Posts Tagged ‘Canon’


ISS pass near Venus – 17th April 2012

April 17, 2012

by yaska77

There’s a great account you can follow on Twitter if you’d like to be sent alerts whenever the ISS will be passing your location. Twisst ISS alerts send out thousands of messages every day, and right on shedule this evening the ISS began a pass over my house.

The ISS streaks across the sky near to the bright planet Venus from 17th April (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Taken using a 50mm lens on a 6 second exposure (f/2.5 ISO-200), I think enough of the stars appear cleanly without too much drifting. Venus is beautiful at the moment, and it always looks great in an image!

The ISS streak seems to "phase" as it passes behind part of a tree (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

So, 10 minutes in the cold and a nice, bright, high ISS pass later I’m back indoors with a hot cuppa.

And my Canon Eos 550D is having its batteries charged. The Lyrids meteor shower peaks soon, I think I’ll get the flask ready for a night in the cold!

If you’re on Twitter you can follow @twisst and while you’re there, why not follow us too!

And if not you’re not on Twitter yet, come and join us!


Astrophotographers capturing the heavens

March 7, 2012

by yaska77

Space pics are cool, no argument from us there. Since we started this blog we’ve brought you enough images to fill a photo album (and have slipped in quite a few of our own along the way).

A lot of people think you need in depth knowledge or mega expensive gear to take astro photos, but from our time spent in the “twitterverse” we’ve learnt that not only are there thousands of enthusiasts eager to get stuck in, but a multitude of talented people who do extraordinary things with a range of equipment!

The Moon

The first point of call for most night sky snappers is our beautiful Moon. We first started imaging the Moon using handhelds and camera phones (held up to the eyepiece of the telescope), but there are a variety of ways to get great images!

This waning Moon image shows great colour! (click to enlarge) - Credit: CJ5ive

If you don’t have a telescope, a DSLR can capture superb images all on its own. Twitter user CJ5ive used a Nikon D200 to grab this shot, and it looks great! Having a sturdy tripod helps remove any camera shake caused by the shutter opening, and with good seeing conditions you can get crystal clear shots.

Moon crater details are well defined in this iPhone 4s image (click to enlarge) - Credit: Phil Hammond

Don’t have a DSLR but have a telescope? With a steady hand Phil Hammond took this great example of afocal photography, using an iPhone 4s and a Sky-Watcher Evostar 102 Telescope. It can take a little patience to get it lined up, but you can get some great close up images.

Using a CCD camera you can capture superb detail, as demonstrated in this image of the Clavius crater (click to enlarge) - Credit: Paul Wharton

Want to get even closer? By using a CCD Camera (like a webcam) you can record video of your target and then stack the individual frames to bring out the details. Paul Wharton provided us with this great close-up of the Clavius crater on the Moon, taken using a Sky-Watcher 200P Telescope and a Trust webcam from eBay bought for 99p!

The Planets

Getting a close up look at the planets through a telescope can be awe inspiring, so imaging them can be very rewarding.

Using a webcam attached to a telescope you can get great images like this great view of Jupiter (click to enlarge) - Credit: John Mason

Jupiter is always a good target as through a telescope you can see clear details. John Mason‘s image shows Jupiter as a beautiful marble in space, captured using a Nexstar 6SE SCT Telescope and a SPC800 webcam (compiled using the stacking software Registax).

The superb clarity of this image of Jupiter (complete with two Moons) by Paul Wharton shows the beauty of the planet (click to enlarge) - Credit: Paul Wharton

The brilliant clarity of this image of Jupiter (complete with two Moons) highlights the beauty of the giant planet - Credit: Paul Wharton

Getting even closer to Jupiter this shot from Paul Wharton shows the different bands, the famous spot and two of Jupiter’s moons. You can even make out the shadow of a moon transiting the disc of the planet! This fantastic image was captured using a Sky-Watcher 200P Telescope and a Philips webcam.

Saturn is another must see through a telescope, and Jamey imaged it incredibly clearly (click to enlarge) - Credit: Jamey Erickson

There’s also nothing like the feeling of viewing the rings of Saturn with your own eyes. Very little compares to seeing it live (as it were) but the picture produced by Jamey Erickson comes awfully close! Created by stacking 40 light frames (with no dark frames) using a Celestron CGE-1100 SCT Telescope, a Canon 5D Mk II remote via MacBook Air, all guided with an iPad via SkySafariPro. That’s quite a setup!

Stars and a Nebula

Most of the time clouds are an astrophotographer’s nemesis, but they can help provide great atmosphere to a photo of the stars.

Cloud movement in a long exposure shot can create a beautiful ethereal feel when in front of a clear star filled background (click to enlarge) - Credit: John Mason

Orion is one of the most easily recognisable constellations in the night sky, and John Mason took this great shot of it framed by clouds using a Canon 1000D at 18mm on a 7 second exposure.

A similar shot of the fantastic Orion, with added International Space Station goodness (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sarah (purpleface)

The ISS frequently passes over the UK, an example of such a pass can be seen in Sarah’s image featuring Orion and the Hyades cluster above. Taken using a Canon 7D with the 18-55mm kit lens, 15 second exposure at ISO 400 (f/3.5). It also helps demonstrate just how far the space station travels across the sky in 15 seconds when moving at around 17,500mph.

It’s about 73 miles, the equivalent driving distance from Peckham in London to Dover by the English Channel!

Using a good zoom lens you can clearly capture the dusty shape of the Orion Nebula (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sarah (purpleface)

Using the same camera but this time a 90-300mm lens, Sarah’s shot of the Orion Nebula shows clear definition of its familiar shape, taken at an exposure time of 3.2 seconds, ISO 5000 (f/5.6).

