Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Bonus Astro-Image of the Day: A Flight to the Nearest Star

Here's my newest astrophoto taken with the Meade telescope. I took this one as part of a test to see if the changes I made to the drive's setup yesterday helped tracking. Unfortunately, soon after setting up the telescope and assorted electronics, I discovered that there's no Sun setting in the system. WTF? So I had to manually set it up using a compass and level. Seriously. Anyhow, the results don't really tell me much, because part of today's manual setup required pointing to two stars that I couldn't see, what with it being daytime and all. *sigh*

So I got results similar to the Moon shots: Once again, the drive didn't track correctly. Even more disappointing is that, through the eyepiece, I couldn't spot any sunspots or any other details, just a big, over-bright orb of Sun-ness.

(At this point you might be wondering why I'm not blind. Of course I used a full-aperture solar filter! Never point optics at the Sun without a true solar filter that covers all of the primary end of the instrument.)

Still, I thought it might be fun to once again image the movement and make an animated GIF to offer y'all what feels like a flight over the Moon! Here's a still from the animated GIF (which you can see under the cut):

During image processing on my computer is where I got really excited. Notice the detail you can see beyond the bright surface of the Sun: That's the Sun's corona. Wowee! I photographed something I didn't even realize you could see without the Moon eclipsing the Sun. Suddenly I'm really happy with the shots! If we could reduce magnification a bit more or gain a wider field of view, my photo would look something like this, taken in France during a total solar eclipse in 1999:

Click the image to see the story.

Optics details: I made this animated .gif from a series of astro-photos taken with a Meade 12" LX90 GPS telescope and a Meade DSI-III astro-imager. Taken at prime focus using an f/6.3 focal reducer, resulting in a focal length of 76.8" or 1951mm. Solar filter is full-aperture silvered glass by Seymore Solar. Screwed into the imager's barrel was an Orion adjustable polarizing filter set at about 25% to reduce glare.

Images are approximately 1/10 second each with an interval of a few seconds between them. During processing, I reduced image size, increased contrast 10%, and increased mid-range color 40% to reveal atmospheric detail. Images then run through an animated-gif maker (free version, hence the poor quality and silly "Trial Version!!" banner.)... to produce this flight to our nearest star:

I'm loving this whole digital-astrophotography thing.


Tags: astronomy, telescopes

  • Calling all Trump voters:

    I acknowledge that you can't ALL support the awful things your chosen candidate said during the campaign. You might even believe that he just…

  • Losing My Religion

    I just realized that losing my religion as an early teenager led to a lot of troubled times throughout my teens and even into my early 20s. I'd…

  • Why so many Americans vote against their own best interests.

    Want to understand what's up with poor people voting Tea Party or Republican? Here's a hint: " The financial crisis proved that rich people are no…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.