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Diffraction pinhole image of Orion (and basketball hoop)

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#1 Jason H.

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 11:27 PM

Diffraction pinhole image of the constellation Orion (and a basketball hoop.) No lenses, no mirror, no glass was used. You can barely see the Orion Nebula in the sword. I made it by taking a plastic camera body cap, drilling a hole in the center of it, placing a piece of aluminum (from a disposable baking pan) at the center (but poking a small hole, probably less than .3 mm) in it. I affixed it to the plastic cap with cellophane tape, blacked it out with a black sharpie marker, and put it on my DSLR camera, jacked the ISO to 12,800 (a Canon T6i). I put the camera on a regular tripod, and then shot this particular exposure for 56.4 seconds. Post processed in Corel Pro 4, image size reduced (but not cropped, that's the field of view by this particular pinhole.) 

 

Orion-Glass-Free-JasonHigley-IMG_4763.png


Edited by Jason H., 14 March 2017 - 11:28 PM.

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#2 overnight

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 11:38 PM

Why did you do this though? Fun? Curiosity?


Edited by overnight, 14 March 2017 - 11:38 PM.


#3 ToxMan

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 11:54 PM

Cool and different...Betelgeuse and Rigel sure came out nice. No tracking either, Jason?

 

I did some day time pin hole diffraction with photo printing paper years ago and never thought of trying it at night. You demonstrated it works with a digital camera.

 

Do you think you might get more stars at a dark site? Probably have to be a certain magnitude to show up.


Edited by ToxMan, 14 March 2017 - 11:55 PM.

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#4 rekokich

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 12:44 AM

Jason,

This was a glorious idea: astrophotography with a camera obscura. I took the liberty of overprocessing your image in B/W, and there is no doubt. You actually photographed the M42 complex.

You win 5 stars from me for outstanding content.

Rudy

 

post-34923-0-60079000-1489552114.jpg


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#5 cosmo823

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 12:57 AM

Wow! I did a lot of pinhole/camera obscure photography back in my days in art school. All daytime stuff, except for one long evening exposure of traffic. Never thought of turning it skyward. Brilliant idea. Bravo on the thought, the process and the first result.


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#6 sharkmelley

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 01:17 AM

Cool!  I've never seen this done for astrophotography.

 

Mark


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#7 kd4pbs

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 09:12 AM

I was just using a pinhole lens I made for the ASI1600 yesterday.  It's a wonderful tool for judging how dirty a filter or sensor is.  But I was just taking boring pictures of the ceiling of my office.  I never even thought about turning it skyward.
Very cool!


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#8 Jason H.

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 09:12 AM

In answer to Mariner 2's question, I did this for several reasons:

 

For years I've been wondering if a pinhole camera could be used for nighttime astrophotography (imagining using pinholes, zone plates, pinhole sieves etc.)  Then a new breakthrough came out last year (that I found out about relatively recently) regarding flat metalenses that could be used in Astronomy (not directly related to this, that has to do with paper thin optics without lenses, and I started thinking again about pinholes). All references I could find on google, including image searches, seemed to imply that it hasn't been done yet for nighttime astroimaging, and that it was not likely to have been done before (at least that's not detectable on the internet.)  I've always wanted to make an image of the night sky with a pinhole, without glass in the imaging train. 

 

I wanted to see if nighttime astrophotography is now possible without a telescope or glass optics  (without using refraction or reflection, glass lenses or mirrors).  I wanted to see if diffraction optics are useful for Astronomy (because ISO sensitivity is now so high that I imagined that it would now be possible to do; this is a proof of concept for me.)

 

I want to see what the colors of the stars and nebula look like without glass optics (it will not be natural looking, the nature of pinhole images, but I still want to see it, even if it looks artsy.)

 

I want to eventually see what the sky looks like with zero field curvature, with the ground in view (a Milky Way shot.)

 

I wanted to see if such a tiny aperture (<0.3 millimeters) could actually work for this purpose.)  I wanted to have the smallest telescope in the world! :^)  Now I do.

 

I had other images, but I chose the one with a basketball hoop in the frame to give a frame of reference relative to the focusing (because there is no manual focusing using this method, yet.)

 

I will now be able to improve the images understanding what will be needed to move forward.

 

Jason Higley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why did you do this though? Fun? Curiosity?


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#9 Jason H.

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 09:29 AM

Hey Toxman,

 

     Thanks.  Yes, no tracking :^)  At <0.3 mm aperture it buys a little time on the Earth's rotation (from what I can tell 55 seconds was the best looking one out of the bunch.)  Yes, it will be possible to go much further with this IMO.  I only used a hand made pinhole.  The accuracy of this pinhole is bad, which leads to poor focusing.  After looked at this subject for awhile, I understand that the more accurate the curve of the pinhole, the better the focusing.  I'm ordering a more accurately machined pinhole today that claims 5 micron accuracy (which is about 100 times better accuracy than is needed.)  That should be an interesting experiment.  I'll post the results in this forum.  Regarding your last question, I don't know what will happen at a dark sky site, but I anticipate that this will eventually be able to get to the level of a bright nebula and to do a Milky Way image.

 

Regards, Jason Higley

  

 

Cool and different...Betelgeuse and Rigel sure came out nice. No tracking either, Jason?

