Almost one year ago to the date I imaged this nebula with twice as many sub exposures but at a shorter exposure time. In this case I stacked 10 subs at 6 minutes each on a dark night with a bit of a breeze. Tracking was nothing to brag about but the stacked image seemed decent. I have learned much more in the processing side of this hobby and my third run through Photoshop resulted in a nice image shared here. Not a lot of the surrounding dark parts brought out in this version but a vibrant and detailed core I think.

Iris Nebula

Below is the original stack image pre processing for comparison. 

     Had a chance to get a couple of quick test shots with a new (to me) Canon SL1 at the backyard Astronomy Plaza. Some Christmas lights are on in the evening but they are OK during my setup, and turn off before I get serious. These are single exposures of 10 to 15 seconds so nothing fancy, but I like all the color and light effects.

The Shed is open for business!
Looking NorthNorthWest over the house.
Looking NorthNorthEast over the Shed and our vacation cottage
Getting ready for dark skies!
Astronomy in a box, err shed. Propane heater at the ready!

Clear Skies!

Time to get ready

These photos were taken recently to show something of the current astrophotography setup in our backyard. The mount stays put to preserve polar alignment and is covered with several layers of protection when not in use.

The shed holds the dismounted scope and desktop computer for mount and camera control. I have two house power circuits to the shed ready for future expansion into a more functional observatory building.

The Desktop computer in on our wireless network so I have internet at the scope, and can use Microsoft “remote desktop connection” to run everything from in the house if I want to.

I run Deep Sky Stacker to combine the individual images with the computer outside, and then copy the resulting file to a computer in the house for the post processing. Currently I just use Photoshop CS2 with some action sets and plugins like Astro Flat to get something to share. It would be nice to use PixInsight, but I am not there yet. 



Cooke City has no cell coverage and spotty internet, so just now getting a chance to update. We had a fantastic day yesterday and we were very fortunate to have minimal traffic jams. The park where we set up in Rexburg was prepared for ten times the crowd easily. Porta potties, garbage cans, free eclipse glasses, local neighbor passing out free eclipse cupcakes. Just a fantastic local community effort. I wish more people could have been there!

Building the Edmund Scientific 6″ reflector

I still have this scope!

It’s hard for even me to believe that as a child I built a 6″ Newtonian Telescope somewhere around 1971. Not just assembling the parts, but grinding and polishing the mirror. And not just polishing the mirror, but testing the curvature to create a good parabolic curve meant also building the foucault tester and learning how to use it. 

As a young teenager I purchased an Olympus OM-1 35mm camera with the express intent to use it with my telescope. I had even joined the Seattle Astronomical Society and attended a few meetings, but the astrophotography bug would not take hold for many years.

I need to get a good picture of my telescope but I found this image of the complete setup for sale from back in the day. This is basicaly the same as what I own.