Monthly Archives October 2013

LED Flat Frame Astrophotography Light Box on the Cheap

LED Flat Frame Light Box

LED Flat Frame Light Box

Call it an impulse purchase but as I checking out at Walmart, I saw this small pack of Christmas Wreath lights as I was putting my items on the counter.  As I looked closer, I saw that it was a single string of 18 small LED lights.  It was only $3.99 and it came with its own power supply, requiring 3 AA batteries.  I thought to myself that this would make a very inexpensive way to power a flat frame astrophotography light frame box.  I had orginally specked out purchasing LED’s and buidling the powering mechanisms from scratch but this system was already complete and I did not even have to solder any of wires.  Having extra foam core from when I created my first light box using an Electroluminescent Panel, I broke out the Exacto Knife and began cutting panels.  As I cut my first panel, I envisioned how this LED light string could be used.  Here is how I created a Flat Frame box using this simple 18 LED string of lights.  Here is what I did:

1.  I cut a piece of foam core to the size I would need for my 90mm Refractor and then I used a hole punch to create a pass through where I could feed the wires and the LED lights through the back of the panel.  I left some slack and some extra cord hanging out of the back of the panel so that I could attach the power supply to the light box using Velcro.

 

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Imaging Comet ISON C/2012 S1 with an SBIG ST-10XME

Comet ISON C/2012 S1

Going off of a tip from seasoned astrophotographer, Michael Caligiuri, Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) was in a great position to capture this ancient relic of the solar system in October.  Comet ISON, at this moment, is not visible to the unaided eye.  Starting its journey 10,000 years ago when it broke away from the Oort Cloud out past Neptune, this is its first trip to our inner Solar System. If this comet survives its trip around the Sun, there’s a good chance that it will be incredibly bright and easily visible with the naked eye in the Northern Hemisphere. In early December, it will be seen in the morning, low on the horizon to the east-southeast. In late December and early January, it will be visible all night long.  The image above was captured with an SBIG ST-10XME in the wee hours of the morning on October 17th 2013 and represents a 20 minute total exposure through the Luminance, Red, Green, and Blue Astrodon Gen 2 filters.  Mars (to the right) and Regulus (to the left) made this comet a tricky one to capture with a highly sensitive CCD.  Although the composite image is supposed to produce color, I chose to convert the capture into a monochrome image to preserve the details of the comet.

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