Tuesday, October 23, 2007

...and these

White trash astrophotography: hold your digital camera up to the eyepiece of your telescope, take a hundred or so exposures, hope that one or two come out. Here are the two best from my first time out, about half an hour ago (7:30 PM PST).

The big crater with the prominent rays coming out of it is Tycho, named for Danish studmuffin Tycho Brahe. The rays are ejecta blown out of the crater during impact. You can achieve a similar effect by setting a bowl of flour on your kitchen floor and dropping a golf ball in from head height. Have fun cleaning up!

For those who care about such stuff, the camera is a Nikon Coolpix 4500 in Flower Mode, and the telescope is an Orion SkyQuest XT6 with a 150 mm aperture and a 1200 mm focal length.

Labels: ,


Blogger TheBrummell said...

I've got a Nikon CoolPix myself (the 5200), and I use the Flower Mode (and flash disabled) when taking pictures through a dissecting microscope (oddly enough, of dissections, but I digress).

I was under the impression that Flower Mode was for close-in work... why does it work through a telescope? Did you take some pictures not in Flower Mode and they don't look very good?

4:34 PM  
Blogger Dr. Vector said...

I was under the impression that Flower Mode was for close-in work... why does it work through a telescope?

My reasoning at the time was (1) that even though the stuff viewed through the telescope was far away, the scope's focal plane was very close; (2) that I had to zoom the camera all the way in to prevent vignetting of the image (basically tunnel vision), and Flower Mode seems to be good for super-zoom; and (3), that I could use the 10- or 3-second countdown clocks in Flower Mode to try to get better pictures with no shake. That last one didn't work so much.

In all honesty, I have no idea why it worked. Maybe it didn't. I really did take about 100 pictures and 92 of them were crap (the other six were just slightly inferior versions of what I posted). I will try again soon with other modes. I was so excited to get any result last night that I kinda flipped out.

That's cool about the dissecting scopes. Never thought of trying that before--but I will the next time I'm using a dissecting scope.

In related news, Orion just introduced a line of super-cheap digital microscopes, all under $200. The advertised resolution is only 640x480, but I am tempted to risk a hundred bucks anyway and see what's up. If you or any other readers see any reviews of these things, please let me know.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those with other camera makes/models, "flower mode" = macro mode

6:58 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home