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Old 12-07-2017, 11:47 AM
AdamJL
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What Can I Photograph in July?

Hi everyone

I have a chance to finally use my AstroTrac over the next few nights.
I'm going to use a Canon 1D IV with a 100mm 2.8 Macro lens. I can switch to a 70-200 2.8 if needed but I'm not confident about polar aligning correctly at 200mm for now.

But I need some ideas of what to shoot
I tested the unit last night and was able to successfully track 30 second exposures across the sky. I know that's nothing for you pros but I was stoked

So for the next few nights, can someone please recommend something for me to point my camera at?
All of the beginner nebulas and galaxies seem to be below the horizon at the best times. I'd like to try and shoot before the moon comes out but can stay out a bit after that.

Thanks!
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:29 PM
Mickoid (Michael)
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Adam, I don't know where you'll be shooting from but down in the southern part of Australia the Milky Way is high overhead for most of the night. The moon is waning at the moment so it's getting better for darker skies over the next couple of weeks. Take advantage of this and head out to some dark sky site with your tracker. Basically any area around Scorpio and Sagittarius will look great after stacking a few 30sec subs and should reveal plenty of dust cloud and nebulosity. The Rho Ophiuchi area around the star Antares in Scorpio has some great colours. I took this a few weeks back with a 50mm lens and 15x1min subs at f5.6 on a Sightron Nano tracker.
Good luck, and if you get something interesting, share it with us!
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Old 12-07-2017, 02:28 PM
AdamJL
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thanks a million mate I'll be in the SE part of the country along the sapphire coast. I have spent some time doing star trails but now want to go deeper.

That Rho Ophiuchi shot looks awesome! Will 100mm be too much? I guess I could go to 70mm but I'm worried about zoom creep, so trying to stick to 100mm focal length. But love the suggestion, thank you!
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Old 12-07-2017, 03:36 PM
Mickoid (Michael)
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100mm will be fine, it just means a smaller field of view and more careful centering of the object you're targeting. Polar alignment will have to be good if you plan to use longer focal lengths.
Regarding zoom creep, just focus on a bright star at whatever focal length you choose and tack the lens to prevent it moving with some tape or Blue tack.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:38 PM
AdamJL
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So it turns out my polar aligning tonight wasn't so great. It wasn't bad enough to trail through each shot but there's a small difference shot to shot, which adds up over time.

Is there any software that will align these? I might try auto-aligning in Photoshop, but if anyone knows of alternatives, I'd appreciate it! cheers
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Old 12-07-2017, 10:56 PM
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A lot of us use this software for stacking multiple images, (it's free to use) and then adjust the final image with photoshop. http://deepskystacker.free.fr/english/index.html
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Old 13-07-2017, 06:57 AM
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sil (Steve)
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You could also go for Carina Nebula and the Magellanic clouds before moonrise at the moment
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Old 13-07-2017, 11:50 AM
AdamJL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doppler View Post
A lot of us use this software for stacking multiple images, (it's free to use) and then adjust the final image with photoshop. http://deepskystacker.free.fr/english/index.html
Thanks mate! When we get home I'll download it and have a play
If the weather holds tonight, I'll try and do darks/flats/bias frames as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sil View Post
You could also go for Carina Nebula and the Magellanic clouds before moonrise at the moment
Thanks! I thought about the Megellanic clouds last night. There's a lighthouse nearby though that's really blowing bright lights into my frame. If I have time, I'll swing by the south side and aim for the large Magellanic cloud before moonrise.

For the Carina Nebula will 100mm focal length be okay?
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Old 13-07-2017, 11:58 AM
AdamJL
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p.s. this stuff is FUN (the being outdoors looking at the stars part!)

You guys have the best hobby
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Old 13-07-2017, 06:59 PM
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doppler (Rick)
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The Eta Carina nebula is quite large so will come up nice at 100mm. Here's a pic @ 135mm.
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Old 15-07-2017, 07:04 PM
astro_nutt
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Hi Adam. I did this 30 second shot of Omega Centauri, which was at Zenith from my suburban backyard. Nikon D7000 together with a 10"newtonian. Contrast enhanced to tone down skyglow.
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Old 16-07-2017, 09:38 AM
Hoges (John)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamJL View Post
So it turns out my polar aligning tonight wasn't so great. It wasn't bad enough to trail through each shot but there's a small difference shot to shot, which adds up over time.

Is there any software that will align these? I might try auto-aligning in Photoshop, but if anyone knows of alternatives, I'd appreciate it! cheers
In photoshop, I will often use the 'difference' setting in layers to line my shots up. When you get it right, the screen will go completely black. I'll then stack the frames at %100 %50, %33 & %25 transparency on top of each other before flattening the image and then tweaking the levels. I think I eventually ended up with some decent software that did it all automatically, but I did get some reasonable (for me) results in PS.
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Old 16-07-2017, 06:09 PM
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skogpingvin (Bill)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamJL View Post
p.s. this stuff is FUN (the being outdoors looking at the stars part!)

You guys have the best hobby
Yes. Yes we do.

Bill
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