Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 | January 2015

Comet Lovejoy C2014 Q2 taken with a 4 inch f/9 telescope and a tracking mount. The comet’s green coma and hint of its tail, are visible in this photo. Comets are difficult to image because they move relative to the stars, producing a trail. Processing software corrects for this drift and stacks the image of the comet without producing a trail.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Sunspot AR 12192 | October 2014

This is an image of the Sun showing the sunspot AR 12192, the largest sunspot of the solar cycle 2010 to 2020. This image was taken at solar maximum when the sun is most active during a cycle. It was imaged in October 2014 in Quezon City using a 4 in f/9 refractor and a Baader ND 5 solar filter. Never observe or image the Sun without the proper solar filters.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Total Lunar Eclipse | October 2014

lunar_eclipse_8_october_2014_anthony_urbano
Total Lunar Eclipse as observed from Quezon City, Philippines on October 8, 2014, taken with a 4 in f/9 Sky-Watcher Equinox ED and a DSLR camera.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Milky Way | Camarines Norte

milky way aug 23 2014
Milky Way galaxy imaged with a Canon 450D DSLR camera, 18-55 mm lens set at 18 mm, f/3.5, 30 sec exposure, ISO 1600, August 23, 2014, Camarines Norte, Philippines.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Celestial Triangle | August 2014

Jupiter (top left), Venus (lower left), and the moon form a celestial triangle on August 24, 2014 at 5 am local time, imaged with a Canon 450D and a 50 mm f/1.8 lens on a tripod.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Orion | Wide-Field

Constellation Orion imaged with a Canon 450D and a 50 mm f/1.8 lens on a motorized mount with DIY controller. This photo is a single 20-second exposure at ISO 1600, processed in GIMP.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Stargazing Sites near NCR

We’ve visited a number of private stargazing sites just 50 km east of Manila where one could camp out, stargaze, and do some astrophotography as skies there are still relatively dark and good enough for casual stargazing. Bring your own tent and telescope, and lots of food!

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Coron’s Pristine Night Sky

Coron’s night sky is probably the best sky I have seen to date. There is no hint of sky glow caused by light pollution. You could see stars from horizon to horizon. The Milky Way is visible even just outside our hotel. To get a better view, we asked a guide to accompany us atop a small hill in Coron. It was impressive to see the Milky Way in a pristine night sky. Here are some photos taken during our visit in Coron, Palawan in 2014.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.
Related link: How To Take Photos of the Milky Way

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Milky Way | Caliraya

Milky Way imaged from the dark skies of Caliraya, Quezon. Taken with a Canon S3IS digital camera on a DIY tracker. This photo is a stack of 3 frames at 15 seconds sub-exposure, for a total of 45 seconds, ISO 800, processed in IRIS.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.
Related link: How To Take Photos of the Milky Way

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Jupiter Occultation | August 2012

The moon is also known to eclipse planets, and one such event involving Jupiter happened in August 2012. This event is called the lunar occultation of Jupiter, and is a relatively rare astronomical event. The event was visible throughout the country. I was able to observe and photograph it from Quezon City, Philippines, using a small telescope. To watch the video recording of this event, click here.

Lunar Occultation of Jupiter, August 2012

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.
Related link: Lunar Occultation of Mars

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Venus Transit | June 2012

A rare astronomical event occurred in June 2012, visible in the Philippines and widely documented among astronomy enthusiasts. This event is called the Venus Transit, in which the planet Venus, appearing as a small dot, is observed to transit or move across the disk of the Sun. Venus and a number of sunspots are visible in the photo. Special solar filters were required to safely view this event.

Venus Transit 2012

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

How to Image Planets

There are several ways to acquire magnified views of planets: afocal imaging with digital or optical zoom, prime focus with Barlow lenses, and eyepiece projection with hi-power eyepiece.

Imaging planets with a dash camera (with lens removed) and a telescope

Afocal Imaging with Digital or Optical Zoom
Place a smart phone camera or a digital camera on top of an eyepiece. This configuration is called afocal imaging, in which a camera with its lens is mounted next to another image-forming optical system such as a telescope with an eyepiece or a pair of binoculars. You may need a smart phone to telescope adapter or a universal camera adapter especially if you plan to use the camera’s digital or optical zoom.


Prime Focus with Barlow Lenses
Remove the webcam’s lens and then connect the webcam to a telescope. This configuration is called prime focus and works with web cameras, dash cameras, and other action cameras, using a webcam-to-telescope adapter. Barlow lenses may be needed to increase magnification and reveal more details. Use a UV-IR filter if the web camera’s sensor is not equipped with a built-in filter.


Eyepiece Projection
Project an image of a planet onto a camera’s sensor, though eyepiece projection. In this configuration, an image is formed on the web camera’s sensor with the use of a high-power eyepiece. It uses an adapter called eyepiece projection adapter to hold the web camera and eyepiece together. The adapter also allows the separation between the web camera and the eyepiece to be adjusted, as it affects image magnification.

SPC900NC with Eyepiece Projection Adapter


Other Considerations in Imaging Planets
Planets, as viewed with a small telescope, are very small. Image at high magnifications (long focal lengths) within the limits of your telescope. Always double check the camera’s focus. Use a tracking mount whenever possible. Take two to three minute video recordings of the planet, making sure that the planet remains in the camera’s view for the whole duration of the recording. Process the recording using a software that registers and stack images such as IRIS.

Related links:
Processing Images with IRIS
SPC900NC Webcam
Polaroid N302 Dashcam

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

M57 Ring Nebula | April 2012

M57 Ring Nebula is a planetary nebula in the constellation Lyra. The nebula looks like a faint circle when viewed through a telescope. Long exposures reveal some colors, visible in this photo. M57 is relatively easy to find by scanning the region between the two bright stars in Lyra.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

M8 Lagoon Nebula | April 2012

The Lagoon Nebula is a bright region of interstellar dust in the constellation Sagittarius, near the center of the Milky Way. It is barely visible to the unaided eye and best viewed with binoculars. Long exposure photography reveals a reddish hue, as seen in this photo.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

ISS | March 2012

Image of the International Space Station (ISS) as it passes 450 km above Manila at 4:59:01 am, March 15, 2012. The main body and the solar panels of the satellite are visible in this photo. Image taken with a 4 inch f/9 refractor with Canon 450D, 1/100 sec exposure at ISO 1600.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

M13 Hercules Cluster | April 2012

M13 is a globular star cluster in the constellation Hercules. This star cluster is easy to find with binoculars and best viewed with a low-power telescope. This long-exposure photo reveals the tightly-packed stars at the core of the M13 star cluster.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

433 Eros | January 2012

433 Eros is the first asteroid to be studied with a spacecraft from orbit. Eros was orbited by Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous several times before touching down in February 2001. This image of Eros was taken during its closest approach to Earth on January 30, 2012 using a 4-in f/9 refractor and a Canon 450D DSLR.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Total Lunar Eclipse | 2011

This photo was taken in December 2011, in Antipolo, Philippines, during a total lunar eclipse. The moon appears red during totality and as it dims (in contrast to a bright full moon), the faint stars surrounding the moon becomes visible!

2011 Total Lunar Eclipse | Sky-Watcher 4 in f/9 refractor

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines