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Category: Long-Exposure Photography


I have recently assembled an ultra-portable tracker setup. The intention is to build a simple yet fairly accurate sky tracker capable of capturing wide-field targets, particularly, the Milky Way.

tracker_eteny (1)

Ultra-portable tracker built from a telescope’s RA motor (geared stepper motor)

To learn more about this tracker, click here.

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© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

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Milky Way Bosoboso March 30, 2014_39sec

Milky Way taken with a DSLR camera on a tracking mount

Image of the Milky Way galaxy taken with a DSLR camera on a tracking mount. Canon 450D DSLR camera, 50 mm f/1.8 lens, 39 second exposure, ISO 1600, March 30, 2014 at Boso-boso, Antipolo, Philippines. Photo Credit: Anthony Urbano. For an archive of my Milky Way photos, click here.

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)

CometLovejoy_C2014Q2

Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 taken on January 15, 2015 using a 4-inch f/9 refractor and a Canon 450D DSLR in Antipolo, Philippines. The photo was a stack of 12 images, with each one exposed for 60 seconds at ISO 1600, processed using Deep-Sky Stacker. Photo Credit: Anthony Urbano. For more images of comets, click here.

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)

In 2011, I have acquired a 1990 model Kenko NES mount. The mount was sold to me for only 140 USD because it has some missing parts, particularly, the counterweight and the hand controller. The counterweight was easy to replace. Fabricating one only requires a visit to a machine shop. The hand controller that will drive the stepper, however, is far difficult to build.

My first version of a stepper controller uses a 555 timer chip and a 74LS194 shift register. The tracking rate is controlled by the 555 timer chip through a resistor and a capacitor, and by changing the values, the tracking rate also changes. The solution was to use a variable resistor to speed up and slow down the rotation of the stepper. Since the timing signals are controlled by analog components, the tracker suffers from tracking issues related to the tracking rate. It usually requires ‘tracking rate adjustment’ (to match the movement of the sky) at the start of an imaging session. While it has served me for four years and have used it to image some interesting targets, it is clear that an upgrade is needed.

Upon learning some basics about Arduino, I immediately saw the potential to use it as a stepper motor controller. I started looking at some excellent tutorials on the Internet and was able to build the simple stepper controller featured in this article.

arduino stepper

DIY Stepper Motor Controller

To learn more about the DIY Stepper Motor Controller, click here.

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)

This is an update to my previously-built Logitech 4000 SC1 modification in 2011. Note that the modification was originally designed to work with Parallel ports. Since such ports are now obsolete, changes to the circuitry have been implemented to allow the modified camera to be connected to newer laptops via USB ports (by using a USB-to-Serial Port adapter).

DIY Guide Camera (Logitech 4000 SC 1 modification)-post

Modified Logitech 4000 web camera

It is strongly recommended that you read the article about the previous version of this camera (link provided above) along with the comments left by the readers as this will give you a brief background as to why this update is necessary. A lot of details in this article will not make sense if you are not familiar with the history of the project.

To proceed to the article, click here.

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)

 

 

SkyandTelescope_OrionNebulaSeries

To celebrate the end of 2015, Sky and Telescope (S&T) featured close to a hundred Orion Nebula (M42) photos submitted in their online image gallery–posting one random photo every hour until they have posted all the photos in the collection (started on December 24 and lasted until December 28, 2015).

Shown here is my M42 photos, as part of the S&T’s Orion Nebula Series.

For featured photos, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

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