Sunday, March 25, 2012

To infinity... and beyond!

One of the reasons why a couple of months ago I bought a "prime" lens for the camera (50mm f/1.4) was to do some astrophotography, and this weekend I could finally do a first test. Taking into account that it is a fixed camera, without sky tracking and from my backyard, it came out more than acceptable...

The picture is from the region between the constellations Crux (the Southern Cross) and Carina, as can be seen on the annotated version to the right. In principle, I had no particular reason to photograph that area of the sky more than it being the part of the galactic plane best positioned at that time (1AM of the 24/03). But after processing the images I was pleasantly surprised to find that, between other things, I had pretty visible in the center of the picture the Carina Nebula!

This is a crop from the central part of the image. Top right we have the eta-Carina Nebula (NGC 3372), to the left a globular cluster (NGC 3532), and the portrait is completed below by the Southern Pleiades (IC 2602).

Now I just need a simple and cheap way to do sky tracking and extend the exposure times...

PS for those interested in the technique: the picture is a stack of 75 exposures of 4 seconds (5 minutes total), f/2.0, ISO 800, plus 75 dark frames and 70 bias frames, processed in DeepSkyStacker. The camera is a Canon EOS 5D Mk II with a lens Canon EF 50mm f/1.4, mounted on a simple fixed tripod without tracking.

"Lucy in the sky with diamonds..."
The Beatles

(esta entrada en español)