Beyond my Vision

Triangulum Galaxy , aka Messier 33. is 2.7 million light-years away.

Triangulum Galaxy , aka Messier 33. It is 2.7 million light-years away. A Galaxy much like our own. Photo from my front yard.

I stand in my front yard and look upwards to the stars.  Sadly I can only see the brightest because of the Light pollution caused by all the city lights. I live on the outskirts in a small city with a football field a couple of miles away to my NE, and a fruit packing plant a mile away to my SW.  Now add all the housing lights, Store Lights, street lamps (the new LED ones are even worse, they are brighter) awful reddish glow all adding up to the light bubble blocking the beautiful starry night.  It is a rare occasion that I can see the Milky Way, or have what is called “GOOD Seeing”.   Winter time provides some of my best “Back Yard” seeing, and a good rain will clear the air, but brings another problem of Humidity which equals heavy Dew.  Now even though where I live get on average 180 clear nights a year these can be reduced to about a third which are good for Astrophotography.  The Moon lends it brightness to obscure the heavenly view of the stars, after all it is just one big reflector of our own Star . . . the Sun.

M31  Andomeda Galaxy

M31 Andomeda Galaxy, is visible to the naked eye as a smudge if your in a dark area of sky. I can see it once in awhile from my front yard.

I enjoy the challenge of photography, and as most who know me I dabble in film.  I could not imagine doing this with film as they did before the advent of digital imaging.  I might try the Moon, but not Deep Space Objects like nebula or galaxies.

LOL, what started as a quest to do starscapes at night has turned to a whole new quest that challenges me at every turn, equipment, technically, physically, $$$ and at times emotionally . . . I have always been interested in the sciences and the stars.  As a child I watched with a Nation as John Glenn became the first US Astronaut to orbit the Earth (RIP Senator Glenn) . . . the the Moon was visited by Men from Earth.  We had finally left the gravity of Earth to step on another object in the cold vacuum of space.

The Moon, Our celestial Satellite. Supermoon of 11/16

The Moon, Our celestial Satellite. Supermoon of 11/16

The easiest object in our sky to photograph.  We do see the bright star like points most often in the evening sky just after the sun has set and the light has yet to leave us . . . these bright objects are often the first to become visual beacons in our sky (The planets) Mars, Venus, Saturn are the most noticeable next out are the few brightest stars as the veil of darkness descends . . . and if one is lucky enough to live in a really dark place then the Milky Way spans the night sky from east to west with all its stunning glory.  If you are really lucky you can see the largest knot of stars and glowing gas that is the center of our own Galaxy.

the Orion Nebula

the Orion Nebula

I enjoy the challenge this hobby brings, coupled with my love of star gazing I know I will never grow tired of all it can bring to me.  Be it a microcosm captured with a macro setup, a macrocosm  captured with a wide angle lens or a field of twinkling stars or a star birthing nebula, super nova remnant . . . there is so much to see, so much to yet learn.

I have new tools and a new adventure, but I am using some of what I already have.  Here is a list of what I am using so far. I will do a few articles on the Nikkor lenses I find most useful and what imaging gear I use.

  • Nikon D7000
  • Nikkor lenses from 10mm to 500mm with stops in between
  • Orion ED 80 telescope (600mm FL)
  • Orion 50mm finder scope
  • Orion Starshoot Autoguider (camera)c
  • Star Adventurer tracking mount
  • Celestron AVX GEM
  • Software, DSS, LR4, Corel PSP pro 8X, PHD2, Stellarium, and yes there is more

I will also show a few of the setups I use as well as all the “little things” that one needs to do this.  Believe me it adds up quickly. You get the idea!

All this is not “Beyond my vision” at least not with the proper tools or the willingness to learn and challenge myself, and my small but modest budget.  You can do this without spending a small fortune, you just need to be willing to buy used and lots of research first.

This is my last post of the 2016, I hope everyone is blessed and will see you next year . . . Have a Happy one . . . Merry Christmas.

Remember, your never to old to learn, or to have fun 😉

Tim . . . aka (Digipainter)

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