 

I did some day time pin hole diffraction with photo printing paper years ago and never thought of trying it at night. You demonstrated it works with a digital camera.

 

Do you think you might get more stars at a dark site? Probably have to be a certain magnitude to show up.



#10 jgraham

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 09:33 AM

Fantastic! I used to have a lot of fun with pinhole cameras. Back in the days of sheet film I made several examples including a stereo camera out of balsa wood and a panorama camera out of an oatmeal box. I once saw a picture of the moon taken with a pinhole camera attached to the side of the Hooker 100" :)

 

I still use pinholes to bench-test new cameras and I have tinkered with the body-cap pinhole, with fun results.

 

Thanks for sharing this!


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#11 Awesomelenny

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 10:56 AM

What an awesome concept!  I enjoyed reading this. Bravo on your achievement of this pinhole astrocam!!! waytogo.gif 


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#12 Bloated Star

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:11 PM

What a great idea. This had never occurred to me. Now I want to try it!
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#13 Jason H.

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 05:07 PM

Hello all,

 

     So here's an update.  I received the new accurately figured 0.3 mm pinhole.  It probably is a little smaller than the aperture I made by hand because there seems to be less light throughput (so longer exposures will be needed), however, the focus is much better than the one I made by hand.  The maker says the figure is accurate to 5 microns (but I have no way of verifying that.)  

 

The attached image is a stack of two images 120.6 seconds and 150.5 seconds long exposures.  They are not cropped but resized down to 20% of original (to make it better presented due to extreme noise.)  I also increased the Gamma, RGB balanced it in Registax 5 (but didn't do anything else.)  There was so much noise in the originals that Deep Sky Stacker couldn't stack them properly (because there is a large difference in the star locations between each frame.

 

     You can barely see the Orion Nebula.  The other artifacts in the image include: bottom left Tree, bottom center fence, right  middle basketball hoop and plants (I can't tell they are those items from looking at the image, I just know that they are there.) and top above and top above-right are the rectilinear darkening artifacts that I don't know how they are happening (but they blocked Betelgeuse from being properly illuminated.  The next experiment will be to get as many subs as possible in a stack.  Since it is very difficult to point the camera (because I have mounted it on an outdoor electric motor timer switch (from Home Depot) which is more easy to use in this case than my primitive clock mounts from the '70's, I'm not sure how long it will take me to get enough subs to be decent, but eventually I'll post the result of that run.

 

Clear skies and good seeing! Jason HigleyTwoFrameStackGammaUpRGBbalanced-IMG_4876.jpg


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#14 pbealo

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 06:49 PM

FYI: I had to share this string with the Antique Telescope Society Boston Section. We have a few members who also belong to the Boston Antique Photography Society who make their own emulsions, do stereo photography, etc.

 

I am awaiting a fresnel zone "lens" made for my Canon 6D by a friend here. That'll be useful to try in this same mode.

 

Excellent thread!! Thank you.

 

Peter B.


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#15 Jason H.

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 07:08 PM

Thanks Peter,

 

     I've always wanted to see how a "fresnel zone "lens"" performs too, I hope that you can post the result in this forum.  I looked at a lot of daytime zone plate lens images online (most of which were on film) and came to the conclusion that it will be much faster (so you'll arrive at the image sooner) but that the focus would be softer.  In solution to that problem, I may have a partial remedy for you.  If you go get the dark image of a room given as an example of a zone plate image at https://en.wikipedia...wiki/Zone_plate

you will find that a great amount of brightening and sharpening can be done to that image that will reveal a great deal more detail than is evident in the base image.  Another type of "optic" in this class is a zone sieve, and processing some daytime shots from examples posted online by others, they respond very nicely to sharpening, and their much faster speed (than a basic pinhole) makes them a desireable avenue to investigate too IMO.

 

Regards, Jason Higley

FYI: I had to share this string with the Antique Telescope Society Boston Section. We have a few members who also belong to the Boston Antique Photography Society who make their own emulsions, do stereo photography, etc.

 

I am awaiting a fresnel zone "lens" made for my Canon 6D by a friend here. That'll be useful to try in this same mode.

 

Excellent thread!! Thank you.

 

Peter B.


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#16 Jason H.

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 12:58 AM

An update from tonight's try in the driveway.  Although I substantially increased the number of subs to 10 frames (of 2,3 and one 4 minutes for 29 total minutes) , and I increased the ISO to 25,600 (which I just learned how to do) I could not get the Orion Nebula to present itself much better.  That is not what I anticipated, especially considering how much more integration time there was.  It did resolve a bit better in the sword, but not nearly what I hoped it would do.  I'm going to give some further thought to this.  Maybe integrating hundreds of frames from the pinhole would be needed, but that surely won't happen this season on Orion (and I now wonder if that would even be effective?  Maybe the resolution of the 0.3mm pinhole is only good for point sources and too small for the nebula?  Maybe the nebula is just too dim (so far)?)  I'll have to experiment with other holes, plates, sieves and other ideas.  It's fun anyway.

 

Clear skies, Jason H.IMG_4929-rgbbal10frD.jpg  


Edited by Jason H., 22 March 2017 - 03:40 PM.



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