2009 Trip to Sunglow Ranch Az

I just returned from my 3rd trip to Sunglow with a friend of mine and his 20" scope.  This time I also brought a camera so I could do some astrophotography.

For those not familar with Sunglow it is located in southeastern Arizona about 2 hours from Tucson.  The location is about as dark as you can get with only a minor glow from Douglas. The site is astronomy friendly, serves excellent food, and provides a comfortable room to collapse at twilight.  Oh and the site is dark!

The weather cooperated again.  We had 3 excellent nights (plus a short first night and one cloudout).

Click on the pictures outlined in blue for a higher resolution image.


This 24mm shot was a combination of 50 one minute exposures at ISO 800.  This map will show the approximate location of the image.

This is a sequence showing Sagitaritus rising that I will be using in the intro of my "Summer Sky" movie"


This 100 mm exposure shows the Milky Way near M8 and M20. It is a 18x3 min exposure @ ISO 1600.  Ambient was in the mid 30s but I also actively cooled.


This 24mm photo shows the southern horizon and the area of Centaurus. This exposure is 4x2min f/2.5 ISO 800. The yellow arrow marks omega Centuri and Centaurus A.  The latter only dimly visible in the 24mm image.

Here is a closeup at 100mm.  Omega Centuri and Centaurus A should are easy to see, but this map will help orient you.

Downtown Virgo

Finally the reason we came to Sunglow in the spring - galaxy season.  This 100mm 21x3 min @ ISO 1600 with active cooling shows the central region of the Virgo Cluster. This map will help you find the various galaxies.


I am using a Canon 20Da on an Astrotrac mount.

For these pictures I polar aligned using just the supplied polar scope.  That is adequate for 24mm, but not for 100mm.  I will need to drift align for longer exposures.  That defeats one of the goals of using the Astrotrac (simplicity).  It is still less equipment than a full GEM mount.

Actively cooling the camera improves the noise.


Creative Commons LicenseCopyright ©2009 Robert J. Hawley.  Some Rights Reserved

All Photos are created under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. This permits the non commericial use of the material on this site, either in whole or in part, in other works provided that I am credited for the work. I grant permission to Sunglow Ranch to use these photos.

Rob Hawley 5/3/09