20210117 Learning Astrophotography


Vega 25 light years from earth. ISO 200 38 mm 0 ev f/5 30.8 s.

If I was to write a book maybe I would name it something like How to persevere thru your struggles.
This morning I wanted to take advantage of the clear sky and continue learning astrophotography.  I can take pictures in the day time but when I am in the dark something makes the camera not want to shoot.  I am also reading the book Astrophotography is Easy.  This is the book that said to keep your glasses on while you take the picture. I hadn’t been doing that because I was afraid I would lose my glasses in the grass.  I think I see the difference already in my images.  I checked the controls inside the house and made sure the autofocus was on MF and the stabilizer was off.  I have a Cannon t5i. I am also using a PRO TW-283 remote shutter control. During my struggles earlier this morning (and earlier times) I would hit the shutter button and nothing would happen. When I took it inside it worked fine. After I turned selected the manual focus and turned off the stabilizer the camera was behaving even in the dark.

ISO 6400 48mm 0 ev f/5.6 14.8s

Focus focus focus.  A friend teased me for the longest time about the most important thing in photography was focus. How do you focus in the dark?  In my driveway I found I had a street light and a neighbors house I could focus on.

ISO 1600 18mm 0 ev f/3.5 0.5s

ISO 200 55mm 0 ev f/5.6 15.6s Looking Southwest. Vega bright star.

Tonight I will attempt astrophotography of the wanning crescent moon.

You may see my earlier attempts on my astronomy page.

The Elusive Triple Conjuction

2021 Astronomy Events, Astronomy, Astrophotography

2021 Tripple Conjunction

Sunset image

Attempt to capture Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn. ISO 400 18 mm 0 ev f 3.5 1/30s

This is my attempt on January 13, 2021 to capture the triple conjunction of Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn. I was not successful but I think I did get the focusing better after I put my glasses on. I am reading the book Astrophotography is Easy. In this book the author points out how putting your glasses on when taking your pictures you get better results. I had been taking off my glasses so I wouldn’t loose them in the field. He address this issue too. Put a chain around your glasses so if they fall off you will not loose them in the ground.

N4MQU Experimenting different settings ISO 400 18 mm 0 ev f/22 1/4s on tripod

The great Jupiter Saturn Conjunction

Astronomy, Jupiter Saturn Conjunction, Outreach

December 2020

The first night I saw Saturn thru my eyepiece in my Celestron 8 Edge HD, It was great. But to see the glow of Jupiter made me realize what was coming soon. The next night I saw Jupiter and Saturn in the same eyepiece without using peripheral vision. The next time I saw Jupiter and Saturn I realized I was seeing 7 moons from three different planets. One thing I do enjoy is sharing my hobbies with others.

2020-12-18 I invited my friends from Wendell over and introduced them to Jupiter and Saturn.

2020-12-19 The next night I promised my wife I would set up in our driveway. It worked out real well with a clear view of the southwest horizon.  It was partly cloud all day but seem to clear at first and we got a nice few of Jupiter and Saturn and she got to see it in the same field of view.  I decided to invite my neighbors Martha and Dan over to see the spectacular event.  They accepted my offer and got too see the event too. Unfortunately it clouded up shortly shortly after they witnessed the event but I think they enjoyed it. Astronomy is one hobby that takes perseverance and persistence. Thanks for reading.

Neighbors Martha and Dan

December 20, 2020 –  Oops cloudy but that’s ok. Forecast is clear for tomorrow night.  A professional astronomer currently out of the field friend called me for my input on where the planets were.  He called me after 7 so I had to tell him they had already set.


December 21, 2020 – Great Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction.  Cloudy during the morning but it finally cleared out for the event.  I had invited a few friends and some new friends.  Everything went very smoothly.  We had 5 telescopes.  We had three amateur radio operators at the event.  I was super excited to show all the visitors the the great Jupiter and Saturn conjunction

The Great Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction

The Great Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction Hugh with his telescope and camera

Two of the three hams at the event. Here is Ted and Hugh.

Dobsonian 8 during twilight before the Jupiter Saturn Conjunction


Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction Dobsonian 8″

Witnesses to the Great Jupiter and Saturn Event

Witness waiting to look thru telescope at conjunction.

Witness after looking at Jupiter Saturn Conjunction

Witness of the Jupiter Saturn conjunction with moon over head.


December 22, 2020 We went out again to view the conjunction.  I think it was just about the same view as the night of the closest approach.

December 23, 2020

December 24, 2020

December 25, 2020 – Christmas Day Another Clear night did enjoy viewing the conjunction again but it was bitterly cold.  I was able to set up in my driveway.

December 26, 2020 – Another clear night.  Looked at the Jupiter and Saturn with my eyes without optical aid and they are definitely separating.


