Astrophotography

In his free time, Joel enjoys photographing planets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies. All of the images below were taken by Joel.


Deep Sky

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Orion Nebula

The Orion Nebula, imaged from the Nevada desert using a Celestron 8SE with focal length reducer and AX mount with Canon 70D

The Orion Nebula, imaged from the Nevada desert using a Celestron 8SE with focal length reducer and AX mount with Canon 70D

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Running man nebula

NGC 1977, the “Running Man Neula”

NGC 1977, the “Running Man Neula”

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This is my favorite nebula, the Horsehead Nebula, imaged from the Nevada desert. I stacked images taken using the DSLR piggybacking atop my editorially mounted telescope using the telephoto lens (i.e., the picture was not taken through the telescope, just used its mount to track the sky). You can also see the Flame Nebula in the bottom left corner next to the bright star Alnitak in Orion's belt. I love the Horsehead Nebula so much that when she was six years old, my mom cooked me a Horsehead Nebula birthday cake.

This is my favorite nebula, the Horsehead Nebula, imaged from the Nevada desert. I stacked images taken using the DSLR piggybacking atop my editorially mounted telescope using the telephoto lens (i.e., the picture was not taken through the telescope, just used its mount to track the sky). You can also see the Flame Nebula in the bottom left corner next to the bright star Alnitak in Orion's belt. I love the Horsehead Nebula so much that when she was six years old, my mom cooked me a Horsehead Nebula birthday cake.

Galaxies

Triangulum Galaxy

M33, the Triangulum galaxy, imaged with my Celestron 8SE. You can even see one of this galaxy’s bright nebulae, NGC 604, towards the bottom left.

M33, the Triangulum galaxy, imaged with my Celestron 8SE. You can even see one of this galaxy’s bright nebulae, NGC 604, towards the bottom left.

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NGC 2403

NGC 2403   , a spiral    galaxy    8 million light years away in the obscure constellation    Camelopardalis   . When you view this image, you're looking 8 million years back in time. Captured with my    Celestron    8SE    telescope    somewhere in nowhere between the towns of Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez the night of December 8 2018.

NGC 2403, a spiral galaxy 8 million light years away in the obscure constellation Camelopardalis. When you view this image, you're looking 8 million years back in time. Captured with my Celestron 8SE telescope somewhere in nowhere between the towns of Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez the night of December 8 2018.

Star clusters

NGC 869

NGC 869, an open star cluster in Perseus. Imaged with focal length reducer on Celestrion 8SE.

NGC 869, an open star cluster in Perseus. Imaged with focal length reducer on Celestrion 8SE.

The Pleiades

M45, the Pleiades or “Seven Sisters” star cluster in Taurus. Imaged with focal length reducer on Celestron 8SE.

M45, the Pleiades or “Seven Sisters” star cluster in Taurus. Imaged with focal length reducer on Celestron 8SE.

M37

M37 is an    open cluster    4,500 light years away in the constellation    Auriga   . You're looking at a single 30 second exposure taken out in the countryside between Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez.    Telescope    used was a    Celestron    8SE with focal length reducer.

M37 is an open cluster 4,500 light years away in the constellation Auriga. You're looking at a single 30 second exposure taken out in the countryside between Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez. Telescope used was a Celestron 8SE with focal length reducer.

M34

M34, an open cluster in Perseus. Focal length reducer on Celestron 8SE.

M34, an open cluster in Perseus. Focal length reducer on Celestron 8SE.

Wide Angle

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Eastern sky, late autumn

Starry sky over railroad tracks in the Mojave Desert.

Starry sky over railroad tracks in the Mojave Desert.

Planetary imaging

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Mars

DSLR video frames stacked in Autostakkert!, sharpened in Registrax

DSLR video frames stacked in Autostakkert!, sharpened in Registrax

Mars   , the    Red Planet   , as imaged through my 8"    Celestron    telescope from Malibu in October 2018. The bright white dot at the bottom is the    Martian    southern polar ice cap, which contains a layer of    dry ice    (frozen CO2) caked over water    ice   . In fact, the southern polar cap contains roughly 50 percent the amount of water frozen in Greenland's ice sheet. Will humans living on Mars melt and drink this water one day?

Mars, the Red Planet, as imaged through my 8" Celestron telescope from Malibu in October 2018. The bright white dot at the bottom is the Martian southern polar ice cap, which contains a layer of dry ice (frozen CO2) caked over water ice. In fact, the southern polar cap contains roughly 50 percent the amount of water frozen in Greenland's ice sheet. Will humans living on Mars melt and drink this water one day?

