Phil's blog

I hope you enjoy this video 'The Moon in Motion', with footage of the 'Great American Eclipse', captured from locations in Idaho and looking over the Tetons on 21st August 2017. Music by my talented friend, cellist and composer Kristin Rule: http://www.kristinrule.com/

Best viewed with the lights down and the music up on the biggest screen you have. 

It has taken me all of the nearly two years since this international expedition to develop and apply the specialised eclipse image processing and video editing techniques required to create this. The video features footage from 7 out of 12 cameras I had running on the day. Read on to find out more..

The view from Table Mountain of the Great American Eclipse; 21st August 2017, looking towards the Grand Teton and the Teton Range. Three days prior to the eclipse I hiked up to the summit of Table Mountain (3,387m/11,100ft) and planted an automated camera. A day after the eclipse I hiked up to the summit again to retrieve my camera, only to find out that the whole exercise had so nearly been in vain.

Wednesday 26th May 2021 would be the first lunar eclipse in three years, although it was only barely total, with the Moon completely inside Earth's shadow for just 14 minutes or so. But as usual, I would bite off more than I could likely chew.

Composite image with Moon correctly positioned relative to Earth's shadow

28
Feb

Shooting Stars Camera List

The Field Guide in the Shooting Stars eBook includes a short description of how to find ten most commonly used settings for night sky photography of the moon and stars (astrophotography) on all of the following cameras.

28
Feb

Updating your Shooting Stars eBook

If you have purchased Shooting Stars eBook previously, you can update to Version 4 with the entire new section on 'Tracking the Stars' - an introduction to long-exposure astrophotography, and image processing, with the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer or other portable equatorial tracking mounts.

Referring to your existing copy of the eBook, use the title of Page 24 as a 'Promo Code' in the shopping cart (not case sensitive), for a 75% discount and get your updated copy of Shooting Stars for just $4.95. 

10
Jan

Geminid Meteor 'Shower' - December 2020

Geminid Meteor Shower - Composite Image - Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th December 2020

Despite living in the southern hemisphere, with no moon and a clear night or two forecast, I decided to have a crack at capturing Geminid meteors in December 2020. But I was a bit rusty.

29
Nov

Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer 2i Review

The Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer 2i is an updated version of the original Star Adventurer tracking mount. It brings the App based control of the Star Adventurer Mini (SAM) to its slightly larger brother. Refer also to my previous reviews of the Star Adventurer and the SAM as both are still highly relevant.

In late 2019, I took an opportunity to upgrade the SkyWatcher EQ8 equatorial mount in my dome (see full disclosure below). In my case, I chose the EQ8-Rh option with high-resolution optical encoders on the R.A. axis, rather than the new 'vanilla' EQ8-R.

Despite my astrophotography experience, I'm not an expert in the construction, mechanics or operation of equatorial mounts. But let me start with my take on the changes in the the base version EQ8-R compared to the first generation of this mount before discussing the remarkable encoders in the Rh version.

21
Jun

Southern Cross and 'The Pointers'

Although I already have an automated observatory for deep sky imaging, with some time and inspiration in isolation in early 2020, I setup my smaller equatorial mount in my 'darky sky' backyard for some widefield imaging with a QHY367C CMOS camera and a Canon 85mm lens, to capture this stunninng view of this region of sky, inspired as I have been for the last 25+ years by Akira Fujii's own famous image of this iconic constellation. In total, I captured 20 hours of exposure across three panes of the mosaic, including additional frames to capture the red nebula through a hydrogen-alpha filter and multiple layers of blurred stars through soft effect filters.

Southern Cross and 'The Pointers', captured by Phil Hart in April/May 2020
QHY367C camera and Canon 85mm lens at f5.6, 20 hours total exposure

Canon Australia loaned me their new EOS Ra camera during our summer and between the smoke of the summer bushfires (how long ago does that seem now?) I was able to capture one deep sky image from my observatory, a timelapse sequence from the Gippsland Lakes and several panoramas close to home.

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