Carp Star Party
Look up, way up! That is what over 100 people with 20+ telescopes where doing tonight. After quiet a dry spell of cancellation due to cloudiness the last public star party of The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for 2010.
I went with my younger brother with a small telescope and my camera set-up. We were able to point the telescope at Jupiter which is the brightest object this time of year. A representative of the society came by and ask what we had our telescope pointed at and if we were going to let the public look through the scope. We answered yes on both accounts we were handed a pack of “Jupiter” Cards to hand out to kids who saw Jupiter though our scope; most of the early part of the night was spent showing kids and their parents Jupiter and its moons.
Eventually I tied to take a picture of it with my camera and lens combination (our telescope wasn’t sturdy enough to hold the camera on the end), some success as you can see Jupiter and its moons. I used the stacking technique which shows a bit of blur on the moons as they were moving in relationship to Jupiter; in fact later we could see Io show up on the far side of the planet.
Eventually after the crowds went home, Richard was kind enough to allow me and other astrophotographer us his telescope which had a motorized mount to take some pictures. These were taken with my D80 at 30 second exposures with several pictures stacked together in order to cancel out the noise from the camera (I also took two “black” pictures to further remove background noise). The picture at the start of the post was also taken through the telescope using the same technique.
I also did some hand-hold photo of some constellations. I used the specialized Noct-Nikkor lens which at 58mm was perfect to take pictures of many small constellations.
It was quite a night of giant telescopes (Biggest was Attila’s, you needed a full ladder to see though that one) and green laser pointers to show people where things were in the sky and good fun. I’m glad I went and learned a lot about our stellar surroundings.