Category Archives: Deep-Sky Imaging

The Canon EF 200mm f#2.8 prime lens for astrophotography

I recently bought Canon’s EF 200mm f#2.8 prime lens for some deep-sky imaging with the Canon 5D MkII.  To say I am highly impressed with this lens’ performance is a massive understatement – it is fantabulous!

Last night was “first light” for the EF 200mm and I imaged the Double Cluster region and the region around M31.  Note that the field of view is around 9.5 x 6.5 degrees and we have perfect round stars from corner to corner – this is AMAZING performance for a “daylight photography” lens.  It’s certainly more impressive than the refractors I use for the purpose – although at 200mm the focal length is a lot shorter and so the resolution is also quite a bit poorer.  That said – for wide-field deep-sky imaging I reckon this lens takes some beating.

The Double Cluster image was only 6 subs at 3-minutes per sub, f#4, ISO 800, IDAS filter.  The M31 image was just 10 subs at 5-minutes per sub again at f#4 but this time at ISO 400, again using an IDAS filter.

I am highly impressed with the performance of this lens and have a huge list of objects now on the whiteboard waiting to be imaged by this little beauty 🙂 🙂


Arcturus – the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere

We have just had 8 consecutive clear Moonless nights – I’m pretty sure that one will remain an unbroken record.  Taken during this period of  deep-sky imaging bliss we have the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere, which is NOT Vega as you might guess (looking up on a summer’s evening Vega appears to be the brightest star up there) – but over to the west, looking a lot like Mars IS the brightest star – and it’s Arcturus.

Arcturus – or Hoku-lea the star of gladness, the star that leads great voyagers home – to quote Stephen James O’Meara in his superb book “The Caldwell Objects”.

There’s something about Arcturus, I don’t know what it is, but I get a great feeling of comfort and security when I see it shining overhead.  Maybe I have some Hawaiian ancestry? 🙂 🙂

Sirius – the brightest star in the night sky:

I managed to acquire the second frame to this Sirius 2-frame mosaic on 1/1/2013.  Hopes that this was a good omen for better weather in 2013 were soon dashed with days of cloud and rain to follow 🙁  Never mind.  Here is a 3.3 x 3.4 degree field of view of the Sirius region taken with the mini-WASP array from the New Forest Observatory.  Processing courtesy Noel Carboni, Florida, U.S.A.


The Coathanger cluster in Vulpecula courtesy of the mini-WASP array

I managed to get some time on the Coat-hanger cluster earlier this month using one TS 80 and Sky 90 each with an M26C one shot colour CCD.  Although there was an interfering Moon about it still came out quite nice with a very busy background with lots of interesting dark lanes.  Image acquired by Greg Parker at the New Forest Observatory using the revolutionary mini-WASP parallel imaging array and expertly processed by Noel Carboni in Florida U.S.A.