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Solar System

Gem 9 grazing occultation by the Moon, 2010 May 16.

The portion of the Moon visible here is lit by Earth-shine, and is only faintly visible. The star blinked out at 09:50:50.57, and reappeared at 09:50:55.11. These were captured with a Toucam II Pro web camera at 15 fps.

Going... (09:48:12 pm)
Just before occulation (09:49:42 pm)
Just after occultation (09:51:22 pm)
Click to download an AVI ( 36 MB!). See if you can see it disappear!

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Images taken with Brady Observatory (7" AstroPhysics APO Refractor)
IC 1396 (Elephant Trunk) HaGB, Ha      


True Color Images

North American Neb
Heart Neb (IC1805)

M42 Orion
Molecular Cloud

(mosaic, nice!)

Star Clusters
Solar System
The images of Venus, above and to the right, document the approach of the planet toward transit on June 08. The last three images were taken in the daytime!
My Equipment

I have been told that I have to describe my equipment and techniques. I used a Meade 10" LX200-GPS telescope for all of these images. I used three different camera systems. All of the false-color deep-sky objects were taken using an Apogee Alta 512 x 512 pixel (20 micron pixel size) camera without any filters. Most of the deepsky images are stacks of 20, 40, or 80 snapshots taken at 20 s exposure each. Short exposures are necessary because the telescope has no equatorial wedge, so the field rotates. For the same reason, the images are unguided. The images are registered and combined using Maxim DL, and wavelet enhanced in Registax 2. I scaled the intensity on a logarithmic scale using IDL. Final adjustment was done in Photoshop.

I have recently (2005 May 05) received a new SBIG STL-1301 CCD camera with LRGB filters, and have been experimenting with true-color imaging. My experiments are shown in the top table above. This camera is 1280 x 1024 pixels, 16 mm pixels.

All of the images in the solar system section were taken with a Toucam Pro II webcam, registered and enhanced in Registax 2, and further enhanced (usually just background and contrast were adjusted) in Photoshop. To image the Moon (at right), the webcam was running while I slewed around the face of the Moon to cover it entirely, holding for about 1 second on each new field. I then created single images in Registax 2 using snippets of the video clipped out with VirtualDub. This is a truly amazing piece of free software that you WILL want if you use a webcam for capturing video. Finally, I assembled the mosaic in Photoshop, laboriously adjusting the contrast to avoid brightness edges--very tedious!