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Al Kelly's CCD Astrophotography Page

(Last updated on June 3 , 2014)

On the left is Thor's Helmet as seen by a Starlight Xpress MX916 CCD camera. On the right is the Celestron CGE 1400 telescope which allowed the camera to have the view. I made many images with this equipment. Currently, I use an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot color CCD camera.

The goal of this web site is to promote CCD astrophotography by amateur astronomers. I am a member of the Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society (JSCAS) and lead the CCD special interest group (SIG). The JSCAS CCD SIG invites anyone interested to participate with us in using CCD cameras for astrophotography. For more information, e-mail

 

On the left is the Ring Nebula as seen by my old CB245 CCD camera. On the right is the 32" Newtonian telescope which used to reside in my Danciger, Texas observatory and allowed this camera to have such a view. This telescope now belongs to the Alliance for Astronomy. Many of the older images on this site were made by this instrument. Some of the other images here were made with my 17.5" Newtonian in a previous version of my Backyard Observatory.

 

 

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INSTRUCTIONS ON TAKING AND PROCESSING CCD IMAGES.....

Click here to read a BASIC INSTRUCTION MANUAL on acquiring and processing astronomical CCD images. This is a living electronic document constantly undergoing improvement.

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G2V-CALIBRATED COLOR IMAGING

See
WHITE BALANCING RGB FILTERS for my 2010 AIC presentation on why and how to use G2V stars for calibrating RGB filters.

In 1998, four of us were pleased to present our development of color CCD astro-image calibration and processing techniques, including white-balancing with Solar-analog (G2V) star data, atmospheric extinction correction, and foreground sky color neutralization. The article also discussed the use of CYAN, MAGENTA, and YELLOW filters rather than the traditional Red, Green, and Blue filters. If you wish to learn more, click here to see the FINAL DRAFT of the article which appeared in the December, 1998 issue of Sky and Telescope. (I updated this draft on May 21, 2000 to reflect an improved method for CMY data conversion)

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Most of the color composite images on this web site have been produced using AIP for Windows and Photoshop. AIP is a superb image processing program written by RICHARD BERRY and JIM BURNELL and available from Willmann-Bell. Here is a Powerpoint presentation on the basic steps in making such composites, emphasizing the use of downloaded DSS images: DSS COLOR PROCESSING .'

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Here is a selection of RECENT images. Just click on one to see the enlarged version and use your browser's "BACK" icon to return here (dozens of other images are accessible by object type in the table below these images or via the header table at the top of this page):


LRGB image of emission and reflection nebula M20 (the "Trifid") in Sagittarius, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 5/28/14 from the Texas Star Party near Fort Davis, Texas. Twelve 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop.


LRGB image of reflection and dust nebula NGC 7023 in Cepheus, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 5/26/14 from the Texas Star Party near Fort Davis, Texas. Thirty-two 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop.


LRGB image of globular cluster M4 in Sagittarius, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 5/25/14 from the Texas Star Party near Fort Davis, Texas. Seven 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop.


LRGB image of interacting galaxies NGC 4038 and 4039 (the "Antennae") in Corvus, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 5/30/14 from the Texas Star Party near Fort Davis, Texas. Five 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop.


LRGB image of edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 4244 in Canes Venatici, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 5/28/14 from the Texas Star Party near Fort Davis, Texas. Twenty-one 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop.


LRGB image of spiral galaxy NGC 4535 in Virgo, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 4/30/14 from Johnson City, Texas. Thirty-three 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop. The image was augmented somewhat by including LRGB data taken of NGC 4535 in 2008 with my MX916 camera.


LRGB image of spiral galaxy NGC 6946 in Cepheus, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 10/6-8/13 from Johnson City, Texas. Fifty-eight 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop. Clich here
for the full resolution (LARGE) image.


** LRGB image of the Extreme Deep Field of galaxies in Fornax, processed by Al Kelly from wide-band and long-band filtered images (435W, 606W, 775W, 814W, and 850L filters) taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. All processing accomplished in AIP4WIN and Photoshop. Clich here
for the full resolution (LARGE) image.


LRGB image of planetary Nebula NGC 6543 in Draco, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 5/7/13 from the Texas Star Party near Fort Davis, Texas. Thirty-six 180-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop. Signal-to-noise of the sky background and faint nebular areas was improved by adding data from red and blue DSS plates.


