|My Astro-Expo 2014 talk in Dublin on Sunday Dec 14th!|
Astronomy Ireland's Astro-Exbo 2014 was cancelled last month, and the re-scheduled event is taking place on Dec 14th (next Sunday!) from 12-6pm in Buswells Hotel, 27 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. (directions)
I'll be giving a lecture on "The Evolution of Astrophotography" at 1pm! All are welcome!
More details of the Astro-Expo 2014 event, all the lectures (including mine!) and booking details can be found on the Astro-Expo 2014 website
Note: I'm leaving on an imaging trip to France the following day, so please let me know at the Astro-Expo 2014 event if you'd like to order any of my astrophotography prints for delivery in time for Christmas!!
Happy Christmas everyone!
|Upcoming Exhibition & Beginner's Workshop in Kerry on Oct 31 & Nov 1st!|
I've been invited to run an exhibition and workshop by the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve.
On the Friday, 31st of October at Tech Amergin Arts Centre Waterville, I'll be giving a lecture on Astrophotography and displaying some Framed Images of my work.
The following day, the 1st of November, I'll be running a Beginner's Workshop on DSLR Imaging. Weather permitting when its gets dark, we'll venture outside and try to put into practice what we learned in the workshop.
In the workshop, we'll learn the basics of the cameras settings, and how to take your first astrophotos. We'll talk about equipment, techniques in widefield photography, objects to photograph, and for those with Photoshop I can demonstrate some basic steps to take to really boost your images quality.
More details of the event are on the flyer, and from the Kerry Dark Sky Reserve website
|Damian Peach in Dublin|
In September, the world's leading Planetary Astrophotographer, Damian Peach, gave an excellent lecture at the Scopes and Space shop in Dublin.
It was a full house, and Damian was signing copies of his newly released DVD on Planetary Imaging and Processing.
As well as picking up a DVD, and getting my copy of "Lessons from the Masters" signed, I also managed to nab him for a quick photo! :)
|Update on the Galactic Center Project|
After another imaging trip to France in August, I managed to continue capturing the RGB data for the Galactic Center project that I'm under-going. While I didn't get enough clear nights to collect all that I needed, the next 2 Rows are almost complete, and more of Rows 5 and 6 are ready for blending.
After the Galactic Center set, myself and Olly turned 3 Takahashi FSQ106s with full frame CCDs on the beautiful Van Den Bergh 14 and 15 reflection nebula, and the accompanying Sharpless 202 Emission nebula.
This photo is a 33hr image of Hydrogen Alpha, Luminance, and RGB data taken over 5 nights.
|Upcoming event date: Saturday, the 26th of July
FREE ALL-DAY WORKSHOP IN THE "SCOPES & SPACE" SHOP IN AIRSIDE, DUBLIN!
I'll be giving an all day workshop in the upstairs room of the Scopes and Space shop in Airside (directions), on Saturday the 26th of July!
This is a free workshop starting at 12 noon and lasting approx. 5 hours. The workshop is intended for those wanting to learn about the Image Processing involved in making Deep Sky Astro photographs. I'll be discussing the equipment required (DSLRs and CCDs) and will explain how to take darks and flats, and how they are used to calibrate the Deep Sky shots. From there I'll run through the s/w processing of the stacked images to bring out the best of the data that was captured.
We'll show Levels and Curves, Smoothing, Sharpening, Noise Reduction, Gradient Removal, LRGB imaging, Layers, and Image clean up, as well as lots of tips and tricks.
Attendees are welcome to bring their own data that we can work with in the workshop. Most of the processing work will be done in Photoshop, with some steps processed in PixInsight, while the Calibration will be demonstrated in AstroArt 5.
Those who wish to attend the workshop should contact Scopes and Space to check for available places. (01) 890 2736, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The upstairs room has space for 30 people.
I'm really looking forward to this workshop on July 26th! Should be great fun - thanks also to Scopes And Space for hosting this exciting event!
