What does an astronomer with a broken ankle do?

Answer: He uses his observatory remotely from the couch.

Having broken my ankle a couple of weeks back I’m unable to go out exploring for wide-field photographic opportunities so have decided to focus on using my observatory again. Some times experiencing usage rates as high as 26 nights in 30 of a month, for most of April and May it had lay dormant (interests shift).

This photograph of the beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 4945 was taken under brightly moonlit skies not far from full-moon. The dust lanes and detail is still very nice, showing through the moon glow quite nicely.

Photograph of the Galaxy NGC 4945

I would like to add colour data to this, and perhaps more luminance data, but it’s rare for me to revisit targets and give them the exposure time they are justified – see how we go with this one! Fact is there’s just too much up there to photograph for me to spend too long on any one spectacular galaxy!

This image is in my Galaxy Gallery.

A broken ankle and a Valley of Stars

A couple of weekends ago I enjoyed making the most of my local surroundings, taking a long awaited trip to a nearby vantage point for some astrophotography of the Milky Way. I captured a few nice images, of which this, titled Valley of Stars, is probably the best:

Taken in May 2013 in the hills to the east of Perth, the Milky Way rises over a valley visible in the distance and steep hillside with silhouettes in the foreground.

Unfortunately though, on the way to the location (yes, on the way) I misjudged a step (thought to be 30cm, turned out to be 60cm!) and rolled my ankle with the consequence of a broken ligament and bone fragments broken off with the ligament! After a few moments of intense pain I checked to make sure it wasn’t broken, tightened up my hiking boot, and continued to do three hours of astrophotography. To be honest it wasn’t hurting much after the initial few minutes, and damned if I was going to miss out on a perfect night.

Now almost two weeks later my foot is still in a moon-boot, I’m unable to drive, and I will probably have to have surgery entailing 6 weeks in a plaster cast.

There goes my freedom and wide field astrophotography!

This image is also in my Milky Way gallery.

A tour around the Dampier Peninsula

This weekend of 28th April 2013 I spent a great weekend in Broome, Western Australia. A highlight of the trip was a full day tour around the Dampier Peninsula with Kimberley Aviation to see the Horizontal Waterfalls, Cape Leveque, Cygnet Bay, tidal flows, etc.

The photo opportunities were plentiful and I now have a small selection available on my website: Dampier Peninsula Photography Gallery

Chasing Aurora at Albany

Last weekend was great fun – went travelling down to Albany and stayed overnight Saturday in hope of capturing some Aurora!

There was no aurora but it’s always so great getting to see the south coast again. Such nice weather and spectacular scenery, particularly on this occasion.

During the night clouds and zero aurora activity conspired to prevent astrophotography of any kind, but in the following Sunday morning we had the opportunity to do about 30 minutes of photography running around the Gap and Natural Bridge area snapping a few pics before heading home.

Photographs here: Albany and South Coast

PS. Absolutely love the Canon 8-15mm F/4 Fishey! Such a perfect lens, proving its self over and over again.