The Grumpy Old Astronomer's
Astrophotos - 2017

Page last : September 12, 2017


This "My Favourites" photo archive for 2017 is still being created.
It currently has images up to the end of July.
My August and September Perseids, Solar Eclipse and SSSP images will be added shortly.



Thumbnail / LinkDateDescription
2017-07-25 The Answer to... Where Was I When I Took This?

This is NOT the Milky Way over a metropolis at night - it's a single unenhanced image of the Milky Way above Vulcan, Alberta when you make ONE TINY LITTLE ERROR in optimizing your custom, super-efficient, algorithm code for processing dark subtraction of 18 megapixel Canon CR2 Raw files.
2017-07-25 A single unenhanced image of the Milky Way above Vulcan, Alberta from my 2nd favourite dark sky site about 82 kilometers SE (direct) from downtown Calgary (about an hour drive).

(My favourite dark sky site is the Meadows Campground during the Saskatchewan Summer Star Party.)

The brown tinge is due to the ever-present B.C. forest fire smoke this summer.
2017-07-22 My scope on it's "10 ton tripod" all decked out in its autoguiding accessories at the University of Calgary's Rothney Astrophysical Observatory "Milky Way Nights" on July 22.

The building next to it is the RAO's Roll-Away Building called "The Cube", that protects their C14 telescope when it's not being used. At those times the whole building is rolled on rails southward over the C14 (and away from my scope) providing me with an unobstructed view. When the building is "open" (as shown) I still get a great view of the sky from the South to the North East.

Much more information and lots of photos on my involvement with Dr. Langill of the RAO in designing and constructing the "Cube" as the RAO's IYA 2009 project can be found here.
2017-07-22 Messier 13 - the "Great Hercules Globular Cluster" taken at the University of Calgary's Rothney Astrophysical Observatory "Milky Way Nights" on July 22. A single 2 minute exposure at ISO 6400 using a Canon 60D DSLR at the prime focus of a Celestron NexStar 8 telescope, without any post-processing whatsoever.

This is the type of "real-time" auto-guiding image I like to take for the public during RAO Open Houses to show them how astrophotography is done. By the time I finish explaining what all the telescope equipment is and what it does, a new image appears on my laptop screen.
2017-07-11 Astrophotography has been hard this summer due to all the forest fire smoke coming in from B.C. Here's what it does to the Sun as it sets on the horizon over Lake Newell 2 days after the previous photo.
2017-07-09 Just a picture of the Sun - setting over Lake Newell. Taken from the Kinbrook Island Provincial Park where the family went camping.
2017-06-14 OK, it's not an astrophoto - just a picture of lightning erupting from inside a rainbow over my neighbour's house - one frame from a panorama movie I was taking at the time it happened.
2017-06-13 This is what my laptop screen looks like while I'm taking autoguided astrophotographs. On the left is a 1 second real-time image from the small autoguiding telescope with the software's green crosshairs "locked on" to the guide star. Above it is a graph of the correction signals (2) being sent to the main telescope every second to keep it pointed at the exact position desired on the sky. Just right of centre is the latest image from the telescope camera. In this case it's of M13, and the sky is turning blue because this screen capture was taken at 03:08 am and the nearly full Moon and the approaching dawn make the sky blue in a 10 minute exposure. Just beside it is the progress of the next 10 minute exposure (red box), and at the far right is the Canon "remote shooting" software interface used to control the main telescope's Canon 60D DSLR. The background and most window borders are coloured red to prevent loosing my dark vision.
2017-05-27 Just a picture of me and my scope on its "10 ton tripod" at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory's May 17'th Open House. Thanks to Alan Dyer for taking this snapshot - one of the few I have of me with my scope.
2017-05-21 Since "Tabby's Star" was all over the news again, I took an image of it and also created a diagram of it's location relative to the Kepler spacecraft's field of view. Read more about this here.
2017-05-16 On May 16th I imaged the supernova "2017 eaw" which had been discovered just 3 days earlier in NGC 6946 (The "Fireworks Galaxy"). The estimated distance to this supernova is 22 million light years.
2017-05-03 With my Celestron NexStar 8 telescope finally working again after replacing the Right Ascension motor, I turned my attention to imaging hyperbolic comet C/2015 V2 Johnson making its one and only pass through the inner solar system. (With my long telescope focal length, I could see the comet moving between each exposure I took.)
2017-04-21_22 On the night of 2017 April 21-22 I attended the RASC Calgary NOVA Meeting and took time-lapse images with an ultra wide-angle lens hoping to catch some Lyrid meteors. There were none, so I did not convert the 391 images into a movie.

However, I did "stack" all the images into a single image representing the whole night and this is it.

The faint white streak left and below centre was an airplane.
The Green flash at the bottom right is from a bright green laser used by astronomers to point things out in the sky.
The red streaks are from red-light headlamps used by astronomers to preserve their night vision when looking things up in star charts or walking around in the dark.
2017-04-21_22 On the night of 2017 April 21-22 I attended the RASC Calgary NOVA Meeting and took time-lapse images with an ultra wide-angle lens hoping to catch some Lyrid meteors. There were none, so I did not convert the 391 images into a movie.

However, I did catch a few images of a sudden, brief aurora that appeared south of Calgary during that time and this is one of them.
2017-04-19_20 I used the C14 telescope at the University of Calgary's Rothney Astrophysical Observatory to capture time-lapse images of the asteroid "2017 JO25" passing about 15 arcminutes (1/4 degree) from the "Black-Eye Galaxy" Messier64.

The total imaging time for this encounter was just 17 minutes and 30 seconds from 23:52:14 to 00:09:44.

Then I converted them into a short movie which can be found on the YouTube channel of the Calgary Centre of the RASC at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ri-64tBXUmE.
2017-04-04 A photo of me in Vancouver attending NEXOPTIC's unveiling of their Blade Optics prototype telescope at the HR MacMillan Space Centre. The small 5 inch thick black box near my left shoulder has the same focal length and roughly the same aperture as the old white telescope standing next to it. As one of their guest speakers, I had the opportunity to recount how I got involved in using the NEXOPTIC telescope to take the images of the Moon that were shown publicly that night.
2017-04-01 On our New Mexico vacation, Patsy and I planned a visit to the Very Large Array. We didn't expect however, driving through a snowstorm in April, in New Mexico, to get there. The tour was fantastic.
2017-03-20 My second opportunity to take astrophotos with the NEXOPTIC Prototype telescope resulted in the NEXOPTIC team and I taking this equipment most of the way up Mt. Hopkins south of Tucson, Arizona. Mt. Hopkins is the home of the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory including the 6.5-meter MMT at the summit.

Orion can be seen setting in the west as the Celestron and NEXOPTIC telescopes simultaneously image the sky awaiting the rising of the 3rd quarter Moon.
2017-03-15 I bet nobody has ever taken a Selfie like this.

(My reflection in the special solar filter on the University of Calgary's 14 inch telescope at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory.)
2017-02-25 I created this scale model image of the Jupiter system showing the planet, its ring system, its largest moons and the orbit of the Juno spacecraft which is now orbiting Jupiter, all in relation to the size of the Earth (the tiny blue-green "dot" at Jupiter's north pole), our Moon, and the distance our Moon orbits the Earth.
2017-02-07 On February 7th I was invited by NEXOPTIC to travel to Tucson, Arizona to evaluate and take astrophotographs through the world's first fully-functional prototype of a totally new advanced optical system. This Moon image was a result of my evaluation of the NEXOPTIC prototype telescope.