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Nightgems Index

Prime focus photography

In principle it's quite simple: attach your camera to the telescope and use it as a big lens to take pictures of objects in the sky.

In practice, there are complications... like keeping it aimed at one point accurately enough and long enough to gather enough photons to make a latent image in the film. Or finding the proper focus for a picture of a dark sky at night. These are just two of the technical challenges to meet. As a result, my collection of prime-focus pictures is meager, but the thrill of capturing a glimpse of detail in a nebula or the delicate arms of a galaxy is enough to keep me trying.

Below are the set of pictures I took during my first year of "prime focus practice" that I consider acceptable. These objects aren't going anywhere, so I'll probably get another chance to see if I can improve on them.

More nightgems, from my ongoing efforts to master this skill...

M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. Bigger than the full moon, it was an obvious first deep sky target.

M42, the Orion Nebula. A winter favorite.

North American Nebula. You can see the Gulf of Mexico!

M33, Triangulum Galaxy. A challenge for detail.

The famous Horsehead Nebula, hiding behind some bright neighbors.

The Rosette Nebula, a wonderful large object, invisible until imaged on film.


More Nightgems...

Copyright 2001-Jan-25

Thor Olson


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