Category Archives: Time Lapse Video

Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina Animation

Was up early this morning to do some imaging of Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina before sunrise. Was not at all happy with the stacked image results, but did manage to capture 34 minutes of data to show an animation of Comet Catalina slowly moving through the constellation Virgo.

Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina

Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina

Imaging notes: Canon 6D, Canon 400mm lens at f/5.6, 47 30-second guided exposures using an iOptron ZEQ25 mount. You can check this setup out HERE. Images were cropped and edited using Corel Paintshop Pro and the animated GIF was processed online at EZGIF.COM. The time period covered was from 05:36 to 06:10 EDT.

Want to learn more about Comet Catalina? Check these articles at Earthsky.org:

Clear skies!

…Tom

Space Debris Passing Messier 11

Astrophotographers are warriors of science. As I see it, we have three major battles: mother nature, the moon, and man-made objects. On occasion, Mother Nature allows us to win. On these occasions, we are able to actually set up our telescopes and various equipment, do some imaging, and take some extraordinary pictures of the sky. The moon proposes challenges after the first quarter because it is too bright for wide field space photography. The last battle includes man-made challenges: space debris, the annoying light from a neighbor, planes, and satellites.

All of these battles can be challenging in their own right, but there are also many skirmishes to win between battles as well. The major skirmish to win and overcome are the “self-inflicted” wounds that we all have encountered at one time or another. These can include: an unplugged cable that looked like it was plugged in, the USB cable that forgets how to communicate, and bumping the equatorial mount after everything is FINALLY calibrated and the alignment is complete (my personal favorite).

We’ve all been there in one way or another.

However, sometimes something catches our eye that is unique or simply not photographed so often. Whoever thought that space junk could be one of these times? I typically delete images that I do not think is “image-worthy.” When going through images that I generally discard, one caught my eye – an image with an inordinate amount of space junk.  The animated GIF file shows four sub-frames from an imaging session of Messier 11 taken on July 23, 2015 – check out the space junk floating by. You may have to allow a little time for this animation to load. The images were taken with a Canon 6D and Celestron 6″ telescope set at ISO 3200 and a 30-second exposure, light clouds prevented any further exposures.

Many times science and art collide. When this happens, it makes us perceive something otherwise annoying, as something unique and special.

m11LIGHT_30s_003648_pipp

Until your next battle, I wish you clear skies.

…Tom

Editor: Mike Wildoner, Mike can be reached at mike@leisurelyscientist.com

7.5 Hour Time Lapse Video

So, what do you do with all those images you take hunting for meteors?  I compile them into a time lapse video! On the evening of April 24, 2015 I setup my Canon 6D and Lensbaby fisheye lens to try and capture a few Lyrid meteors.  I decided to try out a fisheye lens in order to “see” the entire sky.  I use a simple tripod and run AC power cord to the tripod (in my backyard) to supply the camera with power for the night. The dewpoint was low, so there was no worry about condensation on the lens/camera body.

For camera control, I use the software package Backyard EOS v3, I use this software package any time I use my Canon 6D for deepsky work or meteor shower photography. It is well worth the $50 price tag for the premium edition.

So, if the planets are properly aligned and the weather gods are working in your favor, you will have 100’s of photos to sort through in the morning.

I was shooting 30 second exposure at ISO 3200.  I left the Lensbaby lens wide-open at f/3.5.  Backyard EOS was running the show (via a USB connection to my camera).  The software was setup to shoot consecutive 30-second exposure with a 10-second delay between each image.  I set a delay to allow for the image to properly transfer back to my PC.

I ended up with 570 images!  That is the longest run I have had so far. After sorting through the images I spotted two possible meteors and a satellite flare.  You can check the images below.

Lyrid meteor photographed by Tom Wildoner on April 24, 2015.

Lyrid meteor photographed by Tom Wildoner on April 24, 2015.

Lyrid meteor photographed by Tom Wildoner on April 24, 2015.

Lyrid meteor photographed by Tom Wildoner on April 24, 2015.

Satellite flare photographed by Tom Wildoner on April 24, 2015.

Satellite flare photographed by Tom Wildoner on April 24, 2015.

Next, creation of the video.  First, you probably need to do some basic editing and cropping of the collected images.  To do this, I select one of the images using Corel Paintshop Pro software and create a script of my edits on this single image.  I then apply this script to the remaining images – this saves a ton of time.

To create the basic video, I use a software package called Startrails. The software package is donation-based, please, if you use it like I do, make a donation!  You can load your images up and create a short video file.

After the video is created, I then load it into Corel Videostudio Pro to add text, music, single photographs etc.  The final product can be viewed below, enjoy!

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