Exciting update on the 6x5 Galactic Centre Project!
I'm happy to say that I've completed the Luminance for the 6x5 Galactic Centre project that I'm currently working on! This is a 6x5 Full Frame Widefield Mosaic of the Galactic Centre that stretches from The Globular Cluster M22 in the bottom left to Barnards 72 Snake nebula in the bottom right, all the way up to Eagle nebula in the top left, and across to the star fields of Ophiuchi in the top right.
The focal length is 530mm, and the total area covers approximately 18 degrees x 15 degrees of the sky. I have 3 rows of RGB data and I hope to complete the colour data next month when I travel back to France for another imaging trip.
|April 4-6th 2014
Midlands Astronomy Weekend
|I really enjoyed attending the Midland's Astronomy Weekend on April 5th!|
|January 9th 2014
Astrophotography Workshops at the BBC Stargazing LIVE 2014 event
On January 9th (Thursday this week!), I'll be giving 4 workshop talks with hands-on photography, at the BBC Stargazing Live 2014 event at The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Holywood.
The workshops will be entry-level and suitable for all ages, where I'll be teaching newcomers how to start in astrophotography. We'll be using DSLRs in this beginner's guide to taking the first photographs of the night sky.
|The workshops are free and all are welcome, so why not come along and ask lots of questions, which I'll hopefully be able to answer! :)|
|Upcoming event date: February 1st 2014
"Cosmic Vistas: The Universe in Colour" talk at the Galway Astronomy Festival 2014 (City of Stars)
On the 1st of February, I'll be giving my Cosmic Vistas: The Universe in Colour talk at the Galway Astronomy Festival 2014.
I'll have the large 30x20 framed images of the award winning "Rho Ophiuchi and Orion Nebulae", as well as some of the smaller 15x15 images on view.
|This promises to be a great day out with a variety of speakers giving lectures, workshops, and trade stands on view.|
|Date: November 2013
NEWS: 2nd Place in the Las Palmas Astrophotography Competition!
|Back in November, I came 2nd in the Las Palmas Astrophotography Competition which was another highlight from last year!|
Date: September 2013|
Rho Ophiuchi and Antares Nebulae take 2nd place @ the "Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013" competition in Greenwich!
I'm thrilled to report that my 'Rho Ophiuchi and Antares Nebulae' picture (shown below) was awarded 2nd place in the Deep Space category of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 competition, which I'm literally over the moon about! :)
All the winning pictures can be seen on the 2013 Winners page.
The BBC also have a wonderful 6-minute compilation video on their Science & Environment page, showing a number of the winners (and the music soundtrack includes a Manics song which is extra cool!) - my 'Rho Ophiuchi and Antares Nebulae' picture is shown in the video from 3:33->3:43.
Congrats to all the winners and entrants - definitely worth checking out the amazing pictures which can seen on the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Flickr group page.
Returning to Ireland and my collaboration with Olly Penrice
I have returned home from Spain after 3 years imaging, but the photography will continue. I will be producing new photographs by obtaining my data with Olly Penrice from Les Granges in France. I have donated my FSQ106N EM200, Atik 11000, and its filter wheel to accompany the same set up from Olly for a dual rig system. In this side-by-side configuration, both Takahashi's will be obtaining the data at its native 530mm focal length. Myself and Olly will then share the collected data for processing of large scale high resolution mosaics.
Latest on the Galactic Center image
My final picture from Spain is currently only completed in Black and White (see below). It's a 25 frame, 5 x 5 full frame mosaic at 530mm of the centre of the Milky Way. The image goes from Messier Globular Cluster M22 in the bottom-left up to the Eagle and Swan nebulae in the top-left, across the centre of the Milky Way, and down to Barnards B72 dark nebula, also known as The Snake. I have the first 2 rows of RGB data for this image, and the remaining 3 rows will be collected from Les Granges once the system is up-and-running. In the future, we hope to have the system running remotely so I can success the controls of the scope from Dublin, freeing up Olly for running the Astronomy Gite.
