Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
Apr 14 2019
StarSense Auto Align
My initial impressions of the Celestron StarSense Auto Align Camera I've been looking into options for improving my polar alignment and tracking during astrophotography, so as a first step I decided to get a Celestron StarSense Auto Align camera. I...
Jan 22 2019
My experience of the Jan 20th lunar eclipse
This past weekend I was able to get out and somewhat enjoy the most recent total lunar eclipse. Despite my better judgement knowing that it was going to be in the single digits I packed up my gear and headed...
My primary astrophotography rig is a Celestron Ultima 11" Schmidt Cassegrain OTA which was built in 1994, even so it's still an amazing telescope. The 11" mirror gives it a focal length of 2800mm at f/11. I added a focal reducer which drops it 1680mm but speeds up to f/6.3, getting much more light to the sensor. The telescope is sitting on a Celestron CGEM GoTo computerized mount so I can track deep sky objects for long exposures. It's quite a steep learning curve but this hobby is a marathon, not a sprint. To aid in polar alignment I replaced the finderscope with a StarSense camera. I plan on replacing that with a ZWO autoguider camera with the ASIair guide computer so I can bypass using a PC laptop in the field.
Dec 26 2018
Capturing the ISS again
Capturing the ISS again
Back in June I was able to photograph the ISS transiting the moon for the first time, and while I was generally happy with it, I knew I could do better. So ever since I have been keeping an eye...
Jun 01 2018
Chasing a bullet
Catching a lunar ISS transit
For as long as I can remember I've always been fascinated by everything to do with space. Recently, I tore through Mike Massimino's book Spaceman and now am reading The Interstellar Age, which is about NASA's Voyager 1 & 2...
Aug 12 2017
The Solar Eclipse
My experience shooting the Solar Eclipse
The North American Solar Eclipse has been on my calendar for about two years, so now that it's past I am incredibly relieved everything went smoothly. The long build up allowed me to be as ready as I could be,...
Mar 11 2017
New Telescope Mount
De-forking my Ultima for a new CGEM mount
My Celestron Ultima 11" Schmidt Cassegrain telescope was originally built in 1995, and while the optical tube was in great shape, the original fork mount was getting pretty out-dated. It was difficult to assemble and almost unmanageable by one person...
Feb 24 2017
Schmidt Cassegrain Maintenance
My Ultima 11" SCT needed a good bath, so I gave it one
After impatiently waiting a month for clear skies I finally got my 'new' Celestron Ultima 11" Schmidt Cassegrain out for a test run. I couldn't get tack sharp focus so I knew a collimation was in order and looking closely...
Jan 08 2017
Preparing for the Solar Eclipse
Getting ready for the North American Solar Eclipse on August 21st
On August 21st of this year there will be a full solar eclipse passing over the central United States, with the center line cutting through southern Illinois. Since this will only be a few hours south of me, I will...
Sep 23 2016
Star Trails - A Success
A successful attempt at star trails
Last month I went out and performed a test run for shooting star trails. It was a wonderful learning experience and despite the full moon along with the clouds rolling in halfway through I felt the end result was a...
Aug 18 2016
Star Trails Test Run
My first attempt at shooting star trails
Last week a number of people started messaging me on the 11th asking if I was going to go out that night and shoot the Perseid Meteor Shower which was forecasted to have the most activity in recent history. I...
Oct 14 2015
A starry night in DeKalb
A rural starscape taken in DeKalb during a New Moon
A few months ago I was heading back from downstate IL when my GPS took me a different route than I was used to, and on the way I stumbled across this old weather-stripped barn on one of the backroads...