Captured images of God's amazing creation!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The North American Nebula (NGC7000):

In June 2016 I set out on a mission to image NGC7000, The North American Nebula, from my front yard in St. Ann's. It's dim, in our light polluted skies, so I was sure this would take a few nights to gather enough exposure time. I ended up shooting on six different moon-free nights through-out the summer and gathered over 14 hours of exposure! After my last shooting session on Sep 6th I went through all the frames manually and deleted 4.5 hours of imperfect frames. I then allowed Deep Sky Stacker to eliminate another 10% automatically. This made a nice hi-res, low-noise, 8.5 hour image to process.
Lesson learned: The last few nights of shooting, I had to flip the view as my target crossed the Meridian! What I didn't think about, was that the diffraction spikes on the larger stars would not match with the spikes from all my previous shots. Fortunately, the spikes ended up 45 degree offset from the original view, so it looks like I did it on purpose!
The image is 102 x 5 minute frames (8.5 total hours) @ 1600iso shot in June, July, August and September (20 flats, 20 darks and 20 offsets) with a 8 inch F5 Skywatcher Newtonian and a Canon T3i (modified) with coma corrector and LP filter.
This has been my favourite image to process thus far! The detail and natural colour amaze me. It's incredible, what appears to be a black sky, is actually so full of colour and artistry.
"God's creation" is specifically referred to in 314 verses thru-out scripture! I believe it is wise to give Him full credit for all of creation, and then allow science to fit into the cracks!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

M42 Orions Nebula

My winter and spring 2016 project was imaging and processing "M42" and the "Running Man", both found in the constellation Orion. This deep-sky object receives so much attention because it is so large, bright and beautiful. 
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Ps19:1
M42 - Approximately 5 hours exposure, Winter 2016

Saturday, August 15, 2015

July’s Nebulae:

I was blessed with two beautiful clear nights around July’s new moon to shoot some classic sky gems!
The Eagle Nebula (taken from our front yard) is an emission nebula in the constellation Serpens about 7000 light years away. The second image is the Western Veil Nebula (shot from the east side of Algonquin Park), a supernova remnant in the constellation Cygnus at only 1470 light years from earth. I shot the East side of the veil 2 years ago so I was happy to complete the pair!
The day I shot the Veil I noted my Bible app “verse of the day”: Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. (Jer 32:17)
The Eagle Nebula (M16) - 2.5 hours total exposure
The Western Nebula - 4 hours exposure under light polution free skies


Monday, February 23, 2015

IC434 The Horse Head Nebula & NGC2024 The Flame Nebula:

Despite the extreme cold weather this winter, I was able to brave the elements on January 15th – It only bottomed out at -11c (at 2am in St. Ann’s).
The bright eastern ‘belt’ star in Orion (named Alnitak) is surrounded by these deep sky treasures: The Horse Head and Flame Nebula.
The trick is exposing them with long exposure photography, without blowing out your picture with the strong blue glow of Alnitak!
Careful processing tricks allow you to isolate the bright star glow while teasing out the detail of neighboring dim nebulosity! 3 hours of exposure and almost 4 hours of Photoshop processing went into this image. Ethical processing must respect and maintain the images natural colour and detail. I like to show it the way it was intended to be seen! As you can guess, I admire the Creator and the detail in His artwork!
If you search the internet for Hubble images of the Horse Head Nebula you will be blown away by the detail captured from Hubble!

53 sub frames @ 3.5 minutes each = 3 hours, 5 minutes and 30 seconds total exposure @ 1600 ISO

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Pleiades

The Pleiades (or Messier 45) is an open star cluster of middle-aged 'hot' stars located in the constellation of Taurus. This middle-aged 'hot' astronomer has been wanted to shoot the Pleiades since I purchased my 8" Newtonian telescope 3 years ago. The 'field-of-view' native to my scope nicely frames this beautiful star cluster with all it's blue wisps of star-lit nebulosity. The image below is the sum total of 3 hours exposure.
Other than Orion and the Big Dipper, the Pleiades is the only starry object in the sky that God references in the Bible! My favorite is when he questions Job's doubt in Job 38:31 below (it's a message that seems like it was written specifically for me):  
Job 9:9 - He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky.
Job 38:31 - “Can you direct the movement of the stars— binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion?
Amos 5:8 - It is the Lord who created the stars, the Pleiades and Orion. He turns darkness into morning and day into night. He draws up water from the oceans and pours it down as rain on the land. The Lord is his name!
...Consider the size of this star cluster at 16 light years (left to right)... or 160 trillion kilometers! God simply bound (or connected) it's stars together in the palm of His hand! It's another great example of his magnificent art work and power!

M45 "The Pleiades" - 60 x 3 minute frames = 3 hours totsl exposure @ 1600 iso

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Andromeda Project (continued):

In September 2013 I posted the first picture from my "Andromeda Project".
The Andromeda Galaxy's apparent size is so large in the sky (about 5-6 moon widths across) that I am not able to fit much more than half of it in my telescopes imaging field. 

Last year I shot the "left side" and this September, I have completed the "right side".

I have now processed the two images and joined them together in Photoshop CS2!

The second shooting session was the result of a great weekend spent at the cottage just east of Algonquin Park! My brother and I escaped our normally busy lives to appreciate the best of what God has to offer in northern autumn hikes and undisturbed clear night skies! We had a blast and determined that this is now officially, an annual event! (Belly aches prevailed all weekend, caused by intense laughter and extreme over-eating!)

Note: I still owe this blog one more shot of the Andromeda Galaxy - I would like to shoot a wide field image to include neighboring constellation Cassiopeia (the "w" in the sky). I want to illustrate the position of this galaxy, so readers will look for it and find it. It's an easy object (under a dark sky) using binoculars or even the naked eye. I hope to complete this next fall.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hello everyone,  My blog has been getting a lot of traffic from Russia, Germany, USA, UK, France, and other countries. I would love to hear from you folks! Please feel free to comment (in English or your own language... I can use google translate!).
Thank you for your interest!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Astronomy Retreat:

Near the end of August, I travelled to Cherry Springs State Park, PA. Cherry Springs is a protected dark sky site with an astronomy field specifically for imaging and observing the night sky.

I had two amazing nights with great skies and lots of great conversations with fellow imagers and observers.

A skunk visited the field the first night! The people he visited reacted aggressively to his presence… He showed his disapproval by spraying their tent! “Ground-zero” (we’ll call it) was on the opposite end of the field, so I was fortunate to avoid most of the excitement.

The cloud from “Pepe Le Pew” soon dissipated and was replaced by beautiful star clouds. A beautiful cross-section of our galaxy hung straight over head at the beginning of the night and Orion was well up in the eastern sky by 4:30am. The forecast showed average ‘seeing’, but it was the best skies I have ever seen.

I imaged the Helix Nebula, a large planetary nebula located in the constellation Aquarius. Simply put, this nebula is a large, colorful, egg-shaped sphere of illuminated gases. From our vantage point, we look 30 degrees off its centre axis. This creates a bit of a 3D effect.

The Helix has been nicknamed “The Eye of God” so I entered that name in a bible search and came up with this solid truth: The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the bad and the good. (Proverbs 15:3)

Helix Nebula - 47 x 5min frames = 3 hours 55 minutes total exposure at 1600 iso