A few friends and I took a trip this past weekend to the El Malpais National Monument to watch the total lunar eclipse. Here’s a recap of the trip.
Bad weather has kept me from taking any nighttime photographs since the Perseid meteor shower in August, but I was able to get out with the scope this past weekend for a father/son camp out hosted by my church. Here are some highlights from the trip.
On August 21st, 2017, a total solar eclipse was visible in a thin band that spanned the entire contiguous United States from east to west, something that hadn’t happened in 99 years. I traveled from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Douglas, Wyoming, to see the once-in-a-lifetime event for myself. A year later, it remains the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. Here are my memories from that trip.
The Perseid meteor shower is the most active shower of the year. This year’s Perseids came on a new moon, meaning the skies would be dark and clear if the weather held out. A couple of friends and I were able to get out of town for an evening to watch the fireworks. Here’s what we saw.
About 18 months ago, I was graciously given a telescope by a member of my town’s local astronomy club: a Celestron NexStar 11 GPS. I could hardly contain my excitement! This scope would give me the ability to see things I couldn’t with my smaller refractors. It also presented me with a new challenge; getting it to work for long-exposure, deep sky objects. Here’s how things have turned out so far. Continue reading Look Mom, No Forks! My Adventures Deforking a NexStar 11 GPS
I love the challenge of pushing hardware to its limits. I did it professionally as a software engineer for over a decade, and now I do it for fun with my cameras. So when I found an already-cheap 50mm prime lens for $40 on Craigslist, I jumped on it. But can such a cheap lens produce good astro-photos?
Shooting the stars usually requires a high degree of precision. You need a good understanding of how your camera behaves and a rock-solid tripod, so intuitively, it seems impossible to do from a passenger jet. But late-night flights aren’t exactly known for their entertainment value, so I tried it for myself, and here’s what I found.
Have you ever driven to the middle of nowhere to watch rocks burn up in the sky? If you haven’t, you don’t know what you’re missing! In this blog post, I share some pictures from my first meteor shower ever and some thoughts on planning for the next one.
… It was 6:15AM, and still dark enough to go back to bed. At this point, I realized I wasn’t cold even after standing in the dark for almost 2 hours. My dashboard thermometer showed 57 degrees, and only the slightest breeze was blowing. I’ve had some great nights out, but this one was exceptional …
When I was a kid, the internet was barely a thing. Even so, photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope were making quite the splash around the world. I remember the first time I saw Hubble imagery of the Pillars of Creation – bright stars and brilliant glowing gas clouds that put the best imagery from Star Trek to shame (not a huge ask in 1995, but still true today). I’m not sure if I decided then that I wanted to become a scientist and create photographs of nebulae and galaxies, but it definitely made an impression!
Twenty-some-odd years and BS/MS degrees in Computer Science later, I decided to jump head-first into the world of astrophotography. In a couple of short years, I’ve learned (and $pent!) more than I ever thought I would, and still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. I hope that by sharing my experiences, failures, and victories, others will be able enjoy exploring the cosmos as much as I have. My plan for this blog site is to share ideas, art, and some home-brew software. Stick around!
– The Photon Collector