> THE VAST MILKY WAY
Recently I got one very good lens the Asahi Takumar 135mm 1:2.5. This is fast telephoto lens and from my point of view a good lens should be with aperture from 1:1,2 to 1:2,8. All other stuff of 1:3.5 and above is crap that was not well enough designed to provide a fast aperture. You can always close the blend if you need less aberrations and more accurate focus, but the fast aperture give you color saturation and much higher limited magnitude and resolution for astrophotography.
This is image of North America and Pelican nebula with Pentax k-5, ASAHI Takumar 135mm 1:2,5. 100x30s, ISO 25600, UHC-S filter. On this image DDS calculate 50193 stars till 9th magnitude. Those are the closest neighbors at that small area of the milky way! It is 10×6 degrees of the sky, 5x magnification and 7 seconds per pixel resolution.
Some info from Wikipedia: “The North America Nebula and the nearby Pelican Nebula, (IC 5070) are in fact parts of the same interstellar cloud of ionized hydrogen (H II region). Between the Earth and the nebula complex lies a band of interstellar dust that absorbs the light of stars and nebulae behind it, and thereby determines the shape as we see it. The distance of the nebula complex is not precisely known, nor is the star responsible for ionizing the hydrogen so that it emits light. If the star inducing the ionization is Deneb, as some sources say, the nebula complex would be about 1800 light years distance, and its absolute size (6° apparent diameter on the sky) would be 100 light years.
The nebula was discovered by William Herschel on October 24, 1786, from Slough,England.”
And one more shot: Heart and Soul nebula and the double cluster of Perseus. Pentax k-5, ASAHI Takumar 135mm 1:2,5. 120x30s, ISO 25600, UHC-S filter. The stars are much more sharper, as the object was closer to the zenith
Nowadays we are so into the globalization and technologies, that I can submit observation plan to a remote, professional observatory at the other part of the word!
This is a comparison of my not modified Pentax k5 DSLR and the same, but modified one without IR-cut filter.
Astrotracer is a great way to take advantage of the Pentax DSLR camera in-body shake reduction mechanism. It is available since Pentax k5 and track celestial bodies by moving the sensor. Here is what is it ablout:
Staying at my home inspires me to make some documentation of my experience. I got a dedicated drive for my astrophotos and start reorganize them by objects. Here is an article of the most recent process I use on my photos. Enjoy: )
For a few months from now Betelgeuse (Alpha Orion) dim so much, that it looks as bright as the stars in the Orion belt. This is not so disturbing and does not mean that cataclysmic events are happening with it.