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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Astrophotography by J-P Metsavainio, a video

Last weekend I participated to a Finnish Star Party at Artjärvi, southern Finland, as a speaker. Thanks to the organizators, everything went very smoothly!

I made a small movie out of the images used in my presentation. At first, there are couple of minutes some quick info, how my photos are taken. Rest of the movie is made out of my photos taken between 2007 and 2016.

Astrophotography by J-P Metsavainio 2007 -2016
For the best impression, select HD 1080p from settings and watch in fullscreen. Music is by Tchaikovsky, enjoy!

Click to start and stop the movie

Watch in Youtube, HD 1080p:

You can find and follow my photos from here

Monday, April 11, 2016

Just for a fun, a Kepler launch pareidolia

Kepler is a space observatory launched by NASA to discover Earth-size planets orbiting other stars. The spacecraft, named after the Renaissance astronomer Johannes Kepler was launched on March 7, 2009. I spotted the NASA picture out of the launch and I simply had to do this manipulation to show, how I saw the photo at the first time.

Something is holding back the Kepler's launch
Click for a large image

Original photo credit: NASA/Sandra Joseph, Kevin O'Connell. Image manipulation by J-P Metsavainio, Astro Anarchy Observatory, Oulu, Finland. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The end, all of my photos from the Winter season 2015-2016

This is a collection of my photos from the past Winter season, Autumn 2015 and Spring 2016. We are now out of astronomical darkness for about six months due to high latitude, 65N. As every time, it's hard to give up imaging the beauty of the deep sky.

The season was very cloudy as usually. We had many months a solid cloud cover this winter and clear nights just now and then. The good side is, that I have been forced to develop new imaging and processing methods to be able to finalise maximum number of photos. The "Tone mapping" method and a new unpublished "VARES" (Variable Resolution imaging method) are very powerful tools for astrophotography. I'll publish the VARES.method in a year or so, after I have tested it well enough.

A poster format collection from all of my photos, Spring season 2016 
Please, click for a large image, 2200 x 3000 pixels, ~4MB

Autumn season 2015 
Please, click for a large image, 2200 x 2500 pixels, ~4MB

Photos from the Winter season 2015 - 2016 in chronological order, oldest first

Autumn season 2015

All photos above have been taken with this setup

My humble thanks to the supporters, they made my work possible once again!
This setup was possible due to great support!

  • Mount, 10-micron 1000
  • Optics, Celestron Edge HD 1100
  • Camera, Apogee U16 D09 with KAF16803 chip, 4096x4096 9 microns pixels, 36,8x36,8mm 
  • Filter Wheel, Apogee, seven square slots 50x50mm 
  • Focuser, FeatherTouch with MicroTouch control unit 
  • Heater, Dew Buster 
  • Active Optics Unit, SXV AO LF from Starlight Xpress + OAG 
  • Guider, an ultra sensitive Lodestar X2, also from Starlight Xpress 
  • Focal Reducer, Celestron reducer 0.7 for Edge 1100 
  • Finder, Telrad 
  • Filters, Astrodon, H-alpha 5nm, O-III 3nm, S-II 3nm. R, G, B and L

Some highlights from the season past 

  • Exhibition in Mikkeli Center of Photography

  • Cooperation with David Lane

This photo get published by WIRED and CNET

Dr.Ioannis - Hugh Seiradakis Professor of the Physics Department of AUTH
J-P Metsavainio Finnish astrophotographer
The Dr.Fiori Anastasia Metallinou is an associate of the Institute of Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing of the National Observatory of Athens.
Dr.Kosmas gauze is Lecturer of the Department of Astrophysics, Astronomy and Mechanics, University of Athens

  • A gallery exhibition in Helsinki, Finland, Galleria Kajaste

  • An art exhibition in Oulu, Finland

  • Concert, thousand year old vocal music with my astronomical photos

Two concerts with two vocal ensemble Cappella pro Vocale from Oulu and Punctum from Rovaniemi. Thousand year old vocal music with my astronomical photos turned to be a timeless combination.

