Canon 450D, 1000D, and 1100D DSLR Filter Modification

I have performed filter modifications on a number of DSLR cameras for me and my colleagues. It involves the removal of the stock UV-IR filter, making the camera more sensitive to H-alpha wavelengths. This modification is helpful only when shooting targets with H-alpha emissions, as Canon’s standard (stock) filter blocks this part of the spectrum.

Here are sample images taken with the modified cameras. Take note of the shift in white balance (reddish hue), which is to be expected in this type of modification.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.

Related link: FujiFilm X-A1 Filter Modification

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

Pentax Binoculars

This is a Pentax 10 by 50 S-series waterproof binoculars for terrestrial and astronomical use. Notable features are: excellent quality optics, waterproof (nitrogen-filled), multi-coated lens for improved light transmission with special hydrophobic coating to prevent water and dust from sticking on glass, stable and solid built, internal focusing mechanism with focus lock, with diopter adjustment to accommodate variations in focusing of the eyes, and equipped with socket for mounting with a tripod.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.

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

Telescope Travel Cases

Here are some of the hard travel cases I use in moving my telescope and its accessories, especially when travelling to remote observing sites.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.

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

Saturn | May 8, 2016

Saturn almost always impresses anyone who looks at it through a telescope. When compared to Jupiter or Venus, Saturn is relatively dim, making it difficult to photograph when using a small telescope.

Exposures as slow as 1/15 second was used to capture this image. I used an eyepiece to project an image of Saturn on to a Logitech 4000 web camera’s sensor. The division in Saturn’s ring and the cloud bands are visible in this photo. Image processed in IRIS.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

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

Mars | May 2016

As Earth and Mars revolve around the Sun, there are instances when these two planets are close to each other, and this happens every 2 years. This is the time when Mars is best photographed and this is also the window when spacecrafts are sent to Mars! This image of Mars was taken during one of its closest approaches to Earth, revealing the dark and light patches on its surface, along with white clouds in its atmosphere. I used an SPC900NC web camera to capture this image. Image processed in IRIS.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

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

M44 Beehive Cluster

M44 Beehive open star cluster imaged with a 50 mm f/1.8 lens and a Canon 450D DSLR on a motorized mount with DIY controller. This photo is a stack of 12 frames at 16 seconds sub-exposure, for a total of 192 seconds, processed in IRIS.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

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

Image-Processing with IRIS

Registering and stacking result in clearer and sharper astrophotos. Read through the following article which outlines and describes my workflow in processing images with IRIS. This is a work-in-progress, please revisit this page as I add new topics soon.

Single frame vs stacked

Installation and Usage
1. Downloading and Installing IRIS in your Computer
2. Setting Up the Working Path
3. Importing Images into IRIS
4. Using the Command Line Interface

Stacking Still Photos (for DSOs, the Moon, and the Sun)
5. Aligning the Images
6. Stacking the Images
7. Saving and Exporting the Stacked Image

Stacking Recorded Videos (for Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Venus)
8. Importing AVI Recording of Planets into IRIS
9. Aligning and Stacking the RGB Channels
10. Combining the RGB Channels
11. Removing Sky Gradient Artifact
12. Wavelets Adjustment
13. Identifying the Contours of a Planetary Image
14. Register and Stack Images by Identifying a Planet’s Outline

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


Stacking Barlow Lenses

Barlow lenses are accessories used to increase the effective focal length of an optical system. Inserting a 2x Barlow results to doubling of the telescope’s focal length. For my telescope which has a focal length of 900 mm, inserting a 2x Barlow in series results to an effective focal length of 1800 mm. Inserting yet another 2x Barlow, results to an effective focal length of about 3600 mm (increasing the separation between the two Barlow lenses by not fully inserting the second Barlow yields a slight increase in the magnification of the image).

The Barlow lenses shown here are the Celestron Omni 2x Barlow lenses which I use extensively in imaging planets. These Barlows feature dual-element multi-coated lenses which produce acceptable results, even when stacked. Note that stacking Barlows is a useful workaround if you already have the Barlows and need more magnification. A better alternative would be to use a single but more poweful 5x Barlow, rather than stacking less powerful 2x or 3x Barlows.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.

Related links:
Image of Jupiter using Stacked Barlow Lenses
Image of Saturn using Stacked Barlow Lenses

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

Celestron Travel Scope 70

The Celestron Travel Scope 70 is a small telescope designed for viewing distant land-based targets (such as birds and trees) and for casual astronomical observations. While many enthusiasts would purchase this telescope as a grab-and-go telescope, I intend to use it as a guide scope for my autoguider setup.

To view images taken with a Celestron Travel Scope 70, click here.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.

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

Jupiter | March 2016

Planets are particularly difficult to image, especially if using a small 4-inch telescope. You need to image at very long focal lengths to magnify and zoom in to the planet and a large aperture to reveal finer details. To capture this image of Jupiter, I had to use an eyepiece to project an image on to an SPC900NC web camera’s sensor. Precise tracking is essential to keep the planet’s image in frame for more accurate registering and stacking of images.

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and the cloud bands of alternating dark and light color, are visible in the photo. Image processed in IRIS.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

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

Solar Eclipse | March 2016

Image of the partial solar eclipse on March 9, 2016, taken with a 4 in f/9 Sky-Watcher 100ED refractor, a DSLR camera, and a solar filter.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

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

M31 & M33 Galaxy | Wide-Field

M31 Andromeda Galaxy (lower left) and M33 Triangulum Galaxy (center right) imaged with a 50 mm f/1.8 lens and a Canon 450D DSLR on a motorized mount with DIY controller. This photo is a stack of 2 frames at 30 seconds sub-exposure, for a total of 60 seconds, processed in IRIS.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

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

DIY Guide Scope Rings

Guide scope rings or guide rings are mechanisms used for mounting guide scopes. A guide scope is a telescope used to monitor tracking accuracy while a main telescope takes a long-exposure photo. Errors in tracking are detected with a guide scope by monitoring a guide star. Corrections are made by the mount to keep the guide star centered, and thus, keeping the main imaging telescope pointed at a target for the whole duration of an exposure.

There may be instances when it is difficult to find a nearby guide star. With guide scope rings, a guide scope may be pointed, to some extent, at a part of the sky that is different from what is being photographed, allowing access to more guide stars. This DIY guide scope rings set is used with a 70 mm f/5.7 guide scope and a 100 mm f/9 imaging telescope.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.

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

Smartphone-to-Telescope Adapter

Smartphones can be used to image the moon by holding it next to the eyepiece of a telescope. For smart phone cameras, a mid-power eyepiece such as a 25 mm eyepiece yields good results. To hold the phone camera steady while taking a photo, a smartphone-to-telescope adapter may be used.

This imaging method 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.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.
Related link: Universal Camera Adapter

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

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