LRGB image of irregular galaxy NGC 3718 in Ursa Major, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 5/7/13 from the Texas Star Party near Fort Davis, Texas. Fourteen 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop.


LRGB image of spiral galaxy NGC 5364 in Virgo, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 5/6/13 from the Texas Star Party near Fort Davis, Texas. Twenty-four 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop.


LRGB image of spiral galaxy M51 in Ursa Major, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 4/12/13 from Johnson City, Texas. Twenty-five 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop.


LRGB image of spiral galaxy M61 in Virgo, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 4/12/13 from Johnson City, Texas. Nineteen 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop.


LRGB image of spiral galaxy NGC 2403 in Camelopardalis, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 3/5/13 from Johnson City, Texas. Twenty-seven 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop.


LRGB image of dust and reflection nebula Cederblad 201 in Cepheus, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 10/19/12 from Johnson City, Texas. Thirty 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop.


LRGB image of open star cluster NGC 7789 in Cassioipeia, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 10/19/12 from Johnson City, Texas. Six 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop.


LRGB image of spiral galaxy M74 in Pisces, made from images taken by Al Kelly with an Orion Parsec 8300C one-shot-color camera, Lodestar autoguider, and a Celestron CGE 1400 at f6.8 on 10/19/12 from Johnson City, Texas. Twenty-five 600-second subexposures were guided in Astroart and processed in MaxIm DL, AIP4WIN, and Photoshop.

 

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ALL IMAGES PROCESSED BY THE AUTHOR (AL KELLY) FOR THIS WEBSITE FROM DSS (DIGITIZED SKY SURVEY) DATA ARE SUBJECT TO THE COPYRIGHT PROVISIONS SHOWN AT THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE: http://archive.stsci.edu/dss/copyright.html . THE THUMBNAIL DESCRIPTIONS FOR ALL SUCH IMAGES ARE DENOTED BY *

ALL IMAGES PROCESSED BY THE AUTHOR (AL KELLY) FOR THIS WEBSITE FROM HST (Hubble Space Telescope) DATA ARE SUBJECT TO THE COPYRIGHT PROVISIONS SHOWN AT THE FOLLOWING SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE (STScI) WEBSITE: http://archive.stsci.edu/hst/acknowledgments.html . THE THUMBNAIL DESCRIPTIONS FOR ALL SUCH IMAGES ARE DENOTED BY **

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About CCDs and Astrophotography

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To learn about the Cookbook CCD Camera system click on the Cookbook Camera Home Page

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Active links to other astronomy resources on the Internet
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Astronomical Image Research Library

Adam Block's Images from the Kitt Peak Public Observing Program

Doug Clapp's Astronomy and ST-6 CCD Imaging Page

Robert Dalby's Hundred Foot Observatory Page

Fort Bend Astronomy Club ("Bendonites") Home Page

Rob Gendler's Astroimaging Homepage

Ed Grafton's CCD Imaging Page

"Doc" Greiner's Astronomy Information Page

Dietmar Hager's Astroimages

IAU: Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams

JSCAS Home Page

Steve Lee's Astronomy and CCD Home Page

Jeff MacQuarrie's CCD Images Page

Dr. Fabio Marino's Astronomy and CCD Home Page

William McClaughlin's CCD Images

Dick Miller's CCD Images Website

Dick Miller's Website on Arp Peculiar Galaxies

Northeast Kansas Amateur Astronomers' League (NEKAAL) Home Page

Kunihiko Okano's CCD Gallery Home Page

Michel Peyro's Astronomy and CCD Home Page

Arnie Rosner's Rent-a-Scope Website

Gregg Ruppel's Astronomy Page

Johannes Schedler's Astrophotography Page

Glenn Schaeffer's Astrophotography Page

Michael Stecker's Website of Astrophotogrpahers

Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) Digitized Sky Survey

Latest STScI Images from the Hubble Space Telescope

Useful Formulas for Astronomers and Astrophotographers

UTAH SKIES Website

John Vicker's Back River Observatory and CCD Atlas Page

Dennis Webb's Amazing Arpgalaxy Page

Rob West's CCD Images Page