Southern California Glider Landout Database
5-Inch Sky Robot
FDM in Vacuum
Custom Discovery Roof Rack
August, 2012 - Sierra Backpacking
July 22nd, 2012 - Hiking in Santa Barbara
July 15th, 2012 - Valley of Fire
May 5th, 2012 - Afton Canyon
April 28th, 2012 - Devils Playground
Convict Creek Trail
January 2012 - Mustangs
January 3rd, 2012 - Heart Lake
August 7th, 2011 - Kelso Dunes
August 5th, 2011 - Lundy Canyon Hike
August 2011, Mammoth Archery
Birds in the garden
June 4th, 2011 - San Gorgonio
May 29th, 2011 - Sequoia National Forest
April 23rd, 2011 - Living Desert
April 2nd, 2011 - Death Valley
March 8th, 2011 - Mountain Palm Springs
February 13th, 2011 - Iron Smelt
November 13th, 2010 - Mojave
October, 2010 - Mammoth
September, 2010 - Mammoth
September, 2010 - Duck Lake Trail Backpacking
Iron bloom forging
August 28th, 2010 - Mt. San Jacinto
OSM Import: US Designated Wilderness
July 25th, 2010 - Mojave Mustangs
July 17th, 2010 - Mojave Exploration
Bloomery furnace iron smelting
Open Street Map: Mojave Project
June 13th, 2010 - Mojave
June 6th, 2010 - El Cajon Trails
Wolf Mountain Sanctuary
March 28th, 2010 - Salton Sea
March 21st, 2010 - South Main Divide
March 13th, 2010 - Anza Borrego Wildflowers
March 7th, 2010 - CSULB Japanese Garden
February 2010 - Mammoth
Dakota and Asha Celebrate Christmas, 2009
November 21st, 2009 - Mojave Road
November 14th, 2009 - Anza Borrego
Exploring The East Mojave: The Afton Canyon Area
Broken flex plate
Remote Image Serving
Astro/night photography in Inyo National Forest
Wild Mustang Sightings
September 26th, 2009 - Night Photography In Frazier Park
August 15th, 2009 - Catalina dive trip
January 24th, 2009 - Mojave Exploration
July 2008 Mammoth Vacation
President Barack Obama!
April 12th, 2008 - Wildflowers and Landmarks
My Grandfather's Alfa Romeo Spider
March 8th, 2008 - Carrizo Plain
Bridge To Nowhere
October 20th, 2007 - Big Bear Camping
October 22nd, 2007 - Fire
Scottish Highlands, Aug 7th, 2006
Scottish Highlands, Aug 6th, 2006
August 5th, 2007 - Duck Lake Trail
May 26th, 2007 - Kelso Dunes
Culloden Battlefield, Aug 5th, 2006
May 20th, 2006 - Irwindale Renaissance Faire
Edinburgh, Aug 4th, 2006
The Clifs of Moher, Aug 3rd, 2006
The Burren, Aug 2nd, 2006
Bunratty Castle, Aug 1st, 2006
May 5th, 2007 - Mojave
Truck Audio/Data Network
2007 - Master Bath Remodel
The Ring of Kerry, Jul 31st, 2006
Victory in 2006!
Blarney and Killarney, Jul 30th, 2006
Dublin and Cork, Jul 29th, 2006
Dublin, Jul 27th & 28th, 2006
What Can I Do?
April 30th, 2006 - Anza Borrego
New desktop: Intel 805 D
Jan 7th and 14th, 2006 - Hiking
Whiting Ranch Hiking
Digital Photography with Linux
September 5th, 2005 - Living Desert
August 19th, 2005 - Mammoth
Hiking and Photography
July 30th, 2005 - Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary
Death, Fright and Photography
May 14th, 2005 - Red Rock
April 2nd, 2005 - Death Valley
Count Every Vote Act of 2005
Linear Logic ScanGuage
November 6, 2004 - Mojave
Super Tuesday, 2004
Canon A80 Camera
Jul 25, 2004 - Death Valley
May 4th, 2004
Landscaping - My Front Slope
Stump Pullin' Yeeee Haw!
Feb 22nd, 2004
Feb 16th, 2004
PostgreSQL Logfile Analysis
Mountains? Desert? Jan 30th, 2004
Jan 28th, 2004
Ceiling Cargo Basket
Front Bumper Version 2
Land Rover Valve Jobs
The Matrix: Revolutions
Greg Davis CDL Linkage
Mom's Turkey Gravy
Julian Pie Company
The KB1DIG 2-meter Halo Antenna
Gardening is hard!
Aug 13th, 2003
SQL and Perl
Jul 9th, 2003
Jun 17th, 2003
Some People's Comments
Dakota is a silly dog
The Matrix: Reloaded
Chris' Stage Bottle Harness
April 23rd, 2003
DVD Burning Under Linux
My Satellite Phone
My Near-Death Experience
Laser Cannon Revival
Front Bumper, Version 2
KPC 3 Plus and HTX-252
Moving, moving moving...
