Joe's best images to date

I have a Canon 10D and am just getting into Astrophotography after finishing AstroCalculator and OptiCalculator. It was the natural extension to finally get a good camera and put my skills to the test. It has taken me years to finally acquire the basic level of equipment to be able to perform reasonable Astrophotography. I moved to San Diego to gain the clear skies and be able to see all the things in the sky I missed living in Northern Wisconsin. Now I can finally capture and share with you all the view I have here in San Diego County Hills from my back yard. WIth the almost completed Observatory I hope to finally solidly and semi-permanently mount and align my telescope for better alignment. I see Michael Covington's latest book covers Schmidt-Cassigrains like mine. 


Thanks for taking a look and hope to see you again maybe on the hiking trail, star gazing or back here at my site. To see more of my personal website see StarsGalore.


If you're into Astronomy, take a look at my tools for amateurs at:


or email me:



I'm always looking for interesting things to do, build and technical things to chat about.


Latest Images


Thunderhead in East San Diego County seen from my back yard. The first one stitched OK.

The cell was large, but I was able get a fair perspective angle on the photos.



This one is later as the sun set and turned red. Beautiful and filled the entire sky. This stitch didn't turn

out as well due to the large perspective angle.



Latest Project 



I finally got some pics. It's got some finishing to go, but it's usable. I also have to make the LED light and 12 Power distribution systems.

I'll also have to make some furniture, a desk for the computer and books and also something to store all the telescope accessories etc.





I gave it a 36 inch wide aperture and it's roomy enough to not feel crowded. I still have to trim up the top.

I just have a temp plate on it for now. The main opening sheet covers the telescope from rain. 



I'll have new pictures soon. I am almost done with the dome and am working final sealing and painting.

The door is done, the face plates are done, the sides are done. I just have to bend the steel rods for the

face plate security and finish the top hat and it's done. I will mount the telescope next weekend most

likely. Then I will take more images. The weight of the panels and paint have made for a slower turn then

without the weight, but it is still one hand turn. I made the aperture of the observatory 36 inches wide to

make rotation needs minimal. I have my daughter and granddaughters coming and I want to use it with them.


I recently got the book "Setting up the Small Observatory" author David Arditti and was able to contact him.


David Arditti Author of "Setting up the Small Observatory"




I worked at finishing the dome frame and track way. I sanded and finished it to protect from the outside sun and moisture.

I also had Beth's help to clean the golf balls, which she dutifully helped with. I got my neighbors John and his son Dillon to

help me mount the dome frame on the observatory. John is the kind soul who helped me with the second hand lumber

and the telescope mount. Beth and I installed the cleaned golf balls and set the dome down on the observatory base to

finally test the bearing. Dramatic pause..... It worked perfectly. I could not believe how well it ended up working. 


Now I can make the door and shell the dome and give it an exterior coat and it's ready for my telescope. 

This project has been in process for 18 months now and is moving to completion pretty well now.





I worked Easter weekend on my Observatory to build the Dome Frame and the Base Track way for the golf ball bearings.

Thanks to my neighbor, whoever you are up near Simon Park. I collect the balls he hits out into the Park. So I got my

resource for free. As you can guess it was a lot of back work. I am also documenting everything to make plans for sale

for others. I made a nice and wide 36 inch opening to the sky so I minimize obstructions to the telescope.



The dome still needs the main side struts, the fill in cross braces and the 

planing and sanding the the facetted surfaces for the cover. This is to better accept

the panels for the cover.



I got the pad, frame and telescope mount done. I only have the dome to finish yet.My sitting rock is in the foreground.

I sit on it to watch the stars go round some nights.






Ecliptic Finder Original design in Sky and Telescope 1992. I made mine with a better circular calendar with equinox quarter lines , month and 10 day divisions. Top and bottom have matching graphs, i.e. the bottom one is mirrored. I also added the gnome for the day of the year reading. Not shown are the small magnetic compass and spot level I have to add to the adornments for the magnetic north reference and level for better alignment. Note the divisions on graph.



Ecliptic Finder in use. First align axis to Celestial North (Polaris) and then turn axis until minimal shadow and then look to gnome and date on wheel top or bottom. Note that the sun then tracks the disk and will cast a minimal shadow any time of day, as contrasted to the sundial where the angle of the shadow in relation to the gnome tells the user the time of day.



"New" - Subluminal Clouds

12-07-2005 Ramona, CA


Minotaur Rocket Launch

Minotaur Rocket Launch Sept 22nd at 7:36pm using a Canon 10D at 800ASA, 55mm with a 24-85mm zoom and 6 sec exposure. These also catch the iridescent effect very well from the backlighting of the setting sun.

Space Weather and Universe Today both featured this one from me. What a sight....




Iridescent Moon 02/21/2005

My first showing on SpaceWeather on front page of 2/21 to 2/24 2005. I took this on in a break  in the winter rains of Feb. 2005. We are breaking rainfall records for Southern California this year. The clouds broke for about an hour or two and it is day before full moon. As the cloud edges blew across the face of the near full moon, it created this full moon bow that shimmered as the clouds passed by. I had to over expose the moon to get the colors to show thru.



A desert Thunderstorm evening of 08/17/2004

most of overall thunderhead group


south end closeup for the highlight.


Moon 07/30/2004

Canon 10D ASA 200 1/4sec


Rising Moon with Earthshine and Venus 9/14/2004


Rising Cresent Moon, Jupiter and Venus


Setting Cresent Moon

09/15/2004   1 day old (NewMoon 09/14/2004)

85mm ASA800 1/60th sec


Closeup of the  1 day old cresent


Setting Cresent Moon with Earthshine



Moon in daylight at dusk


First comet trial still got trails and focus issues...

At was Comet Machholz in mid Janurary 2005.


Here is another Comet attempt with Comet Holmes 2008


Another Cresent Moon attempt much sharper this time.


Setting December Moon with Earthshine


Sunset Moon rising with Earthshine over Mt Gower red from the sunset.


First fair Orion shot.


Second attempt. Still have tracking issues. Nice color and brightness though.


Pocket sundials I just made for my brothers.

I added a compass and level bubble for fun along with 

a graph of the Equation of Time offset over the year.

The wood was a very interesting pattern.



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