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Teaching a Professional Photographer how to do Astrophotography

Posted: 29 October 2022

Open: Friday, 28 October 2022, 1706 MST
Temperature: 78°F
Session: 1796
Conditions: Clear

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 9mm 100° eyepiece

iPhone 13 Pro Max

I opened the observatory again this session to get ready for another special visitor. In August 2021 I showed a local professional photographer how to photograph the Milky Way. He was very excited about that experience. We always planned to have Dave come to my observatory to look through the 12" telescope and to learn how to take astrophotographs through the telescope. This would be that night.

1711 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

I viewed the Moon, 102X. I took this handheld iPhone 13 Pro photo, afocal 102X, using the NightCap Camera app.


1727 MST: Dave arrived. He viewed the Moon, 102X, and was impressed by what he saw.

I then showed Dave how he could take a handheld photograph of the Moon using his iPhone. He took several afocal 102X photos of the Moon.

I mounted his Canon DSLR at prime focus of the 12" telescope using a T-Ring Adapter that he had previously purchased. I then had Dave focus the Moon and center it in the camera field-of-view. He then took several photographs of the crescent Moon and of Earthshine. He was having fun!

We viewed the Moon, 271X. I let him slew the telescope so that he could look at the Moon's surface details.

Next, we viewed the planets Saturn and Jupiter, 102X and 271X. He was thrilled at what he could see. Seeing the Ring of Saturn and the four Galilean Moons at Jupiter were nice treats for him.

We then viewed several Deep Sky Objects (DSOs), 102X: the colorful double star Albireo, M11 (Wild Duck Cluster, open star cluster), M13 (Great Globular Cluster in Hercules), M57 (Ring Nebula), M31 (Andromeda Galaxy), M32 (satellite galaxy of M31), M110 (another satellite galaxy of M31), and the Double Cluster (two open star clusters in the same eyepiece field-of-view. Viewing these objects gave Dave a new appreciation of our Universe.

In preparation for doing some DSO imaging, I turned High Precision ON. We then mounted his Canon DSLR at prime focus, focused on the star Altair using a Bahtinov Mask, and locked the 12" primary mirror. I slewed the telescope to M13 (Great Globular Cluster in Hercules).

2028 MST: StarLock ON.

I let Dave take StarLock autoguided prime focus images of M13 and M57 (Ring Nebula) using his Canon DSLR.

2040 MST: StarLock OFF.

Dave then imaged Saturn at prime focus.

Dave now has some homework to do. He has more things to learn about using his camera for astrophotography and he has to learn some basic astrophotography post-processing techniques. His knowledge as a professional photographer will greatly assist him in learning these new skills.

2114 MST: Dave left Cassiopeia Observatory.

2117 MST: LX600 OFF.

2123 MST: Took a Sky Quality reading.

Close: Friday, 28 October 2022, 2126 MST
Temperature: 56°F
Session Length: 4h 20m
Conditions: Clear, breezy, SQM 21.01

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