Mar 292018

M51-RGBCaldwell C38-LRGBFirst light. There is dramatic light pollution in the next few images, I started with some easy targets to get used to the new camera. We have an edge on galaxy, ngc 4565, a new one to my gallery. Notice the other galaxies in the image. I find at least 4 other galaxies. Hint: the fuzzy patches are galaxies…
Then another m-51. I have one or two more to process so there is more to come. (Need more clear skies.)

Feb 062018

Well everyone, or anyone… 🙂 I have received a new camera, and I am awaiting adapters to connect it to my telescope. Once they arrive, I will have to wait for these Washington skies to clear so I can practice and learn the new camera. While my old camera was nice, it was consistently creating problems. Hopefully that will be resolved with the new set up. We shall see.. I am psyched.
This camera has a few nice features, one the image size will be over 4 times as large. 8.3 megapixels. (the old camera was 2 Megapixels) so I will be able to image much larger areas of the sky and get more of the nebulas, which are my favorite. It is also has a little more sensitive CCD chip, so it should pull in more of that nebulosity. It is a bit larger, but lighter than the other camera, and contains a tracking chip, after the filters so I don’t have to use two telescopes piggybacked for tracking. This should lighten the load on the mount, which in turn will make tracking go smoother.

Wow I just realized it has been 2 years since I posted last… Sorry about that. I will try and do better.
Another thing to note, we purchased some property east of the mountains, so once it is set up I will be able to do my imaging there, which is much clearer and darker, and no light pollution like here.

Jan 082016


NGC 7822 is a young star forming complex in the constellation of Cepheus. The complex encompasses the emission region designated Sharpless 171, and the young cluster of stars named Berkeley 59. The complex is believed to be some 800-1000 pc distant,[1][2] with the younger components aged no more than a few million years.


This image was a combination of 176 images @ 5 minutes each, for a total of 880 minutes or 14.6666 hours. This is another false color image using HA, SII and OIII filters.

Jan 072016

IC405 also known as the Flaming Star Nebula, SH 2-229, is an emission/reflection nebula in the constellation Auriga, surrounding the bluish star AE Aurigae. It shines at magnitude +6.0. Its celestial coordinates are RA 05h 16.2m dec +34° 28′. It surrounds the irregular variable star AE Aurigae and is located near the emission nebula IC 410. The nebula measures approximately 37.0′ x 19.0′, and lies about 1,500 light-years from Earth. The nebula is about 5 light-years across.

IC-405 The Flame Nebula.

This image was taken over several nights, and contains 127 images with 5 minute exposures for a total of 635 minutes(10.58 hours) using the HA, SII and OIII filters.

Jan 032016

IC443 the Jellyfish Nebula, also known as Sharpless 248 is in the constellation Gemini. It is a supernova remnant that could have occurred 3000 to 30,000 years ago. It’s approximately 5ooo light years from earth. IC443 is about 70 light years across.

This image was taken over 2 nights with a total of 115 images, of which 103 were 5 minute exposures and 12 were 15 minute exposures. for a total of 695 minutes or 11.58 hours of exposure time using 3 filters, all narrowband, HA (hydrogen alpha emission line), OIII ( oxygen³ emission line), and SII (sulphur² emission line). For this image I used the HA for RED, SII for Green and OIII for blue to create this false color image.


Oct 042015

Well, I found that my PC in the observatory died a slow death.. I had a frustrating summer imaging once again, but now, with a new PC running things, it is working much better now. I am currently running a few nebulas and will process once the weather changes. In the mean time I am going to gather more data for the images. Some test processing on the current group of images is very promising. I case your wondering, they are ic-405 and ngc-7822.


More soon

Sep 272014
IC 1805-RGB

The Heart Nebula, IC 1805, Sh2-190, lies some 7500 light years away from Earth and is located in the Perseus Arm of the Galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia. This is an emission nebula showing glowing gas and darker dust lanes. The nebula is formed by plasma of ionized hydrogen and free electrons.

It is kind of looking that way. Rains have returned, temperatures are dropping… Well it was a good run this year. Unfortunately it didn’t work out so well for me and astrophotography. First it was hardware problems, then the short nights limit what nights I can image, I still have to work you know.. and of course, I would get a run going and light clouds would show up…

However, going through the sessions I had, I did find enough of this Nebula to make a decent image. It is the very center of the heart nebula, the heart shaped nebula is outside the image, surrounding it. I only had a dozen good images to make it from, so the detail is light and the image is light.

