I shot my favorite nebula tonight, the Orion Nebula (M42), using the Astro-Tech 6″ f/9 Ritchey-Chrétien–prime focus with the Nikon D750, all of it sitting on an Orion Atlas EQ-G mount. 40 stacked frames, 30 second exposures. And I was doing all of this camera and telescope stuff in a nice brisk 15°F/-9.4°C, has to be the coldest night I’ve been out with a telescope.
Category Archives: photo
I pulled into work this morning–I park a pretty good distance from the building–and someone over the weekend had tossed out a bunch of ketchup packets from McDonald's. A murder of crows had found the ketchup before I got there. "Murder" is definitely the coolest collective noun for any group of things–way better than herd or flock of crows. (Although a herd of crows sounds like it could be more dangerous to humans, especially if they stampede). The crows were already tearing open the packets to get at the ketchup and I just parked and watched them for a while. They had it down, standing on one of the packet and ripping open the other with their beaks. Amazing. What's funny, is that they didn't move when I drove in. They just watched me–hoping for some fries maybe? They didn't seem too concerned until I rolled down the window and took a few pics of them. Then they each picked up their ketchup packets and walked further down the parking lot.
I was doing some book research, using satellite images and came across this. Really sad. You know how you look at an old building and think that there are stories in the walls–that if you could walk around that building through history you'd probably hear some amazing stuff. Same here. I look at these ships and wonder what ports they called, what they carried, what storms they survived, who sailed them.
My son and I took a walk around the backyard to check on the progress of our paper-nest-building neighbors, thousands of Baldfaced Hornets (Dolichovespula maculata) They're actually wasps–not real hornets, related to yellow-jackets, and they build these absolutely beautiful homes of paper, a new one every year.
The nest is at the base of a small tree a couple hundred feet from the house. Apparently these guys are aggressive, but my son and I got within a foot or two of the nest, taking pics, and they didn't seem to care.
I love this universe. I spent far more time just staring up at the stars than taking pictures. I'm still goofing with exposure, iso, f settings, but here are a couple that came out reasonably well. The first is of the Milky Way and the second is the constellation Cassiopia with a batch of other stars.
I got up around 4:30 and the sky was so clear after Irene passing through that I had to get out my camera and tripod to shoot it. I was wandering around in the backyard and the dogs didn't even get up–too early for them apparently.
Here's one of the constellation Orion, around 4:45 AM, f3.5 at 30 seconds (the starlight is just starting to shift at 30 secs). Camera: Nikon D3100, Nikkor 18-200 lens. Facing east–those are PSNH's transmission lines up the hill from us.