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.

Sunspot AR12192 | 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

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 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.

milky way aug 23 2014

For a complete list of astrophoto images, click here.
Related link: How to Image the Milky Way

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

DIY Dew Heater

Dew heaters or heater pads are telescopes accessories used to prevent dew from forming on the telescope’s lens. During long imaging sessions, it is not uncommon for the main lens of refractors and SCTs to form dew. A heater is used to keep the objective lens at a temperature a few degrees C above the dew point to prevent the formation of dew.

Dew heater made from inexpensive nichrome wires

I used nichrome wires from a local electronics store to build several DIY heater pads for my telescope, which I find useful in keeping the lenses free from dew especially when imaging in 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

DIY Plate for Telescopes

I’ve built an aluminum plate for my equatorial mount to allow it to carry the main telescope and the guide scope for autoguiding purposes. In autoguiding, it is important to minimize flexing between the imaging telescope and the guide scope, thus, a plate with suitable thickness helps address this problem. This DIY plate measures 12 cm by 20 cm by 1 cm and made from a solid aluminum plate from a local metals supply shop. Holes have been drilled on the plate to allow attachment of various loads such as DSLR cameras and different telescopes.

Kenko NES mount with a DIY aluminum plate

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

Related link: Sky-Watcher 100ED Refractor

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 Image the Milky Way

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

Peltier-Cooled DSLR Project

During an exposure, the imaging sensor of a DSLR warms up, resulting to noisy images. By cooling down the sensor, it is possible to eliminate or somehow minimize this thermal noise.

Cooling the camera’s sensor using a Peltier module

I have made a number of attempts to accomplish this with a Canon 450D and a Peltier module, however, it appears it is very difficult to implement without running into problems such as condensation and frosting.

M42 imaged with a Peltier-cooled filter-modified Canon 450D. No dark frames were used in this image. Image processed in SIRIL. The DSLR’s stock filter was replaced with a Baader UV-IR blocking filter.

Related link: View all home-brewed DIY astronomy equipment

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

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 one of 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.

Related link: Vixen R114 Newtonian Reflector

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