Category Archives: Website Updates

Updates to the Astro Photography Australia website.

A classic but a goodie – Southern Sky

Southern Sky - Southern Cross, Pointers and Eta Carina. Also including the Coalsack dark nebula and thousands of Milky Way stars.

Southern Sky – Southern Cross, Pointers and Eta Carina. Also including the Coalsack dark nebula and thousands of Milky Way stars.

Click here for a larger image

This field of view might be a very familiar one, but I’m not sure that anyone ever tires of seeing it! This was taken a couple of weeks ago on a somewhat clear night. The lingering bits of cloud and other atmospheric effects have combined to give this image a nice diffuse appearance which has retained the beautiful star colour, and added variation in colour.

The pointers (Alpha and Beta Centauri are on the left, with the Coal Sack and Southern Cross to the right, and Eta Carina Nebula with Southern Pleiades further to the right.

I was messing around using my Fuji X-E2 on the night, seeing what it could do. This was a bunch of 30 second exposures. The camera was great fun to use for astrophotography although no without it’s hitches.

Wheatbelt Astrophotography Fun

It’s not often these days that I manage a break under dark skies for astrophotography. Combination of work, volunteering at the Perth Observatory and my astrophotography small business persuits leaves little time! On the weekend of 23, 24 and 25th January I did return to a favourite wheatbelt stomping ground of mine. Here’s some photo’s from the weekend under the stars.

Wheatbelt Sunset on the 23rd January 2015. A typical sunset scene over the flat wheatbelt with the crescent moon and Venus both visible along with a lone silhouetted tree.

Wheatbelt Sunset on the 23rd January 2015. A typical sunset scene over the flat wheatbelt with the crescent moon and Venus both visible along with a lone silhouetted tree.

The first night was quite clear, although with mixed atmospheric conditions including some light cloud. Sunset was typical for the whetabelt – clear and golden with hue’s of blue high in the sky. This makes for beautiful silhouette photography. The crescent moon was stunning, watching it set low on the west horizon later in the evening was a highlight.

Eta Carina, Southern Cross, Coalsack and Pointers with nice variation in sky colour due to the atmospheric conditions on the night. Green skygow is visible above the brown "murk" affecting the area near the horizon. The Eta Carina nebula is showing nicely bright and pink in the upper left.

Eta Carina, Southern Cross, Coalsack and Pointers with nice variation in sky colour due to the atmospheric conditions on the night. Green skygow is visible above the brown “murk” affecting the area near the horizon. The Eta Carina nebula is showing nicely bright and pink in the upper left.

The constellation of Orion high in the northern sky with the Milky Way extending down to the horizon on the right, Pleiades below, and if you squint hard enough a hint of Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy low on the left in the "murk".

The constellation of Orion high in the northern sky with the Milky Way extending down to the horizon on the right, Pleiades below, and if you squint hard enough a hint of Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy low on the left in the “murk” (it looks much like a star, it’s tail hidden by the poor atmospheric conditions that low to the horizon).

A simple and typical but nice sunset panoramic over the wheatbelt.

A simple and typical but nice sunset panoramic over the wheatbelt.

The second night was partly cloudy, as the above sunset photograph shows. This is not all bad for astronomy, the clouds passing in front of background stars and Milky Way can make for great wide-field photographs and timelapse sequences. On this particular night the wind also kicked up at about 11pm which made the conditions unpleasant enough to call it a night at that stage. Plenty of good astrophoto’s captured in the first few hours though.

A very picturesque representation of clouds flying overhead, lit by the thin crescent moon and fading twilight. Sitting back listening to some favourite music while watching the twilight end.

A very picturesque representation of clouds flying overhead, lit by the thin crescent moon and fading twilight. Sitting back listening to some favourite music while watching the twilight end. It’s hard to beat.

The most striking thing about this photograph is the green sky, caused by an astmospheric effect these days referred to as "skyglow". The photo features Jupiter and the open cluster known as the Beehive Cluster, which is in the constellation of Cancer.

The most striking thing about this photograph is the green sky, caused by an astmospheric effect these days referred to as “skyglow”. The photo features Jupiter and the open cluster known as the Beehive Cluster, which is in the constellation of Cancer.

Constellation of Orion with Comet Lovejoy

The constellation of Orion with the comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy).

The constellation of Orion with the comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy).

The christmas comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is joined here in this photograph with the easily recognised constellation of Orion. Shown in the orientation as viewed in the Southern Hemisphere,the constellation of Orion appears as we often call it as “the saucepan”, up-side-down if considering it to be Orion the hunter.

In the constellation of Orion within the photograph you can see:

  • Barnard’s Loop – the faint pink/red nebulosity surrounding Orion to the right in an arc.
  • The Flame Nebula, near the 3rd bright star making up the belt of Orion (or the base of the saucepan if in the southern hemisphere!).
  • A hint of the pink which contains the Horsehead Nebula just above the Flame Nebula.
  • The Great Orion Nebula, in the sward of Orion (or the handle of the saucepan if in the southern hemisphere!)
  • The bright blue-white star Rigel to the top-left of Orion.
  • Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) above Orion with it’s beautiful blue-green colour.

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) continues to shine

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) without stars.

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) without stars.

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) with stars.

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) with stars.

The bright Christmas comet of 2014 continues to shine beautifully high in the night sky. Now moving north and located directly south of the constellation of Orion (about 20 degrees south of Orion) the comet is sporting a beautiful tail. The comet is visible to the naked eye under dark skies, but this is not the case from my outer suburban location where it shows nicely visually in a telescope but not naked eye.

Comet C/2014 Q2 was discovered by Australian amateur astronomer and comet hunter Terry Lovejoy.

Photographs of Comet C/2014 Q2 can be purchased from me as prints, canvas or digital media for approved use. Contact me for more information.