Flintstone Stargazing

November 12, 2011


Filed under: Astrophotography — Tags: , — Ed @ 1:03 pm

Yesterday, 11/11/11, Tim Ritzema, Damon Crumley, David Peterson and I launched a balloon that carried a camera above the majority of the atmosphere (over 90,000 feet, perhaps over 100,000 feet). We retrieved the package a couple hours later and retrieved the footage. While things didn’t go quite the way we wanted – the platform was really unstable – we learned a ton and got some neat photos.

Here is what we sent up

Here is where we found it on Google Maps.

It took us a bit more than 2 hours to drive to where it landed and almost an hour to actually find the location. The GPS coordinates were right on, but it took us a while (in the dark) to find our way to the right creek. The people who lived there weren’t home when we showed up in their driveway, though their friendly dogs were. We got out of my truck and Tim called the phone (which we had pre-flight set to an alarm tone-like ringtone and at full volume). I heard it and could tell it was close as I shone my flashlight down by the creek, I saw the parachute. We found it!

We’ve got a lot of ideas for our next flight and can’t wait to see what happens.

October 5, 2011

C13, ET Cluster on 10/5/11

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Caldwell Object, Observation Journal — Tags: — Ed @ 11:37 pm

I’m working my way through the Caldwell Objects in widefield and this is my latest. I was going to do some more, but my filter fogged over.

The Moon on 10/5/11

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Moon, Observation Journal — Ed @ 10:35 pm

Tonight is not quite as chilly as the other night, but it’s just as clear. Unfortunately for deep sky stuff, the Moon is getting brighter. Of course, that means it makes a nice target for the camera. There’s a lot of detail if you click to the image and view it at full size. Of course, the amazing thing to me is that no matter how good the images I take of the Moon, they don’t do justice to the detail you can see with your eyes. Just the opposite of deep sky objects, which are so much clearer, brighter and colorful in long exposure images.

October 4, 2011

Comet C/2009 P1 Garradd

I was able to tease out the image of the comet and here’s the result. I accidentally recorded this as JPG images instead of RAW, so I had to use a few more processing tricks to get it to look decent. I may try again soon, if it stays clear. Next time, I’m planning on making sure I’m set to RAW images on the camera first.

C23 on 10/4/11

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Caldwell Object, Observation Journal — Tags: , — Ed @ 12:14 am

I spent a bit of time imaging several different things tonight. While the Moon shot came out great. This was probably the best of the rest of the shots. This edge-on galaxy, known as NGC891 is also known as Caldwell 23, which means I’m at least 4 or 5 along toward completing the Caldwell list. :)

October 3, 2011

The Moon on 10/3/11

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Moon, Observation Journal — Ed @ 9:46 pm

I’m finally out imaging for the first time in a month – I’ve either been too busy working or the weather hasn’t cooperated. It’s a bit chilly, but very clear out.

September 7, 2011

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Me

Filed under: astronomy, Observation Journal — Tags: — Ed @ 10:05 pm

Neil Tyson was the featured speaker today at the NASA Tweetup and among our crowd – he’s a rock star. He was great, as always, and was kind enough to stay afterward. He mentioned to me that he may be speaking in Chattanooga sometime soon. It looks like he’ll be at Chattanooga State on October 25th. I’ll definitely be there!

Enjoying the #GRAIL #NASATweetup

Filed under: Observation Journal — Ed @ 2:50 pm

I’ve been enjoying the Tweetup so far and will have more details later, but you can find more on my Twitter feed to the right. Also see my pictures.

I’ve got my GRAIL badge for the NASA Tweetup!

Filed under: Observation Journal — Ed @ 7:12 am

I was invited to a Tweetup (through Twitter) at Kennedy Space Center for the GRAIL launch tomorrow. I’ve got my badge and will be posting more later. I’m very excited.

September 1, 2011

My Piggyback Setup

Filed under: astronomy, Equipment, Observation Journal — Ed @ 10:11 pm

A commenter asked about my piggyback imaging setup, so I took a photo (with my phone) tonight that shows how I hook everything up. If you click to the flickr page (just click on the image) I have labels on most of the parts.

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