Yes, I know this phrase is a media super hype, and actually I tweaked it just a little bit. Super Wolf… it’s a thing. Wolf Blood… it’s a thing too. Super Wolf Blood Moon, ahoooooo!
I was sick and should have stayed home and went to bed… but what fun is that?!? Astrophotography is a compulsion, and the muse must be obeyed. This image is four frames stacked, each taken in rapid succession right after midnight. Hey, it’s the witching hour super wolf blood… okay, whatever. The exposures were with a Canon 5D Mark III DSLR on a Sky-Watcher Esprit 150 refractor (f/7). They were taken at ISO 3200 with an exposure time of 1.5 seconds. I found on the Moon just like for night scapes, higher ISO’s actually do have lower noise for low light images as long as you get sufficient light to the sensor. I wrote more about it over here at Sky & Telescope. The shorter ISO 100 images actually have significantly more noise.
Another side note, I posted this same image on Facebook and Instragram and they both destroyed the lower portion of the image! Apparently, the JPEG compression just saw the faint details in the red as big blobs. I love how much detail I got out of this. I know a lot of people are trying to do something really creative with a collection of images, else it’s just another eclipsed moon image, but still… this one is mine, and it’s just a well executed image with quite a bit of detail visible throughout.
I just love the colors on this nebula, which features both blue reflection nebulosity, and red from hydrogen emissions. I’ve been so frustrated from the weather this year and we are well past when the dry clear skies should have come to Florida, and it’s still as wet and rainy as the summer time (and this is now late December!). I was doing some organizing and discovered an SD card with data from the Texas Star Party. I remembered doing a quick run of this data and was disappointed because of some artifacts after stacking. Since then, I’ve learned a thing or two, and gave it another go… and hour later, I had this lovely flower. I’m so happy with it, and it was still a chance to process some “fresh” data! Found treasure.
Seems the clearest skies come with the brightest Moon. No problem, I love the moon too! I’ve been working on some new code that creates video files for “Lucky Imaging” and tried it out last night on the moon with a ZWO 120 Monochrome camera and a Sky-Watcher 180mm Mak-Cas telescope. I know it’s over kill, but the Paramount MX+ sure made this easy. Using ProTrack and the custom tracking rates, no matter where I put it on the Moon it just stayed right there. I did over 10,000 frames and stacked about 35% of the sharpest ones and then did a few final adjustments in Photoshop.
I loved this area, there’s so much detail to be seen and all kinds of great geography to study.
Here comes another Sky & Telescope webinar. I’ve resisted the call to do a class or anything on processing for a while, but finally gave in to some friends who have pressed me on it. There are some bits of processing that aren’t so subjective, and I do feel comfortable talking about those. I think too, my approach will be a bit different than many people have seen before, at least I hope so 😉
I’ll be attending Daystar’s annual Solarfest star party October 4-7. I will be giving a presentation about @focus3, a new autofocusing technology I developed at Software Bisque. Unlike most “star based” astronomy focusing techniques @focus3 can focus on the sun (and moon, planets, etc.). It’s great for “lucky imaging”, and will achieve good focus even when seeing is not so great; giving confidence that you are at optimum focus even in the case of significant atmospheric turbulence.
Checkout my latest Sky & Telescope article about my two imaging trips to Haleakala. Some of the images from these trips can be found in the Nightscapes gallery. Both times it was a work trip to Maui for the AMOS (satellite tracking stuff) conference. Alas, we have to miss this year due to other stuff, but hopefully next year I’ll be back and I plan to make a third trip up the mountain for an all nighter (who knows, maybe even two!). Read all about my trip there in the August issue of Sky & Telescope.