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Posts from the ‘astrophotography’ Category

Deep Space Objects with Nikon 70-200mm

Which objects can you picture in a clear night sky with a Nikon 200 mm? What magnification can you obtain with this photographic zoom?
Picture shot with ISO 800-1600, 2-3 min long exposure, 3.2-5.6 aperture – Mount: Skyguider pro. Click each picture to zoom in

A plate solver like helps mapping your night shots: with 70 mm, no DSO is recognized in this part of the sky

With 200 mm, small emission nebula like the Bow tie nebula are mere dots

With 200 mm galaxies like the Whirlpool galaxy turn visible

Still a 200 mm shot, the ring of the Ring nebula in the Lyra constellation is pixel visible

The Andromeda galaxy is likely the only galaxy you can resolve up to this definition with a 200 mm

Pictures shot in Zurich area (sky brightness 18.5)


Freeze! My first Deep Space Objects

Starry night skies are present in Zurich despite the light pollution . Still, is light pollution low enough for shooting deep space objects? Which exposures / f values,  ISO combinations are necessary to capture galaxies or star clusters?

With a fixed tripod, 30 sec exposures cause long star trails.

With a Skyguider Pro mount, 4 minute long exposures produce clear star pins: so many stars turn visible through photography!

With such long exposures, Deep Space Objects like M37, Spinwheel and Starfish star clusters got visible! Can you see them between Venus (bottom left) and Capella (the bright star on the right border)?

Here is a crop from above: the 3 clusters are vertically displaced across middle of the picture.

A continuous tracking of the Polar Star alignment is useful with 4 minute long exposures or longer. If the alignment get lost during the shooting, star trails will appear. I obtained continuous tracking by changing the optical scope for iPolar, an electronic scope which shows the alignment to the Polar Star on a laptop screen. The electronic scope does not need to detect the Polar Star. The detection of 3-4 stars is enough to localize the Zenith. A good alignment is very easily kept for 4 minutes and likely more.


Camera setup for stars: 240″, f/3.2, ISO 500

Around 20 pictures stacked with the free software DeepSkyStacker

Lenses: Nikon 70-200 mm or 35 mm

Cameras: Nikon D800 or D600

Mount: Skyguider Pro (iOPTRON) with iPolar

Urban astrophotography

To the Moon and beyond with Skyguider Pro (iOPTRON)! I was gifted with this star tracker (thanks Maria Francesca!) for long night exposures. Are Zurich nights dark enough for testing it? Click each picture to open full-size pictures.

My Skyguider Pro mount with 2 ball heads for two full frame cameras, my D800+50mm and a D600+35mm (thanks Oliver!). Ursa Major above. Picture shot with Huawei P30 Pro

The full big pink (???) Moon of April 2020 shot with D800 + Nikon 70-200 mm on Skyguider Pro.

The orange Arcturus shot with D800 + Nikon 70-200 mm on Skyguider Pro.

Ursa Major shot with D600 + Nikon 35 mm on Skyguider Pro.

The blue Vega shot with D800 + Nikon 70-200 mm on Skyguider Pro.

A 16 mm framed night sky over Zurich city. Can you spot the Ursa Major?

A 3/4 Moon of April 2020 shot with D800 + Nikon 70-200 mm on Skyguider Pro. Shades make craters visible.

An impressive payload for the Skyguider Pro: D800+70-200 and D600+16-35mm, around 7-8 Kg. Picture shot with Huawei P30 Pro


Camera setup for the Moon: 1/50, f/5.6, ISO L01

20 pictures stacked with the free software Autostakkert

Camera setup for stars: 25″, f/5.6, ISO 500

Around 80 pictures stacked with the free software DeepSkyStacker

Lenses: Nikon 70-200 mm, 35 mm

Cameras: Nikon D800 and D600

Mount: Skyguider Pro (iOPTRON)


5 shooting stars for 5 wishes

552 shots, 15 seconds each for around 2.5 h on Nikon D800 plus 16-35 mm f/2.8 on tripod. Enjoy this year Saint Lawrence’s night (10.08.2019) and its shooting stars in the time-lapse below. Pictures shot watching eastwards of Zurich, direction Perseus and Pleiades. Play the movie fullscreen in HD

If you don’t find the shooting stars in the time lapse, or if you cannot tell what is airplane, satellite or shooting star, wishes on cropped frames below are allowed 😀

03:08 AM

03:18 AM

03:27 AM

04:01 AM

05:05 AM, a few minutes after dawn

Click each picture to zoom in.

