CYSI Astronomy '13 - Take Astrophotos Like a Pro

The Sky Meistros: Rick Nolthenius, David McKulle

The Plan!

First, gang, astronomy is always a bit of an adventure because we can't predict or control the weather. So if fog prevails, we'll do indoor activities, and when it's clear, we'll have fun at the observatory.

We want you to enjoy the activities we have planned with a new friend, so early on you'll form yourselves into 2-person and/or 3-person team if that works. During the week, on clear sky nights each team will have a chance to get a photograph of the moon, or a galaxy, or night sky wonder at Cabrillo College Observatory. We'll then show you how to turn these into polished wall-worthy images using the software we already have installed on our computers in room 705. If you're not photographing, then we'll have telescopes set up and show you the beauties of the summer Milky Way, and lay out and drink hot chocolate and watch Perseid meteors. We'll have my lab assistant Dave McKulle, who's full of enthusiasm and good cheer and likes to show people the stars.

If the fog rolls in before sunset, we'll stay in the lab room. The ideas below may get shuffled a bit depending on the weather. We'll have fun no matter what! We'll work on the photos we have and... worst case, we can give you raw material from my past classes and you can work on those pictures. We've also got a visiting NASA lecturer who would like to show you some great images and info on various optical things in the sky. And, we may have Karl von Ahnen from the De Anza College Planetarium be there for any questions, or laser pointing through the sky.

Things To Bring
-- a couple of blankets for laying out and watching Perseid meteors
-- water, snacks.
-- clothes for a cool evening
-- your favorite calculator, athough we have a few in the lab room too

Monday Aug 12 at 6-10pm Meet in Room 705
* Get acquainted, make friends!
* Choose your team partner(s)
* Choose your astro photo subject
* 8pm: Head to the observatory, on the edge of campus down in the canyon and show you around, and hopefully start photographing if clear
* If it's cloudy, a talk on how digital cameras work and the why/for on how to get a final masterpiece
* Night Sky: 36% Cresent moon in conjunction with Saturn - beautiful photo opportunity. Sun below horizon -12 deg at 9:04pm
* Best night to watch Perseid Meteors. I'll supply hot chocolate, bring blankets and even a sleeping bag would be nice. Earth-grazer meteors!

Tue Aug 13 at 6-10pm. Meet in Room 705
* A talk - how digital cameras work, and some basic photography principles
* A planetarium show, demonstrating the motions of the night sky and why
* How astrophotography is different than daylight photography, and requires lots of patience!
* 8pm - Head to the observatory, photograph deep sky wonders. Moon is 48% first quarter, in Libra
* 8:35pm Venus is only 1/6 of a degree from Beta Virginis! Nice photo subject

Wed Aug 14 at 6-10pm. Meet at the Observatory
* How CCD cameras work, and how to correct your photos for digital noise sources
* 8pm - Head to the observatory. Photograph the moon (58%) and craters to study. Crater Copernicus ideally placed
* Do Big Scope images of your deep sky objects!
* The moon in the head of Scorpio, and the binary star Beta Scorpii is occulted by the moon at midnight, 4 degrees up.

Thur Aug 15 at 6-10pm. Meet in room 705
* Let's process our photos on the computers, with lots of help of course from me!
* More deep sky photos - the sky's predicted to be clear again.
* 8pm - Head to the observatory, shoot the sky
* New Nova in Delphinus!! Brightest in decades!

Fri Night 6-10pm
* See an example of processing worked through
* Finish up processing of your new photos from last night, moon shots etc.
* Show/tell of photos using our LCD projector or better yet - bring in 8x10 print, framed for a "class photo"!
* Last night under the stars. Get your last photos!