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flyboyseven
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New Astrophotography Blog

Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:27 pm

As a fan of this site, I am very much into photography. I have also recently become very interested in astronomy. This leads to the obvious combination of the two, astrophotography.

Now, I am by no means a professional photographer or astronomer, but I like to think that I can make some nice looking photos of things in the night sky. About a week ago, I collected up all the astrophotography I have done, and I decided that I wanted to share it.

I have started a blog where I post a photo, or sometimes a time-lapse video of something astronomical. In addition to just turning my camera to the sky, my university has some nice telescopes that I can use. I don't have any sort of fancy camera mount for the telescope, but by just holding the lens up right, I can get some neat close ups of planets and the moon.

I am not a very experienced blogger, but I think I will pick it up along the way. If you feel like checking it out, here is the url.

http://astrophotograph-a-day.blogspot.com/

Well, that is my bit. I hope you enjoy your day.

Cheers,

Graham

From Astrophotograph a Day
As long as the number of take-offs equals the number of landings...you're doing fine.
 
BMIFlyer
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RE: New Astrophotography Blog

Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:40 pm

Nice!

I love the Streaks in the Sky shot - very well done!  



Lee
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
 
flyboyseven
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RE: New Astrophotography Blog

Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:55 pm

Thanks, I like that one too.

I want to do more like it, but I am back in Victoria now, and with the city lights it makes it very difficult.

I went out last night and got some nice shots, and tonight I am going to try and get some of Saturn and Mars. If it is clear on the morning of the 17th I should be able to get a really neat one of the ISS doing a pass almost directly overhead.

Cheers,

Graham
As long as the number of take-offs equals the number of landings...you're doing fine.
 
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mbmbos
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RE: New Astrophotography Blog

Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:40 pm

Very nice. I've bookmarked the site. Thank you!
"If I don't manage to fly, someone else will. The spirit wants only for there to be flying. As for who happens to do it, in that he has only a passing interest."
- R.M. Rilke
 
Geezer
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RE: New Astrophotography Blog

Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:09 pm

Graham;

Good for you ! Photography is indeed a very interesting hobby to become, ............well........interested in; as is astronomy. I have been interested in both for a very long time. Actually, in my case I think I became interested in Astronomy first.

Astronomy has come a very long way since I first became interested in it. Actually, thinking back, ( way, way back ), I think it was becoming interested in telescopes, how they work, how they are made, is what first started me becoming interested enough in astronomy to start reading a lot of books about it.

I'm assuming you are no doubt somewhat familiar with some of the worlds great telescopes. They just seem to be getting bigger and bigger don't they ? ( I'm not even sure which one ( or which group ) holds the record as the world's biggest at the moment. You will probably laugh when I tell you this.........( you may even fall off of your chair laughing ); when I first started reading "Amateur Telescope Making, Vol.!", the biggest telescope in use at the time was 100 inches!

Yep, the "big" 100 inch at Mt. Wilson in California was the biggest instrument in existence at the time. But it didn't hold onto the record very long after that; a very dedicated fellow named George Hale came up with an idea for a mirror twice as large; (and as everyone knows, four times as large in surface area, hence having the ability to gather four times as much light.)

If you want to read some exciting stuff about astronomy, read a book about the problems George Hale encountered trying to raise the funds to get the big 200 inch telescope on Mt Palomar designed and built ! Very exciting stuff, indeed!

Get this; they had decided that the perfect location for the new "biggest telescope ever" was on Mt. Palomar, in California; but they need a 200 inch diameter mirror; no one at the time had ever made anything out of glass anywhere near as big as this. Finally, Corning Glass, in Corning, N.Y. decided they could do it; but they had some "problems".....very BIG problems as it turned out. On the first attempt to pour all that molten glass, they had most of it poured, when the heat from the molten glass melted a steel bolt / rod holding a core block to the bottom of the mold, and the core block floated to the surface, completely ruining the big mirror ! Much time and much money went down the drain ! But they learned from their mistake, and started over; on the second attempt, they were successful, got the whole thing poured, and now all they had to do was wait.........for about six months I believe it was, for the molten glass to cool very slowly, at a very controlled rate. About half way through the cooling process, they had yet another big "scare". If you have ever been through Corning N.Y., you will notice that Corning Glass is right beside a river. Ordinarily, the river is about knee-deep; but before the big mirror had cooled, there was a flood; the river came "up".........WAY "up"!

It actually came within inches of reaching the huge 17 ft dia mirror, ( which would have ruined No. 2 attempt ), and the great Hale Telescope would probably never have been built.

But, as luck would have it.......the river went down, the great mirror was saved. and now they were faced with getting the 200 inch hunk of glass to California, and up a winding mountain road to the summit of Mt. Palomar. As we all know, they were successful, the great Hale Telescope was built, and for many years it was the biggest telescope in the world;

Lol ! Records never seem to last very long do they ? Today, the Hale telescope is still in operation, still doing useful science, but it has become a "dwarf" compared to what astronomers now have to work with !