NASA, shooting stars and I

Tonight, at least in Italy, is Saint Lawrence’s night (notte di San Lorenzo).That means, eyes up to the starry sky looking for shooting stars. Although the Perseids’ peak is announced to be in the nights of 11th and 12th of August. As beautifully described in this video made in NASA, with one credited picture from Lorenzo Borghi (that’s me). Nomen omen?

Enjoy it and follow its suggestion to find your Perseids in the next few nights. Here you can see the original picture I shot to the night sky of August above the Gotthard pass (Switzerland). Thanks to Jane Houston (NASA) for choosing it.

Astronomical calculations with Nikon D800: Mercury over the Sun and Jupiter moons

Today Mercury slid over the sun and I shot it with an additional infrared 850 nm filter. Mercury is at the bottom, a sunspot is visible on the Sun upper hemisphere.

Mercury passage over the Sun May 2016

Mercury passage over the Sun May 2016

A 70-200 VRII mounted on the 36 Mpx D800 gave a resolution of 2 pixels for Mercury passing over the Sun and 370 pixel for the Sun. Knowing the Sun is 1.64 times more distant than Mercury from Earth, the size ratio Sun / Mercury is 370*1.64/2 = 303.4 . Known the Sun diameter is 1.3914 million km, Mercury measures 4,586 km in diameter (the real value is 4,800 km).


Jupiter and the four Galilean moons

The same camera setting gives a resolution of 12 pixels for Jupiter, which is 6.8 times more distant from Earth than Mercury. Therefore the size ratio Jupiter / Mercury is 12*6.8/2 = 40.8 . Calculated that Mercury is 4586 km in diameter, Jupiter is 187,108 km (its real size is 143,000 km). More or less …

Red is the new white: supermoon lunar eclipse 2015

Click to enlarge each picture of this moon total eclipse: next super+blood moon in 2033.

supermoon artborghi 2015 white moon

Full white moon, shot in the clouds with ISO 100, 1/200 s, f/5.6

supermoon artborghi 2015 red moon

Full red “blood” moon, shot with ISO 1600, 1/40 s, f/.28

supermoon artborghi 2015 exit from eclipse 2

Exit from the eclipse, “half blood” moon,  shot with ISO 1000, 1/20 s, f/4.5

supermoon artborghi 2015

Picture series shot from Zurich with D800 + 16-355 mm f/4 and 70-200 mm VRII f/2.8. Click to enlarge.


Flying and falling objects in August night sky

Around 300 pictures were shot tonight for a total of 120 minutes. Falling stars (Perseids), airplanes (dotted lines) and satellites (thin white segmented lines) fly across the sky. Can you distinguish them? Click to enlarge

full300 artborghi

Below, at least 10 falling stars are present in this hi-res composite image of only 10 shots (airplanes almost excluded): can you find them? Click the picture to enlarge it (takes some time to download it, it is big), then click on the magnifying lens to zoom in!

10 comets artborghismall

Finally, a single shot of the brightest falling star tonight. On its left, the galaxy of Andromeda the Pleiades, click to enlarge

artborghi perseids 2015

Pictures shot with D800 on a tripod mounting a 16-35 mm f/4 – ISO 1200-2000, exposure time 25 secs.




ARTBorghi Solar eclipse 20.3.2015 : a 2 hour-long time-lapse shot from Zürich Botanical Garden

Click each picture to enlarge.

switzerland sun eclipse 2015 artborghi time lapse

With an infrared filter mounted on my Nikon 50 mm f/1.4G on D800, here is a time lapse in a single merged picture (one shot every 15 seconds, selected). Notice the tree branches on the upper right corner.

switzerland sun eclipse 2015 artborghi botanical garden small

The tropical greenhouses of Zürich Botanical Garden shot during the initial phase of the solar eclipse on 20.3.2015. Picture merging shot with D800 mounting the Nikon 16-35 mm f/4 (background) plus the 70-200 mm f/2.8 (sun) – camera settings: 1/8000 secs, f/22, ISO 25

Time lapse movie of the solar eclipse of 20.3.2015 in Zürich. Pictures shot with D800 + 50 mm f/1.4G + infrared filter


Astronomy and space photography on the Aeolian islands

Aeolian islands are a good spots for astrophotography. From the top of volcanic peaks, dark skies reveal all the details of constellations, Milky Way and far away objects. Click each picture to enlarge


Scorpion constellation at dusk on Pollara, Salina


Raising Milky Way, Vulcano


Night lights between Lipari and Salina


Deep space objects from 1000 m  above the sea level, Salina


“Moontan” at Fossa delle Felci, Salina


Milky way above Sicily night shores


North (Polar) Star, Vulcano

All pictures shot with Nikon D800 on tripod, ISO 100, f/5.6 and exposure times from 30 secs to 30 minutes on Nikkor 50 mm / Nikkor 16-35 mm


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