Mars    as it appeared on October 28, 2018 through my 8"    Celestron    telescope (left) compared with a simulated view showing finer details in the Starry Night software program (right). I took the left image out my living room window from the comfort of my apartment. Mars was positioned such that its phase appears much like a gibbous moon from Earth. If I'm reading my map correctly, the northern most dark area is Meridiani Planum (landing site of the    Mars rover    Opportunity) and smaller dark area to the south is Noachis Terra. The bright white spot at the    Martian    south pole is dry ice (frozen CO2) caked over a vast amount of water ice. Martian    astronauts    might one day use the resources from the Martian polar ice to sustain a colony.

Mars as it appeared on October 28, 2018 through my 8" Celestron telescope (left) compared with a simulated view showing finer details in the Starry Night software program (right). I took the left image out my living room window from the comfort of my apartment. Mars was positioned such that its phase appears much like a gibbous moon from Earth. If I'm reading my map correctly, the northern most dark area is Meridiani Planum (landing site of the Mars rover Opportunity) and smaller dark area to the south is Noachis Terra. The bright white spot at the Martian south pole is dry ice (frozen CO2) caked over a vast amount of water ice. Martian astronauts might one day use the resources from the Martian polar ice to sustain a colony.

Comets

Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Animated gif showing the motion of comet 46P/Wirtanen the night December 8, 2018.

Animated gif showing the motion of comet 46P/Wirtanen the night December 8, 2018.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen on December 8, 2018. Single exposure through my Celestron 8SE.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen on December 8, 2018. Single exposure through my Celestron 8SE.

The moon

Third quarter waning moon (46% illuminated), imaged out my bedroom window the morning of July 25, 2019. Canon 70D with Celestron 8SE as lens.

Third quarter waning moon (46% illuminated), imaged out my bedroom window the morning of July 25, 2019. Canon 70D with Celestron 8SE as lens.

High dynamic range (HDR) image of 2% waxing crescent moon. Image generated from stacked exposures taken with my Celestron 8SE with focal length reducer.

High dynamic range (HDR) image of 2% waxing crescent moon. Image generated from stacked exposures taken with my Celestron 8SE with focal length reducer.

High dynamic range (HDR) moon image created by stacking different exposures of the waxing crescent moon. The dark side of the moon is illuminated by earthshine.

High dynamic range (HDR) moon image created by stacking different exposures of the waxing crescent moon. The dark side of the moon is illuminated by earthshine.

Waxing half moon, December 15 2018. Taken out my living room window in Los Angeles.

Waxing half moon, December 15 2018. Taken out my living room window in Los Angeles.

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Total lunar eclipse, January 20, 2019. This image was created from several frames taken through my Celestron 8SE at the end of totality as the Moon emerged from Earth’s shadow.

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Lunar craters Aristarchus, Kepler, and Copernicus, imaged with a ZWO 224ACI camera and Celestron 8SE telescope.

Lunar craters Aristarchus, Kepler, and Copernicus, imaged with a ZWO 224ACI camera and Celestron 8SE telescope.

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Mare Imbrium through the Barlow lens of my Celestron 8SE. The prominent crater Plato can be seen top center. Camera: Canon 70D.

Mare Imbrium through the Barlow lens of my Celestron 8SE. The prominent crater Plato can be seen top center. Camera: Canon 70D.

Annotated features on my moon images.

Annotated features on my moon images.

Lunar crater Plato falls into shadow as nightfall hits the waning moon. The quality is not the best—it was hard to get a good image along the terminator without high dynamic range. ZWO 224ASI camera.

Lunar crater Plato falls into shadow as nightfall hits the waning moon. The quality is not the best—it was hard to get a good image along the terminator without high dynamic range. ZWO 224ASI camera.

The bright ray crater Kepler, as imaged with ZWO 224ASI camera the night of a 46% illuminated waning moon.

The bright ray crater Kepler, as imaged with ZWO 224ASI camera the night of a 46% illuminated waning moon.

Tycho crater on the Moon (camera: Canon 70D)

Tycho crater on the Moon (camera: Canon 70D)

22° halo, also known as a Moon halo or winter halo. Ice crystals in the atmosphere refract light to create this beautiful phenomenon. This halo image was taken the night of December 21, 2018.

22° halo, also known as a Moon halo or winter halo. Ice crystals in the atmosphere refract light to create this beautiful phenomenon. This halo image was taken the night of December 21, 2018.