Category Archives: Activity

SJAA Astrophotography Workshop

San Jose Astronomy Association usually holds astrophotography workshop at Morgan Hill, 10 miles south of San Jose.  It is a good dark place to hold this kind of activity and recently it was held last January 28, 2017 where a lot of people participated even those who doesn’t have any idea on astrophotography.

Here you’ll see the talk being conducted by one of the SJAA.  Topic includes Beginning Astrophotography up to the tools needed, then he gave a hands on walk thru in setting up the telescope, mount, camera and computers to do the astrophotography session.


You can see my rig here in the picture below. It’s an Explore Scientific 127mm ED with an ASI 1600MM-Cooled camera on an Orion Atlas EQ-G Mount.

I had some trouble in my setup specific to the camera software that I’m using. It was the Beta version of SharpCap 2.10 where it was not able to give me a very good result and at the same time drained by laptop battery, and on the field, battery is the life of astrophotography.

Peltier Cooling

Got all the parts that I need for the making my Peltier Camera Cooling

Camera peltier cooling parts ready

2 Video Card heatsink with fan
1 CPU heatsink with fan (copper based)
1 CPU heatsink with fan (arctic brand, aluminum)
1 Tube thermal paste
1 Thermoelectric cooling/heating device (Peltier)
1 486 CPU heatsink with fan
1 3 speed cooling fan

Will be updating this post on the process of building my Peltier Cooling

The Great Nebula in Orion

Orion Atlas EQ-G

Went to the Orion Telescope store in Cupertino just to buy a 182mm tube rings for my other telescope, the Celestron C6N, an old telescope that I wasn’t really able to use that much. This time wanting to fix it and learn a couple of skills such as collimating and aligning.

For some reason, already went out of the store and started the car but just can’t take my eyes on it, went back and couldn’t control my compulsive buying. Left with it unfortunately got home and the weather forecast wasn’t that good as it’s cloudy and rained for the next 4 days.

Got home and unboxed it and figured out that I don’t have the AC adapter. Good thing that I have the Celestron PowerTank that I can use the car batter adapter. Assembled to make sure everything is working, but ooopppss, the hand controller have a very old firmware, the motor controller have a very old firmware, and the motor when slewing sounds very noisy and something is not right.

Finally, clear skies, went outside my backyard and tried it. Spent a whole lot of time aligning it comparing to the Celestron AVX. Mounted, placed the telescope, waited for the Polaris to show up and did a 1, 2, 3 star aligment. Again something is odd, it doesn’t point to the right direction by a complete hemisphere. Pointed to the star in the western hemisphere but pointed on the eastern hemisphere. It was a complete disaster. Only one conclusion, return or replace.

Went back to the store talked about the problem but they couldn’t believe what was wrong with it. The guy in the store tried it and obviously the motor doesn’t sound good so the head was replaced.

Again went home and opened it and see the major difference. The hand controller is newer with the latest firmware. The motors are so quiet and smooth. Probably I got a bad old copy of the mount.

It’s time to test it, alignment was so easy, choosing the stars for alignment was a breeze, a complete turn on my first experience on setting it up.

First target, Andromeda Galaxy, to test the Celestron f/6.x focal reducer/corrector. Made some error on tracking and using a very long exposure, the result was not very good.

Second target, the Pleaides, not so sure what happened as the result are not very good. Alignment was good but the images did not turn out so good. My post processing capability seems to be lacking.

I was about to give up as it’s already very late when I saw the Orion Nebula and I gave it a shot, pointed the telescope and looked at it and I was very surprised with what I got, a very beautiful nebula so I reset the tracking and the imaging cameras and added all the exposure information. Fired all my automation and slept.

Next morning, I got this very beautiful image, with a very minimal post processing that I did before going to the office.

Single Image

Before and After comparison
single exposure before and after

The final image

Stacked Image

Before and After comparison
multiple exposure before and after

The final image

Software for stacking : DeepSkyStacker 3.3.2
Final image processing : Lightroom
Total number of light images : 13
Total number of flat images : 14
Total number of dark images : 11
Exposure length : 2 hrs and 14 minutes


Orion 80 ED Carbon Fiber Triplet APO

Recently added the Orion 80ED Carbon Fiber Triplet APO to my arsenal. Used the Orion Nebula to test it and the following are the images. A more wide field sense of the Orion’s Belt with the Running Man on the left.

orion 80edcf-sl1 1hr 6mn 40s 8frames 800iso.jpg

Celestron C6N

Taken with an old Celestron Newtonian, the stars seems to glow with star pointers very visible. This is a very old telescope, one of my first and still the image is very good.

orion c6nsl1.jpg


orion 17 frames 2 hrs 25min copy

Atlas EQ-G

I recently bought an Atlas EQ-G but wasn’t really able to test since it’s been raining. Also found some problems and returned it and luckily got replaced. The replacement was a newer model, newer firmware and hand controller.

I was really impressed with the performance, with a very minimal time was I able to align and capture some cool images without the aid of an auto guider.

Please take note that no post processing done on the images below.




Also, I’m very surprised about the stability of the mount. This is what I got from Auto Guiding
Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 11.26.22 PM

Camera Peltier Cooling v1


Recently did a first pass of my camera peltier cooling. It was supposed to be just a prototype of what I ultimately want but ended up continuing and tried to see if the enclosure was fully capable of storing the cold air inside. The conclusion, it was a big disappointment. I’m starting to work on my next cooling enclosure but still waiting for some part coming from Amazon.

While waiting, will be testing the effectivity of this cpu cooling fan.

Enjoy Life!!!

Enjoying Life!!!
This photo was taken on May 24, 2008, missing my family so much specially Gaby. I spent most of my weekends going places to find something to do. I recently bought a telephoto lens and just want to try it out until I found a man playing his violin in the park.

I stopped for a while, listened and enjoy the music. It was good, this is how I enjoy life. I really love the music of the smooth sound of a violin. Though I can’t recognize the music being played, but the notes resonated as the music is telling me something about a story of a long lost love found and gone again, but for a brief moment, love was felt and reciprocated but was too late.