Thursday, May 15, 2014

Full Moon, infrared

So I set up the telescope this evening to try and experiment some with astrophotography. My intent was to test out my Canon 7D on deep sky objects using the Astronomic CLS clip filter to block out light pollution. Unfortunately, I hadn't realized tonight was a full moon night--the moon is so bright it washes out all the deep sky objects I'd want to photograph. Disappointed, I tried using the 7D to shoot the moon, but "seeing" was fairly crummy--there was so much turbulence in the upper atmosphere the moon appeared to be boiling, and all my shots turned out blurry.

Full moon photographed in infrared with 720nm converted Canon 50D

On the verge of packing up, I got the notion to try a few shots with my Canon 50D we'd converted to infrared. I'd not tried any astrophotography with it before, but I'd heard IR can cut through bad atmosphere. Guess what? It did! Using prime focus with my telescope as the lens, the 50D got this fairly sharp image of the moon--and quite a few more like it--easily. Emboldened, I thought I'd attempt some eyepiece projection shots, in which an eyepiece is inserted in the image train to get significantly more magnification. Alas, I discovered several things when I attempted this. 1) My 50D's image sensor is covered with dust and crap that showed up really, really badly on these high-magnification images, 2) highest magnifications make the image too dim for my camera to register, and the ISO of 3200 isn't high enough to compensate, and 3) my GSO plossl eyepieces produce a fairly intense infrared hot spot right in the center of the image, yuck. But still, this is an interesting shot for a session that was, more or less, a bust.

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