The Deep Sky: Images from suburbia

see (non-interactive) Google map overlays of this area

Sun/Moon data - from USNO

  Currently imaging ??? 

8" f5 Newtonian     Images:     14.5" f5 Newtonian

Images grouped by Constellation (Aquila, Orion, etc.)

Images grouped by Designation (Messier, NGC , Other)

Images grouped by Right Ascension (00h-04h, 05h-08h, etc.)

Images grouped by Type (Galaxies, Open Clusters, etc.)

 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 1 to 5 minute (60 to 300 seconds) subs, and in some extreme cases, 0.083 minute (5 seconds) sub exposures.

When I feel comfortable with all the new requirements for ccd imaging, I may start going to my normal dark sky observing site. For now, I'll image from my home (the Rolling Roof Observatory). This is  a simple page with pictures of the observatory and equipment.

I have more equipment to acquire (narrowband filters, filter wheel(?), etc.), but I am able to take images of objects that I couldn't do with film from my backyard.

Images on these pages copyright Martin C Germano, 2005-2014. Images may be used on a personal computer (for wallpaper, etc.), or for a not-for-profit organization (such as a club newsletter) with proper credit to the author. Any commercial or for-profit use of any image is prohibited without my permission.

email me comments, suggestions

Also visit my retired Black & White Film Deep Sky Astrophotography page 

 

 

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This site was last updated 09/02/14