Saturday, January 8, 2011

A couple astro test shots, 8/365

Tonight, I did a little testing with some wide field astrophotography.  I've dabbled with it a little on and off every since I got my first DSLR.  But, the problem I had then was that it was practically impossible to accurately focus.  The viewfinder was too dim to even see the stars to focus, so it was a matter of trial and error... very, very tedious.  The newer DSLR has live view, which I can zoom in to 10x on the LCD to manually focus.  Even more magnification would be better yet, but this is enough to make it work.  Unfortunately (for astrophotography), Canon has improved their infared filtering over the years, so the new camera isn't as sensitive to IR light.  So, a couple nights ago, I focused the stars on the new camera, put a piece of tape on the lens, and marked infinity.  Then, tonight, I put that lens on the old camera, turned the focus to line up infinity with my mark, and shot.  This shot is across the street from my house, showing Orion, the hunter.

This second shot is a 100% crop of the Pleiades star cluster, the seven sisters.  It was shot with a wide angle from my deck, so it is extremely cropped.  I had to include it though, because when I brought the picture up on the screen and pointed it out to Rachael, she said, "Oh, I thought that was a smudge on the laptop."  Come on!  Zoomed in, it's obviously a star cluster!  :-)

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