Beyond our solar system, there areliterally billions of stars, clusters,galaxies, nebulae; and other suchbeauties and wonderments knownas “Deep Space Objects,” (DSOs)…
I am not currently equipped tophotograph DSOs. However, theonline-accessible Micro Observatorytelescope is!
The Micro Observatory telescopearray takes photographs usingmonochrome (black & white)cameras; which utilize Red, Greenand Blue (RGB-filtered) exposuresfor full color stacked images.
Messier 8 (The Lagoon Nebula)M8 is a star-forming region, 4,100 lightyears away in the constellationSagittarius. I chose this target becauseeven though my imager is unable tophotograph this DSO; it is currently inprime viewing position… and anabsolutely beautiful sight to see throughthe eyepiece of my telescope!
M8 (The RGB Images)Upon my first request to the MicroObservatory array, only the green and blueimages of M8 came out. After twoadditional requests for a red-filtered image;I finally had all three in hand!
M8 RGB IMAGES STACKEDStack of single 60sec R,G & B imagestaken with Micro Observatory CCDCamera.Due to demand, targets are onlyallotted single 1-minute exposures atfairly high gain levels.End result is a very ‘noisy’ finalphotograph!Albeit, the Micro Observatory is anexcellent tool to familiarize studentswith RGB astrophotography!
Same image- After a little bit of extrapost-processing in Photoshop…
It would be all too easy to Google ajaw-dropping image of M8 taken byHubble or any number of other“professional” telescopes…
Shortly, you will see an absolutelySTUNNING picture of M8 taken bya guy named Joe… from hisCalifornia back yard on theweekend of May 11th/12th, 2013.
Seeing pictures like his is whatdrives me to peer deeper intothe heavens…
Joe’s Image Specifics…10 @ 3 mins lights4 @3 mins darksOrion Star Shoot G3 ColorWilliam Optics Megrez 90 mm Doublet refractorCelestron CG5 ASGT Orion 80mm ST w/ Orion Auto GuiderProcessed in Orion Camera Suite, PaintShop Pro X5 with StarSpikes Plug in**Although Joe used a color CCD camera, note he still used ahigher number of shots at longer exposures of lights/darks forhis final image. This is key to capturing as much detail aspossible.
Special Thanks• First and foremost- To my wonderful Fiancée, Tabatha forher love and support; and for fulfilling my dream of beingable to see into the cosmos• To Joe Colo for graciously granting me permission to usehis beautiful M8 image for this presentation• To Professor Katie Berryhill for the great instruction; andmost of all… for the opportunity to do a project thatparallels my new-found passion for amateur astronomy!• To the ladies & gentlemen of www.astronomyforum.netfor the endless supply of tips, tricks, advice & knowledge!• Finally- To my classmates for the great discussions &interaction. Our 16 weeks is almost up- I enjoyed workingwith each and every one of you- Best of luck in all you do!