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Welcome to Astrospheric's Photo of the Month

Each month a member submitted photo will be showcased for the entire community to enjoy and learn from.

To learn more about the community and how to participate, please follow this link.

July 2020
Photo by: Dana Weisbrot
Website: www.facebook.com/SonoAstro
A Sun Illuminated ISS Transits The Moon
A Sun Illuminated ISS Transits The Moon
This months photo comes from the East Coast and captures a rather special event. Not only is the ISS difficult to capture transiting any celestial body, this particular image captures the ISS just hours after the SpaceX Crewed Dragon docked with the station. Dana Weisbrot captured this stunning image and has shared the details below.
I was using a Celestron 9.25in SCT mounted on an AVX mount. The image was shot in burst mode using a Full frame Canon 5diii that I borrowed from Shannon Calvert. The shutter speed was 1/2000th of a second at ISO 1600.
This is a composite image consisting of 12 Moon photos stacked in Deep sky stacker then sharpened with wavelets in Registax 6 to get some nice surface detail. I then added the 9 photos that included the ISS as layers in Gimp, to blend the images together and to also adjust the saturation and contrast.

It took me about 2 hours to process this photo that only took a total of 1.25 seconds to shoot, but it was well worth the effort. I really enjoy shooting the ISS and have several other transit photos and videos posted on my Facebook page.

I use transit-finder.com to plan all my transit shots. Just enter your location and the dates and that's all you need to know. Pro tip: You want to be as close to the centerline as possible for the longest transit time. Also, looking for transits with the Moon or Sun at a higher altitude is desirable because the ISS will be closer.
June 2020
Photo by: Charles Bonafilia
Website: www.instagram.com/_ethereal_astro
The Leo Triplet (also known as the M66 Group)
The Leo Triplet (also known as the M66 Group)
Famously called the Leo Triplet, the three magnificent galaxies gather in one field of view. Crowd pleasers when imaged with even modest telescopes, they can be introduced individually as NGC 3628 (bottom), M66 (top right), and M65 (top left). All three are large spiral galaxies but they tend to look dissimilar because their galactic disks are tilted at different angles to our line of sight. NGC 3628, also known as the Hamburger Galaxy, is temptingly seen edge-on, with obscuring dust lanes cutting across its puffy galactic plane. The disks of M66 and M65 are both inclined enough to show off their spiral structure. Gravitational interactions between galaxies in the group have left telltale signs, including the tidal tails and warped, inflated disk of NGC 3628 and the drawn out spiral arms of M66. This gorgeous view of the region spans almost two degrees (four full moons) in the sky. The field covers about a million light-years at the trio's estimated distance of 30 million light-years. Of course, the spiky foreground stars lie within our own Milky Way.
This group is popular in the northern hemisphere during the spring. I shot this group from my backyard in just outside of downtown San Diego in a bortle 6 sky. This is a classic LRGB palette; shot during the new moon phases with the ZWO ASI1600mm Pro (cooled to -20 C at 0 gain), the Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro and Esprit 120ED. I shot through Optolong’s 36mm LRGB color filters to create this final image'
  • Luminance - 90 @ 240s (90 photos, each with an exposure time of 240 seconds)
  • Red - 35 @ 220s
  • Green - 35 @ 220s
  • Blue - 50 @ 220s
  • Processed in PI/PS
Total exposure times is approx 13hrs. I stacked, blended and processed mainly in Pixinsight and made final touches within Photoshop.
May 2020
Photo by: Ian Barredo
Website: www.instagram.com/ian.barredo
The Rosette Nebula (Caldwell 49)
The Rosette Nebula (Caldwell 49)
The Rosette Nebula (also known as Caldwell 49) is a large spherical H II region (circular in appearance) located near one end of a giant molecular cloud in the Monoceros region of the Milky Way Galaxy. The cluster and nebula lie at a distance of some 5,000 light-years from Earth.
The image was taken in my backyard in Regina Saskatchewan, Canada. I live in the suburbs and my skyglow is around Bortle 8. The photo was taken with a 71mm William Optics Zenithstar refractor and a ZWO ASI1600 monochrome camera, mounted on the Skywatcher AZ-EQ6. I shot through a Optolong narrowband filter set, (7nm Ha, 6.5nm Sii and 6.5nm Oiii).
  • Hydrogen-Alpha : 300s x 47 (47 images, each being 300 seconds in exposure)
  • Sulfur-II : 300s x 27
  • Oxygen III : 200s x 79
Total exposure is approx 10 hrs. I assigned the Ha channel to Green, Sii channel to Red, and Oiii channel to blue and combine them to process in the Hubble Palette.
For more information on narrow band imaging, check out this great introduction and tutorial by AstroBackyard!
April 2020
Photo by: Jack Nichols
Website: www.jacknicholsphoto.com
"A New Hope"
A New Hope
This image is from a visit to Death Valley. By the time I flew into Vegas, got supplies, and drove out to Death Valley, the only campsite I could snag was near the Mesquite Flat Dunes in a sea of RVs. I managed to sneak in a quick scouting trip out to the dunes before the sun set to mark on GPS a couple of good dunes for this image. After attempting to sleep in 90F temps, my alarm had me up at 1am and off to the dunes I went to make this image and several others. This particular image is a composite of two images. The silhouette of me standing on the dune is one image, and the sky is another, shot on a tracking mount at around a 70mm focal length. The longer focal length is essential to compress the Milky Way to get it to appear larger in the frame. I opted for the wide aspect shot to increase the feeling of isolation, which turns out to be reasonably appropriate for the times we are in!