And Now for Something Completely Different. The Reality of Covid 19, by the Numbers

Yes, this is an Astrophotography blog, but it’s also my outlet. So with all the news running around, and partisan divides skewing numbers toward supporting an agenda either way, I wanted to bring some reality to what’s going on around the world and in the US. There’s good, and there’s bad, but we do still need to stay the fuck at home for a good while! This post is only valuable as a whole, and not in this part or that part. The good and bad all go together and are not separate.

For my day job, I run numbers, analyze trends and predict outcomes. I like to think I’m pretty good at it. I know what data is bullshit, and what is real. Although I clearly have a political bias, I’m able to look at numbers for what they are and separate what I think recovery should look like. Hopefully this will help some people who are freaking out, but it does not diminish the seriousness of what’s going on. I have a high-risk child at home and I’m scared shitless to go outside, despite and because I know a lot of the numbers being reported are bullshit.

We have a tendency to look at and report on top-line, high-level numbers and not the meaning behind them – dumbing them down for general consumption. The devil is always in the details.

Read more

Astrophotgraphy Filters for Imaging with a One Shot Color Camera (OSC) in Severe Light Pollution

That’s a really long title for a post, but the issue at hand is very specific, yet very common. Most of us don’t live in the mountains, or on a farm, or have the time to travel to a dark-site. We’re close to towns and cities spewing light into the sky. We have families and jobs and responsibilities.

In the worst cases of light pollution, narrowband imaging with a mono camera seems like your only option. That’s a heavy investment for a dad with a mortgage and three kids in dance. So a filtered One-Shot Color Camera is it for me…. but what filter? Check out the video below for the filters I use and the situations for them.

Read below after the jump for some more examples and a closer look at the transmission profile of the Optolong L-Pro and Hutech NB1 filters.

Read more

Meade Series 6000 80mm APO Refractor

From the time I started observing the sky, outside of a cheap department store refractor, I’ve only used Newtonian reflectors or a variant of one. This is my first refractor, and for wide-field imaging, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to reflectors.

While the price can be significantly more than a reflector, I haven’t found any other downside. The Meade 80mm Triplet APO doesn’t disappoint. Check out the video for details.

Read more

I Imaged During a Full Moon Right Next to LED Christmas Lights with a One Shot Color Camera…. and this is what happened.

Clear nights are few and far between in the Midwest throughout Winter. When they come along, I just want to get out and image. This night was no exception. So I decided to do a little experiment to see how the IDAS NB1 filter by Hutech would perform in the most impossible conditions.

Read more

Meade LX85 Mount First Impressions

I’d been wanting to upgrade/update my old LXD75 mount for quite some time. The old horse has been tracking great, but I really want to take my imaging to the next level, and I had an opportunity for a package deal with an Meade 80mm triplet refractor that I couldn’t pass up. You can check out the video below, and/or read on for some first impressions.

Read more

Stand Out

How to Differentiate Yourself in a Sea of M42’s

It’s the Orion time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. Images of the Great Nebula in Orion and the Horsehead and Flame nebulae litter Instagram and Astrobin on a daily basis. Images with great detail and small round stars look great, and really do stand on their own, but do they stand out? Can the average person who isn’t an astro-imager really appreciate the difference? Are you happy with our little astrophotography community appreciating your pictures, or do you have bigger aspirations of bringing the magic of space to the world through imaging and art?

Read more

Is Astrophotragphy Getting Too Easy?

Everybody should be able to take pictures of space without having an astronomy degree, IT background, or having to take out a second mortgage. A lot of us like to think our little club is exclusive, but I think it should be more inclusive. I talk a lot about how hard and frustrating this hobby is on someone starting out, so I’m all for technology making things easier on us. But are these new phone image sensors and software all they’re advertised to be? And is an upcoming all-in-one scope, mount and imager misunderstood? Is imaging space getting too easy?

Read more