Spotting NEOWISE

Got out the last couple of evenings to get some photos of Comet NEOWISE before it goes away for the next ~6700 years.

The comet itself was pretty easy to spot. After about 9PM EDT, the sky was dark enough for me to see the brighter stars. Found the Big Dipper and looked down toward the horizon. I wasn’t able to see it with the naked eye where I was (too much light pollution), but it was pretty easy to capture with my camera using a 5s exposure.

Captured these (out of a bunch) with my 18-55 mm lens using a 5s exposure at 1600 ISO. My camera is pretty noisy at high ISO and there are a few artifacts, but the big dipper and the comet are pretty easy to see.

The next evening I went back out with my 18-200 mm lens to get a few more shots. Stayed with a 5s exposure and went with 800 ISO to reduce the noise a bit. These shots turned out a little better.

Zooming in at 200 mm gives a nice image of the comet and its tail.

Have a bunch of images that I took that I need to stack together, which should make for some pretty nice images. That will have to wait until later when I have more time.

Little black spots

On the sun today

Sun 20170329
Sunspots on the Sun 20170329

Still working on getting the hang of getting pictures of the sun with my little solar telescope. A little blurry, but a couple of sunspot groups can be seen pretty easily. At first I thought they were specks of dirt or dust on the telescope optics, but a check of spaceweather.com showed there were indeed two groups of sunspots (2644 and 2645) on the surface of the sun.

Used the little Barlow lens with the camera adapter for this shot. Gives a larger image of the sun but not quite as bright, and the smaller FOV means spending more time hunting for the sun.

Celestron EclipSmart photos

It took a little bit of finagling, but I managed to get some photos of the sun with the Celestron EclipSmart telescope and my DSLR (Canon Digital Rebel XT).

Attaching a heavy DSLR (568 grams) to the back of a light weight telescope (456 grams) mounted on a light weight tripod definitely caused some stability issues. Aiming and getting the telescope/camera to stay in position was a challenge. If you’re going to use a DSLR with this telescope, you’ll want a solid tripod with some good locks.

They’re not the greatest photos, and pretty boring because it looks like there’s not much in the way of anything happening on the sun. Can’t see a whole lot of detail in them, but they’re good enough. These images are cropped (1k x 1k) from the original 3456×2304 pixel image.

This is my first time with telescopes and DSLRs, so I still have a fair bit to learn about the process. Astrophotography is something I’ve wanted to get into for a long time. I suspect there will be some new telescopes and camera upgrades in my future.

Charleston Worldwide Photowalk

Another Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk is coming up soon. This year it will be October 11 and one is already set up for downtown Charleston. I’ve participated in a few previous photo walks and they’ve always been fun events. It’s a chance to meet and hang out with some fellow photographers, explore the city and get some great shots.

Previous years have seen other photowalks in North Charleston and Summerville, so if you aren’t able to make it to the Charleston photowalk, try to organize one near you.

Go sign up for a photowalk near you! You won’t regret it.

Case of the missing charger

Just when I got the urge to start doing some more photography again, I discover that the battery charger for my Rebel XT has disappeared. I’ve been using my little Sony camera in the meantime, but it’s making me miss the flexibility of DSLR.

Phooey.

Now I have to remember where the last place I packed the camera to use was.