Tom Murdic, an amateur astronomer from Franklin, Tennessee, gave an informative presentation on "Practical Astro-photography" at our January meeting. Below are a handful of images he has recently taken. Tom is a member of the Barnard-Seyfert Astronomical Society and is a member of Nasa's Solar System Ambassador program. Here is Tom's astro-image primer:
Astro Imaging Primer
1. Matching target with photography Field of View. A great web site to assist in making that determination is "http://dso-browser.com/".
2. Equipment Preparation
Set custom white balance in camera (DSLR).
Capture "flats" field images with optical train you intend to use for your deep space imaging session for light frame calibration.
Capture Dark frames for light frame calibration
Achieve very good polar alignment of mount.
Balance telescope and accessories on mount.
(3) Capturing the Light
Focus , focus ,focus!!!!! Take time to focus on a 3rd or 4th magnitude star photographically .(15 second exposures)
Once focus is achieved, point scope in general direction of "Object of Interest" and calibrate auto guider.
Acquire target and center in field of view and begin auto guiding
Let auto guider run for 5 minutes before you begin your imaging run.
Begin imaging run with each light frame exposure set at 800 ISO and 300 seconds.
(4) Post Capture Processing
Calibrated Light frame.
Align calibrated light frames
Combine calibrated aligned light frames
Adjust the composite light frame to bring out or highlight details or tweak to your liking