Sharahm Tarani is a veteran Astro9 student who has continued with more and more challenging projects on his own. He's got some great equipment - a Meade 10" f/4 LXD-55 Schmidt-Newtonian, Olympus OM-1 35mm film camera, Meade Lunar-Planetary Imager (LPI) digital video camera, ToUcam Pro digital webcam, and Cabrillo's Orion ShortTube 80mm f/4 -and is taking some beautiful pictures. New students will be fortunate to have Shahram and his firepower along on our adventures.
His comments on processing..."The processing was done with Adobe Photodelux Business Edition. I usually do three steps: One is to compress the image to a smaller and more handleable size, then I reduce the grain and Moire patterns which result from beat frequencies inherent in the webcam, then I may do some light unsharp masking as well as Jpeg clean-up. In some rare occassions I have used 'Remove Dust' to get rid of the graininess. The rest of it is color balancing and contrast/brightness."
Here's some winners from his portfolio...
Left; The Andromeda Galaxy; Orion ST-80 at prime focus with OM-1 and Fuji DX-800 Pro, 25 min.
Right; Andromeda with the 10" at prime focus with OM-1 and Fuji DX-800 Pro, 20 min.
Left; the Double Cluster in Perseus - 10" at prime focus, OM-1 and Fuji DX-800 Pro. 5 min.
Right; the Plieades with the 10" at prime focus, OM-1 and Fuji DX-800 Pro. 10 min.
Left; the Sc spiral NGC 253 in Sculptor with the10" at prime focus and OM-1 loaded with Fuji DX-800 Pro, 15 min.
Right; The same photo at full scale and cropped in Photoshop.
Left; the Lagoon Nebula (M20) in Sagittarius with the10" at the prime focus with OM-1 and Fuji DX 800 Pro, 20 min. Captured as a bitmap, auto-color corrected, jpg'd at high resolution and cropped in Photoshop.
Right; the Omega Nebula (M17) in Sagittarius with the with modified ToUcam Pro at the prime focus of the 10", 85 30-sec pictures captured with K3CCD Tools, stacked with Registax 2, and processed with Photoshop 7.
Left; the Eagle Nebula in Serpens, with the 10"and modified ToUcam Pro at the 10" prime focus. 90 30-sec images captured with K3CCD Tools, stacked with Registax 2, and processed with Photoshop 7.
Right; the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) in Canes Venatici, with the 10" at prime focus.
Left; Saturn through the 10" and the Meade LPI camera and software, in March '04 from Cabrillo Observatory.
Right; and this equally impressive image of Jupiter and the Great Red Spot taken with the same equipment.
Left; another Jupiter shot; same equipment.
Right; Comet Q4 NEAT in the spring of '04 near M44 in Cancer.
In the summer of '04, we had yet another nice comet - our 4th of this year - Comet K4 LINEAR. Shahram and I made several trips to Bonny Doon and Cabrillo Observatory to photograph this comet.
Left; with the 10" and OM-1 using Fuji DX-800 Pro film. This film is more sensitive in the shorter green and blue wavelengths, making it ideal for comet photography. The image at left is the raw image, scanned and cropped. The exposure is 7 minutes long, cut short by dew'ing of the corrector plate. At right, it has been processed in Photoshop. Taken Aug 14 at Bonny Doon Airport.
Left; a full 15 minute shot with no dew problems this time. Note the two tails that this comet showed during July and August. The ion tail extended a full degree or longer and past the edge of the frame. Note also the faint galaxy in the upper right - NGC 5172; an Sb spiral at magnitude 11.9. Taken Aug 13, 2004 at Locatelli Meadow.
In September, Shahram got this shot of the Ring Nebula
Size - 1280 x 960
Exposure Time - 16 sec. x 120
Camera - Toucam Pro II, SC modified
Telescope - Meade LXD55-SN10
Capturing - K3CCD Tools 2.0
Stacking - Registax 2, sampled at 2x
Processing - image conversion which Adobe PD. I did some of my own post-processing before posting this image here: Photoshop 7, strong color rebalancing and cropping.
M27 Dumbell Nebula - Dec 2004: 72mm aperture, 560mm
f.l., Celestron Flourite F8 with 0.6 reducer=336mm f.l. @ F4.8 Camera:
Philips Toucam Pro II-860 Long Exposure Modified
40 minutes exposure on Fuji-800 Superia prime focuse at
LXD55-SN10 (1016mm fl., F4) no filters or reducers. Guided using the LPI
camera piggy back on the SN10 with a 200mm fl. guide scope from the Takhashi
The Rosette Nebula: Canon 450D xsi w/ Baader UV/IR
filter replacement, CMOS. ISO1600-Raw-Bulb. Best of 28, Final: 17 x1min.
Meade Schmidt Newtonian 10 inch @ F4, FL=1016mm. Imaging Software: Canon