Oh,..........if you ever happen to be driving through New York state on Rt. 17, ( beautiful drive BTW ), as you go through Corning, be sure to turn off Rt. 17 1 or 2 blocks, to the main office of Corning Glass, park your car, and go inside; right inside the front door, ( lighted from behind at night ), you will see the 17 ft high first mirror that was ruined by the accident I mentioned. I used to go through Corning quite frequently, usually with nine new Camaros and Firebirds; a Policeman once asked me why I got off the truck route, and "circled the block with a big truck"; I told him it was because of a very fascinating book on astronomy I had once read; he replied......"that's a very good reason ! And have a safe trip on up to Binghamton" !

Just one small example of where an interest in astronomy might take one.

Charley
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
flyboyseven
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RE: New Astrophotography Blog

Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:47 pm

Quoting geezer (Reply 4):
I'm assuming you are no doubt somewhat familiar with some of the worlds great telescopes. They just seem to be getting bigger and bigger don't they ? ( I'm not even sure which one ( or which group ) holds the record as the world's biggest at the moment. You will probably laugh when I tell you this.........( you may even fall off of your chair laughing ); when I first started reading "Amateur Telescope Making, Vol.!", the biggest telescope in use at the time was 100 inches!


Wow! Here in Victoria is a telescope, I think 76 inches that just missed being the largest in the world back in 1918. It was beaten by a 100 inch scope. I have actually seen the dome of the current largest optical scope. 10.4m in on Gran Canaria. They are just starting a 30m telescope in Hawaii, and are pretty close to starting a 39.3m one in Chile. The size of these things is just absolutely incredible. Radio Telescopes get way bigger, 100m+ is not uncommon anymore.

I think I have read a little about that story you were saying. Just amazing.

I love the history of astronomy, how so many years ago they were able to figure things out that were so revolutionary and important with just their eyes and their brains. Now, the things we can infer from just looking at things is incredible, as is the technology itself.

I just love it.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Graham

[Edited 2012-01-16 11:56:43]
As long as the number of take-offs equals the number of landings...you're doing fine.
 
Geezer
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RE: New Astrophotography Blog

Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:13 am

Graham;

Funny you should mention radio telescopes; for maybe 20 years or so, I had the good fortune to travel to Greenbank, West Virginia to deliver new Chevrolets to a small Chevy dealer there. Green Bank as you may know, is the main home of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. I have visited the Observatory many times over the years, usually in my car when my children were small, a few times on my motorcycle, and even a few times with a 75 ft car carrier !

When we first started going there, they had the worlds largest steerable "dish", a 300 ft "transit" scope, steerable on one axis. The thing was humongus ! Imagine my surprise, ( and sorrow ), when on a subsequent visit in 1989, i found out that at 9:43 PM, 15 Nov. 1988, the huge dish antenna had collapsed into a huge pile of twisted wreckage !

For many years they also had the world's largest equatorial mounted antenna, which was I believe about 40 ft in dia. It was a very "impressive" thing to see. ( Mainly because I have owned a few equatorial telescope mounts, and I know how they work; this thing was one absolutely gigantic equatorial mount, with a huge concrete base. I'm not sure, but I think it may be gone now.

Then, on a trip to deliver a new corvette in about 1995 or so, I was amazed to learn that the construction I could see from the road, was in fact the beginning construction of the present world's largest fully steerable, single aperture dish antenna, which on completion was named in honor of the late Senator Robert Bird. On another trip a year later, it had been completed, and was in operation when I visited the observatory. The dish is 43 meters, ( 140 feet ), and believe me, it is HUGE ! It even looks bigger than the big transit scope, simply because the big 300 ft scope had so much less "structure", being steerable only on one axis. The new one is not only huge is diameter, it is also very high. To see all those many tons of steel rotate on it's base, while the huge dish is moving on it's axis is.........mind boggling ?

Just driving to Green Bank, West Virginia is a treat ! It's located in the far eastern part of W.Va. in an area surrounded by high hills, and is a place were very little line-of-sight radio frequencies are able to get to. ( Be advised, you won't need your cell phone in Green Bank, West Virginia ! ) They also have the original Jansky Antenna, which is the world's first radio telescope, built by the late, great Carl Jansky. ( Pretty funny looking contraption, but I suppose you have to start somewhere ! )

I think if I were to suggest to anyone contemplating a trip to West Virginia that they go visit Green Bank, I would also suggest that they first read a book or two about radio astronomy; I'm sure you understand why I say that; when I first visited Green Bank with my fiance', like most people, (unfamiliar with radio astronomy), she looked at the thing and was very quiet for a time, trying to figure out what it was "doing" ! I told her..........look at the radio antenna on you car, and tell me what it's "doing" ! Lol ! About the same thing, but on a much larger scale ! I've read a fair amount about RA, and I must confess, it still amazes me also !

Now that I have finally gotten around to replacing my Nikon film camera with a decent D SLR, I'm looking forward to my next trip to beautiful West Virginia to take some pictures of the "big dish".'

Charley
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
flyboyseven
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RE: New Astrophotography Blog

Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:28 pm

Radio telescopes sure are pretty cool. It is weird to think that they can "see". I have never seen one of the really big ones myself, but I would sure like too. My favorite radio telescope is the Very Large Array in New Mexico. 27 telescopes, all 25m and mounted on rails. Using interferometry they can be used as a single dish 22 miles across. I think that is pretty cool.
As long as the number of take-offs equals the number of landings...you're doing fine.
 
