Inspirational Wonders of the Cosmos

I always seem to have a handful of projects on the go, so what follows is a list of projects that I either have finished or currently are underway.

Light Box For Flat Calibration Frames

LightboxLate last summer while taking an image of M45 from my backyard, I noticed a lot of dust motes in my images. After carefully cleaning all of my optics, I realized that the dust was in fact inside the camera body.  Getting the dust out was to be a whole other project on its own and another article for later, but in the meantime I decided to make myself a light box that I could use to acquire flat calibration frames in the middle of the night.  I’d then be able to use these flats to remove any unwanted “dust spots” in my pictures. I initially looked into getting electroluminescent panels that were compact and generated a homogenous source of light that closely resembled light seen by a telescope at twilight.  They were rather expensive at the time though so I decided to make something of my own that would generate this even light source.  The problem however, was that any light source I could think of was more or less a point source of light.  I needed a way to diffuse this light so that by the time it reached the telescope it appeared to be an even source of light over the entire area seen by the telescope. (more…)