Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Deep Sky Portraits Primer

Alas, I found the sweet spot for unguided deep sky imaging for the first time... And with blessings from really clear skies... here are the best of the pictures I've taken with my Canon 550D connected to Astroview 100mm. 

The Jewel Box Cluster (Kappa Crux) is a very beautiful star cluster right beside the left arm of the Southern Cross. As you can see, the red star surrounded by the blue stars give a really 'Jewel Box' feeling :-) Pictures can only convey so much... you have to aim the telescope and gaze from the eyepiece to really experience the cluster.  
Best in medium power. 

Omega Centauri is the largest globular star cluster (about the size of a Full Moon, the size, not the brightness mind you) and the first decent globular I have imaged. It lies in the southern constellation of Centaurus, under fairly dark skies it is not hard to find, shining at magnitude 4. 

Okay, well so you see there's a difference between a Open star cluster and a  Globular Star Cluster. An open star cluster is like the 'Jewel Box' and the more famous ones like Beehive cluster in Cancer, M6 and M7 in Scorpio, where the stars gather in a stellar metropolis but not too close to each other. A Globular star cluster, like the one above, has stars gathered most densely in the centre, then spread out to oblivion. Which looks nicer? :-)

These two shots are of the Lagoon Nebula, although without it's signature red nebulosity due to the polluted sky. The stars can be seen though. I confirm that this is the nebula by IDing the pattern of the mass of stars at the centre of the nebula. I sure do hope that I can photograph the nebula with nebulosity one day! 

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