.
This site was last updated 12/01/13