Some widefield leftovers from the Haute Provence

When I was in France end of September my CMOS camera was attached to my refractor (see previous post). In parallel I used my Canon 6D(a) – Samyang 135mm f2 – Star Adventurer combo to make some widefield pictures of some well known constellations. Some of these pictures are multiple frame mosaics, so please click on the pictures to view these in full format (and count the stars)

Dusty fields from Cassiopeia to Cepheus


Constellation of Auriga, also needs some dusting


The “W” asterism in Cwassiopeia


I tried to capture the bright star Sirius nicely in the middle but misaligned a bit. Fortunately I got some nice nebula and dust in the frame.  (shot with 35mm lens)

Results from my astrophotography week in the south of France

During the last week of September I had the opportunity, for the fourth consecutive year, to go with a group of people to the south of France in the Haute Provence where I could dedicate 100% of my time to astrophotography. The weather could have been better, but worse too. We could enjoy two full nights of really dark skies. During the first few nights there was still a waning moon. On other nights we could enjoy some clear skies for a few hours.  It was also the first time I had the opportunity to test my new CMOS-based camera under dark skies, setting it to high gain and many, many short exposures. I also worked in parallel: My CMOS camera was mounted on my telescope while my DSLR captured some widefield pictures. These pictures I still need to process. So here are the first results:

LBN437 & Sh2-126 in Lacerta

Telescope: Takahashi FSQ106ED @ f/3.6 f=385mm
Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM-C
Mount: Losmandy G11
Guiding: OAG with Lodestar
Exposure: 370x60sec L + 60x60sec R + 60x60sec G + 60x60sec B
Date: September 28th-29th, 2016
Location: Montlaux, France


LDN1251 in Cepheus

Telescope: Takahashi FSQ106ED @ f/5 f=530mm
Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM-C
Mount: Losmandy G11
Guiding: OAG with Lodestar
Exposure: 240x60sec L + 60x60sec R + 60x60sec G + 60x60sec B
Date: September 26th-27th, 2016
Location: Montlaux, France

Trip to Rhodos

During the first half of July my family and I had our summer holiday and this year we decided to go to Rhodos. I must admit that the presence of dark skies is part of the selection criteria 🙂  The touristic north side of the island is not suited for astrophotography. However, a 1 hour drive with our rental car took us to the hills inland. The spot I selected, using the light pollution maps, was south of the little village Laerma. During the three nights I spent under the dark skies, there was only 1 visitor, a nosey hedgehog. Here are some results. All pictures were taken with the same setup: a tripod with a Skywatcher Star Adventurer mounted on top, a modified Canon 6D and a Samyang 135mm f2 lens @ f2.4. All the pictures are a stack of 50 to 90 frames of 60s at ISO1600. The north latitude of 36° offers better views on more southern constellations like Scorpius and Sagittarius this time of year. Feel free to count the stars and let me know so I can check the level of precision of the star counting algorithm of my image processing software Pixinsight.


Rho Ophiochi in Scorpius. Saturn at top center is photobombing the scene.


North America nebula & Sadr area in Cygnus


IC1396 area in Cepheus


Lagoon and Triffid nebulae region


Heart and Soul nebulae @ the Double Cluster in Cassiopeia


Aquila area in our Milky Way


Altair area in our Milky Way


My son Tom joined me for one night and managed to stand still during this 60s 1 frame exposure. A Samyang 14mm f2.8 lens was used for this picture.

Jupiter, April 5th 2016

Jupiter is almost a month past opposition and getting smaller but still reasonable in angular size (43″). The seeing was rather good that early evening and it shows in the end result. It’s also my first real try with WinJupos where I derotated and combined 5 RGB series of 3x40s each.


Telescope: Celestron C14 f=7040mm
Camera: ZWO ASI120MM
Mount: Mesumount 2
Guiding: none
Date: 19u25m UT, April 5th, 2016
Location: Overijse, Belgium

Edit April 30th: April has been a good month for planet photography with many clear skies and relative good seeing. Here’s a composition of my three best resuults of the month. I tried to process the images in a similar way to get uniform results.


Jupiter and the transits of Io and Ganymede

The seeing was fair on March 16th and so I took the time to capture the transit of moons Io and Ganymede across the surface of Jupiter. At the start of this animation grey Ganymede is already in front of Jupiter’s surface and more difficult to see. On the right Europa is getting eclipsed by our solar system’s giant planet. Later on Io’s shadow is catching up with Ganymede’s. The animation is the result of 15 frames, each 10 minutes apart. Total time equals +/- 2,5 hours. Some frames were captured with poor seeing as you can see.


Telescope: Celestron C14 f=7040mm
Camera: ZWO ASI120MM
Mount: Mesumount 2
Guiding: none
Date: 19u20m –  21u40m UT, March 16th, 2016
Location: Overijse, Belgium