July 2015: the Trifid Nebula

The Trifid, or M20, is one of the most imaged targets in the sky. But I had a pending issue with this baby. The only picture I had with the QSI CCD wasn’t good, as I had had a problem with focus during that night. And my list of targets was long, so that M20 had to wait.

Now, it’s been time to fix my relationship with the Trifid.

I imaged woth H-alpha filter, 500 second-log exposure, and with RGB (300 seconds each). The tracking performance was very good during all the session.

Trifid HRGB

I processed creating a “synthetic” L and R channels by means of a combination between the original H-alpha & R subs. Deconvolution applied to the final L layer enhanced the nebula details.

Go to this object description and this image technical detail.

Milky Way from Montsec

This is an image of the Milky Way, taken with my Canon 70D and the iOptron Skytracker. The sky was pristine and wonderful, in the Montsec area in Catalonia. This is, in fact, a Starlight certified sky.

The image was taken with 4 minutes of exposition at ISO3200, and the tracking was excellent even with a quick & dirty polar alignment.

Via Làctia Montsec

This is a crop of the previous image, highlighting the area between Saggitarius and Scorpius.

Via Làctia detall Montsec

Huge dust lanes obscure the view towards the galaxy center. A number of deep sky objects can be identified in the picture.

More Lovejoy! And Orion

While comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy brightened in the night sky, I tried to chase it with everything I had.

Happy with the results, piggybacking my Canon 70D on the telescope:

lovejoy v1


The comet is passing near Tauro & The Pleiades. It is a 10-minute shot, at ISO1600, on a clear and cold night in the country.

Some days before, Lovejoy was lower, near Orion. 20 seconds of exposition were enough to show the tail. Again with the Canon 70D:

Lovejoy 10-01-2015 Falset


And while piggybacking I tried Orion with the Canon and a longer zoom:

Orion region

December 2014 & January 2015: Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy

Comet C/2014 Q2 arrival has been a good opportunity to try photography without telescope, through a regular DSLR camera.

These are some of my tests. I’ve used a Canon 70D camera, with a 18-135 lens, working mostly at F3.5, ISO ranging from 800 to as high as 1600, RAW, tripod, delayed shooting through cable, and 15s (or sometimes 20s) exposures.

lovejoy 1 assenyalatlovejoy 2 assenyalat

Of course I also imaged it with mu telescope and beloved QSI583. Here is the result:

Lovejoy tricomia

Comet Lovejoy appears as a fuzzy green ball. The intense green is due to the ionization of diatomic C.

    Go to this object description and this image technical detail.

August 2014: stunning Milky Way from Tanzania

Taking advantage of my summer trip to northern Tanzania, I took some pictures of that wonderful night sky. Far from any urban presence, and sorounded by bright eyes illuminated with my flaslight, I pointed my Canon 70D camera up to the sky, using a sturdy tripod, and a cable shutter to avoid vibrations. I tested some configurations, but in all of them I used a 18mm, f3.5 lens, and ISO from 200 to 400. Exposure times from 15 to 20 seconds. And image quality set to RAW. I used dark frames for processing, and I stacked up to 8 subs for image.

Here are some of the results. I have marked in them interesting objects:

sky03 iso400 15s 8frames


sky03 iso400 15s 8frames identification

sky05 iso400 15s 5frames

sky05 iso400 15s 5frames identification

    Go to this object description and this image technical detail.

July 2014: M106


After some time without imaging (I’m very busy with my astrophysics master program), I came back to my CCD with this galaxy. The imaging session was abruptly terminated when some high clouds had my star guide lost. I could only cath 3 subs for each filter. Althpugh I used 500-second exposures for my subs, this was not enough to clearly uncover the weak and subtle external parts of this beautiful spiral. I trued to do my best while processing, to extract light from this area. As always, deconvolution worked miracles on the central part of the galaxy.



   Go to this object description and this image technical detail.

April 2014… with the 1,5m telescope at OSN!

Yes! My colleagues (Sara, Javi, Gunther, Erik) and I had the chance to remotely use, for three nights in a row, the telescopes of the Observatorio de Sierra Nevada. This observatory, which is almost 3.000m high up in the mountains, has two big, professional telescopes (90 and 150 cms). It is  not usual for this kind of observatories to allow use to non-professionals, but this was a remarkable exception thanks to the Valencian International University in which we are currently developing a astronomy and astrophysics master program. We were brightly assisted by the staff at OSN.

We used our nights for some science projects, and had time to image some wonders of the sky. Working at bin2x2, we were at a theoretical 0,46 arcsec/pixel  scale, limited in fact by the seeing. With a FOV of only 8 arcmin, the 1024X1024 pixels of the VersArray CCD delivered an extraordinary amount of information, so we aimed at tiny but interesting objects.

M97, the Owl Nebula (narrowband), and M82 with its supernova SN2014J were two of these objects:


   Go to this object description and this image technical detail.



   Go to this object description and this image technical detail.

December 2013: the hidden secrets of M42

If there’s a visited target in the sky, that’s for sure M42.

The bright Orion Nebula is an easy target for any type of equipment and expertise. But this object hides inside its core some secrets which are a challenge to uncover. How can this be?


The intense core of the nebula is so bright that images are overexposed. To avoid this, one must take short exposures subs. But at the same time, short exposures cannot get the detail out of the fainter part of the object.

Continue reading

December 2013: a comet that defied the Sun… and lost

Comet ISON was an awaited visitor. Although nobody could be sure of its fate when it got close to the Sun, many thought that it could become “the comet of the century” if it survived. As you know, it didn’t.

Before its demise, I took some pictures of it. It was about two weeks before perihelium.

OK, I don’t know much about comet photography and processing. I tried short shots (30 seconds) , to be sure the movement of the coment didin’t show up in the pictures.

I created two pictures: one in color, adding only two frames in each channel (RGB). And one in B&W, stacking several L frames (and getting rid of the background stars while stacking).

ison v6 ison naked