Between the 13th and 15th November 2015 the Horowhenua Astronomical Society hosted the third New Zealand Astrophotography Weekend. As was the case in previous years the event was a total success. The difference this year was that practical astrophotography was actually achieved.
As guests arrived on the Friday it was obvious it was going to be a stunner of a night so people immediately set up their gear and the official opening was shelved until the next day. All sorts of astrophotography was undertaken including deep sky imaging through telescopes/camera lenses to nightscapes. Some attendees were up until sunrise at about 5.30am. Apart from a rather annoying light show at the boat house it was a perfect night
The Saturday morning was beautiful sunshine so two solar telescopes were set up for imaging. One enabled imaging in Hydrogen alpha and the other in Calcium-K.
(Photo: Edwin Rodley)
Following the solar imaging the first official talk began. Professor Bill Williams gave a really interesting talk about how light that comes from deep space gets captured by digital cameras and how they then transform the captured light into digital data. Bill's talk was followed by Stephen Chadwick who discussed what equipment is required to undertake deep sky astrophotography and after lunch the first of the processing workshops was undertaken. Steve Lang and Roger Morgan did a practical demonstration of how to process images using Pixinsight. Jim McAloon was next up showing us how he images and processes planetary images.
(Photo: Jonathan Green)
Peter Aldous then gave his RASNZ Gifford Eigby lecture on how to build observatory domes. He showed images of some of the countless domes he has personally made during his life. Our third software talk was given by Jonathan Green in which he discussed stitching images together to produce wide Nightscape panoramas. After a great fish and chip supper from Mr Grumpy’s Steve Lang described how to build a cheap and easy observatory in the back yard. The day’s talks ended with a fourth software talk – this time about the processing software known as IRIS.
(Photo: Otto Gruebl)
The weather turned on the Saturday night so there was no more imaging to be done. This, however, left a whole evening to process the data that had been gathered the night before. The Sunday was cloudy so there was no solar imaging to be done but George Ionas kicked off the talks by processing the data he had captured the night before on the big screen. Otto Gruebl from Wangarei also showed us the images he had taken the day before on his Calcium-K telescope. Amit Kamble finished off the talks by explaining how you don’t need
dedicated astronomy software to process astronomical images.
All in all it was a fantastic event with wonderful feedback.
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