Astrophotos - Floating Island / Pottery - Tiwanaku - Copa / Sun & Moon Islands - La Paz - Chacaltaya & Group Photos
2010 Southern Skies Star Party: Astrophotos
The observing area at the Inca Utama hotel. Click for a high resolution annotated version.
Zodiacal light above the Alajpacha Observatory, with Venus, the Beehive cluster, Regulus and Mars all in a row.
Fred Bruenjes' setup: Astro Tech 111mm F7 Apo refractor on Celestron RGT mount with Orion Starshoot autoguider, imaging with a Canon 5D modified by Hutech. All images below taken at ISO 1600 unless noted.
The first day of the star party, Sunday, was filled with highs and lows. The sky was beautiful, the surroundings dark, and everyone had made it there OK. Unfortunately I soon discovered that I had forgotten to loosen the locks on my Celestron mount, and the Declination gears had taken a beating. There was now almost 60 seconds of backlash in Dec, which would make guiding next to impossible. To top it off, my autoguider was not putting out any guiding closures. Who knows why. So autoguiding was doubly impossible! Rather than get depressed about it, I launched "Project Lemonade", to do the best with what I had at hand: "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" Imaging experiments soon showed that I could take exposures of up to 45 seconds in length unguided with acceptably low trailing, at a 50% throw-away rate. All the photos you see below are thus completely unguided and are stacks of many 45 second exposures, using DeepSkyStacker and/or Maxim DL. With the excellent conditions at SSSP (the sky background measured from 21.5 to 22.5 mag/arcsec^2) the stacking of short exposures worked flawlessly and Project Lemonade was a success!
Centaurus A, aka The Hamburger Galaxy. Stock 5D Mark II at ISO 6400, 40 x 45sec = 30 minutes.
M8, the Lagoon Nebula. 36 minutes at ISO 1600.
47 Tucanae globular star cluster. 9 minutes.
Eta Carina. 33x45sec = 25 minutes
Closeup of Eta Carina. Sharpened agressively to bring out subtle details.
Large Magellanic Cloud. 7x4minutes = 28 minutes, 105mm F4 lens.
LMC and Tarantula Nebula with the AT111 - 30 minutes.
Omega Centauri globular star cluster. 14x45sec = 10 minutes.
M17, the Swan or Omega Nebula. 14 minutes.
M46, M47, and NGC 2423 open clusters. 15 minutes.
M46 has a planetary nebula inside it!
M20 Trifid Nebula. 25.5 minutes.
IC 2944/2948, the Running Chicken nebula. 31 minutes.
Closeup of the Running Chicken. The dark Thackeray's Globules are visible.
M16, the Eagle Nebula. 7 minutes. The "Pillars of Creation" imaged by Hubble are visible.
NGC 7293, the Helix Nebula. 11 minutes.
Chris Brownewell impressed the staff by running his telescope remotely from the comfort of the restaurant!
Manuel de la Torre observes the sky.
Taken in 2008 by Jen Winter and Fred Bruenjes, this large mosaic shows the Milky Way in great detail. Click for a super high resolution, annotated version.
Continue on to read about our daytrip to the Urus Iruitos floating island and Pariti museum!