Friday, October 31, 2014

Point and Shoot Star Trails Edited in Snapseed

It's been a while since I did star trails using my point and shoot camera. Here is a stack of 234 frames the other night. I put my camera down on a rock in the corner of my backyard looking back at the house. I straightened the photo and edited it in Snapseed to give it a dramatic HDR effect which helps to remove some of the 'glow' from the house and bring your attention to the sky.

star trails with hdr effect
234 frames with Canon Powershot A3100IS, each at ISO 800, 6.2mm, f/2.7, 15 sec, stacked in StarStaX, edited in Snapseed
canon powershot star trails
Same photo as above, stacked in StarStaX but not yet edited

Friday, October 24, 2014

That time I got to see Neil deGrasse Tyson speak for free at UIndy

A free lecture by Neil deGrasse Tyson was announced to be held at the University of Indianapolis, and was open to the public! I went online the moment tickets became available and jumped all over it! I got 2 free tickets and planned to take my less than enthusiastic partner :)

neil degrasse tyson program

When we got to the campus at UIndy, we drove around the athletic fields and couldn't find where to go. Then we saw a sign with an arrow that said "campus event" and assumed it had to be the only big campus event that night. Big was an understatement, when we pulled up in front of the basketball arena, Nicoson Hall, we saw a line down the street. It was a general seating event, and tons of people showed up to get good seats. We were an hour and a half early and still had thousands of people in front of us. 

line for neil degrasse tyson

line for neil degrasse tyson

Residents in on-campus housing were poking their heads out of their residence halls in shock, some asked what the heck was going on. On a campus of 5000 students, the additional 4000 attendants was clearly shocking. Cell phone reception was lousy as the masses flooded the small community. 

neil degrasse tyson uindy

We got inside and were handed gorgeous programs for the lecture, it was so nice to read about the lecture series and I was really impressed that such a small campus was able to book Dr. Tyson. Apparently they had been working on this event for more than a year. The sunken octagon arena had permanent bleachers around the perimeter, and folding chairs down front. We were in the bleachers opposite the stage, and I felt sorry for the people trying to watch from the side or even behind the stage. 

neil degrasse tyson lecture university of indianapolis

The lecture was fun, but nothing really "new" that I hadn't already read about on Space.com or photographed myself. I think the real draw is the chance to see a science celebrity and to celebrate astronomy publicly. I came away with some new factoids, and it was fun to hear about events in the news from an expert with a charismatic and humorous delivery. This is starting to sound like a review, which it's not intended to be. I'll just say if you are already an astronomy buff and plan to see him speak in a lecture marketed to the average Joe, to expect fun commentary on very topical astronomy related news and not expect a science lecture. 

The event went over by 20 before we left, and we didn't even stay for the Q&A - it's really more than a lecture it's like a night with Neil Tyson. Lots of fun, fun people watching, and great to see enthusiasm for science right here in Indy! The UIndy campus was also AMAZING, I had no idea. There is this little canal park in the middle with bald cypress and river birch surrounding a big oval green space. I loved it!

My Slimmest Crescent Moon at 2% Illumination

This is my slimmest moon yet, at just 2.1% illuminated. I saw it while pulling out of my driveway on the way to work, and I put the car in park to run back inside and grab my camera. Photos are from the morning of October 22, 2014 at 7:22am. My previous slimmest moon was in February at 3% illuminated. I guess technically an eclipse is about the "newest" a moon can possibly be, but the slimmest crescent is still a fun achievement to track. 

very slim crescent moon
Single frame Canon T5i, ISO 100, 300mm, f/5.6, 1 sec
very slim crescent moon
Single frame with Canon T5i, ISO 100, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/10 sec

very slim crescent moon
Single frame with Canon T5i, ISO 100, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/3 sec

very slim crescent moon
Single frame with Canon T5i, ISO 100, 120mm, f/5.6, 1.3 sec

October 23 Partial Solar Eclipse from Indiana and AR12192

We had clear skies all day and then got clouded out right before sunset. I had my camera set up in my office with a west-facing window, and planned to snap some pics before a 7:00pm meeting. I got a few through the clouds, and a chance to spot the huge sunspot (active region) AR12192, which is now the biggest since November 1990.

October 23 Partial Solar Eclipse
Single frame with Canon T5i, 6:06pm, ISO 100, 300mm, f/7.1, 1 sec, exposure adjust in Lightroom

October 23 Partial Solar Eclipse
Single frame with Canon T5i, 5:58pm, ISO 200, 300mm, f/7.1, 1/20 sec

October 23 Partial Solar Eclipse
Single frame with Canon T5i, 6:06pm, ISO 100, 300mm, f/7.1, 1 sec

October 23 Partial Solar Eclipse
Single frame with Canon T5i, 5:58pm, ISO 1600, 300mm, f/7.1, 1/25 sec

October 23 Partial Solar Eclipse
Single frame with Canon T5i, 5:59pm, ISO 200, 300mm, f/7.1, 1/15 sec
 
sunspot AR12192 october 23
Single frame with Canon T5i, 5:08pm, ISO 100, 300mm, f/7.1, 1/25 sec

indiana sky october 23
Sky conditions during the solar eclipse... what the heck!

sun photo canon t5i
Shooting the sun from my office

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Huge Sunspot October 21, 2014

sunspot 300mm canon
Single frame with Canon T5i, 300mm, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/30 sec
I tried stacking my sunspots again and I was actually more pleased with the clarity of single frames rather than the stacking result. I did some developing in Lightroom, which included turning down the contrast (brings out the lighter area around the sunspot) and turning down the shadow (similar to decreasing contrast) and turning up the clarity (just a bit). Next I brought the brightness down a little bit and was pretty pleased.

This is a gigantic sunspot! I can't wait to see if it is still in view during the partial solar eclipse on Thursday. I'm bringing my camera with solar filter to work with me on Thursday, and I'm also hoping to get a shot with some foreground - which I'm learning uses much different settings compared to the shots through the filter. Check out my home made DSLR solar filter shoutout on Universe Today!

sunspot october 21
Single frame with Canon T5i, 300mm, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/30 sec

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