Webcam Imaging of Planets
Both of the below images were taken with an ImagingSource webcam attached to our 16″ RC Optical Systems telescope. They were processed in Registax and Photoshop.
DSLR Images of Deep-Sky Objects
The below photo was taken with a DSLR Canon 60Da attached to our new (2014) 16″ Levine reflector. 5-minute exposure at ISO 1600. Microguiding on 127mm refractor, touched up in Photoshop.
The next two photos were also taken with a DSLR Canon 60Da, this time attached to our TEC APO140ED (140-mm f/7) refractor. 120s and 150s exposures, respectively, taken at ISO 3200. Processed in Photoshop.
The next four images were taken with the DSLR Canon 60Da attached to our Takahashi 106 FSQ (106-mm f/5) refractor. 60s (ISO 2500), 150s (ISO 3200), 150s (ISO 3200) and 150s (ISO 3200), respectively. All processed in Photoshop.
The image below was taken with the WIYN 0.9-meter telescope’s new instrument HDI (Half Degree Imager). Seven 10-minute exposures were done in RGB, and a synthetic luminance frame was created from those. Processing was done in CCDStack and Photoshop. (I have to throw in that I did very little of the processing on these images, as I have almost no experience with CCD imaging. I did manage to help a little bit with the image acquisition, so I wasn’t totally useless.)
Abell 2218 is a galaxy cluster located about 2 billion lightyears away in the constellation Draco. The galaxy cluster itself is so massive it bends the background light from more distant galaxies into long arcs called gravitational lenses, similar to how light bends through a glass lens. The massive, foreground galaxy cluster also magnifies the background galaxies’ light. Were Abell 2218 not in front of these background galaxies, we would not be able to see or detect them. The gravitational lenses of Abell 2218 were used to discover one of the most distant known objects in the universe.
Gravitational lensing was one of the effects predicted in Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. It is interesting to note that light will always bend around massive objects in space: the more massive an object, the more the light bends. So our Sun produces this effect as well, but to a much lesser extent than a cluster of galaxies. Shortly after Einstein predicted this effect, a solar eclipse occurred in 1919. During the solar eclipse, a star was observed that was known to be located behind the Sun at that time, indicating its light must have been bent around the Sun on its journey to Earth.