Christopher Kitting's Astrophotography Gallery

Here's some nice images from Chris Kitting. Chris is a professor of Marine Biology at CSU East Bay and an honored Cabrillo Astronomy Club member. I've known Chris as my friend since we were both in 4th through 12th grade together. He's got an enviable assortment of astrophotography gear - he's got the means, the motive, and the opportunity - and takes full advantage! Contact him at chris.kitting at

Lagoon/Trifid Nebulae: Aug 7, '05 from Lake San Antonio. Tak 130 TOA at f/7.6 shot on Ektachrome 200 pushed 1.5 stops, scanned at 3000x4000 pixels. Compare with direct DSLR image at bottom right.

Mars: Oct 6, '05, on a Tak 130 TOA, 7.5mm eyepiece. A stack of best 78 out of ~300 frames.

Mars: Oct 21, '05, on a Tak 130, 7.5mm eyepiece w/o IR filter. Keith's Image Stacker used on the best 50 out of 250 ToUcam frames.

Mars: Oct 12, '05. Same setup as prior image; a stack of best 280 out of 600 frames. Dust storms have changed the surface features around a bit.

Mars. Early morning, Oct 31, 2005, from East Bay Hills. Kitting’s Tak TOA 130, and Tak 7.5 mm eyepiece. stack of the sharpest 421 of 813 ToUCam frames with Keith's Image Stacker 4.1 software on a Mac. North is down. The south polar cap barely shows here. Broad, diffuse north polar hood barely shows at bottom left. Mars is 20 arc sec across and at its closest, 1 wk before opposition. 0.5 AU from Earth.

Total Eclipse of the Sun. Mid Day, March 29, 2006. 4 minutes. Salum, Egypt, Lat=31d, 34.022', Long=25d 7.455' East. Orion 80mm ED f/7.5 refractor (600mm focal length), and Nikon 10-MP D200 digital SLR. 9 x 1/1000 ~1/2 sec exposures ISO 100, combined in Photoshop CS2. North is down, © 2006 by Christopher L. Kitting, Ph.D. Cal State U. East Bay, Hayward

Jupiter: a stack of 200 of 291 (all mediocre) images of Jupiter late May '06, from back yard,
130 Tak, and webcam.

Lagoon Nebula. Stack of two ~2-min exposures
of the Lagoon Nebula. ISO ~1600 on Nikon D200 through Tak 130mm at f/7.7. Orion skyglow
filter (on at least one of the two
exposures)."curved" in Photoshop. Coarse "grain" might be from noise
("reduction?" separate from camera's
auto dark frame subtraction) or maybe from skyglow ( I had detected with past DSLRs). For educational and informational purposes only! (this is not representative of my best work!)

The ISB + docked Shuttle. (ISB is "International Space Boondoggle") July 7, 2006. 130mm Tak TOA on heavy tripod, a 1.6x Nikon teleconverter, and the Nikon D200 camera at ISO 750, and 1/1000 sec (bracketed automatically), at 5 fps. Hand guided through finder scope.Photoshop plugin for Nikon raw subsampled my first (best, closest) image to 25MP (from the 10.2 mp chip), and then I cropped a lot, and double sampled it again with median sample (Photoshop CS2). No sharpening (yet). I'd planned to stack a few frames, but even at 5 fps, the size and orientation/perspective was changing.

Jupiter. 11 PDT June 24, 2006. PAS Oak Ridge Observatory in Santa Cruz Mtns. Great Red Spot and "Red Spot Jr.". South is up and East is to right, Kitting Takahashi 130mm triplet ortho-apochromaic f/7.7 refractor telescope with Takahashi 7.5 mm ED eyepiece projection and Phillips ToUCam webcam, yielding ~1000 power. Stack of best 123 frames of 177, each at ~1/30 sec exposure, w/ Keith's ImageStacker for Mac. Europa close in, and Io.

Trifid/Lagoon Nebula. 7/26/06 @ New Melones Reservoir, CA. Orion 80mm ED f/7.5 refractor w/ Lumicon 2-inch telecompressor (to f/~5), Orion Skyglow Filter, and Nikon 10-MP D200 digital SLR. 3x6min stack (Keith's Image Stacker for Mac) ISO 1000~1250, unguided on the Orion SkyView Pro mount. Dark Framed. Chip temp 70F. Each RAW file then was subsampled and
enhanced with Photoshop CS2 RAW
converter, and stored as a jpg. (on a Mac). Photoshop Curves applied. Then, Dr. Rick audaciously applied more Photoshop post-processing to his liking before posting here. Compare to the film/scanned image at upper left.

Bristlecone Pines/Stars. Aug 22, '06 Kodak E200 120 film with a Hasselblad/Zeiss 30mm 180-degree fisheye lens at f/5. ~15-min exposure on a
low tripod, plus a wide, weak electronic flash on this ~3000-year old 25ft high
Bristlecone Pine tree. Dr. Rick did a little 'levels' adjustment and jpg'd it for this webpage.

Bristlecone Pines/Stars. Aug 22, '06. Scan from Fuji Provia 400 120 film with a Pentax 45mm, very wide rectalinear lens at f/5, looking at summer Milky Way. 90min exposure on a low tripod. This wide (45mm for 6x7cm format, yielding coverage of a 20mm lens on 35mm) lens is rectilinear (not fisheye), but the ecliptic, mid frame, separates stars that rotate around
each of the TWO poles.The larger film
format yields an actual aperture of a
~20mm lens at f/2.)