My talk in the Almanzora Camera Club in Arboleas
Before I left Spain I gave a talk to the Almanzora Camera Club in Arboleas in early June. This was my 2nd "International" talk you could say, after having an Exhibition and talk in the Tennis Club in Albox back in May. We had a great turnout of about 45 people for the show which went down very well with the people who were very aware of the quality of the dark skies of the area.
My next exhibition & talk
My next "official" appointment is the Galway Astronomy Night which is currently penned in for the first week in February 2014. I will confirm these dates once I know more. I hope to be exhibiting my photographs and I'll be giving a talk on how I put the images together, from the equipment set up to the complex processing steps involved.
Two new pictures added to the Gallery
For anyone who has bought any of my pictures, you know that I include an info sheet about the image, equipment used, etc. I've had a lot of feedback saying that the info is really useful, so here's a summary of the latest two pictures (which can be seen in more detail in the Gallery)...
This is a project I started last Summer, and I hope to add more data to it this Summer. I had the chance to finish more frames in August, but I switched back to the Bubble to Cave nebulae to complete that in time for the exhibition. I had all the data before the exhibition opening, but I didn't have the time to process it.
My plan here is to make a 5x5 pane mosaic, with the 5th frame on this bottom row strip to be stitched to the left side. This should give me enough field of view to allow me to go all the way up to the Eagle nebula.
Each of the 4 frames contains 60mins of Luminance, and 90mins RGB. Normally I take many more hours of data perpanel in a mosaic but this area of the sky is bright, and more signal can be captured than other areas of the sky. So I can spend less time on each pane. I can then take one pane a night, so 25 nights will be needed to complete the full image. I have not taken any Ha for this region, but I think the upper panes will benefit from their addition.
This part of the sky only reaches about 25 degrees at its peak, so conditions are difficult, and some data needed to be retaken due to low lying clouds and mositure in the air, causing very bad gradients. As I complete the higher panes, they will be higher in the sky, giving better conditions for photography, and they will also be at a favourable position for a little longer each night. At the Eagle nebula, I should be able to take about 4 hours of data a night, as it'll reach about 35 degrees.
Update! The below is the latest version of my Galactic Center image! (Click on it for a larger, more detailed version!)
M45 published in the "Astronomy Photographer of the Year" book!
My Pleiades (M45) picture can be seen in the Royal Observatory Greenwich's "Astronomy Photographer of the Year" book on page 169!|
You can learn more about the book on their website - there's also a great 50% off offer on the Amazon.co.uk site for the Hardcover version (so it is priced at only £12.50!) - the link is here.
Well its Winter and each night Orion rises majestically in the East about 11pm. This may be my last Winter shooting from a dark site, so I have decided to try an ambitious project. So far its well under way, but also under wraps. I'll be releasing more infomation on this in the coming months so stay tuned!
Location: Roundwood, Co. Wicklow.
More information can be found @ http://www.astronomy.ie/sbq/
I had a stand at the Astronomy Ireland "Star-B-Q" on September 15th 2012 in Roundwood, Co. Wicklow and enjoyed chatting with everyone about my pictures. A bonus on the night was meeting Pete Lawrence, presenter from The Sky at Night, who also gave a very enjoyable talk on the night on the Northern Lights.
Also thanks to the Sunday Business Post for dropping by and featuring a picture of the exhibition in their national Sunday paper! For anyone interested, here's the picture which was published...
Location: The Centre for Creative Practices on 15 Pembroke Street Lower, Dublin 2
Can I see all the photographs on this website which were exhibited?
Yes! All my photographs can be previewed on my Gallery page!
On August 28 2012, my Rho Ophiuchi Nebulae photograph (shown below) was selected as NASA's "Astronomy Picture of the Day" (APOD), as can be seen here