Photographing constellations

Last night, the skies finally cleared up and we (Mon, JB and I) found ourselves in between wooden posts in the construction of the rooftop next to our house. I was very eager to finally test my brother’s bridge camera in photographing the stars without any help from a telescope.

Orion and the Orion nebula (M42) - October 28, 2012 Marikina City, Philippines

I was really happy with the photo above because you can see the fuzzy clouds in group of stars or the Orion nebula (M42). I used an ISO 1600, an aperture of 3.4 on a GE X500, and with a 30 second time lapse. I was also delighted because the camera was able to capture a lot of stars, which we can’t even see with our naked eyes, even JB who has a 20/20 vision.

Orion constellation (flipped CCW) with the fuzzy Orion Nebula - October 28, 2012, Marikina City, Philippines

I tried taking a closer image of the Orion constellation but this time, it was on an ISO 800. It was still a decent shot.

Pleiades star cluster (top left), Taurus (off center) and Jupiter (bottom) - October 28, 2012 Marikina City, Philippines

Last but not the least, I was able to get three pictures of the Pleiades star cluster (top left), Taurus (off center) and Jupiter (bottom) with three 30-second time lapse shots. Of course, because the Earth is rotating in its axis, the subjects in the the pictures taken seemed to have been moving slowly. The above image was a combination of the first and second shot because the third photo had a glare from a passing vehicle. Ugh. Jupiter was looking amazing in this photo.

All these photos just made we want to desperately have a better telescope. I tried taking a picture of Jupiter (whose equatorial bands were visible even on 38.9x magnification) but as I do not have an equatorial mount, there was a ‘startrail’. Anyway, I hope I’d have more luck in the future, and I’m optimistic of that. =D

That awkward moment when Uranus is over the Moon

No pun intended, but when I was checking Stellarium to check what was supposedly up in the heavens if it were not cloudy surprised me. I knew that the Moon was almost in West but I had an unexpected planet. Not to sound like Professor Trelawney on Lavander (“It is Uranus, my dear.”) but I really did not expect the planet because: 1) I was very sure that given my limited equipment, I will be having a hard time searching for it, and 2) IT WAS CLOUDY, so no use wasting my time.

Uranus over the Moon - October 27, 2012 as seen on Stellarium

It stopped raining but there was zero visibility of whatever celestial object of interest. I have been hoping to try my luck with my brother’s bridge camera (a GE X500) because I saw other amateur astrophotographers having great luck with the ones they have. But given the current weather condition, I contented myself with playing with the dials/buttons that I don’t normally touch.

Clouds obstructing the Moon - Marikina City, Philippines

That dangly-thing on a windchime and the hazy Moon - Marikina City, Philippines

My jaw dropped because I did not expect the photos to look like that. It was honestly very dark in the room and very dark outside as well, and I can barely see any details of the clouds in the sky. LOL That was amazing. Now, I can’t wait for the skies to clear so I can try my luck photographing the Jupiter, Taurus and Orion grouping almost directly above around this time.

I’ve been ranting all afternoon about how much I want to buy another telescope — a more powerful one. I really want to do astrophotography but I’m on a budget. I originally wanted to buy a webcam with a CCD sensor, but since my brother has apparently ceased using his bridge camera, I can settle for it now. Back to the telescope question, I really want to research hard on which scope will best fit my needs. If only budget were not an issue. Anyway, I’ll just push what I currently have to the limit and hope for clear skies ahead!