These are some Astro Photos I took on the Feb 2007 Travel Quest
to Costa Rica's La Ensenada Lodge. TQ runs this trip each
a site on the Gulf
of Nicoya. It is the cheapest way for someone from the US to
the Southern Milky Way. It is also an ideal setup to do
I do not normally do Astro Photography. My main goal of this
was to use my 10" f/5 scope based on a design by Albert
I had always wanted to snap some pictures of the southern sky.
Editor Gary Seronik brought a barn door mount with him so I tried two
sets of photos. The details of this mount are described in
2007 issue of Sky and Telescope.
In all cases the camera was a Canon 20Da with a EFS 18-55 Zoom lens
operating at about f 3.5. The actual zoom is specified below.
are at ISO 800.
Southern Milky Way
The first photo was taken Friday evening on the barn door.
a set of 5 unguided exposures of 2
processed as Norm Aver by ImagesPlus. The original was shot
18mm, but this is severely cropped since the full frame includes the
ground. (See the full frame below) A separate dark frame was taken.
a 5x5 Adaptive Richardson-Lucy was used to reduce the noise.
This covers the sky from Centaurus east to the false cross.
from SkyMap Pro
shows approximately where
this frame is located. Omega Centuri, the Southern Cross, Jewel Box,
Eta Carina, are all easily visible. On a closer look you can also pick
out Running Chicken Nebula(IC 2944), IC 2602, NGC 3532, NGC 3114, IC
2391, NGC 2516, and probably a couple of other OCs.
Orion is something easily seen from California. The dark
La Ensenada made it a temping target. Not having a right
adapter for my camera meant that I had to image while it was low in the
This is a combination of 3 x 1 minute exposures at 22mm. A separate
dark frame was taken. Several techniques were used to reduce
noise and reduce alignment errors.
This photo covers the north portion of Canis Major, Orion, and portions
of Taurus. This chart
from SkyMap Pro
approximately where this frame is located. M41, M42, and M35 are easily
visible. A closer look reveals M50 and NGC 2024
La Ensenada Horizons
I have been asked a couple of times what the horizons are like at La
Ensenda. Here is a full frame of the 2 minute SWM
exposure. Since the image was taken on a barn door the
land is blurred.
This was taken about 12:13 AM. Eta Carina was at Altitude:
19° 51' ;Azimuth: 176° 49' . The shot shows the low
peninsula across the gulf. There were some low clouds that
which reflected light from a source to the left of the frame. There are
no significant light sources in any other direction.