I enjoyed a night of good old simple astronomy last night. A rarity in my current life of various commitments and having a young kid. Perfectly dark, clear and steady skies, a mix of astrophotography and visual star-hopping with a 8″ SCT telescope. Give a moderate telescope such as an 8″ dark skies and there is so much to see – Fornax galaxies, Ghost of Jupiter, the usual showpieces of various nebulas and galaxies. Absolutely fantastic. So dark.
Also, my backyard telescope has now been successfully relocated to significantly darker Wheatbelt skies, and wow the difference is immediately noticeable even in calibration images let alone actual astrophotography.
Oh, and that extremely thin crescent Moon at twilight with Venus – wow!
Looking forward to a third night tonight with the crescent Moon more prominent and lots of photography to be had.
I regularly hold workshops teaching how to photograph the Milky Way, something I have been doing since 2012. This nightscape astro photo was taken at my rural dark skies property, one of the several locations you could choose to have a one-on-one or small group workshop with me to capture your own photographs of our fantastic southern hemisphere skies. More information on my photography workshops can be found at my workshops page.
This photograph is a combination of stacked frames for the night sky and for the foreground. The dark clear skies made processing easy and light work, with very minimal post-processing. The lens used was the Tamron 15-30 f/2.8 which as you can see exhibits fantastic coma free image quality.
In early August 2019 I had the opportunity to participate in a Night Sky Tour for the local Southern Cross (the town) High School and community. Travelling there with Matthew Woods on behalf of Perth Observatory we ran a night sky tour showing the community the wonders of our night sky through the telescopes of the Perth Observatory.
Following the night sky tour there was an astrophotography session where I took a group of locals through the process of using their own cameras for astrophotography (while Matt slaved away packing up the Perth Observatory telescopes!). It was a very rewarding little astrophotography workshop, with several of the participants really getting the hang of what they could achieve with their cameras, and going away significantly ahead of where they were when they arrived in terms of astrophotography. Sometimes just learning what your camera should be able to achieve is enough to spur you on to dive head first into this hobby of astrophotography!
Following the workshop at Southern Cross Matt and I captured a few shots from Nulla Nulla Farm Retreat, a bed & breakfast not far from Southern Cross. I have to admit, it was freezing and after a long night in town it took some encouragement from Matt to keep me outside under the dark skies!
From the fantastic location of Nulla Nulla Farm Retreat the sky is very very nearly completely dark with barely any light pollution very low on the horizon, Using a recently donated Nikon D810a camera (donated to the Perth Observatory by generous donor Grant Harper) Matt and I captured several photos of the Milky Way, Magellanic Clouds and other parts of the night sky before calling it a night.
Friday 28th June I found myself yet again at the Perth Observatory, this time hosting a tour as a volunteer. Here is a photograph showing the beautiful winter Milky Way core rising in the east above one of the telescope domes that is used for public viewing.
This photograph of the Milky Way was a quick snap using my Fuji X-E2. It is a single 15 second exposure and uses my Samyang 12mm f/2.0 lens. No tracking, just my dodgy old 20 year old flimsy but very easy to cary “always in the boot of the car” tripod. 🙂