I've been shooting pictures of the sky for over twenty years. Here are a few fun images.
TACSAT2 Launch From Wallops Island, 12/2006
On the morning of 12/16/2006, the Air Force launched their TACSAT2 satellite into orbit from the spaceport at Wallop Island, Virginia using a modified Minute Man ICBM. This image is a snap shot from my back porch in Bowie, Maryland, taken about 3 minutes after the launch. The crescent moon is in the upper right. Easily seen is the trail from the rocket's boosters. Above the trail, as a small point at the tip of a fan shaped white cloud is the booster.
2004 Venus Transit from Dewey Beach, DE
On June 8, 2004, I positioned my trusty Nikon FM2, 300mm F/4.5 Nikkor AI lens, loaded with Kodak Gold 200 ISO film against the railing of a hotel on Dewey Beach, Delaware and shot this image of the sun rising over the Atlantic ocean. However, on this day, the planet Venus was transiting across the face of the sun for the first time since 1882. In this image, Venus is seen as a small black dot on the lower left corner of the sun. 1/125 of a sec at f/4.5. No filters. Scanned from negative and slighty processed to remove some dust marks with Paint Shop Pro.
Amtrak Train #41, the Moon and Jupiter at Crestline, Ohio
04:01am 18 July, 1987. Ektachrome 64, 15 seconds at f/2.8. Nikon FM2, Nikkor 35mm F/2.8 lens. Ugly interal lense reflection of the engine headlight/number board that pretty much ruins the picture. I chased a dual train-astrophoto for a number of years, defeated many times by weather, late trains and internal lens reflections! Train 41 was the Broadway Limited, east bound. The engines were refueled and the cars serviced with a honey-dipper at Crestline, providing for a 30 minute stop over.
M-8 with a 8-inch Schmidt Camera
10 minutes piggy backed on the 31-inch reflector at Warren Rupp Observatory. Konica 3200 ISO film. This was a Celestron 8-inch f/1/5 camera. Nice, but difficult to use.
Mars with a 6-inch f/15 Alvan Clark Refractor
In 1984, I had limited access to a 1894 6-inch f/15 Alvan Clark refractor at McCormack Observatory, near the University of Virginia. Even though I didn't anything about Mars at the time, it was at opposition and a target. Here I used a Nikon FM2 body, eyepiece projection with a 12mm Brandon eyepiece and Kodak 2415 "Techpan" film. The exposure was four seconds. I believe the film was processed in D-19 - a high contrast developer. It's really a very nice photo image of the red planet, given the technology used. Printed using a huge 8x10-inch enlarger, almost ceiling to floor. Tech pan has really fine grain!
M-42 Trapezium Close Up
In 1989, I loaded my trusty Nikkormat FT3 with Konica 3200 ISO film, set it on the prime focus of the 31-inch f/7 Newtonian at Warren Rupp Observatory, near Mansfield, Oh. This is a two minute exposure, about the longest I could go without tracking. There is nothing like image scale! This was a wonderful film! This is almost the entire 35mm frame. The Nikkormat was great for this work since you can lock up the mirror.
Jupiter and Saturn over USS America, Malaga, Spain
1983, soon after sunset, the USS America (CV-66) is at anchor off Malaga, Spain. I've climbed up into nearby hills to shoot this scene. Etkachrome 64, Nikon F3, Nikkor 85mm f/2 lense. Exposure not recorded.
Star Trails over Fan Mountain Observatory
15 October, 1983. Five hour exposure on Etkachrome 64. Nikkormat FT3, 35mm Nikkor lens at f/2.8. The Moon was behind the camera for about 2 hours during the exposure, providing the foreground lighting. This is one of my favorite astro images. Orion in the background. The large dome holds a 40-inch Baker-schmidt telescope. I "signed" the image twice using a red flashlight. I also used a white light to (over)expose my face in the upper right window of the dome building.
Jupiter and Saturn over USS America
November of 1984, looking south west over Pier 11 at the Norfolk Naval Operating Base in Norfolk, VA. Kodachrome 64. Nikon FM2, Nikkor 35mm f/2 lense at f/2. 1/4 second exposure. Hard to beat that kodachrome color. Crummy scan from original slide. USS American (CV-66) is now decommissioned and awaiting the scrapper's torch.
Eclipsed Moon over the US Capitol Building, 2003
Maggie and I trekked into DC November 8, 2003 to shoot this image of the Moon over the Capitol building. Nikon FM2 camera, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lense at f/2.8, 1/4 sec, Kodacolor 200 film. Scan from negative.
Plain Jane M-42
Astrophoto of M-42 taken in 1988 using an 8-inch f/5 Edmund Newtonian reflector at prime focus. Nikon FM2 body, Konica 3200 ISO film. 10 minutes. Guided. Piggybacked on the 31-inch f/7 reflector at Warren Rupp Observatory near Mansfield, Ohio. This image was published in ASTRONOMY magazine in 1988 as part of an article about using 1 hour photolobs to print astrophotos. Prints and article by yours truely.
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