Sunday, June 17, 2012

Venus. Done. Now give me some deep sky!

With eclipses, transits, and other astronomical events of note behind us I'm returning to my first love.  Wide field deep sky imaging.  But I really should post at least one picture of the transit before continuing.  I'm still going to work on assembling the time-lapse but haven't had time for the frame by frame alignment required.

Venus in mid-transit.  One of 298 frames.  Movie adaptation to be released...later.

It has been too long since I've really adorned the hair-shirt.  I've missed the unique pain of sleepless nights with endless hours fighting optics, weather, and electronics problems, followed by more hours of processing.  I'm not the most efficient (far from it), accomplished (light years away), or clever imager but I hope some other poor soul starting off can gain some measure of assistance by reading of my accounts.  Or at least a chuckle at my multitude of travails.

I always seem to bite off more than I can chew and this upcoming project will be no different.  The benefit of wide field is the variety of objects that can be captured.  It allows for greater creativity with framing.  But sometimes even a single wide frame isn't enough and that's where a multipanel mosaic comes in.  I've only attempted one two panel mosaic previously so why not make it harder by going for six?

A close friend encouraged me to post progress along way.  Too much focus on the finished product he says.  He's right ... accomplished imagers already know what is involved.  If things work out well you end up with a nice image with no one is the wiser of the struggles to get there.  As the title of of the blog implies - imaging is hard work.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  The pros only make it look easy.  A tribute to their skill honed from thousands of hours of focus.  The rest of us need to bumble along ... but oh what fun!

So.  Posts to follow will chart the journey of this mosaic.  Warts and all.

Taken in my backyard in San Jose, CA  Jun 5, 2012 7:00pm PST
Canon T2i (stock), Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L + Extender EF 2X III @ f8, Baader solar filter

AP900 mount
1/800 sec exposure @ ISO100
post-processed in Lightroom 4, Pixinsight (colorized to my taste)

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