Sunset Reflections

Yesterday evening I had some fun wandering along the Swan River with my camera. I haven’t been to this spot before, but first impressions are that I’ll be back soon. A nice peaceful spot not too far from home with reasonably nice scenery.

Silhouettes and sunset colours along the banks of the Swan River in Western Australia.

Reaching Out To The Moon. Silhouettes of gumtrees along the banks of the Swan River, with the Moon showing through as though the trees are reaching out to it.

Comet 117P

Last night I was inspired to take a photo of comet 117P after seeing some recent messages on the ASV comet list regarding it. Days earlier I had looked for available comets to photograph and missed this one.

I was surprised by the length of 117P’s tail. The comet is relatively faint (around magnitude 14 I believe) yet the tail is quite elongated. While it’s not something probably worth “writing home about” it’s also not a sure bet to get a visible tail on a magnitude 14 comet. Not from my experience anyhow.

Future images of the comet will be posted on the 117P comet page.

Photograph of Photograph of Comet 117P/Helin-Roman-Alu at 2013-06-03T13:41:55.686 UTC
Photograph of Comet 117P/Helin-Roman-Alu at 2013-06-03T13:41:55.686 UTC using 12″ SCT telescope at 2200mm focal length, with ST8-XME camera at bin 1×1 equating to approximately 0.86 arc seconds per pixel. 5 x 180 second exposures averaged. Image inverted.

Under Cloudy Stars

I had good intentions tonight, even with the full moon, of (1) doing some supernova searching and (2) working on footage for a video idea I have. I spent an hour or so in the afternoon hobbling around setting the gear up. The clouds had other plans!

The clouds are illuminated by the full moon which is rising to the east (left) of frame.

Observatory under cloudy stars … makes for a nice pic.


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.