Entries tagged as astronomy

Nikon P1000 observes ISS-Sun transit

Nikon CoolPix P1000 observes the Sun next to Celestron NexStar 6SE telescope

Encouraged with the results from the previous observation, I took the Nikon P1000 outside during the day to take the photos of the ISS crossing in front of the Sun. Last time I was able to see the transit at home was three and a half years ago. I also got my Celestron telescope out as a backup in case any one of the equipment failed to record the phenomenon. The camera needed a solar filter like the telescope, so I bought an ND100000 glass filter online for US$40 that provided the same amount of light reduction.

Full-resolution composite of the ISS passing in front of the Sun on November 3, 2018 (click for the full photo)

Although the P1000 has burst mode, it can only take seven photos in a span of a second. The window of opportunity was too narrow, so instead of taking the risk I used the 4K 30fps video capability instead. It would sacrifice image quality, but I was sure to get the shot if the frame and focus were right. And sure enough, the transit was captured successfully as you see above.

Stacked image of the ISS shows the details

The result may not be not quite as sharp as using a telescope, but much of the features of the space station were distinguishable. Perhaps I should try the burst mode the next time I get the opportunity to see if that makes a difference.

Device: Nikon P1000
Settings: 3000mm - ISO 400 - 1/500s - f/8
Filters: ICE N100000 (Neutral Density 16.5 Stop)
Time: 2018-11-03 10:48:02 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
17 photos processed with Pixelmator and RegiStax 6.1.0.8

Tracking the ISS with Nikon P1000

Int'l Space Station captured by Nikon P1000 on October 27, 2018

Next target I've been eyeing to take some photos of using the powerful zoom provided by the Nikon CoolPix P1000 camera was the International Space Station. Although it's a fast-moving target, I have experience with other equipment and the P1000's zoom should be sufficient enough to let me distinguish major features under ideal conditions, similar to the photos I took using a telescope. One such pass happened on October 26, coming in as close as 410km, but the thick clouds prevented me from taking the shots. Luckily, a slightly worse backup opportunity (closest approach of 572km) happened just a day after and I made the best of it - what you see above is the result.

iPhone 5S was used to help track the ISS as the P1000 took photos

As it was the case with SX50 HS, tracking the station is nearly impossible with just the integrated screens on the camera. So I enlisted the help of an iPhone mounted on the camera's hot shoe. It was very effective and I was able to take an unbroken sequence of the space station for more than a minute, until it went out of my view. If you want to see the whole thing, watch the video below. I think it was good for a first try with a new camera. More opportunities are to follow in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.



Device: Nikon P1000
Settings: 3000mm - ISO 100 - 1/320s - f/8
Filters: None
Time: 2018-10-27 05:29-05:31 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
78 photos processed with PIPP 2.5.9 and RegiStax 6.1.0.8
Defined tags for this entry: , , , , ,

Planetary observation with Nikon P1000

Saturn and Mars on October 19, 2018

I'm getting the hang of photographing the planets with P1000 after some practice. Jupiter sets below the horizon too early these days, so I targeted Saturn and Mars. Using the Moon as the reference for the manual focus (actual setting seems to vary up to ten dial ticks by the daily conditions) and turning off the vibration reduction (better to let the tripod stabilize on its own), I was able to take several photos for processing. Discernible in the results are the prominent differences in the surface colours of Mars, as well as the Cassini Division on the rings of Saturn.

Device: Nikon P1000
Settings: 3000mm - (Saturn: ISO 200 - 1/40s / Mars: ISO 100 - 1/160s) - f/8
Filters: None
Time: 2018-10-19 (Saturn: 19:15 / Mars: 20:50) KST
Location: Naju, Korea
(Saturn: 9 / Mars: 11) photos processed with PIPP 2.5.9 and RegiStax 6.1.0.8
Defined tags for this entry: , , , , ,

The Nikon P1000 Moon shot

The Moon as seen by Nikon CoolPix P1000 (click for full size)

Due to the extreme optical zoom, Nikon P1000 actually has a dedicated "Moon Mode" in the scene selection wheel to let you photograph the Moon. However, I wanted to get used to the manual operation of the camera and so I took some photos of the Moon under manual mode. This one looked to be the best one so far, with tiny craters easily visible.

The Moon is currently 1,775 arc seconds wide, while it was 3,462 pixels wide on the photo. This is just a hair wider than the height of a photo that P1000 takes (3,456 pixels). This translates to 0.513 arc seconds per pixel resolution for the camera at maximum zoom.

Device: Nikon P1000
Settings: 3000mm - ISO 200 - 1/100s - f/8
Filters: None
Time: 2018-10-18 21:01 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
Defined tags for this entry: , , ,

Testing out Nikon CoolPix P1000 with Saturn

Nikon CoolPix P1000 with its zoom lens fully extended

One of the reasons why I like superzoom cameras is because it can act as a portable telescope-camera bundle. I could do astrophotography without hauling a heavy telescope. This is why I bought a Canon PowerShot SX50 HS back in 2013 that had 50x optical zoom. Canon didn't bother extending the zoom beyond 65x (SX60 HS) but Nikon kept pushing, with P900 doing 83x zoom. And now, Nikon created a monstrosity that is P1000. It can do 125x optical zoom (24 to 3000mm, 35mm equivalent) and 4K video recording on a 16-megapixel sensor. I knew I had to get it.

Saturn: SX50 HS vs. P1000

Naturally, I wanted to see how much larger the planets would show up on the P1000 compared to the SX50 HS. The result from the P1000 was obtained with a few quick shots that I made during a session where I was getting familiar with manual focusing operation. The one from the SX50 HS I put in here for comparison was made in 2013.

Needless to say, the two cameras' zoom capabilities are worlds apart. I have high hopes with the new camera.

Device: Nikon P1000
Settings: 3000mm - ISO 200 - 1/30s - f/8
Filters: None
Time: 2018-10-02 19:40 - 20:01 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
7 photos processed with PIPP 2.5.9 and RegiStax 6.1.0.8
Defined tags for this entry: , , , ,

Copyright (C) 1996-2018 Wesley Woo-Duk Hwang-Chung. All rights reserved.