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I made this animated GIF from a series of astro-photos I took using my Meade 12" LX90 GPS telescope and a Meade DSI-III astro-imager, then reduced the image size and pumped them through an animated-.gif maker (free version, hence the silly "Trial Version!!" banner).

Because my telescope's drive appears to think it's on the Earth's Southern Hemisphere, so the drive isn't tracking correctly. Ironically, even though this makes taking astrophotos a pain in the buttocks, the movement inspired me to make this into a single GIF. Feels like a flight over the Moon!

EDIT: Optics details: This image was taken at prime focus (no eyepiece) through an f/6.3 focal reducer, resulting in a focal length of 76.8" or 1951mm. Without the reducer, this telescope is an f/10, giving it a focal length of 120", which would increase magnification even more (at f/6.3, the Moon more than fills the field of view at prime focus).

Images are less than 1 second each; not sure exactly how long (I'll pay closer attention next time - was distracted by the combined image looking so blurry), nor of the interval between them. Say, 1/10 second each with an interval of a few seconds?

Next time I'll also use a polarizing filter to help reduce the over-bright areas, and adjusting the clock drive will allow me to combine images for greater sharpness. Here's a still from the animated GIF (under the cut):




( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 6th, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks! However, I look forward to figuring out the drive issue so that future images will be sharper and more contrast-ey.

Jan. 6th, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
I can't stop watching it. It's kind of dizzyingly mesmerizing. If I don't get any work done today, I'm totally blaming you and your moon image.
Jan. 6th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
My job here is done ;-)

When I was reviewing the images, flicking through them in my image viewer, I was mesmerized, too, feeling the Moon come to life as if I were gliding silently across the surface in a spacecraft. Thus I hit on the idea of combining them into a single, animated image to share the mesmerizer with y'all.
Jan. 6th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
this is so kewl!
seems like you could teach me a thing or two about my own medium.
Jan. 6th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)

Nah, it's all instruments for me; all I did was point and shoot.
Jan. 6th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
Wow that's cool. It's like being there, like in orbit.
Jan. 6th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
I know! That's why I had to make this, even though the images themselves aren't that grand.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 13th, 2009 10:40 am (UTC)
I'd have taken shots of Saturn tonight if it weren't so frakking cold. I'm awake and Saturn's right overhead, but no way.
Jan. 6th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
This is so cool. It almost makes me want to come visit you in Kansas so we can sit in a dark field somewhere and stargaze while brown recluse spiders gambol playfully across our legs and tornadoes wander randomly across the distant horizon.

Make some more!
Jan. 6th, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
Hardee har har. This time of year, we don't have any spiders or tornadoes. Never mind that tornado warning from last week. That was a freak event. But no spiders for sure.
Jan. 6th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
I just had a horrible image that made me faint a little: a whirling tornado full of spiders.
Jan. 6th, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC)
That almost never happens around here.

Which reminds me: When I was a little boy camping in Northern Minnesota, we used to see these giant tornadoes of mosquitoes. Apparently they swarm to mate. It's quite possibly the most disturbing thing one could encounter in the wild.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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