M44 Praesepe

Yesterday’s image of M44 Praesepe, or the “Beehive” cluster. This was taken using my old 135mm Pentax fitting lens, with a mild Barlow in the Pentax to Nikon adapter. I use it because it’s faster than my other lenses; f/2.8 as opposed to f/5.6 on a telephoto set at 200mm, or f/4.5 on a zoom set at 70mm. The image quality is not as good as that from the Nikon zoom set at 200mm, but exposure times are much shorter. I need to be patient!

The image is from a total exposure of 240s, and (at last!) with a flat field applied. I took a set of twilight sky flats for all my lenses, so that I can do more experiments.

Whole moon image

Yet another clear evening! A new adapter for my old Pentax fitting lens had arrived, so I was keen to try that; however I had also found an ancient eyepiece for a microscope that fits in the camera adapter for my old 3 inch telescope, so this is a photo of the whole Moon taken with that setup. Continue reading

Orion nebula

An unexpected clear evening (the weather forecasts are hopeless at present) meant a happy couple of hours testing the telescope drive for photography, with some success. The header image is the Orion nebula (M42), which can be compared with the previous version of this posted on 27 February. Continue reading


A nice clear night meant a chance to try out my nice new camera / telescope drive (alt-az) as a static mount. This photo was taken with a telephoto lens, 200mm fl, f/5.6, 1/2000 sec exposure, ISO 3200. I still need to do lots of playing around with settings to get the best results.

This is amazing – they are getting so close to having this amazing vehicle working. Maybe SpaceX will be on the Moon before the planned NASA mission for 2024? OK, rapid unplanned disassembly at the end, but so nearly there. The manoeuvre from horizontal flight to vertical for landing is quite a shock!