Lunar time-lapse

117 frames taken 1 minute apart with 1/20s exposure through a 40mm F/5.6 lens, iso100. Shot between ca 1am and 3am early morning on Thursday 16 July 2009.

I've also combined all the images into one, using either all (1 minute interval) or some (2 and 3 minutes) of the frames:

This is clearly worth doing again when the skies are darker, perhaps with a longer focal length lens. The back-drop of stars and planets would be nice to catch also, but because the moon is very bright and the stars much fainter that will requires some HDR-magic. For a long HDR time-lapse series I would probably need a programmable intervalometer (e.g. netbook w. USB-connection to camera).


An ISO100 1/100s exposure of the moon through my Synta 80ED. An easy target during last night, but moonlight also lit up most of the rest of the sky preventing any serious deep-sky photography.

Moon photo

Pooling our hardware resources together in the lab, we now have a 102 mm F/9.8 (f=1000 mm) refractor on an EQ6 equatorial mount and either a Canon 20D or a Canon 400D to shoot with. When one camera is coupled to the scope the other one can simultaneously take a wide-field photo. Did not bother with polar-aligning the mount today, so just looked visually at the moon, mars (it happened to be close to the moon), and M42. The moon is so bright no tracking is really needed.

Here is the moon through a 102mm F/9.8 (f=1000mm) refractor with a Canon 400D at prime focus, set to ISO400 and 1/160s. Around 21:40 local time on Friday 15 Feb 2008.

Astrophotography in Finland is a cold hobby, I was somewhat unprepared for the weather so around 60 min in -7 C was enough for me...

Astrophoto test

I've made a first attempt at pointing my camera towards the night sky. Achieving good results is not an easy task - some people spend considerable amounts of time and money on the hobby of astrophotography ! (and the results are breathtaking)

Just a fun thing to do for me - for now... (they call it 'aperture fever' when you get hooked!)

Having read a little bit about wide-field astrophotography I experimented quite freely with different iso settings, exposure times, focusing etc. Out of about 70 pics, these are the better ones.
All of these are with my Canon 20D, shot from a stationary tripod with a cable release.

The moon shot at 200mm with a 70-200/F4L, stopped down to F22, shutter 1/160s and iso800. A ca 180% crop. I had the camera on program-mode, but it would probably have made sense not to stop down as much. The light-meter in the camera really does a bad job of metering in this kind of a shot. The only way to get the exposure right is to take lots of pictures with different shutter times. I really need to get that EF-mount adapter for the 500mm mirror tele-objective to get some nicer moon shots !

Ursa Major, partly hiding behind the trees. With 17-40/F4L at around 17mm, 10s exposure at F4 and iso1600. Click on the image for a full-screen version.

in the middle. 17mm/F4, 30s exposure at iso800. Click image for a full-screen pic.

Next I suppose I will have to learn about dark-frame substraction, "barn-door" tracking mounts, stacking multiple exposures, etc. Anyone interested should check out Canon_DSLR_Digital_Astro and digital_astro, but beware of the message volume, up to 1000 per month !
The only problem with this hobby in Finland is that it's only dark enough during the winter - and on clear winter nights it tends to be really cold. (think remote-controlled "go-to" mount and laptop-operated camera from the livingroom sofa...)