Saturday, January 8, 2011

Galaxy Hunting With The Nikon D3000

Pretty pathetic, huh? I went galaxy-hunting this morning in the constellation Virgo, and the fuzzy smudge in the middle of this photo is indeed a galaxy. There's supposed to be a good dozen or more galaxies kinda bunched together in Virgo, but this is the only one I found. The photo here is a 30 second exposure at ISO 1600. The Nikon was hooked to the back of a Celestron 11 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain scope (f/10) in prime-focus.

In spite of the clouds, the ass-freezing temperatures, focus problems, tracking problems, alignment problems, and my lack of astral savvy, I like looking at the stars. Most of the photos I take are 30-second shots, so I do lots of gazing while the camera is doing its thing. Star-map in hand, I study the constellations and major stars.

In the telescope world you are always a few thousand dollars short of just the thing needed to give you perfect pictures. Someday I'll get an auto-guider/ CCD combo(which requires a small scope piggy-backed to the main scope) and a program to "stack" photos. In the meantime, I'll try to make do with the toys I've got.

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