Astrophotography and shooting COMET Lovejoy in Pakistan dark skies

In January 2015, it is winters in Pakistan (in the northern hemisphere) and so skies are quite clear at night with many deep sky objects available in sky throughout the night. Some of them includes Andromeda Galaxy, double cluster, Pleiades, Orion Nebula, Running man nebula, Flame Nebula and Horse head nebula. This was the 24th Rutjaga of Karachi Astronomers’ Society therefore named R-24 Al-Tusi.

It was my first trip of the year 2015 in the dark skies of Mirpur Sakro, Pakistan. We gathered a group of 60+ people and headed to Mirpur Sakro. This time we had many of our old astronomers fellows with us. This trip was not for viewing just planets and stars but also to find and shoot the COMET Lovejoy from the dark skies of Pakistan.

The Introduction

As soon as we reached the venue, we settled and introduced each other in a group session. I introduced Karachi Astronomers’ Society by telling about the society, history, founders and future. It was KaAS’s 24th Rutjaga (Night sky Astronomy trip).

Please note all photos are captured by the author Abubaker Siddiq and is author’s property. If you use it, watermark should remain intact.

Observation

 

Sky Watcher 6inch f/8 telescope

Sky Watcher 6inch f/8 telescope

Sky Watcher 10 inch telescope

Sky Watcher 10 inch telescope

Pointing to our neighboring world The Venus

Pointing to our neighboring world The Venus

Finding and shooting the COMET Lovejoy

People who came for the first time were trying to digest the stars and lovely clear night sky while having a sky tour by me and fellow astronomers friends. Soon we started to look for COMET Lovejoy near the Messier M45 which also known as the Pleiades. It wasn’t a difficult task at all to find the comet with Binoculars and with the DSLR with a 50mm lens.

M45 (The Pleiades) and COMET Lovejoy from Pakistan

M45 (The Pleiades) and COMET Lovejoy from Pakistan

Taking Astrophotography to the next level for the very first time in Pakistan – Beyond 30 seconds

Before this day all the Astrophotography done within our Astronomers group was either a 5 to 10 seconds  shot with a telescope or a 30 second shot of the night sky. The first Orion Nebula photo among our group and so big was captured by me using a MCT 7.1″ Sky Watcher (F=2700mm) and a DSLR. Here is the photo:

Orion Nebula (m42) at 1000mm focal length

Orion Nebula (m42) at 1000mm focal length

Then finally a dream came true to capture the full Orion Nebula (m42) from skies of Pakistan which was only possible on a tracking mount and a lens/telescope with focal length between 300mm-600mm. I was lucky to have a tracking mount access, a 50mm f/1.8 lens and 500mm f/6.6 lens. We tried a test shot and it came out excellent with 50mm.

Orion Nebula (M42)

 

Orion's Belt and Orion's sword

Orion’s Belt and Orion’s swordOrion’s Belt and Orion’s sword

 

Orion Nebula and the running man Nebula

Orion Nebula and Running man nebula

Orion Nebula and Running man nebula

 

Flame Nebula (NGC 2024) and Horse Head Nebula

Flame nebula and Horse head nebula

Flame nebula and Horse head nebula

Rosette nebula

The Rosette Nebula

The Rosette Nebula

Winter Milky Way galaxy

Milky Way galaxy winters from Pakistan

Milky Way galaxy winters from Pakistan

 

Other shots from the night

The rising moon and constellation of Scorpio

The rising moon and constellation of Scorpio

 

The waning Crescent Moon

The waning Crescent Moon

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Abubaker Siddiq Shekhani

Abubaker Shekhani is an IT Entrepreneur and Full Stack Developer. He is the co-founder and the Developer behind Mytabeeb, a health care solution. He has worked for 3 years in Microsoft Dynamics AX space with Techno-functional role and lucky to be one of few Microsoft Dynamics AX developers in Pakistan. He is TEDx speaker and likes to speak in public. He is an Astrophotographer and has captured Milky way and other night sky objects. He is the founding member of Karachi Astronomers Society. He is a Bonsai Artist and a Gardener. He can be reached at me@abubakershekhani.com.

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  • Very nice.. KAS you are doing great stuff for Astronomy outreach! My favorite is the flame nebula.

    • Thank you Umair bhai 🙂 Alhamdulillah. Have a look at our events done in 2015 in an interesting way here:

  • Danish

    You sir are a professional astro photographer in my point of view,
    But as far as I know you cannot spot a milky way above 65 degree’s north,
    And pakistan is above 65 degrees from every aspect
    I would like to know the location in sindh and want to try out by myself as I successfully captured m42 from my village in sindh.
    I would love to have your reply on my email which is danishabassi@gmail.com
    Regards,
    Danish

    • Thank you. Milky way is easy too spot from anywhere in Pakistan in cloudless skies

      We went to southern part of Sindh.. south of Gharo.

      Where is your village?

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