My imageshow was matched with music and it was projected on the walls and ceiling with four power projectors. Concert took place in two places, first one was in Oulu, Finland at the Church of St Thomas, the second one took place in Rovaniemi in Northern Finland at the Chapel of Korkalovaara.

Concert in Rovaniemi, Chapel of Korkalovaara at Polar Circle (Image is taken during rehearsal)

Concert in my hometown Oulu at Church of St Thomas

Concert in my hometown Oulu at Church of St Thomas

Concert in Rovaniemi, Chapel of Korkalovaara at Polar Circle (Image is taken during rehearsal)

Concert in Rovaniemi, Chapel of Korkalovaara at Polar Circle (Image is taken during rehearsal)

Monday, April 4, 2016

The last imaging project of the season, PuWe1

This is my last imaging project of the Spring season 2016. We'll lose astronomical darkness day after tomorrow for about six months due to high latitude, 65N.

PuWe1 is a very large and diffused planetary nebula in constellation Lynx. I think this is the first ever three channel narrowband image of it. This planetary nebula is extremely dim, I added single twenty minutes frames at end of the post to demonstrate, how little information there really is.

The data is collected between  16. February and 3. April. Total exposure time is around 23h. To boost the sensitivity of the camera, exposures are mostly shot binned between bin 2x2 and bin 10x10.
Final data is combined so, that high signal noise components, mostly stars, are from bin 1x1 data. Low signal elements are  combined from heavily binned data.

There is a hint of  outer halo visible in this image. It's extremely dim, especially with the focal length used.  I have shot this object with much shorter focal length at Spring 2011. That was the first time I noticed the possible outer structure in this planetary nebula. I like to have this confirmed by some other imager. I will continue this imaging project at Spring season 2017.

PuWe1,  planetary nebula in Lynx
Ra 06h 19m 34s Dec +55° 36′ 42"

The photo is in mapped colors from the light emitted by an ionized elements, 
red=sulfur, green=hydrogen and blue=oxygen.

PuWe1 in visual colors
Click for a large image

Natural color composition from the emission of ionized elements, R=80%Hydrogen+20%Sulfur, G=100%Oxygen and B=85%Oxygen+15%Hydrogen to compensate otherwise missing H-beta emission. This composition is very close to a visual spectrum.


PuWe1, (Purgathofer-Weinberger 1, PNG 158.9 + 17.8, PK 158+17.1) is a large circular Planetary Nebula in the constellation of Lynx. It has an apparent diameter of 20', without an outer halo seen in the image.

Messier 27 compared to PuWe1
Click for a large image

Note. An apparent size of the full Moon is marked as a white circle atop of the image. 

Technical details

Processing work flow

Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack2.
Deconvolution with a CCDStack2 Positive Constraint, 21 iterations, added at 25% weight
Color combine in PS CS3
Levels and curves in PS CS3.

Imaging optics
Celestron Edge HD 1100 @ f7 with 0,7 focal reducer for Edge HD 1100 telescope
Canon EF 200mm f1.8 camera optics (For S-II and O-III channels)
10-micron 1000
Meade LX200 GPS 12" (For S-II and O-III channels)

Cameras and filters
Imaging camera Apogee Alta U16 and Apogee seven slot filter wheel
Guider camera, Lodestar x2 and SXV-AOL
QHY9 (For S-II and O-III channels)

Astrodon filter, 5 nm H-alpha
Baader filter, 8,5 nm O-III
Baader filter, 8 nm S-II

Exposure times
H-alpha, 30 x 1200s binned 2x2 =10h
O-III, 21 x 1200s binned 2x2 = 7h
O-III, 12 x 900s binned 10x10 = 3h
S-II,  9 x 1200s binned 10x10 = 3h 
Total 23h

A single uncropped, calibrated and stretched 20 min. H-alpha frame as it comes from the camera, the data is binned 2x2

A single uncropped, calibrated and stretched 20 min. O-III frame as it comes from the camera, the data is binned 2x2