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In astrophotography where DSLRs are expected to take images continuously for several hours, spending on expensive spare DSLR batteries may not be the best investment. The DIY modification below shows how I used an old DSLR battery and a DC adapter as an alternative way of powering your DSLR during an overnight stargazing event.

DIY power adapter for powering DSLRs from an external 12V battery. A voltage regulator called ‘7808’ is used to ensure that the voltage output remains at 8 V.

Related article: Improved Field Battery

For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
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© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

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A green laser points at Venus, currently visible in the western horizon about an hour after sunset. This photo was taken on November 30, 2016 from the observing deck of Seven Suites Hotel Observatory in Antipolo.

Lately, you might have noticed what appears to be a very bright star prominently visible in the western horizon about an hour after sunset. This ‘star’ is in fact the planet Venus.

Venus is the brightest among the five planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) that can be seen with the naked eye. The planet will continue to be prominent in the sky until around March 2017.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

As you move away from a city, the glaring lights that cause light pollution are greatly diminished, allowing one to see fainter stars. In recent years, Antipolo has been of a particular interest to astronomy enthusiasts, perhaps this is due to its relatively dark skies and short travel distance from Manila. A popular destination is Seven Suites Hotel Observatory, which opened in 1998. This hotel allows you to conduct stargazing sessions in the comforts of a hotel. Another popular site is intended for the outdoor type who wants to setup tents in a camp site–the Big Handy’s Grounds.

For about 7 years now, me and my colleagues–a rather tight group (less than ten people) have been taking astronomical photos from a less known but equally capable site in Antipolo. It has become our favorite observing site because it is safe, it has power (for our laptops, telescopes, and cameras), there are facilities that we can use, and of course, we can arrange exclusive access to the place.

Basically, any place in Antipolo, be it a resort, a campsite, or a full-fledged hotel, should offer skies dark enough for visual and astronomical photography work. If you are into astronomy, find a spot there and start observing!

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

The Seven Suites Hotel Observatory differentiates itself from all other hotels in the country with its unique feature: it is a hotel and at the same time, an astronomical observatory!

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Here are some reasons why I believe Seven Suites a good place to conduct astronomical observations, especially for kids and the family:

1. It offers skies dark enough for some decent visual observations and astronomy photography. For astronomy enthusiasts, a safe place with dark skies is very appealing.

2. It is equipped with a 12-inch telescope (one of the most powerful in the country). Using this telescope, it is possible to see Jupiter and its moons, Saturn and its rings, icecaps of Mars, phases of Venus, the craters of the moon, some galaxies, and nebula. Of course, it will all depend on the weather and the time of the year.

3. Its resident astronomer, Ramon, is more than qualified to guide you in observing the moon, stars, and the planets. Ramon is also a good friend of mine and a colleague at the UP Astronomical Society (our astronomy club back in college).

4. It has a good vantage point. Since it is located in the elevated areas of Antipolo, you can take good photos of the sunset and city lights from its observing deck. It is recommended that you bring cameras or binoculars.

5. It is a hotel observatory! You can either spend the night under the stars (literally sleep under the stars) or opt to book a room instead. It means you get to enjoy astronomy without the hassle of camping out. It also means you’ll have access to electricity and the Internet.

Next time you hear news about astronomical events such as a super moon, a meteor shower, a solar or lunar eclipse, an appearance of a comet, or simply, a desire to enjoy some star or moon gazing, be sure to check out Seven Suites.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

A few months ago, an editor from Harper Collins Publishers requested permission to use my photo that shows how to connect a DSLR to a telescope. I granted them permission to use the photo for free, and as a token of thanks, they sent me two copies of their book. Thanks, Harper Collins!

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Stargazing, Beginners Guide to Astronomy, written by astronomers from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich: Radmila Topalovic and Tom Kerss.

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My photo showing an expanded view of a DSLR with T-ring and T-adapter is featured on page 79.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

canon-1100d-modification-4

Modified Canon 1100D

I was requested by a friend to modify a Canon 1100D DSLR for astronomical use. The modification involved the removal of the stock UV-IR filter, making the camera more sensitive to H-alpha wavelengths emitted by most deep-space nebula. For more images of the camera modification, click here.

To view other my other DSLR modification projects, follow the links below:
August 2014 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (improved sealed chamber prototype)
March 2014 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (sealed chamber prototype)
February 2014 Modified Canon 1000D DSLR (Baader BCF filter replacement)
December 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging (custom-fabricated lens mount)
November 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for  Astro-imaging (sealed chamber prototype)
February 2013 Modified Canon 450D DSLR for Astro-imaging

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