Geezer
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RE: New Astrophotography Blog

Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:51 am

Quoting flyboyseven (Reply 7):
My favorite radio telescope is the Very Large Array in New Mexico. 27 telescopes, all 25m and mounted on rails. Using interferometry they can be used as a single dish 22 miles across. I

Lol I was going to mention that, but didn't want to make it too long. I used to read about the "Very Large Array" in books and magazines, and having been to Green Bank numerous times, I was familiar with how radio telescopes work; anyway, we were returning to Ohio from a trip to Arizona and were motoring through the "back roads" of New Mexico, and we started seeing all these huge things miles ahead of us; the closer we came, the bigger they got ! We had actually come across the VLA by sheer accident ! Had it not been for already reading about the place, my curiosity would have killed me.

It was pretty interesting to see all those big antennas lined up into the distance, but I saw a program on TV once about the VLA, and it was much more interesting, if only because they explained so much.

I was extremely fortunate on my last trip to Green Bank with my fiance'; I had driven my Dodge diesel dually out to Maryland to pick up a bed cap that I had bought on eBay, and we decided to drive through West Virginia on the way home, as she had never been there before. When we got to the NRAO, the fellow who drove the little diesel bus that took us out to see the new big telescope was also one of the tech staff, and the man was extremely knowledgeable about how it was built, how it worked........everything; he actually spent all day long showing just the two of around, as there were no other people at the time. You very rarely get that lucky ! He was quite happy to do it, as we were very interested, where most tourists just want to take a quick look, ask a few questions, and be off. I learned more about radio astronomy that day than I had in all the years I had been reading about astronomy in general.

Here's something you may find interesting, if you find radio astronomy interesting; ( I just hope I can explain it with my very limited knowledge; ) my oldest son is an electrical engineer and works at the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake in California; he was on a six month project on Oahu in Hawaii about 10yrs ago, and sent me a round trip ticket to fly out to Hawaii. Anyway, the project they were working on at the time had to do with developing a then new type of radar, for a very specific task. Unlike the type of radar one tends to think about, using a parabolic, "dish" type antenna, what they were working on is known as S.A.R., or "synthetic aperture radar". The antenna used is rectangular, maybe 10ft by 6 ft, but only maybe 8 orb10 inches thick; it's mounted to the side of an aircraft, ( in this case a P-3 Orion ), and as the A/C flies in a straight line, the energy from the antenna is directed continuously at a particular target, on a certain heading; then they determine a "base line" ( just like they do with interferometry done with radio telescopes )
As the A/C travels, say 10 miles, even 20 miles, the energy is directed at he target the whole time, as there are no moving parts, the radar beam being directed by computer software ! So they end up getting an "electronic picture" as though it was from an antenna 10 miles in diameter ! ( or something like that ) My son is very bright at what he does, but he's not that great at trying to "explain" all of this complicated stuff to someone like me who is challenged by 4th grade arithmetic. So, in a round-about way, I think S.A.R. is a bit like interferometry with telescopes. The other part, and I know I'll get this "mixed up".............in order to target say a particular type of vessel, ( or aircraft ), someone must design what's known as a "template"......which is all done with math; my son spends a lot of time developing templates; all this data from the moving antenna is fed into the software template in the computer, and the end result is a radar image of what they want to "target" !

Anyone who can understand all of that is a lot smarter than I am ! ( I'm just attempting to repeat what I was told )

( I think I'll stick to photography; it's not quite so complicated ! )

Charley
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
HorizonGirl
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RE: New Astrophotography Blog

Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:14 pm

Whoa, Graham, you took those? I knew you were quite the photographer, but those are truly amazing! 


Devon
Flying high on the Wings of the Great Northwest!
 
flyboyseven
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:24 pm

RE: New Astrophotography Blog

Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:45 pm

Quoting HorizonGirl (Reply 9):
Whoa, Graham, you took those? I knew you were quite the photographer, but those are truly amazing! 

Thanks! I quite like them too.

Quoting geezer (Reply 8):
anyway, we were returning to Ohio from a trip to Arizona and were motoring through the "back roads" of New Mexico, and we started seeing all these huge things miles ahead of us; the closer we came, the bigger they got

Sometimes that is the best way to come across things.

Quoting geezer (Reply 8):
he actually spent all day long showing just the two of around

I love when people take the time to do that. Doesnt happen all that often.

Quoting geezer (Reply 8):
Unlike the type of radar one tends to think about, using a parabolic, "dish" type antenna, what they were working on is known as S.A.R., or "synthetic aperture radar"

I have read a little bit about S.A.R. It is quite neat that they can do that. There are so many cool applications of things that come out of just thinking the problem out differently.

Quoting geezer (Reply 8):
I think I'll stick to photography; it's not quite so complicated !

I certainly agree! You can do some pretty cool things with just a regular camera.

I am just writing a new post now.

Hope you enjoy!

Graham
As long as the number of take-offs equals the number of landings...you're doing fine.

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