Amateur Astronomy Images and Local Weather Information from the Pumpkin Patch Observatory

click for local weather data

Latest Image

NGC 6888 - The Crescent Nebula

The website continues to slowly accrete content over seemingly geological time spans, and then thanks only to the judicious application of gaffer tape, wd-40, and a slack handful of round-tuits.

What's New

2018 02 09
New Mk2 All Sky Camera installed and operational.
2013 07 06
Presentation on "Hidden in Full View - revealing the hidden universe with astrophotography" for the Wysing Arts Center's Open Weekend 2013.
2013 06 26
Presented an "Narrowband Imaging Primer" at the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy as part of the Cambridge Astronomical Association's Astro Imaging Course.
2013 03 24
NGC 6888 - The Crescent Nebula added to gallery.
2013 03 13
Comet Pan-Starrs taken from garden with DSLR.
2013 01 23
NGC 281 - The Pac-Man Nebula added to gallery.
2012 09 12
To Catch A Shooting Star - The Perseid Meteor Shower Radiant image added to gallery.
2012 07 18
Presented an "Introduction to Narrowband Imaging" at the IoA as part of the Cambridge Astronomical Association's Astro Imaging Course.
2012 06 29
The Great Orion Nebula added to gallery.
2012 04 20
Presentation on "Astrophotography and Art" for the Wysing Arts Center's Cosmos residency lecture series.
2012 01 14
Lagoon and Triffid Nebulae region HaRGB image added to gallery.
2011 12 29
Completely revamped the Weather Section pages.
2011 10 28
Presented "Astrophotography - A Whistlestop Tour" at the IoA as part of the Cambridge Astronomical Association's Star Party lecture program.
2011 06 23
Added example all sky camera movies to the Timelapse Gallery.
2010 11 27
Added M31 Andromeda Galaxy continuum subtracted Ha image. The continuum subtracted image reveals M31's hidden central Nuclear Spiral.
2010 11 07
M31 Andromeda Galaxy narrowband image
2010 10 10
Abell 1185 Galaxy Group and Ambartsumian's Knot. Also added new floating thumbnail resizable gallery.
2010 08 10
Leo I Galaxy Group
2010 07 07
New video server h/w installed for All Sky Camera after original one failed.
2010 05 05
Galaxy Trio in Leo
2010 04 01
All Sky Camera converted to colour from mono after failure old older camera. Introduced offline averaging of 8 frames per image to reduce image noise.
2010 02 12
Revised Elephant's Trunk nebula in IC1396 - colour narrowband image - sharper, better contrast and colour. Improved starless processing.
2009 10 20
All Sky Camera catches Centaur Rocket dumping fuel and DMSP-F18 satellite it just launched.
2009 09 04
Elephant's Trunk nebula in IC1396 - colour narrowband image of a cometary globule and dark nebulae embedded in an emission nebula complex.
2009 06 08
All Sky Camera continous update last hour animation loop added.
2009 05 23
Added timelapse gallery and populated with some old sequences.
2009 05 14
M106 Seyfert galaxy
2009 04 30
All Sky Camera was Offline for a while. Hopefully now more reliable. Slightly wider FOV and focus tweaked.
2009 04 12
Abell 1367 Leo Galaxy Cluster - A froth of tiny galaxies - many interacting, and a 10.3 billion light year distant quasar.
2009 03 27
Updated DSLR control cable page - Joe Zeglinski's simple modification to the design adds support for Nikon DSLRs.
2009 03 02
The Moon, original f9 first light image.
2009 02 23
Rosetta Nebula prime focus image. Gallery page created.
2009 02 01
Live weather reporting added to website. Data from cloud monitor and weather station mounted on observatory.
2008 06 19
Mysterious object in Cygnus mosaic - Solved!? Sung-Nan Lin provides likely explanation.
2008 06 17
Wow, almost a year since the last real update of the site!... New All Sky Camera project that provides real-time images and time-lapse movies of the sky, day and night, 24/7. Stay tuned for news of new observatory's construction and installation of new instruments that's been taking place over the last year.
2007 08 17
A long time since I put anything up on the site, so here's a quick update. I recently had the luck to spend a night under the stars during a pack trip in the US Eastern Sierras. I shot ~2hrs of 30sec exposures with a Canon 300D DSLR, generating a few seconds worth of fisheye lens Milky Way time lapse movie [Warning 6.4MB download]. It shows the milky way rotating across the sky reasonably well. XviD codec required. If you don't have it, the CCCP Codec Pak is a quick way to get the codec installed. Most of the firefly tracks you see are aircraft, but a few are Perseid meteors. Here's a composite star trails picture of all the frames in the movie, and a cropped single frame of the brightest Perseid from the sequence.
2007 03 22
Added the Heart & Soul Nebulae to the gallery.
2007 03 21
Reprocessed the Cygnus mosaic to better emphasise the dimmer nebulosity and dark rivers.
Minor updates to DSLR serial control cable page.
2007 02 25
Finished developing generic page template for gallery items. Added image details to the Cygnus mosaic page.
2007 02 22
Site temporarily down for a couple of days due to dns configuration error
2007 02 06
Site goes live
Basic structure in place: menus, search, translation.
Minimal content: About, Equipment, old standalone DSLR serial control cable page completely revamped and revised
Images: Northern Cygnus mosaic, IC1396

  Site contents and all images are Copyright © Paul Beskeen