Although celestial imaging is one of the keystones in the professional astronomy, it is also very accessible to today's amateurs, even with modest equipment. Astrophotography has rapidly flourished in the past two decades with the development of electronic imaging sensors. Today, having a DSLR and a simple telescope or even just a DSLR it is possible to record some really spectacular stellar views. Some of these records can even be used for scientific purposes. More advanced techniques can utilize specialized cooled cameras, motorised telescopes, colour filters and even online access to remote semi-professional observatories' telescopes. In this section we would like to share some of our astro imaging projects.
An important note - all images here were captured on to sensitive electronic sensors using specialized methodologies, the actual humans eye's view through a telescope's eyepiece will have much less size, detail and colour.
M42 Great Orion Nebula - was taken on 2017-Dec-18 using Nikon D800 DSLR, connected to a motorised Celestron C6R refractor telescope with 150mm aperture. The M42 nebula takes most of the image centre. The nebulosity at the upper left hand corner is the so called "Running Man" M43 nebula.
The Pinwheel Galaxy M101 - captured 2019-Mar-28 using Celestron C6R refractor and Nikon D800. 10x 90 second exposures were taken.
The Andromeda Galaxy M31 - captured 2019-Feb-02 using Celestron C6R refractor and Nikon D800. Only 10x 30 second exposures were taken, as cloud cover was approaching rapidly, bringing also some severe reflected light pollution from Dublin.
M13 Great Cluster in Hercules - most spectacular globular star cluster in Northern Hemisphere. One of the oldest objects in our galaxy.
Captured using Celestron C6R 150/1200mm refractor and Nikon D800 camera. 27x 40 second exposures were taken on 2018-Apr-19
The above images are examples of Deep Sky Objects (a celestial objects which are not a part of our Solar System). Such images are normally taken with a camera connected to a prime focus of a motorised telescope, using several long exposures and stacking these individual exposures in to a final image at the post-processing stage. Such approach allows better signal to noise ratio and allows to pull out very weak matters, invisible to the human eye.
The next images are presenting some of our Solar System planets captured through a small to average refractor telescopes. The methodology of Solar System imaging is quite different from capturing DSOs - instead of using long exposures and multi-frames' stacking video recording is used, capturing hundreds or thousands of relatively short exposure frames and stacking them afterwards. The idea behind is to fight our planet's athmosphere (which is often very turbulent) to get as much detail as possible. By capturing so many frames there is a chance to find a clear "window", signal to noise ratio is important as well.
From left to right - Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The planets were captured in 2016-2017 using 80mm, 90mm and 150mm (Saturn) aperture refractors.
Wider view of Jupiter with some of its moons - Io, Ganimede and Europe.
Animation, made of 3 images, representing the rotation of Mars.
Captured during 2016 Mars opposition on a 90mm refractor.
Rotation of Jupiter, five frames taken within 40 minutes timespan
Although the Earth's Moon can be considered as an easy target, that is not always the case.
To capture the Moon as a high resolution, detailed surface could take a significant effort.
Normally, a series of frames taken to cover a whole surface and then processed in to a single image.
The example of a single frame, taken at another session on 2018-Jan-29
The craters Aristarchus (center, 40km diameter) and Herodotus (immediate left, 35km diameter). The image was taken on a Celestron C6R 150mm refractor.