November 19, 2011

Nebulinks 20 November

Well! NASA is at it again (we love NASA)

New NASA missions to investigate how Mars turned hostile
Cygnus X-1: A Stellar Mass Black Hole:
Saturn's Northern Storm:
In Wolf s Cave:
NASA Extends MESSENGER Mission 

and just for a change ...
Cosmic particle accelerators get things going

And the pretties ...
A History of the Sky

Also, my partner in the stars, gfkBill flew off to Taiwan this morning for a week. No stars for him in the big cities!  He did leave me the tracker tho, so I will be playing a round with that :D

Safe journey bro
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November 18, 2011

Nebulinks: 18 November

Scumbag Nasa!

Waits till 2 days after my first ever article is posted then releases the Highest-Resolution Map of the Moon Ever *sigh*  no matter what you do with this hobby, NASA always wins ... here's why:

NASA Orbiter Catches Mars Sand Dunes in Motion:
NASA Spacecraft Data Suggest Water Flowing on Mars:
Close Encounters of the Galactic Kind:
@NASAJPL: A #3DThursday look at the ...

but that's ok NASA, I forgive you, just keep em coming guys!
Europa's ocean stuffs here:

Then here's some cool and pretty things ...

Midnight sun, hourly:

Marco Mahler - Recycling Art - Tom Samui:

Psychedelic Saturn storm! | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine:


Planning a Twilight Shot:
NASA - NASA Probe Data Show Evidence Of Liquid Water On Icy Europa:
Light from the Vacuum

and Just cos I like pretty things:
Pixar's New Trailer

Also, found this one from @Astro_Ron, he has the best view of the moon ...

November 16, 2011

Some nice photo DIY

An acquaintance of ours, Luke, has been working on the timelapse goodness.  Including this little beauty:

Yep, that's a home-made, motorised dolly :)  The man has this to say about it:

This is my first go at making a slider. It is built from 2 shelving rods, and a small moving trolley from Mitre10. It is motorized by an old BBQ rotisserie motor and pulled along by nylon fishing line. Its just over 2m long, and this version was about 35cm wide. 

I have since moved away from using the trolley ,and built a small slider, also reducing its width to about 15cm. with this motor it takes only 30 min to slide along the 2m rail. my next iteration will have a smoother geared motor, (1 or 2 RPM) enabling a longer adjustable slide time and will eventually have a pulley system in place to enable forward and reverse motion.

No shots available from it yet, but we're interested to see how they look when they do come out!  Especially any night shots you feel like doing bro!

Update:  Tracker v1.6


NASA - Montage:

Just goes to show that no matter how good you get ... NASA always wins.  While we're on the subject of NASA ...

Voyager's Backup Thrusters Ignited for Deep Space Eternity:


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Star Tracker Update - Assembly

The Star Tracker is now up and running! I've done some initial shooting sessions, which I will report on soon. For now here are some assembly pics, sans electronics. It cost me two (cheap, of course!) tripods to make one tracker. Why, oh why, are tripod camera shoes not a standard size? Would that be so hard? But I digress...

Below you can see some pics of the tracker assembled. The black spray paint was an added cost, but well worth it I think, for that extra touch of class. Tomorrow, if I have a good day at work locked away writing animation lectures, I'll post pics of the electronics. And I will try to take a picture of the camera on the tracker, for which I will have to dig out a mirror or another camera, for obvious reasons!

Evening Walk?

Some of us aren't at work tonight, and great minds think alike apparently, so here's a shot of Venus chasing her speedy brother Mercury across the evening sky. New Zealand is apparently one of the best places in the world to see Mercury, I'd have to agree!

Planetary goodness.

Pity I have to work tonight ... Mercury, Venus and Jupiter all visible to the naked eye.  Ahhhh, the dance of the planets :D
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Tracker - The Garage Sessions (a DIY post)

1200 Tracker

Yup, here are the photos direct from Bill's garage of the Great Tracker Caper which  I am happy to report, seems to be working pretty well!  Hopefully more on that from Bill soon!

In other news, the nice folks over at DIY Photography noticed some of my moon shots on Flickr and asked me to write a quick tutorial about them, so I did! You can find it here.
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November 10, 2011

Sometimes, everything just works

Few nights ago, the seeing was GOOD, and I mean GOOD. Here's a single frame of the moon, shot through the scope on the IXUS 80IS.

Some post, lots of contrast work. I still enjoy doing these :D

November 8, 2011

Please support these guys

Ad Astra


November 1, 2011


Well, this guy just leaves us for dead I'm afraid, makes us look like the amateurs we are. But hey, it's something to aspire to and certainly something to be inspired by, assuming those are two different things.

Certainly it makes me all the more eager to get our tracking mounts finished! There are some nice dark skies to be had in New Zealand so while a complete map of the night sky shot by travelling around the planet is for now out of reach, I have no doubt that for a lot less money than Nick Rasinger we can achieve something worthwhile.

To the stars!
(...when it stops raining that is)