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About

dan

I live in Oceanside, CA, a few blocks from the beach but I go maybe once every two years.

I got into amateur astronomy in September 2009, until them I always had a strong interest it in and astrophysics but I never did more than read an occasional book on the subject. Bought myself an 8″ dob at OPT and never looked back.

Aside from astronomy and photography I am into the first two Chumbawamba albums, taking my truck all over the desert, eating terrible food and writing short films and television shows I never do anything with.

9 Comments

  1. Mike Johnosn says:

    I removed the bayer matrix but after reassembling a test image is color bands
    I took it back apart and looked at the little wires on the chip and there’s no damage from the process but I can’t get it working
    any ideas?
    Mike

  2. Dan says:

    Oh man I did that to one of them, I got too close to the edge of the sensor. I didn’t remove any of the wires but I did remove some sort of trace that goes around the perimeter of the sensor. Scary stuff.

  3. Doug Sollosy says:

    I hope you enjoyed being up at our observatory and hanging out as much as I did getting to know you. And Todd says his imaging will never be the same!! My boogyman frames all showed bad guiding and I think 15 minutes is asking too much of an aging fork mount. So I have made the big move(for me anyway) to a CGEM and an Explorer Scientific 127 mm triplet. I’m selling the lx 200, wedges, and so on. Simplicity is my battle cry. I really enjoy your website. Great adventures well told, and some really stunning images. If you’re ever up for it, I’ve been itching for some time to go to the Baja dark Sky Inn in the Baja sierra. Check their website. Just need 4 wheel drive for the last mile and a half.
    Anyway come on up again, and I promise you, you won’t have to plan your eating.
    Always plenty of stuff in the freezer, as well as beer and coffee, depending on whether you’re on your way up or coming back down. By the way, what’s your e-mail address. hasta la vista, Doug

  4. Dan says:

    I had a fantastic time and hope to come up again soon! Thanks again for hosting me and I’m thrilled to hear Todd’s progress. You’ll enjoy the refractor, its incredible how much simpler they make imaging. Email is danowatt@gmail.com

  5. Flavius says:

    Sweet baby Jesus! Impressive work! If I were to see one of your works (4 panel mosaic of Orion or the Horse Head from Anza) on APOD website with the title “New Hubble imaging released” I would think it’s something taken by Hubble up there and not something taken with a 8” here under the sky. WOW!
    I just started doing some moon shots and such with a Canon 7D and some cheap zoom lens and I am so far away from the kind of stuff you do.
    Anyway, keep up the good work!

    PS: is there any place i can read about camera cooling with exact parts needed and tutorial to set-up?

  6. Dan says:

    Thanks a lot! I think I submitted that one to APOD but it didn’t get anywhere, no big deal. Horsehead is a common object and there are way better images out there.

    If you have a 7D you can probably skip the camera cooling, they seem to handle noise much better than the Rebels. I’ve found that the only effective way to cool the camera is using the cold finger method which is pretty dangerous. Basically I have a peltier cooler + heatsink and fan attached to the side of the camera. A copper plate extends from the peltier cooler directly to the back of the sensor. The problem with this is since the whole unit isn’t sealed you will get condensation on the copper plate if the peltier temperature is below dew point. So to control this I have to have a small temp sensor mounted on the plate inside the camera which is monitored by a small controller that uses pulse width modulation to regulate the amount of power sent to the peltier. I check the dew point for the night and set the temperature controller to remain a few degrees above. Luckily here in the southern California deserts the humidity is usually very low resulting in a dew point well below freezing. But there was one time where I wasn’t careful, set the temp too low and a little bit of water fried the sensor. So its not for the faint of heart. I was also extremely fortunate to have a good friend of mine (who has a masters in mechanical engineering and thermodynamics) help me along every step of the way and there is absolutely no way I would have done it without his help. I can’t use this camera for daytime work either as there is a huge heatsink and fan sticking out the side. There is a good Yahoo group called DSLR Modifications that has lots of info on camera cooling.

    And again, the 7d is fine, just keep it around 400-800 ISO if you ever get into long exposure astrophotography.

    Moon shots are great fun to start with but if you ever get into deep sky work you’ll begin to hate the moon!

    Thanks again, if you have any more questions please ask away

  7. Jameson Ault says:

    Hi Dan. I got into astronomy many years ago, but never got around to buying a telescope until last year. I am just starting to get into astrophotography (as in, I bought a camera and have a strong desire to take some pictures). I have an XLT 150 and a Rebel T3 (with T-rings and etc.) but that’s about it. Any suggestions on how to get a good start? I have taken quite a few pictures of the moon that I am pleased with, but I’d like to start longer exposure photographs, maybe 30 seconds or so of deep sky objects. I’m just out of college and can’t really afford much, so I thought I’d see if you had any ideas on how to start simple and get some really basic results. Any suggestions would help! I’m really impressed with your photos and hope to someday work up to your level. Your work is a real inspiration for a beginner like me!

  8. Erin Corral-Holmes says:

    I’ve been reading your blog over Christmas, impressive photos. I just purchased an Atlas EQ-G along with the components to experiment with some astrophotography. I’m feeling a bit intimidated with it, but can’t wait to set it up. Unfortunately, I live on the east coast and its quite cold and rainy at the moment. Still waiting for a nice night to test my equipment out. In the meantime, looking for communities to join so I can learn a few things that aren’t in the manual.

  9. Dan says:

    Oh crap, sorry for the super late reply, I’m finally getting around to updating the site and missed your comment. Enjoy the EQ-G, its quite the workhorse. I’ve beaten the absolute crap out of mine over the years and it still performs as good as the day I bought it. If you have any questions about anything at all, ask away.

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