Today was the first rainy day of the season, so I thought I’d play with my recently acquired Celestron “digital microscope” and start a virtual mineral collection. The microscope is actually a webcam with a macro lens and LED illuminators around the lens. I found the camera holder awkward, so I cable-tied the camera to a USB flexible light. Both the USB microscope and the flexible light are plugged into a small USB hub, and the hub is plugged into the computer. Fortunately there is enough power from my laptop to run the hub, light, and microscope without an external power cable. With the microscope attached to the neck of the flexible light, it’s somewhat more easily adjusted for the object being photographed.
Here are my first shots for the virtual collection. The optics and camera aren’t the greatest, but it is certainly convenient to use. I’ve tweaked the images for some of the shots in Adobe Lightroom. Click on the images to see enlarged versions.
Finally, after a couple of years of a virtually spotless sun, we seem to be seeing some significant activity. This shot was taken in late September and closely approximates what could be seen through an eyepiece. I used what has become my standard setup for photographing eclipses – a Nikon D700, 2x teleconverter, and Borg 4″ refractor. 43 frames out of 540 were combined to produce this shot. A lot of images and processing are necessary to show what can easily be seen by the eye! Click on the image for more details.
A movie stitched together from real images from Cassini as it flies through Saturn’s system of moons and rings:
A nice visualization from earth to the distant reaches of the known universe:
(American Museum of Natural History video)
A nice touch is to see the orbits of satellites, the moon, and planets as we depart Earth.
The U.S. government is not the only one with money problems. Let’s hope we don’t also repeat mistakes!
Art by Larry — Layers of sawdust in a dust catcher under the table saw.