Observing on Mauna Kea

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    I’m freshly back in Honolulu after my weeklong observing run, and I’d like to share the photographic results:

    1) Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO), Subaru, and Keck:

    2) Subaru & Milky Way:

    3) Self Portrait at CSO:

    4) Subaru and JCMT with Andromeda Galaxy visible:

    5) Orion Nebula (this one was tough to do without tracking):

    6) Crazy sunset colors. I swear, this is what it actually looked like, the natural saturation was incredible:

    7) Alain tuning the receiver:

    8) More ridiculous sunsets:

    9) Orion nebula complex. This one was extremely tough to capture and it’s very and to see, but I promise, it’s there:

    10) Mauna Loa sunrise:

    11) CSO still open at sunrise:

    12) Subaru & Keck:

    13) SMA & Haleakala:

    14) Maui at sunrise:

    15) Going home:

    All of these, plus many more, can be found at large sizes here.


    I didn’t know we could see other galaxies with the naked eye. Learn something new every day (wonder what that pushed out).


    Nice shots. Very jealous here.


    My god, it’s full of stars! 😉

    I’m about to pull the trigger on a tracking mount built for DSLRs. I’ll never get any AP done if I keep waiting around to save enough for that G11 and a Royce mirror.

    Man, those skies are gorgeous….

    , There are 4 galaxies that I know of visible to the naked eye… Andromeda, the large and small Megallanic clouds and our own Milky Way. The LMC and SMC are satellite galaxies of the Milky Way. Andromeda has a pair of satellites as well, visible in photos. If you get out with binoculars on a dark night there are many, many galaxies visible.


    Amazing as always, Plama. How do you get the stars exposed so well in the first shot without overexposing the interior of the observatory?


    Farktographer: The interior lighting of the observatory is actually really dim-about as dim as the stars. This is fairly necessary, since there’s optical telescopes around, and they don’t want light pollution.

    Chupa: Which tracking mount? I’ve been looking at the Astrotrac tt-320x-AG, which would go well with my current tripod. I probably won’t be able to afford it until the summer, though.


    The astrotrac is one of 2 current contenders, the other being this little guy: http://www.sciencecenter.net/hutech/kenko/skymemo/

    Both seem capable of accurate tracking over as long as I’m likely to expose, but the second one won’t need to be re-set every hour-ish like the astrotrac. Also, it looks like the astrotrac is on backorder everywhere. Certainly happy news for the maker, not so much for the consumer…



    *shakes a tiny little fist* Thes are the kind of shots I wanted to take up there, but a) at the time, I had no idea what I was doing with the camera, and b) I didn’t work there, so they always* chased me down the mountainside to the middle observation area at sunset.

    *only twice.


    ^ What they all said. Beautiful stars & sunsets. It’s hard for me to imagine a night sky that clear, I’m not sure that I’ve experienced one that I can remember.

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