Thursday, November 18, 2010

Astrophotography Online

Orion Nebula
If you want to try astrophotography but have no access to equipment then this post will help you.

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics developed a MicroObservatory Robotic Telescope Network. This allows users online to log on to the use of the telescopes to take an image of a selected celestial body. The MicroObservatory is a network of 5 automated telescopes that can be accessed on-line.

The MicroObservatory is designed to allow students and teachers nationwide to investigate the wonders of the deep sky from their classrooms. The project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (RED 9454767), with additional in-kind contributions from Eastman Kodak Company and Apple Computer.

Those who log on are responsible for taking their own images. This means focusing the telescope, selecting exposure times, filters, and other parameter. This helps the users get a feel of familiarity with the use of the telescopes. MicroObservatory has a wide range of targets including solar system objects, stars and nebulae, and also galaxies and deep-sky objects.

Images then can be edited by the user using a program that can be downloaded from the sight, or via other photo editing software.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Last night, on my way home from the midweek service, a power line popped taking out all the lights in the area. It was relatively dark and I looked up to see the stars. I looked at Pastor Ditz recalling that I owe a stargazing session with her dormers at the Davao cottage. I told her "walang ilaw, sakto pang stargazing." She agreed excitedly telling her dormers that we will have a stargazing session at our house. At home I clamored blindly for my telescope in the dark. I rushed to set-up my scope outside with only a candle to light up my set-up. Eventually I was able to put it up and set it directly to Jupiter. I gave them a brief introduction of the telescope and Galileo's first look at Jupiter. They were naturally curious of what they saw.

The lights came back on and clouds started to cover the fainter stars, I wasn't able to show them more also because of the obstruction of trees in the area. Anyways, I promised them that I would take them to the department's astrodeck during the coming meteor shower.