November-December-January 2020/2021

In November the work outside was completed and we were able to control the telescope and camera from inside the house.  Also, many of these photos were taken using the Stellarium HyperStar which gives the telescope a very wide field of view and a much lower F stop. The photo at the left shows the full moon near the horizon at our home in Custer, South Dakota.  It is the only place where we can almost see the horizon.  

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August-September-October 2020

In August we started working with the Mallincam DS10c camera.  It changed everything.  Work also progressed on being able to control the telescope and camera from inside the house as the weather turned cold.  Enjoy!  

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Hank’s iPhone Photos

For Christmas one year Marianne got me a tabletop 4′ reflector telescope.  It’s like the one from Edmunds Scientific you’d give your child the year after you got them the chemistry set.  For a few months I ignored it, then I began to play with it.  I realized that I could hold my iPhone up to the eyepiece and if I aligned the two just right, I could take photos.  Not only that but I could adjust the exposure and zoom in.   I started going to the Black Hills Astronomical Society meetings in Rapid City and went to a couple of their star parties.  While at the star parties I’d ask if I could look through their telescopes, and then ask “could I try and take a picture” while I pulled out my phone.  Most often I couldn’t get the iPhone and eyepiece to align.  But now and again, it worked! The 4″ reflector works to look at the moon.  For other celestial objects–not so much. . . until Comet Neowise appeared.   

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Hank’s Astrophotography Blog

I purchased my 8″ Celestron Evolution HD telescope with StarSense in the spring of 2020.  About the same time I got interested in using a Revolution Imager video camera to take photos of the moon, planets and deep sky objects.  The Revolution Imager was designed to be a night security camera and while the photographs were not very high quality, they sure got me interested in taking photos.  By late summer I had a Mallincam DS10c video camera and Starizona Hyperstar that allowed me to take high quality images with a wide field of view.  By the fall of 2020 I had an outdoor observatory set up close to our home in Custer, South Dakota, that allowed me to control the telescope and camera from inside our home when the weather turned cold. The telescope and camera are computer driven.  I use an i5 mini computer and two monitors. The telescope is aligned for each viewing session using StarSense; a special camera on the telescope that can locate where it is and align it with the stars. The telescope is controlled via WiFi using a combination of CPWI (Celestron’s telescope control software) and Stellarium, a free planetarium software that helps me find what I want to see and it sends the telescope to that location.  I use SharpCap or MallincamSky software to control the video camera over a USB3 cable.  This software can take a series of video images and align them to create one image.  I then open the…

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