Phil Jaworek - Astronomy




Welcome.

Hi and welcome to my Astronomy related web site. In here you will find lots of photos of celestial objects and also interesting stuff related to Astronomy and Astronomical Equipment, I hope you enjoy your visit.

I have been interested in Astronomy since I was a lad back in the 60s and 70s when the "Space Race" put the heavens very much in the news.

In those early days the only equipment I could afford was a basic 50mm or 60mm refractors of the day but even these humble instruments helped kindle the growing interest. In the 80s my practical astronomy waned due to married and working life taking priority but I still retained a fascination and promised I would get back into the hobby oneday.

Back in 2000 that day arrived when I purchased a humble Helios Startravel 120 Refractor. With this scope I rediscovered the joy of being under a dark, star filled sky again and it wasn't long before I was trying to take photographs through the scope; that's when the the bug for Astro Imaging really took hold. The Startravel was replaced by other more sophisticated scopes and the advent of modified digital SLR cameras turned the interest into a passion .


Initially I tried to image as many aspects of the heavens as I could but over the years my interest in photographing Deep Sky Objects, like galaxies and nebula, has taken over from photographing our nearest neighbours, the moon and planets. Therefore you will find the images in the gallery section of this site tend to be a little biased towards Deep Sky objects. But occassionally I have be known to turn the scope and camera towards a planet so keep popping in to see what has been added :-)

Since (2012) I have been going back to my routes and doing alot of visual with a little imaging thrown in so unfortunately new images on here will not appear as often as they used to, however there will be a few more sections appearing relating to visual and practical astronomy, so watch this space.

The photographs in the Gallery have been taken with a variety of cameras and techniques over the years as follows: -


The Canon DSLR images on this site have been taken by fitting the camera body direct to the telescope. The telescope taking the place of the camera lens to act as effectively a large telephoto lens. The camera is then set to take many short (sub exposures) exposures of the subject
The sub exposures are then be stacked and processed to provide the equivalent image of opening the shutter of the camera for one very long exposure.

The one difference between the cameras I use and the stock DSLRs is that they have been modified by removing the normal sensor filter and replacing it with an IR pass filter. This modification makes the camera ideal for capturing objects like the Horsehead and California nebulae which are rich in the red end of the spectrum, the colour of hydrogen emmission.

The 300D was modified professionally by Hutech whereas the 1000d was modified by myself.

Atik 314L+ ccd Camera



The Atik 314L ccd camera is a dedicated astronomical imaging camera which uses a ccd chip to capture black and white images of celestial objects. I acquired one of these in 2010 to augment my other imaging cameras. These cameras require a computer to function and are very simple to operate. They can be used for colour images by using the LRGB technique. In 2011 I swapped my mono camera to a One Shot Colour Camera (OSC) which makes colour imaging a little less involved.

Lunar/Solar and Planetary Imaging


Initially I used to use the venerable Toucam webcam (suitably modified with a nosepiece) for lunar and planetary photography but have now changed to a more sensitive camera, the QHY IMGOH camera. Therefore images on this site are a mix of old and new cameras. Some Lunar and Solar images on the site have been taken with the Atik ccd camera and the Canon 1000D DSLR.

Mintron 12V EX


The Mintron is a modified video surveillance camera and can be fitted in the place of the telescope eyepiece, connected to a TV or VCR it provides enhanced live monochrome video of stars, planets and deep sky objects. The camera has it's own on board integration and can automatically integrate up to 128 frames and display the resultant image on a TV screen. This enhancement increases the telescopes ability to detect faint objects. In otherwords using this camera on a 120mm refractor such as my old Startravel effectively doubles it's aperture, dependant upon viewing conditions and camera settings. Some of the images on this site taken with the Mintron were grabbed using a capture card fitted to a laptop computer. This card captures the video from the camera in AVI form and can be processed using Registax and Photshop in a similar way to the Toucam files. The Mintron is capable of providing presentable images if processed correctly, but where this camera excels is when coupled to a TV it can be used to show the subject in the telescope to more than one person at a time.

I also used this camera as a guide camera when I first started to auto guide my rigs, I now use a QHY5 guide camera and either a finder guider or an off axis guider depending on what scope I am using at the time.

Telescopes


Over the past few years as my astronomy has changed I have used various telescopes to take the photographs but I have now settled on the more traditional refractors as my main imaging and visual scopes.
Note! Each image in the gallery is captioned with brief details of the method and telescope used to capture it.

Published Images


Happily I have had a few images published in the Astro Media and have also been known to appear in print, the page "Published Images" includes images and links to any articles.




I hope you enjoy your visit and keep popping back to see what else I have been able to image, (UK weather permitting):-) A quick look in the What's New" page will show what I have been up to recently

Over the years this web page has undergone changes as I have upgraded and changed my equipment, some of the superceded pages contained links to equipment reviews and tips I had written to help other folk. Please feel free to take a look at these on the Useful Stuff page, you might find something of use to you, you never know.

Enjoy your visit and clear skies

Phil

RIP Sir Patrick Moore, you were an inspiration to me and many others and you will be sorely missed



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