Saturday, July 31, 2010

Welcome, and How a Mushroom Got Me Interested in Astroimaging

Welcome to Eastex Astronomy!

I plan on using this as a forum for posting my astroimages, but I may post some unrelated nonsense from time to time.

I guess that since this is my first post I should provide a little background about myself.

I've been interested in astronomy since I was little, but like many things my interest waned as I got older.  That's not to say that I completely lost interest, though.  Part of the problem was financial, and part was the fact that I lived in places where viewing was either difficult or impossible.  Recently, I have been blessed with good viewing and the financial resources to purchase some modest telescopes.  I also have access to a Takahashi Epsilon-200 astrograph, which I use to produce most of my images.

The imaging bug bit me because of a mushroom.

Yes, a mushroom.

One evening while working in the yard I happened across a very interesting looking mushroom.  I went into the house and got a point-and-shoot camera (a Canon PowerShot A590 IS) and took the following picture:

I posted it here because I still haven't identified what kind it is.  If you happen to know, please post a comment!  Here is another image:

Anyway, as I was walking back toward the house I saw the moon and took a snapshot of it.  Then the proverbial light went on:  I could take a close-up image of the moon if I hold the camera up to the eyepiece of my telescope!  I rushed inside, grabbed my scope, set everything up and started taking pictures.  It worked!  Here is the best one that I got from that evening:

Moon - September 4, 2008
From that point forward I began researching and experimenting with astroimaging.  It is one of those sorts of topics that touches on many things.  It can seem overwhelmingly complex, but if one is armed with even the fundamentals, it can be a fun and rewarding hobby.

I still like to do visual observation, of course.  I'm perfectly content to sit in a dark field for the better part of a night looking at faint fuzzies up in the sky.  Imaging, however, lets me see things that I cannot see with the naked eye.  There is a LOT to see.  The Universe is so vast and contains so many wonders that it would not be possible to see everything within a lifetime.

I intend to post a bunch of my favorite astroimages over the next few weeks.  After that, I will post images as I obtain them.

I'm new to this whole blogging thing, so please bear with me until I get my blog legs.  I've shied away from it for a long time because, in part, I felt that since I am a web developer by trade that I should have a totally awesome web site and would never need to resort to using some kind of page generator, like a blog.  I finally came to the conclusion that my personal web site,, would probably never be everything that I wanted it to be because I simply don't have the time and energy to do everything I want to with it.

Not that I intend to completely drop the web site, mind you.  I still have big plans for it.  But those plans have shifted just a bit since I have now relented to maintaining a blog.

Also, I will be working on the layout of the blog from time to time.  I noticed that Blogger lets you modify your blog's CSS.  That should be fun!

OK...long post over...  Enjoy!