AstroPhotography

Pam’s husband, Bryan took these photos with a Canon 7D camera which makes the image high resolution for astro-photographs. These photos were taken using an 8″ Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube on an a computerized Celestron CGEM mount controlled by PHD2 software running on a laptop which tracks the movement of the celestial objects so each time-lapsed exposure remains relatively sharp.

The photos are captured using a program called BackyardEOS, which takes long exposure photos through the night at a set exposure duration until the sun rises.  So once the system is set up, it can be left unattended for several hours, snapping long exposure photos from 120 seconds up to 500 seconds each.  The laptop computer tells the telescope mount the direction and speed to move so the nebula perfectly stays centered in the view for the entire exposure duration.  Any errors in how the system is set up and aligned show up as stars with trails behind them or blurry photos.  Once a stack of photos is taken, a program called PixInsight combines the images and makes them super sharp and detailed.  The more photos that can be stacked, the less nose will exist because more light can be gathered.   If there is too much light pollution from the nearby town lights or due to a moon, then the images are often unusable.