Astrophotography by Noel Carboni

On this page you'll find some of the astrophotos I've taken.

Unless otherwise noted, these images were captured with my Canon EOS digital cameras or Meade Lunar/Planetary Imager and Meade 10" LX200 GPS UHTC 2500mm f/10 telescope from my light-polluted south Florida home. I processed these images in Photoshop with my own Astronomy Tools and StarSpikes Pro software.


My Latest Astrophotos

The Moon in Hypersaturated Color Two Days Past a Super Moon, September 10, 2014

A Super Moon is when the moon happens to reach Full stage at the same time it's closest to the Earth, and so it looks large in the sky. This image was taken almost 2 days past the Full phase, and you can see the edge starting to fall in shadow at the upper-right.

This image is a mosaic of 18 separate and overlapping 10 megapixel images from my Canon EOS-40D digital SLR set to M (manual) mode, captured as raw .CR2 files and converted and stitched together in Photoshop CC 2014.2.

I mounted my dSLR to my Meade LX200 GPS UHTC 10" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope via my 2x Televue Powermate - a focal length doubler, similar to a teleconverter, which also serves to mate the camera to the 2" telescope eyepiece tube. Effective focal length in this configuration is 5000mm f/20.

Using Live View mode on the camera to frame the images, I swept across the surface in a zig-zag fashion, trying for about 1/3 to 1/2 overlap between frames. I triggered the shutter 8 times manually at each position with my TC80-N3 remote timer/controller, allowing the telescope to settle (stop vibrating) between shots. After I chose the sharpest image from each set, Photoshop CC's Photomerge feature made quick work of the stitching.

Since it was taken at the camera's most noise-free setting (ISO 100), the data is highly accurate, and thus I was able to strongly increase the color saturation via Photoshop's Image - Adjust - Hue/Saturation function. Thus the colors are real, indicating different mineral compositions of the lunar surface.

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Previous Astrophotos

The Moon in Hypersaturated Color The Moon in Hypersaturated Color

Stacked from 15 exposures of 1/5 second at ISO 100 This image is a mosaic of 15 separate and slightly overlapping 8.2 megapixel images from my Canon EOS-20D (unmodified), taken in Raw mode and converted and stitched together in Photoshop CS2. The exposures were each 1/5 second at ISO 100.

I mounted my 20D to my Meade LX200 GPS UHTC 10" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope via my 2x Televue Powermate. Effective focal length was 5000mm f/20.

Looking through the viewfinder I swept across the surface in a zig-zag fashion, trying for about 1/3 overlap between frames. I triggered the shutter with my TC80-N3 remote timer/controller. I did the stitching by hand in Photoshop.

Since it was taken at the camera's most noise-free setting (ISO 100), the data is very accurate, and thus I was able to strongly increase the color saturation via Photoshop's Image - Adjust - Hue/Saturation function.

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APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day), September 7, 2006: A high resolution 1600 x 1200 image with stars added, makes a great desktop background.

M45 - The Pleiades Cluster M45 - The Pleiades Cluster

Stacked from every image I've taken of the Pleiades over a year and a half. I digitally combined all long and short, high and low focal length images I've ever taken of the seven sisters and came up with a result better than that from any individual set of images.

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M57 - The Ring Nebula M57 - The Ring Nebula

Stacked from every image I've taken of the Ring Nebula over a year and a half. I digitally combined all long and short, high and low focal length images I've ever taken of M57 and came up with a result better than that from any individual set of images.

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Polaris - the north star Polaris - the north star.

Stacked from 16 exposures of 30 seconds at ISO 200 plus 14 exposures of 30 seconds at 1600 with 0.63x focal length reducer / field flattener and IDAS light pollution filter on my LX200 telescope. Shot in Raw mode and converted in Adobe Photoshop using -20% color saturation so as not to clip the black point.

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M68 - Globular Cluster M68 - Globular Cluster.

Stacked from 34 exposures of 15 seconds at ISO 1600 with 0.63x focal length reducer / field flattener on my LX200 telescope.

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M13 - Globular Cluster M13 - Globular Cluster.

Stacked from 30 exposures of 30 seconds at ISO 1600 at prime focus of my LX200 telescope.

M13, also called the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, is one of the best known globulars of the Northern hemisphere. This image isn't deep enough to show nearly all of the several hundred thousand stars in M13.

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M43 - Nebula M43 Nebula.

Stacked from 132 exposures of 20 seconds at ISO 1600 at prime focus of my LX200 telescope.

M43 is the roundish nebula with the star in the center. Part of the M42, the Great Orion Nebula, also shows at the lower-right of the image.

