2006/04/29

CAO in Infrared

I took some pictures in Infrared at our club's observatory today.
Paul let me try on of his lenses and an infrared filter on my camera, and below are the results.

I shot them in full manual 5-8 second exposures , I just held the camera on the hand railing of the entrance deck.
The building you see is our Observatory with the roof closed.







This is a shot looking ~ South west.



Ok I know its not infrared and its not in focus but I got a chance to try another of Paul's lenses a 15mm fisheye , and it looks pretty cool.




2006/04/22

March 29, 2006 Solar Eclipse: Libya

My wife and I traveled to Libya to observe the total solar eclipse on March 29, 2006. We traveled with the Sky and Telescope/TravelQuest International "Mediterranean Voyage to Totality". The tour was a 13 day Mediterranean cruise. We left Genoa on March 22nd and had ports of calls in Naples, Syracuse, Alexandria, Tobruk Libya (Eclipse Sight), Tripoli, Malta, Salerno and back to Genoa on April 3rd.

Life on board the ship was very comfortable, with tours at the ports of call, and Astronomical lectures in the ships' theatre, plus other on ship activities, made the days before the big day(Eclipse) past by quickly.

Time was also spent on practicing imaging the sun before arriving in Tobruk as seen in the photo below left. This is one of my practice shots below right.

Eclipse Day

We arrived in Tobruk the night before and in the morning we started to queue up for the buses. The bus ride was about 1 1/2 hours to the sight and about 1 hour of it was through thick morning fog, which was making a few people on the bus very nervous, but with about 1/2 an hour to go on our drive the fog lifted and we were presented with pristine clear sky's for the event.

As you can see from the next photos observing space was "tight"

Next are photos of the eclipse that I took. Equipment was a 62mm refractor and a Canon 30D DSLR, I shot at 200 film speed and from 2nd contact I started at a shutter speed of 1/2500 of a second and worked my way down to 1/15 of a second. Remember this is my first time taking pictures of an eclipse, and I found out on the boat that I was making 3 big mistakes before I even started.

  1. New equipment: I just purchased the camera 2 days before leaving
  2. Missing equipment: I had no remote shutter release
  3. Poor mounting: My tripod sucks!

Anyway here are some of my results:

Regardless I am very happy with my results for my 1st attempt at eclipse photography

And what is a trip if you don't mention the great people that you meet and traveled with? Above is a photo of M.E., and Dick, Myself and Elaine, Dolores and Vinny. Two great couples that we had the pleasure of dining and enjoying the eclipse with, you could not of asked for better people to travel with.

Well I think that's about raps it up for now. What a trip we had, great memories of the Eclipse, the cruise, tours and of the people that we met. What more could you ask for?

In closing I just want to thank all of the staff at TravelQuest for putting on a great tour and for the staff of Sky and Telescope for providing us travelers with some great Astronomy lectures.

And if anyone is thinking of doing a tour like this or something else astronomical related I would highly recommend TravelQuest. Visit them at http://www.tq-international.com/index.htm

Cheers

chas