Bristlecone Pines/Stars. Aug 22, '06. Fuji Provia 400 120 film with a Hasselblad/Zeiss 30mm 180-degree fisheye lens at f/5. ~15-min exposure on a low tripod, plus a wide, weak electronic flash on this ~3000-year old Bristlecone Pine tree at 11,000 ft in the White Mountains.

Orion and Running Man Nebulae. Aug 22, 2006 from Barcroft Lab in the White Mountains. Taken through Takahashi 130mm and Nikon D200 DSLR camera. Single shot, but a stack would bring down the noise quite a bit.

M33 Galaxy. From Barcroft Lab in White Mountains Aug '06. Prime Focus f/7.7 with my Tak 130mm TOA refractor and Nikon D
200, on old Tak EM100 mount.
ISO ~1000. ~4 minute exposure.

Plieades Cluster. From Barcroft Lab, White Mountains Aug '06. Prime Focus f/7.7 with my Tak 130mm TOA refractor and Nikon D 200, on old Tak EM100 mount.
ISO ~1000. ~4 minute exposure. No guiding. Dr. Rick used 'levels' in photoshop and .jpg'd.

Nov 8, '06 Mercury Transit. Chris Kitting's pleasantly pink H-alpha sun, a major sunspot group on the left, and Mercury right center. Takahashi TOA 130mm aperture f/7.7 refractor (1000mm focal length), Nikon 2x teleconverter 301, and Nikon 10-MP D200 digital SLR. 1/250 sec at ISO 800 (through Coronado 90mm 0.7-A H-Alpha filter) and 1/3200 sec at ISO 125 through Baader thin Photo film. Stack and Photoshop Curves of two frames, using Keith’s Image Stacker Software on a Mac Powerbook Computer, for a composite of red and white spectra. North is up, when image is horizontal, with noticeable small prominence at right edge, as now. A coronal mass ejection (separated prominence) is near left edge. © 2006 by Christopher L. Kitting, Ph.D. Cal State U. East Bay, Hayward CA

Nov 8, '06 Mercury Transit, cropped from full frame sun, via Nik 2x teleconverter. Caption much like my previous Mercury transit caption, but based on ~3 H-alpha and 4 white images, stacked.

Saturn Dec 30, '06. Takahashi 130mm (fl=1000mm) scope, Tak 7.5mm eyepiece, Phillips ToUCam Webcam, Mac laptop computer, Keith's Image Stacker (best 408 of 708 frames, then resampled 4x). Atmospheric bands are clear. So is the planet's shadow onto its rings, just left of the planet's sphere. Even a hint of Kepler's Division at the ring extremes, outside the Cassini Division.

Comet P1 McNaught Jan 11, 2007 5:46pm PST. Nikon D200. 400mm on tripod. 1/6 sec at f/6.3 ISO 400. Photoshop: curves, cropped. Clouds over the SF Bay and San Mateo.

The Whirlpool Galaxy Feb 20, 2007. 80mm telescope aimed at M51 with the DSI II Pro, and IR filter only, guiding with the plain webcam. 600mm focal length. Attached is the somewhat compressed and somewhat cropped result, from about nine, 1-min exposures, using Meade's software. 11 degrees C.

Summer Milky Way. June '07 from Bear Valley, CA. 10mm lens (at f 5) on the Nikon D200. Each was 8 min, ISO ~800. Stitched with Canon software (but it left a darkened "seam").

Full Moon - Sept '07

Comet Holmes - 1AM on 10/28/07: Nikon D200 at ISO 400 for 40 sec on Tak scope, f/15, cropped 3x from 2000mm. Photoshop CS2: Brightness

Comet Holmes Nov 4 early morning, from Hayward. DSI II Pro through the TOA 130, at prime focus (f/7.7).Meade Software's automated stack of ~20 best 50% of frames of ~15 sec each.Two nice jets are suggested trailing off the central condensation. I usedcurves and slight sharpening in Photoshop, processed at 16bits, to avoidconcentric rings. I reshot that way, several times, including various bluefilters, then stacked the replicate "stacks" with Registax, but the resulthad the concentric rings (probably jpg artifacts). I should have guided onthe comet. Meade's software would not lock on it during the stacking.Registax did.

Comet Holmes Nov 20, from his quarter-moonlit back yard, attached, from the D200 and Tak focal reducer on his Tak 100mm fluorite at f/5.9 (for wide field) on autoguided Orion mount. ~2 min at ISO~800, with no filter.

Same shot, but further post-processed in Photoshop CS2 with Astronomy Tools v1.4 macros

The Orion Nebula - In Dec '07, Chris got a new Nikon D300. This was a first test, on the Orion Nebula with Lumicon SkyGlo filter to emphasize H-a and H-beta areas. I rudely applied some further photoshop'ing using Astronomy Tools macro's and also adjusted to a more realistic color balance. Quite a nice shot!

Mars - Jan 2, 2008. Best 2020 frames of 3156 frames (~7 min in least compressed webcam mode) from Phillips ToUCam Pro, stacked on my Mac’s Keith’s Image Stacker software. Cropped, then subsampled x4, along the way. Very minor processing. I happened (accidentally) to stack ~70 averages of 10 frames each (without discarding any frames), and the results look similar. I tried capturing to my PC too, for Registax, but Windows media software can’t seem to produce a suitable AVI file for registax 3 nor 4. Tak TOA 130 with Tak 7.5 mm eyepiece.

Comet Holmes - Dec 31, 2007

The Feb 20, 2008 total lunar eclipse