First Annual Okobojo Creek Star Party.

Astrophotography at Okobojo Creek, north of Pierre, SD

June 1-5,  2016

I was the only attendee. I pulled the Scamp up to Okobojo Creek for the new moon period and the weather forecasts that were finally looking more favorable. As it turned out, out of 5 nights only two were clear enough and only one of those nights was exceptionally good for astrophotography, with no wind, very dark sky, and atmosphere mostly free of haze and high clouds. I wanted to try photography with an AstroTrac tracker at 700mm focal length. I've had good luck at 500mm for up to two minutes. At 700mm everything has to be just perfect. It worked out pretty well too, but I had to delete a lot of photos. All images with a Canon 7D Mark II and tracking with an AstroTrac. Lenses used were a Canon 500 f4 and sometimes with a 1.4 teleconverter for 700mm focal length, Canon 200 f2.8, and a Zeiss Sonnar 135mm f2.

Veil and Filamentary Nebula at 135mm. Remnants of a supernova in the constellation Cygnus. I really need a camera modified to capture hydrogen-alpha light, that would show a lot more red filaments. As it is, I had a difficult time even getting this, and it is over processed to bring out the faint nebula.

Sombrero Galaxy, M 104. Not the best, but I will try again someday. The atmosphere was not favorable.
This was taken at 700mm, tracked with an AstroTrac, 39 one minute exposures stacked.

Saturn with a Canon 500 f4 and 1.4 teleconverter, 700mm focal length.  Although Saturn is a huge planet and is very close to earth relative to other things outside our solar system, it is still a small target for photography. This image is heavily cropped. See the LINK for a look at the original image.

The Owl Nebula (M 97) and the Surfboard Galaxy (M 108), in Ursa Major, near the star Merak.
The Owl Nebula is a planetary nebula, it is about 3 light years in diameter and over 2000 light years from earth.

The North America Nebula at 135mm.

Eagle Nebula. The nebula is about 7000 light years from Earth.
The Pillars of Creation can be seen in the core.
The pillars alone are several light years in length.

The Dumbell Nebula, a planetary nebula. 700mm, tracked with an AstroTrac.

For a look at a widefield of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster, check this LINK.