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January, 2015:

Death Valley 2014 PART ONE

I know I posted the images a few months ago after the trip but I haven’t gotten around to describing the experience in detail. I took notes along the way and committed much more to memory but I figure I need to write this all down before the hazards surrounding my current field of employment (watching paint dry) destroy those brain cells containing those memories.

 

last_chance_range

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M78 Revisited.

This was one of the first objects I was ever proud of imaging. M78, a reflection nebula in Orion. Check out my attempt from a few years back.

 

This was also the first time in a long time I’ve done proper imaging through the telescope. It feels good to be back for a bit, I love doing timelapses and scenic photography but I think astrophotography is my true love.

M78_LRGB

Image Location and Date: OCA dark sky site in Anza, CA on January 17th 2015
Object: M78
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ f3.9
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 100D (SL1) Modded
Lights: 55x300sec @ ISO 400
Calibration: Darks, flats
Guide scope: 50mm Finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight

 

Winter Milky Way around 0 deg declination

Went out to the mountains. Rather than focus on what I forgot to bring, I’ll list what I did have. Tripod, iOptron Skytracker, Canon 6D and a Nikkor 50mm. I was stuck shooting whatever was at 0 deg declination so I aimed at a big starry patch and took an hours worth of exposures. Stopping down does wonderful things for tiny star detail, to see what I’m talking about check out the high resolution version.

 

winter50mm2

 

Taken from the Orange County Astronomers site in Anza.

Joshua Tree New Years Eve

Headed up to Joshua Tree for New Years Eve to check out the recent snowfall. Quick trip but well worth it aside from the 10f temps.

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Canon 100D Full Spectrum Mod

Finally had to replace my poor old 1100D. I ran the peltier cooler below the dew point which resulted in condensation hitting the sensor. Ordered myself a new 100D (SL1) and immediately upon arrival I tore it apart to remove the IR blocking filters built into the camera. These filters prevent hydrogen-alpha light from reaching the sensor and as that is the most prominent spectrum of light emitted from nebulae (the red!) those filters had to go. I’ve never modified a 100D before and couldn’t find any guides online but since I’ve done plenty of T3’s and other cameras I decided to go for it. Took about 50 minutes from start to finish, pretty straightforward process with the exception of having to hunt down my T7 star driver for the three screws that hold the sensor carriage to the camera body. Please excuse my filthy keyboard and work area (or don’t).