The Planet Saturn on 04-20-2014

My first Saturn of the 2014 Season …this is an Early Morning Target for me once it clears my neighbors trees….~2:30 to 3:00am in the South Southeast here in Dayton, Ohio, USA.

Saturn is a wonderful Planet to see in a telescope, even the smallest of telescopes can show the ring system, that is impressive since Saturn is ~ 800 million miles from Earth.  Although the cloud tops tend to be rather bland, not much detail compared to Jupiter, the Wind Speeds on Saturn can reach 1,800 km/h (1,100 mph), faster than on Jupiter, but not as fast as those on Neptune!

I used a Meade 10″ Diameter SCT telescope & DMK 21Af04 Fire-wire camera, 2X barlow, and 900 Frames per channel, Astronomik RGB. 2700 frames total Stacked in Registax 6 & RGB combine in MaximDL.

Best Regards,
John Chumack



Magical Twilight & Starry Skies in Alaska!

There is something magical about Twilight in Alaska….It made for some very interesting shots!
I must have taken over 50 of these types of shot each night..killing time until it got dark and as we waited for
Magnetic Midnight to roll around(~1:30am) when the Aurora got really super active here in Alaska.

Here we are at 2880 ft. Altitude with super dry cold air after Sunset into Twilight, the blue sky mixed
with the stars & planets, fading daylight/Civil twilight ~9:30pm into Nautical twilight (~10:30pm) then into
Astronomical twilight by about 11:30pm. It did not get real dark here until after midnight…each night.

Here we have the Stars of the Constellation of Orion on the Horizon, between the trees…We have the Pleiades & Hyades Stars Cluster to the right, and to the Left we have bright Star Arcturus  and at the top of the Frame we have the bright Planet Jupiter!!! There is enough light from twilight to keep the snow illuminated for a nice foreground and excellent tree Silhouettes!

Canon 5D Mark II & Canon 24mm lens, F2.0, ISO 1250, 10 seconds exposure !

Best Regards,

John Chumack


The Amazing Sun is loaded with Active Sunspots!!!!

The Amazing Sun is loaded with Active Sunspots today!!!! I had okay seeing conditions today 04-16-2014 during my lunch break!!! I Grabbed a few Hydrogen Alpha shots of the Sun and all those Sunspots, I saw them bubbling plasma filaments and brightening…Earth-facing sunspots AR2034, AR2035, AR2036 and AR2037 all have ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic fields that harbor energy for M-class solar flares.
50 % chance for M-class flares, and 5% chance for an X-ray class!!
Lunt 60mm/ 50F HA Scope BF-12 & DMK 31AF04 fire-wire Camera, 1/387 sec exposure, 700 frames stacked in Registax 6Best Regards,
John Chumack

The Post Eclipse Moon setting in the West at Sunrise

The Post Lunar Eclipse Moon setting in the West at Sunrise, 24 hours after the Lunar Eclipse my skies are finally starting to clear! Hopefully I will get to see the next one!!  Here is a shot taken this morning with my Canon SX 160 IS Point & Shoot Camera while on my way into work at the University of Dayton!  Couldn’t resist, it was peaking at me between those trees!

Best Regards,

John Chumack

I Won First Place for My Comet ISON Photo!

While  on my way to lead my Annual  Expedition In Alaska,

I was notified via e-mail  about my Winning 1st Place in the Comet ISON Photo Contest Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, & Discover Magazine, as well as Astronomy Magazine!!!

This was an International Contest and I won 1st place for the “Piggyback Category” with my Comet ISON Gossamer Tail & Disconnection Event Image!!! Capturing this type of Disconnection event in a comets tail is rare and difficult, and requires a bit of luck, but the timing was perfect that brutally cold morning!!! I was just waiting until the Public release came out in the June Issue of Astronomy Magazine before I announced it on my website,….But it sounds like the cats out of the bag,…as one of my favorite Space websites Universetoday published all the winners including my name as winning First Place….

It was announced  by CBS & NBC , and on the NSF’s websites

Thank You National Science Foundation, Discover Magazine & Astronomy Magazine!!!

Best Regards,

John Chumack


A Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight!

Don’t forget the Lunar Eclipse Late Monday Night March 14th into Early Morning Tuesday March 15th 2014 , you probably won’t notice it with your eyes until just after 2:00am Tuesday morning…when the Moons enters the Umbra of the Earth’s Shadow 1:58am…..but it should be a nice show as long as it is clear skies in your area…East of the Mississippi will have cloudy rainy weather, so less of a chance of you seeing it, but Central & Western USA is looking good for clear skies!
My photo above was from the 10/27/2004 eclipse!
Have Fun and I wish you all clear skies!!!

You will want to see this … times in EDT for Tuesday morning’s total eclipse of the moon …exact Eclipse info & times here:


Best Regards,

John Chumack

Alaskan Aurora Dog Leaping across the sky!

Balto??? An Alaskan Aurora Dog is Leaping across the sky in One of my Best Fisheye Lens Shots of the Aurora from Mt. Cleary outside of Fairbanks, Alaska the night of the 21st of March 2014!!! It really looks like a dog with a curly tail jumping across the sky!!!
I used my Baader Modified Canon Rebel Xsi & 8mm Lens, ISO 1600, for this 15 second exposure.

The Aurora was stretching across the sky and was amazing to watch as it changed shapes. Mars was just clearing the Trees in the East, but Spica was still below the treeline.

I posted an illustrated version showing Cardinal directions and labeled so you can ID the brighter stars and planets, The Gemini Twins Castor & Pollux are in the Dogs Mouth, upper left of Jupiter. The constellation of Leo is completely covered by the Aurora. The Dome glow at the bottom above top of Trees is the Light Pollution from Fairbanks, 40 miles away!

Best Regards,
John Chumack

An Aurora Borealis Wall of Color!

A Great Wall of Color is what was revealed in this 10 second exposure photo…even though my eyes were only showing the bright section of Green above the trees, its often when the Aurora suddenly gets dims to the eye you should be ready, sometimes there is a lot more going on that only the camera can pick up!!!

Aurora Borealis In Alaska on 03-28-2014

Canon 5D Mark II DSLR  & Canon 24mm, F1.8,  ISO 3200,  10 second exposure

© 2014 John Chumack — at Chena Hots Springs, Outside Fairbanks, Alaska

Best Regards,

John Chumack

A Mesmerizing Alaska Aurora Time Lapse Video!

A Mesmerizing  Aurora Borealis “The Northern Lights” March 26, 2014 from Chena Hot Springs Resort, atop Charlie Dome, Alaska
a 12.5 minute time lapse compressed to 1.5 minutes, at several frame rates to allow you to see the aurora motion (fast & slow) as well as many satellites & meteor crossing the FOV, you can also see the stars moving as Earth rotates. I captured this time lapse while teaching our  Annual Alaska Aurora Tour Group how to photograph the Aurora…..this time I set the Video  to my good friend Bob Geresti’s Piano Music.


You can join us for the March 2015 Alaska Aurora Tour & Photo Workshop at

Best Regards,

John Chumack

© 2014 John Chumack –