I enjoy my astronomy hobby and hope to see you at an astronomy event soon.

Be sure to read my blog about why this conjunction is not the Christmas Star.




Why the Star in Mathew is not Jupiter and Saturn

My Testimony, Prayer

John 3:16

I am not a Bible scholar. I am a follower of Jesus and am an amateur astronomer.

Matthew 2 

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

This scripture plainly shows “his star”.  This is clearly not a conjunction of two planets moving to the east. His star rose. Jupiter and Saturn are not rising they are already up. They are moving to the southwest. The press refers to the conjunction of the planets as the ‘Christmas Star’. They think they are cute by putting “ ‘ ‘ “ in it but they are just misleading the public.

Please follow the following websites for accurate reporting of this conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.

  1. Sky and Telescope
  2. EarthSky

Mark Gibson bio

I have been an amateur astronomer since I was 13 years old.  My neighbor built homemade telescopes and invited the neighborhood kids over to look thru the telescope. I accepted Jesus as my savior in 1978.

My aunt Earline Waddell encouraged us kids to read the Christmas story every Christmas. I was bullied in my high school years and had a very low self image. In my adult years I learned Jesus loved me just the way I was and was put on this earth for a purpose.  I invite you to John 3:16 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

I just found out my younger cousin just passed away of a massive heart attack.  I had lost another cousin many years ago due to breast cancer. We do not know when we are going to be called. If I can be of any help to you in following Jesus Please ask

All Contents Copyright © 2017-2020 Mark Gibson  All Rights Reserved.

Field for observing

Scouting out new observing location


What do you do when you want to practice your astronomy hobby and your own yard is full of trees.  You seek out another observing location. After finding a possible site and getting permission from the owner to use it I waited for the next clear night to try it out.  I will be looking forward to trying this site out in the future.  Being only 8 miles from the house this may be a very favorable location. 


Astronomy Setup

Equipment carried for typical astronomy observing

Cygnus Lyra star field

Cygnus, Lyra, and part of Vulpecula From the new observing site

Saturn, Jupiter

Saturn is on the left and Jupiter is the brighter star on the right.

Saturn, Jupiter

Steps to successful StarSense Setup

  1. Make sure tripod is level

  2. Align telescope to north

  3. Make sure gps is the time source on StarSense and time and date correct

  4. Make sure tracking is on sidereal time not solar

So when I did this in my last astronomy session when I had StarSense move the telescope to Jupiter it was several degrees south of Jupiter.  I also discovered the telescope would track Jupiter and Saturn better on sidereal time then solar time. 

How to photograph at night

Astronomy, Astrophotography, wordpress













The purpose of this article is to help me document what I am learning about photography and maybe help someone else.  I am also learning my Cannon T5i camera. I am trying to learn how to photograph at night so I can take pictures of stars.  I am also trying to learn WordPress so I can write better articles for the Raleigh Astronomy Club  in my position as content manager.  The first thing I learned is I need to use a remote control.  That is it the second thing I need to learn how to use.   Fathers Day 2020 I woke up around 4:00 AM and discovered it was clear.  I was staying in the guest house of my friends rental unit, his family was in the main house. I had left my tripod over there and decided not to retrieve it. So I found a chair to set the camera on and tried to get a picture of Jupiter and Saturn.  


So my question is how do you focus at night.  I guess I am need to learn how to find a far off light in the middle of the night. Another question is why does the camera’s shutter release not work when I am out at night sometimes.  I found out the answer to that question. I changed the setting to Al Servo and it seemed to work better but I don’t want auto focus.So in word press how do I insert a photo. This picture is a picture of Venus near sunrise.


I will be adding to this article shortly.  

Do you dream?

My Testimony

2020/06/15 Weird dream last night.  The post office found some lost packages and called me to inspect them.  The label looked fine and it was addressed properly no reason they would have been lost all those years.   Sometimes relationships can be that way.  We let little things get in the way.  Look at the big picture do you know where you will be spending eternity?  Are you worried about things on this earth that will rust and decay? Check out my testimony page.

How to pray

My Testimony, Prayer


2020/06/12 So today I decided to start listening to spiritual things on my podcast in addition to astronomy.  My search terms included the word evangelist.  And the first thing that came up was a podcast on   How to prey perhaps for the first time.  No it is not my first time but it sure feels like it sometimes.  I found this podcast interesting.  The dynamics of the three speakers, the questions they came up with. I hope it helps someone.  I had asked this question at a zoom service that my church was having Tuesday night,  I found it a coincidence that this item came up first. Be sure to navigate over to My Testimony Page to learn more about my spiritual life and to learn how you can walk with Jesus.