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

Kenko NES Mount

I use a 1990 Kenko NES equatorial mount with my refracting telescope. This mount features an RA motor drive with relatively accurate tracking, a polar scope for easy alignment with Polaris, altitude-azimuth adjustment knobs useful in performing precise polar alignment such as the declination drift alignment method, coarse and fine adjustment knobs, setting circles, and adjustable aluminum tripod. My mount has been modified to use a DIY controller to connect it with a laptop via USB and perform automated guiding needed in long-exposure photography of deep-sky objects.

To view sample images taken with the 1990 Kenko NES mount, click here.
To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.

Related links:
Sky-Watcher 100ED Refractor
DIY Telescope Controller

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

DIY Logitech 4000 Guide Camera

The Logitech 4000 webcam is capable of imaging planets and can be modified to take long exposure images to serve as a guide camera. The modification requires a serial port to externally control the camera’s exposure time using a guiding software such as GuideMaster and PHD Guiding.

Modified Logitech 4000 Guide Camera

The long- exposure modification allows the camera to detect faint guide stars, which is a useful feature for a guide camera. The diagram shown here was a modified version of M. Burri’s (2002) parallel port interface for a Logitech 3000 which I have adapted to work with the newer Logitech 4000 and a serial port.

Related link: View all home-brewed DIY astronomy equipment

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

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

Transit of Io | November 2011

The Galilean moons may sometimes cross the disc of Jupiter in an event called transit. The satellite (white dot) is usually followed by the shadow (black dot) it casts on Jupiter. In this photo, Jupiter’s moon Io is already exiting, with its shadow still on the disc of the planet. Image taken on November 9, 2011 with a 4-inch f/9 refractor and a Logitech 4000 web camera.

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.

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

Sky-Watcher Equinox 100 ED

The 2011 Sky-Watcher Equinox 100 ED 4 in f/9 refractor serves as my main telescope both for visual observation and astrophotography. The Optical Tube Assembly (OTA) features a 4-in f/9 extra-low dispersion (ED) apochromatic (APO) lens design. It has a 2-inch dual-speed Crayford focuser with a thumbscrew underneath for locking the draw tube. The telescope comes with aluminum-lined wooden carrying case. It is supplied with two eyepieces: 25 mm and 5 mm. Supplied also is a 90-degree 2-inch diagonal mirror and an 8 by 50 finder scope.

In 2021, the telescope has been modified and fitted with a DIY reducer, making the telescope faster (from f/9 to f/5.65, at 0.63x ) and also reducing the tube length by 20 cm.

To view images taken with this telescope, click here.

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