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M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy.

Stacked from 30 exposures of 30 seconds at ISO 1600, some at prime focus and some using my 0.63x focal length reducer. Photographed at my dark site near Lake Okeechobee in Florida.

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The Coma Bernices star cluster The Coma Bernices star cluster.

Wide starfield shot stacked from 7 exposures of 2 minutes at ISO 3200, using my 100-400 zoom lens at 200mm piggybacked atop my LX200 telescope. Photographed at my dark site near Lake Okeechobee in Florida.

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The Rosette Nebula The Rosette Nebula.

Stacked from 29 exposures of 2 minutes at ISO 3200, using my 100-400 zoom lens at 400mm piggybacked atop my LX200 telescope. Photographed at my dark site near Lake Okeechobee in Florida.

Unfortunately, the deep red color of Hydrogen Alpha emission in this nebula is all but blocked by the unmodified Canon 20D's internal filters.

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A Deep shot in the Coma Bernices constellation. Wide field shot of NGC4559, NGC4565, NGC4494 in the Coma Berenices constellation.

Stacked from 7 exposures of 2 minutes at ISO 3200, using my 100-400 zoom lens at 300mm piggybacked atop my LX200 telescope. Photographed at my dark site near Lake Okeechobee in Florida.

Several galaxies and a globular cluster are visible. NGC4565 is an edge-on galaxy sometimes called "The Needle Galaxy".

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Corvus Very wide shot of the Corvus constellation.

Stacked from 3 exposures of 2 minutes at ISO 3200, using my 100-400 zoom lens at 100mm piggybacked atop my LX200 telescope. Photographed at my dark site near Lake Okeechobee in Florida.

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Aldebaran and the Hyades cluster The bright star Aldebaran and the Hyades open cluster.

A wide starfield image, stacked from 11 exposures of 10 seconds at ISO 1600 using my 100-400 zoom lens at 200mm piggybacked atop my LX200 telescope.

The Hyades cluster is very close to Earth and thus the stars are quite widely dispersed.

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Auriga Wide starfield shot in Auriga, showing M36, M38, NGC1907.

Stacked from 9 exposures of 10 seconds at ISO 800 using my 100-400 zoom lens piggybacked atop my LX200 telescope.

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The Big Dipper The Big Dipper asterism, part of the Ursa Major ("Great Bear") constellation in the northern sky.

I shot this image by mounting my camera with 17-40 zoom lens at 31mm atop my telescope and using the mount to track the stars. As long as I keep the exposures fairly short, circular trailing is kept to a minimum even though I'm using the telescope in altitude-azimuth configuration for ease of setup.

If you look carefully in the high resolution image, there are quite a few tiny deep sky objects (galaxies and nebulae) visible.

APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day), March 17, 2006.

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Orion Orion the hunter. One of the most recognizable constellations in the winter sky.

Another wide angle high resolution shot through my 17-40 zoom lens, which is proving to be a great performer for astrophotography.

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M82, M81, and vicinity Messier Objects 82 and 81 Wide Field.

I shot this image by mounting my 20D with Canon 100-400 zoom lens at 300mm piggybacked on top of my telescope.

If you look carefully in the high resolution image, there are a few galaxies besides M82 and M81 visible.

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The Double Cluster in Perseus The Double Cluster, NGC 869 and NGC 884.

Canon EOS-20D and Canon 100-400 zoom lens at 300mm, piggybacked on top of my telescope.

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Saturn and Five of its satellites A high magnification image of the planet Saturn and five of its satellites.

The upper atmosphere was moving around early on, but by about 10 PM it had really settled down. It was great looking at the moon and planets with super-high magnification through still air. About the time Saturn's Encke division showed in the eyepiece I figured I'd better break out the LPI and do some imaging.

The optics in my LX200 continue to amaze me. There's some odd 3 point flaring when the scope is warm, but man when it cools down (to 65 degrees F in the case of last night) there just don't seem to be any limits! I was quite comfortable looking at Saturn with my 2x Powermate and 9mm Nagler... What's that, 556x? Amazing! Right at diffraction limits.

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Click here to see a slightly larger image.

M42 - Trapezium Region, 1/15/2006 NGC 2392, the "Eskimo Nebula" or sometimes known as the "Clown Nebula", a "planetary" type nebula so named because it is round and about the size of a planet. It's really the outer shell of a star not unlike our sun that's been blown off at the end of the star's life.

Not long ago I decided I'd try to concentrate on photographing small, bright objects, insofar as I have a lot of light pollution here at my home, and I have a long focal length scope (10" LX200 GPS UHTC, 2500mm f/10) with great tracking. Thus, the "Eskimo Nebula" seemed a good fit. I did some exposures of this object about a year prior, before I had a Powermate and knew much about processing. I decided I needed to do it better.

