Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nikon D3000 Astrophotography

I took these shots about 2:30 a.m. I used a Celestron 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain scope as a prime lens for my Nikon D3000, shooting in manual mode. Clicking on these pics should make them bigger.
                           

This is M39, a beautiful open cluster in the constellation Cygnus, The Swan. Shutter speed is 30 seconds, with an ISO of 1600.
                         

The Andromeda Galaxy, M31. 25 second exposure at 1600 ISO. I take several shots of everything, and at various exposure times. I also took a 30 second exposure of this galaxy, but the stars "trailed" a bit. I've got to get an autoguider so I can take some seriously long shots.
               

This is Jupiter, of course. Crappy shot, blown highlights. 1/2 second exposure at 400 ISO. When I backed off the shutter speed to 1/20 second the moons didn't show and Jupiter was still washed out. A shame, too, because the "spot" was clearly visible in the scope. To get a spectacular planet photograph you have to "stack" shots, something I haven't tried yet.
                                                                                       .

6 comments:

  1. Very nice shots.
    And without an autoguide even.

    I've tried some lunar shots with my D100 and Celestron 5". All I've gotten is a new appreciation of how difficult really good astrophotography is.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Art,

    Thanks. I've got lots to learn yet about photographing the heavens, but I kinda know my limits. Past 30 seconds I get star trails and "noise." An auto-guider would definitely help, but it takes me down a rabbit hole of "accessories."

    Dave

    ReplyDelete
  3. Still awesome to me! I can honestly say that's the first time I've seen Jupiter and it's moons "for real"...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Craig,

    Being outside, looking at the stars, is like your being on the ocean, a profoundly personal enjoyment. I get to see countless shooting stars, satellites, and jetliners. There's also a world of critters out hunting: scorpions, rattlesnakes, nighthawks, owls, foxes. I get to see things that most people miss.

    Dave

    ReplyDelete
  5. You need a 4th gen. night vision scope to really see what people miss. Shadows across the stars at night.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Brass,

    I've alway wanted a night-vision scope. Does 4th gen pick up supernatural stuff?

    Dave

    ReplyDelete

All comments are welcome.