(1 credit - Fall 2016)

Coco Cao, Cody Chen, Suyue Gong, Zhihan Liu, Yifei Ren, and Jiantong Yang

    In this course you will learn about and do Astrophotography through course work and nighttime observations. You will use cameras and telescopes to photograph a range of celestial objects from the Sun, the Moon, the Planets, Constellations and very distant objects like Star Clusters and gaseous Nebula. You will also take images of star trails over Oxford College buildings like Seney Hall or the new Science Building. Your goal in this course is to capture a range of beautiful astro-photographs.
Observing Night #1 - The Milky Way and Deep Sky Objects
Date: Sep. 4, 2016 --  9:00-11:30pm.
Location: Charlie Elliott Astronomy Field, Mansfield, GA

Observing Night #2 - Constellations and Star Trails around Polaris
Date: Oct. 4, 2016 --  8:00-10:0pm.
Location: Charlie Elliott Astronomy Field, Mansfield, GA


Observing Night #3 - Star Trails over Seney Hall and Oxford Quad
Date: Oct. 28, 2016 --  8:00-10:0pm.
Location: Oxford College Campus

(1) Photos of Seney Hall from front (617MB)

Observing Night #4 - Star Trails in the ATL
Date: Nov. 20, 2016 --  8:00-9:30pm.
Location: Downtown ATL

Pictures from the ATL - Nov. 20, 2016
Camera 1 - Landscape Images
Camera 2 - Portrait Images
Camera 3 - Widefield Images


General Procedure to make a Star Trails Image
  1. Download and unzip all the images in one folder. Each of the zip files contains a large number of long exposure images plus 3-5 short exposure images to be used for the buildings.
  2. In StarStax, do a LIGHTEN on all of the star trail images.
  3. In StarStax, do a DARKEN on all of the star trail images.
  4. In StarStax, do a subtraction of (LIGHTEN - DARKEN).
  5. Now the time consuming part. In GIMP, work on the (LIGHTEN - DARKEN) image by first increasing the brightness, contrast until the star trails are really bright. Now you need to erase all of the bright building lights at the bottom of the image. Do this with the scissor tool, and fill in the area outlined with the scissors using the Bucket Fill tool. You could also just use a dark eraser, but in the end you need to have the buildings on this image be black.
  6. Finally, in StarStax, use your now corrected (LIGHTEN - DARKEN) image and, choose any one of the short exposure images, the ones that show the buildings well, and do a LIGHTEN on them in StarStax. This gives you your final result, but you of course can still try and improve this final image by changing the brightness/contrast as you like. 
** Note that the Camera 2 - Portrait images are actually tilted a bit (OOPS!, see the picture above). You can carry out the normal procedure above to make the final star trail image, then you can rotate the final image in GIMP  (under Images-->Transform-->rotate) to make it straight, then crop it a bit, all in GIMP.

Psegre Phil,
Sep 9, 2016, 12:22 PM
Psegre Phil,
Sep 9, 2016, 12:23 PM