This is stacked from 60 Canon 20D JPEG images at 15 seconds, ISO 1600 plus 55 Raw images at 20 seconds, ISO 3200 through my 2x Powermate, which made the telescope 5000mm f/20. Note that this is unguided in alt-az configuration. I took one dark frame to calibrate all images, and it greatly reduced hot pixels in both sets of shots.

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M42 - Trapezium Region, 1/15/2006 M45 - The Pleiades, Wide Field.

My second attempt at this cluster with my 20D and 100-400 zoom lens piggybacked on my telescope, this time from a site with darker skies. I was able to sustain 2 minute exposures at ISO 3200. The only thing keeping me from going deeper and getting a cleaner shot was that clouds moved in before I had finished the exposure set.

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M42 - Trapezium Region, 1/15/2006 A closeup of the Trapezium region of M42.

Stack of 242 exposures at ISO 200, 400, 800, 1600, and 3200 and various exposure times.

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Click here to see a medium resolution image with digital spikes added.

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The Belt of Orion, 1/1/2006 The Belt of Orion, Wide Field.

A stack of 23 ISO 3200 images taken at a dark site, piggybacked through Canon 28-135 zoom lens @ 135mm, f/5.6, 1 minute per subexposure.

In this image you can see the flame nebula and horsehead nebula area near Alnitak, the leftmost belt star in Orion.

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M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy

Most folks don't realize how large the Andromeda Galaxy is. It requires a wide-field setup - in my case a camera lens on my dSLR, piggybacked on my telescope to track the stars. Visible also in this shot are M32 (the small blob left and a bit up from the main galaxy's center), and M110 (the blob to the lower-right).

Canon EOS 20D at ISO 1600 through Canon 100-400 zoom lens @ 300mm, f/5.6. 92 x 30 second subs stacked in Images Plus, and processed in Photoshop

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The Sword of Orion The Sword of Orion

I piggybacked my Canon 20D and 100-400 zoom lens on top of my LX200 and got this wide field shot.

This is NGC1977 (the Running Man nebula), M43 (the little mostly round nebula), and M42 (the Great Orion Nebula), all making up the sword of Orion.

Canon EOS 20D at ISO 1600 through Canon 100-400 zoom lens @ 300mm, f/5.6. 22 x 30 second subs stacked in Images Plus, and processed in Photoshop

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Saturn, December 1, 2005 Saturn

161 of the best frames of Saturn chosen by Meade Autostar software, taken with Meade LPI (Lunar/Planetary Imager) through Powermate 2x on Meade 10" LX200 GPS UHTC, stacked in Registax, upsampled in Photoshop, Adaptive Richardson-Lucy sharpening in Images Plus, color balance in Photoshop, final sharpening with my dSLR Fractal Sharpen actions.

Moments of reasonably good seeing that night.

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M45 - The Pleiades, December 1, 2005 M45 - The Pleiades

Piggyback my 100-400 lens on my LX200 - check! Tighten zoom ring so no slippage - check! Find best focus (not at infinity mark) - check! Determine max exposure time at 300mm f/5.6 - 30 sec ISO 1600, limited by LP. Took a bunch of exposures for half an hour before the battery died.

The LX200 unguided alt-az tracking was great, at 300mm I was able to use EVERY SINGLE exposure in the stack; all had pinpoint stars and no trace of rotation. Woohoo! Problem is I could *BARELY* coax any nebulosity out of the resultant image. I got more out of two exposures during the power outage after the hurricane. I really need to get to a dark sky site for this one.

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Mars, November 26, 2005 Mars

When I got my LX200 almost a year ago, included in the package was the Meade Lunar Planetary Imager (LPI). I tried it out exactly once, but because I was having USB connector problems on my laptop I put it away and never tried it again. Until Now.

Meade 10" LX200 with Televue Powermate 2x, Meade LPI, 41 frames chosen by the Meade Autostar software, stacked in Registax with wavelet enhancement, Adaptive Richardson-Lucy sharpening in Images Plus, final processing in Photoshop

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Moon-Mars Conjunction, November 14, 2005 Moon-Mars Conjunction, November 14, 2005. Single ISO 100 image taken handheld through Canon 100-400 zoom lens @ 380mm, f/5.6, 1/125 second.

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Mars, November 8, 2005 Mars on November 8, 2005, just past opposition. Eyepiece projection for high magnification, stacked from 5 particularly sharp ISO 200 dSLR images out of a set of 45 exposures at 1/3 second each. Kind of like a webcam, but with far fewer frames.