Stacked shots taken via a telescope can provide far more detail than a single exposure alone, as this fantastic image demonstrates (click to enlarge) - Credit: Jamey Erickson

This jawdropping picture of the Orion Nebula from Jamey is the result of stacking 50 light frames and 50 dark frames (with the same equipment as his Saturn image above). Both images were stacked in Nebulosity and processed in PixInsight.

If you’d like to have a look through more of our contributor’s photographs, click on their name below and you’ll be transported to their snaps or Twitter feed. This is just a small example of what our friends on Twitter are doing, so they’re well worth a look through!

Come and join in the fun 🙂


CJ5ive on Flickr
Phil Hammond on Twitter
Paul Wharton on Flickr
John Mason on Twitter
Jamey Erickson on Flickr
Sarah (purpleface) on Flickr

All images are copyright their respective owners


My starry starry night

August 22, 2011

by yaska77

Last night was a good night. One of those rare evenings where things just seem to go your way. They just worked.

For the first time in a while now the skies were clear as darkness fell. So frequently it seems a fine day ends with annoying cloud build-up, but I set up my telescope in the garden hopeful I’d see something of interest. My success at accurately aligning my scope from the small back garden I call my observatory is fairly hit and miss, sometimes I can get the scope to go straight to what I want, other times I can spend literally years trying to find anything of note in the eyepiece (this is a lie).

For the first time in months though my scope successfully aligned (enough so I could get objects more or less straight in the eyepiece anyway), and as I left it to cool to outside temperature (busily tracking the star Vega) I set up the camera for the ISS pass. Starting at 21:46 (BST), this first photo shows the very bright ISS passing near the Plough (Big Dipper) constellation.

21st August 2011 - The ISS passes by the Plough (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

The Milky Way is not often visible where I live, but the faintest hint of it was there last night. You might just be able to make it out to the right of the ISS line below. It still amazes me to think the space station is travelling at around 17,500 mph and is as big as an American Football field!

The ISS line crosses the faint Milky Way (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

And that’s nearly where I left it, but figured one more snap couldn’t hurt. Enlarge the photo below and you’ll see the fainter line of a satellite moving from right to left as it crosses the path of the ISS. They actually met at exactly the same time, so it almost looked like they were going to collide! And yeah, the image would’ve been better if my neighbours didn’t have the brightest kitchen light known to man…

Faint satellite crosses the path of the ISS (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

And then it was over to the ‘scope. I re-checked the alignment and found it was still tracking fairly well, so my first target was the double star Albireo, a bright yellow star and its smaller blue companion. I’d never actually seen it before but it was shown on the BBC’s wonderful “The Sky at Night” not too long ago so I wanted to give it a look.

Albireo is 380 light-years away from the Earth (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Albireo really is very bright, and the contrast of colours in this binary system make it a lovely sight to see. The night was going well, I wasn’t used to this. Normally by now I’d have trodden on the power cable and wrecked the alignment, thick clouds would have rolled over or the battery in my camera gone flat. Now I was going to be ambitious. I’d seen images of Messier 57 (M57) the Ring Nebula, but never thought I’d view it with my own eye from my own garden. On a roll I keyed it into the scope and without hesitation it moved straight to it!

Messier 57 (the Ring Nebula) is in the constellation of Lyra (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

A massive cosmic doughnut! I still geek out knowing stuff like this exists. Really I should have called it a night there, thin cloud was starting to make itself known but there was still something I wanted to see. M2 is a globular cluster about 37,500 light-years from Earth and is thought to contain around 150,000 stars!

M2 is a globular cluster in the constellation Aquarius (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

The light cloud slightly dimmed the picture above, but for unprocessed images (I have the RAW files to play around with) I’m pretty chuffed with the evening’s work if I do say so myself!

So I’ll be out there again the next clear night we’re graced with, and with the waning Moon bringing darker skies who knows, I may go back to have another go at these beautiful objects, or I might go hunting for new wonders to marvel at, there’s so much yet to see!

Equipment used:
Canon EOS 550D (Unmodified)
Sky-Watcher Explorer 200P EQ5 Pro SynScan 200mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope


ISS over the UK – 14th June 2011

June 14, 2011

by yaska77

With the ISS passing over the UK five times overall tonight, I had to try get some shots.  The first pass was too cloudy, but the 23:04 pass was awesome!

The ISS above Saturn and Porrima - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

The ISS (Saturn and Porrima bottom right of centre) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

The ISS - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Taken using a Canon Eos 550D - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

50mm lens/f1.8/6 to 10 sec exp - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Second pass of the night began at 23:04 BST - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Clicking on any of the above will open them full-size in a new tab.

It’s amazing to think there are six people flying around over our heads, maybe they were looking back at us??


I can see my house from here!

May 12, 2011

by yaska77

This is such a beautiful photograph we wanted to share it with you all!  We’ve often stood on the ground looking up, taking photos of the ISS with our Canon’s (several examples of which can be found on this blog), but was anyone ever looking back?

Well on 10th May ISS European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli (who took this fantastic shot of the Moon recently) was doing just that.  As the ISS passed over the United Kingdom he pointed his Nikon D3S down and took this fantastic photo.

The UK from the ISS (Click to enlarge) - Credit: ESA/NASA/Paolo Nespoli

It’s always amazing to see just how peaceful our world looks from Space.  Next time you have the chance to see the ISS pass over you (handy ISS Tracker here), look up and watch it fly past. There could be someone looking right back at you.

Paolo Nespoli has a Flickr account and frequently uploads new images taken from his vantage point on the ISS, check it out as there are more amazing photographs!

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