New new house
In Truck Dr. Pepper
My Favorite Toilet
Late Thoughts: Dr. Pepper Cooler
265/75-R16 Tires on a DII
George W. Bush
Horses Sep 14 2002
August 17th Yukon Dives
My Custom Front Bumper
Bracketless, Renamable Links
Jul 28 2002 Day Trip
Jedi Group, my T1 and money
A Bumperless Discovery!
My Custom Rear Bumper
Vanessa's 24th Birthday
Jun 30th Dive to Long Beach Canyon
PHP/PostgreSQL String Quoting
Tonsillectomy, Uvulaectomy and Turbinite Reduction
240 Watt CO2 Laser Cannon
The Tulsa Rib Company
The quality of hard disks these days
Email notification of articles
Email notification of comments
erikburrows.com source code
Renisance Faire Jun 9, 2002
Computers hate me, and it is mutual.
Star Wars Sucks!
Horses, Jun 1, 2002
Land Rover Mileage
Insomnia, Robin goes evil.
100 Watt Diode Laser Test Firing 1
2001: A Space Odyssey
TDI Deco Class
Horses, Apr 30, 2002
My Truck Batteries
The Zope Bible
100 Watt Diode Laser
The New www.erikburrows.com
Hunter the Kitty
Matts Desert Pics
|Astrophotography -   2009/05/26||Viewed 69 times this month, last update: 2020/08/25|
Having tried landscape photography, portrait photography and macrophotography, and mastered none of them, I of course turned to astrophotography, taking pictures of the night sky.
I had some success with just my camera on a tripod:
I wanted to take it to the next level. For that, I would need to freeze the motion of the stars, so I could take a long-exposure image without everything streaking through the frame (star trails). I didn't want to spend a whole lot of money, and I wanted something somewhat modular, so I could throw it in the truck and head for the hills. What I did, was buy a used Orion "Sky View Deluxe" telescope kit. This came with a nice, simple 90mm reflector telescope, tripod and "equatorial mount" head. The equatorial mount is what I really wanted. It's basically a tripod head made to align to the rotation of the stars, so instead of left-right/up-down, it moves in the declination/right-ascension planes. Once lined up to the north star, only one knob needs to be moved to keep everything frozen in place.
This knob of course, needs to be rotated constantly to keep things frozen. For that, I rigged up a beefy stepper motor, and control board. The controlling a stepper motor is simple: Apply voltage to wire 1, then 2, then 3 then 4, repeat. Four transistors and an Arduino microcontroller later, the mount stays stuck on target.
I found that the EQ (Equatorial) mount had threads on the bottom that were (nearly) the same as the threads on the top of my every-day tripod. So, I made a mounting plate for the EQ mount to have that same thread on top, and so now I can unscrew the ball-head that is normally on my tripod, mount the EQ mount to the tripod, and then mount the ball-head onto the EQ mount. Shebang: A star-tracking mount with a ball head for easy use.
The motor controller needs 5 volts, so using a cigarette-lighter power supply, I can power the unit from a vehicle, or with an adapter, a small 12v battery I can carry into the field.
With this rig, I can now take pictures like this:
I have a lot of fun driving out into the boonies and doing night-sky photography, and hopefully I'll get better!
In preperation for the LCROSS impact event, that I'm going to try to see/photograph, I've been experimenting with through-the-telescope photography. These are the result of last-night's efforts. They're terrible, but for being taken from Orange County on a summer night, not too bad!
Jon (2009-05-28): I've been really eager to do some astrophotography. But the cost for a setup that would take photos good enough to make me happy always stops me. Getting planet and nebula shots would be my goal, but doing it right would just cost too much.
What sorts of things ae you planning on shooting with this?
Erik (2009-05-30): Planets and nebula are hard, you need a telescope, SLR adapter, and a lot of patience. I'm sure I'll get into that bit, but my goal with this setup is different: My interest right now is to get good wide-angle star field pictures with interesting foregrounds.
I think you (or anyone), who doesn't want to build their own setup like mine, but would buy the gear can do it with just a few hundred dollars. A great resource in your neck of the woods is Oceanside Photo and Telescope. They've got very knowledgeable people, and all the gear needed. I got my telescope->SLR adapter there.
jon (2009-06-01): I was wondering how you'd get a foreground with the camera rotating to follow the stars. How does that work? I feel like I'm missing something fundimental here.
Erik (2009-06-01): Digital fakery, and/or end-of-exposure artificial lighting like a rear-curtain flash. I'm just starting though, so as I get this all figured out (or not) I'll update.
See also: September 26th, 2009 - Night Photography In Frazier Park