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NGC 1977, The 'Running Man' Nebula NGC 1977, the "Running Man" nebula in the sword of Orion, just up from the big, bright M42/M43 complex. Taken through my Meade f/6.3 focal length reducer, stacked from 10 ISO 3200 exposures of 30 seconds each.

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NGC 2169, The '37' Cluster APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day), November 18, 2005.

The answer to life, the universe, and everything... Douglas Adams was off by 5!

NGC 2169, The "37" Cluster. 26 x 30 second ISO 3200 subs, with f/6.3 FL reducer.

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Saturn and 8 moons Saturn, early in the morning of November 8th, 2005 (3:48 am EST to be exact). I captured 8 satellites, according to Cartes du Ciel, and a few stars too!

With Televue 2x Powermate. This was a combination of 3 exposures, 0.4 sec at ISO 100, 10 sec at ISO 400, and 30 sec at ISO 3200. I overlaid the three exposures in Photoshop, then erased through the overexposed parts to combine the data and show much more dynamic range than the camera is capable of in any one exposure.

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Click here to see a chart identifying the moons.
Click here to see the different exposures.

M42, The 'Great Orion Nebula' Messier 42, the "Great Orion Nebula", and Messier 43. A combination of a stack of 11 x 5 second ISO 3200 shots for the bright Trapezium area, and a stack of 19 x 30 second ISO 3200 shots for the rest.

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The Moon and Venus, November 5, 2005 The Moon and Venus, November 5, 2005. Shot at ISO 800 through my Canon 28-135 zoom lens @ 135mm, f/6.3, 3 seconds. The diffraction spikes are optical, from the aperture vanes.

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60 Degree Wide Field A 60 degree wide-field shot showing Cassiopea, Andromeda, Pisces, Perseus, Triangulum, and Aries. The Andromeda galaxy, the Double Cluster, and several other DSOs are visible, as well as Mars in the lower-right. This was a single, non-tracking 30 second ISO 1600 shot with my Canon EOS-20D through my Canon 10-22 zoom @ 22mm. Taken on October 25, 2005, just after Hurricane Wilma blew out all the power and darkened the skies.

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Click here to see a chart of this part of the sky.

South Florida Sky after Hurricane Wilma An almost 90 degree ultra wide-field shot of the dark south Florida skies on October 25, 2005, just after Hurricane Wilma blew out all the power. We've never seen stars like this here before! Taken through my Canon 10-22 EF-S lens @ 10mm, 30 seconds, ISO 1600, f/3.5.

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Click here to see a light pollution comparison before and after Wilma.

NGC 869 NGC 869, one of the Double Cluster in Perseus. Just a very small image I prepared quickly for a photo contest.

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Mars Mars, on a background of stars. Combined from two stacks of exposures, one for the planet and one for the stars.

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Albireo Albireo, a beautiful blue/yellow double star, taken as a test shot to determine the optical quality of a new TeleVue Powermate 2x lens I had purchased. This makes my Meade into a 5000mm f/20 scope.

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The Moon The Moon. A 15 image ultra high resolution mosaic, stitched in Photoshop. Each sub-image was an ISO 100 shot through my Powermate 2x.

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M57 - The Ring Nebula Messier 57, the Ring Nebula. Shot taken through Meade 0.63x focal length reducer / field flattener.

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Uranus A combination of two exposure stacks, one for the planet and one for the background stars and moons.

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South Florida Sky after Hurricane Wilma M27 - The Dumbbell Nebula

By coincidence, when I imaged this object there was a new star showing, which is highlighted with the two lines in the image. The forums were abuzz with talk about whether it was a supernova, a nova, or just a variable star. Most ended up agreeing it was a variable, but I didn't hear for sure, so I labeled it a nova in the image.

40 x 30 second ISO 3200 subs, Canon EOS-20D on Meade LX200 GPS UHTC 10", f/6.3 FL reducer, unguided, alt-az mount.

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Click here to see a cropped version showing the location of the nova.

M37 - Open Cluster Messier 37 - Open Cluster

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M36 - Open Cluster Messier 36 - Open Cluster

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M35 - Open Cluster Messier 35 - Open Cluster

3 x 30 second ISO 1600 subs at prime focus (2500mm f/10).

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Crescent Moon with Earthshine, May 12,2005 Several shots with different exposure parameters overlaid to capture both the Earthshine and sunlit portions.

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Lunar Eclipse, October 27, 2004 A sequence of 7 images of the moon taken with my Canon EOS-20D and Canon 100-400 zoom lens.

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