Aug 092014

IC 1795 (nicknamed the Fishhead Nebula or Northern Bear Nebula) is a bright emission nebula of about 70 light-years across with glowing gas and dark lanes of obscuring dust, located just over 6,000 light-years away from Earth in the northern constellation of Cassiopeia

Well, finally some clear skies and time to do some imaging.

This image was taken over 2 nights. Using a Hydrogen Alpha filter (Ha)  for the reds, Oxygen  (OIII) for the greens, and Sodium (SII) for the blues.

I had some other images I took over the earlier part of  the summer, but was having mount issues and they didn’t turn out too well. This one is a good start. Hopefully I will get a chance to do some more imaging soon!!

Also, I was unable to attend the Table Mountain Star Party this year because of the fires, so no images from there.

Jan 312014

So, it all started back in 2004. I was starting to get really interested in astrophotography. I had been taking my telescope out on clear nights, weekends only because of set up time, and setting up in various points in my yard. It would take a couple of hours just to get set up for an imaging session. And since I live in Washington State, Where the skies are grey for about 360 days a year, I didn’t get out as much as I wanted. So the idea was born to build my own observatory. The idea being, with a permanent setup I could get out more often and image, as well as let it run through the night while sleeping.


I first perused the internet to search for idea’s. There were many different design with the results. Most were either too elaborate or too simple. I wanted something that would look like a normal shed, that had a roll off roof. I also wanted a warm room for those cold winter nights. So I decided to design my own observatory. Now I don’t have a lot of training in design and building of houses or other buildings, but I do have a good basic knowledge of woodworking and buildings. So I set out to find some software to draw up the plans. I ended up getting a home made program called Cadstd( With that I drew up some designs until I was happy with the results.

cadsidecadendcadtop These are the drawings I worked with. There were several layers, each a portion of the building. I would print off a layer and calculate the needed material, buy it and do that part.


The drawings are pretty busy, but I wanted to show all the layers at once.


Next was to find a place in my yard, where it would look nice and have some available skies. I live in a small city in a nicely wooded neighborhood. The backyard was the only place I could put it, so I found a spot that had open skies to the east and north.





This is a look to the west of my backyard. Lots of wonderful trees! And to the South, my home.







This is the view to the north from the same spot. I have the ability to see the north star for alignment.

So as you may have guessed, I do most of my imaging from the east. I figure that is where most things rise from, and I can track them across the sky for long periods. By the time they get to the point where I need to flip for the meridian,  I stop imaging that object.

Now I have plans, a spot to put it, with the wife’s approval, so onward!





This is where it all begins. The post holes.

First I laid out the post hole centers with string and stakes.

I used 10 inch sonotube, and dug down 32 inches minimum. I dug these down 32″

and placed 4″ of drain rock into the bottom of all 6 holes. The posts were 10 round.”




Once all the post holes were dug, I dug out the pier hole.

Here is the pier hole. It is about 32 inches square by 32 inches deep.

Posts poured. It took 3-4 80# bags of quick crete per post.

Wheel barrel covering the pier hole. Wouldn’t want the local deer to fall in as they pass through the yard.






Pier poured. I poured the bottom first, I raised the base to 16″ above grade.

After letting it sit for an hour as I set up the quick tube then I poured the main shaft of the pier.

The main shaft is a 12″ quick tube. I used 23 80# bags of quick crete.

Nearly a ton of concrete.




Things go faster now that the concrete is poured. The main beams are in and the floor joists are coming together.








Main deck is on now, started framing the box girders for the raised floor in the telescope room.

Box girders completed, telescope room floor has been installed. The Telescope room floor is 2 feet above the main floor.


Another angle of the raised floor. Notice the openings on the end. I plan to use this space to store garden tools.

I put a box around the pier so the tools wouldn’t be able to touch it.


Yet another angle of the floor. Notice the steel pier on top of the concrete pier.

I want to be able to change from a wedge mount to a GEM mount in the future, and decided this was the easiest way.






One last angle of the floor.

Jan 312014

Well, I have nothing new yet, but I wanted to post something here so everyone knows I haven’t abandoned this again. 🙂
We haven’t had any clear skies lately.. Had some teasers.. I would take out the scope, get it prepped for imaging and the fog would move in..