Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nikon D3000 Astrophotography With An Orion Telescope

I woke up a little past midnight and looked outside. Completely clear skies, a zephyr of a breeze, and temperature in the low 90's. A bowl of oatmeal and a couple cups of coffee later, I was out the door. I had my scope set up, aligned and tracking by 1 a.m. Using a Nikon D3000 with an Orion 80mm f7.5 refractor scope as a prime focus lens.

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The Andromeda Galaxy, M31. ISO 1600 and a 30 second exposure. Click to embiggen.

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Pleiades, the Seven Sisters, a cluster in the constellation Taurus. ISO 1600 and a 30 second exposure.

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Globular Cluster M15 in Pegasus. ISO 1600 and a 30 second exposure.

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The fabulous Orion Nebula. ISO 800 and a 114.5 second exposure.

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NGC 869 and 884, a double cluster in Perseus. ISO 1600 and a 30 second exposure.

These are some of my best shots ever. I take great care in focusing, and I usually take sets of 3 shots just to make sure the tracking motors have settled down. While I'm waiting for the camera to get the shot, I lay down next to the scope and watch the sky for shooting stars and satellites. I use a remote clicker so I don't jiggle the scope.

Posted by Dave

6 comments:

  1. Excellent shots! I am especially impressed with the nebula. Beautiful...

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  2. Hi Craig,

    Thanks. The color in the Orion nebula only comes out with long exposure photography. To the instantaneous human eye, no matter the magnification, it's just a gray cloud.

    Dave

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  3. Dave-
    Most excellent.
    Crisp and clear.
    Can't beat that desert sky, eh?

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  4. Hi Art,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    I'm fortunate to be away from city lights. The clear, dry air of the desert helps too.

    Dave

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  5. Awesome Dave! Orion nebula again would make a great poster! I live in the burbs by a lit up highway rarely do I see stars. All though one night last year I was having a smoke on patio staring up I saw the north stat,looked up again and another north star but it was moving in a straight line.Took a minute to realize it was a satellite.

    China
    III

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  6. Hi China,

    Thanks. I see the LandSat satellites all the time, usually just before dawn, either north-to-south or south-to-north.

    I'll have to stop this foolishness soon. I might go back to work in another week. Lately I've been getting up about midnight, playing with the scope until 5 a.m., then taking a long nap in the Lazyboy to catch up on my sleep.

    Dave

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All comments are welcome.