David Lee

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David's interest in astronomy started in the early 1990's when he attended a seminar on archaeo-astronomy at the University of Victoria. This sparked an interest in visual observing and eventually astrophotography.  David primarily images using his Fuji Finepix S2 dSLR and favours widefield shots using camera lenses, although he also uses the a-focal technique as well as prime focus using his telescopes. Many of his older images were made using his Tele Vue Pronto semi-apo refractor, however he currently uses a Tele Vue NP101is apochromatic refractor mounted on a Losmandy GM8 mount.

For current images, please refer to David's Zenfolio Online Gallery (see above slideshow).
Please note: the page below contains an archive of David's images dated from 2005 through mid-2007.


Moon, Regulus, Saturn, Venus - June 19, 2007

Out on a field in Metchosin as the Sun faded we watched the Moon, Regulus, Saturn and Venus pop in to view. It was a beautiful setting and just prior to our viewing of the ISS and Shuttle the sky was covered in feathery clouds. As a special treat while breaking down my telescope I looked up to see an amazing fireball just above me (~11:45pm). It almost looked like a bolt of lightning and I could see it slowing down and breaking up.

Transit of Mercury - Nov 8, 2006

This morning Joe Carr and Guy Walton joined me at the parking lot near the machine shop to view the Mercury transit. We had a perfect view except for the clouds and occasional spots of rain. Just before the transit began the skies opened up revealing the Sun. The views were still hazy but we imaged and view the beginnings of the transit. Mercury is very tiny :-) but very visible. Finally the clouds really set in and we had to call it a day.

AChannel arrived just as we were packing up and Joe gave them an interview (894k wmv, used with permission), describing the event and a little PR for the society. Good interview.

Then it really started pouring so I had to grab everything and throw it in the car. As I was packing Brenda arrived with lunch (Tim Horton's: astronomer's choice). It was a short transit for us in Victoria, I hope others in the group faired well and perhaps better :-)

Mount: Losmandy GM8
Telescope: Televue NP101is 540/5.4 with Powermate 2x
Effective Focal Length: 1080mm
Filtration: Baader Astrosolar Film
Camera: Fuji Finepix S2
ISO Sensitivity: 400
Exposure: 1/250 second

Comet Swan at Otter Point - Oct 30, 2006

It was a great evening of imaging at Sandy Barta's Otter Point site. A little bit cold for warm-blooded creatures but a far superior dark sky in spite of the Moon hanging in the sky to the south. As night approached the constellation Hercules was framed perfectly between the trees facing west. With the change in daylight savings time it was dark by 6:30pm. Near 58-Epsilon Herculis was the fuzzy ball called Comet Swan that we've been chasing from city skies.

I focused and start a number of 60 second frames. By 7:00pm Joe Carr had arrived and set up ahead of me on the driveway.  Many frames later we were chilled popsicles and the Comet descended into the trees.

Telescope: Televue NP101is 540mm/5.4
Mount: Losmandy GM8
Camera: Fuji Finepix S2 Pro
Sensor ISO: 1600
Exposures: Aligned comet nucleus - 19 light frames (60 second exposures) aligned and stacked with Registax; Aligned on star field - 5 light frames
30 second exposures) aligned and stacked with Registar. Contrast and sharpening in Adobe Photoshop CS.

M45, Pleiades - Sept 23, 2006 - Last night on the Hill the skies were nice and dark, especially after 11 when the lights went out at the Centre of the Universe. Having stayed on the observation deck most of the time I have to agree with Joe that the parking lot is a better spot.

Before 11 Brenda and I wandered through a tour of doubles Gamma Andromeda, the Double Double, the nose star of Delphinus, Albierio and Polaris. The Double Cluster in Perseus and the ET Cluster were beautifully crisp.

After 11 I tried my first imaging for quite a while as I've just started to acclimatize to my new telescope and mount combination. The longer tube of the NP101 has made balancing the scope a little more challenging but I'm starting to get the hang of it.

Here's an image of the Pleiades from this morning with some nebulosity. It's needs some work but I can see the possibilities.

Telescope: Televue NP101is 101/5.4
Focal Length: 540mm
Sensor: Fuji Finepix S2
ISO: 800
Exposure: 120 seconds
Processing: 9 images stacked with Registar and adjusted with Adobe Photoshop CS
M20 & M21 - Summer 2006 - With the recent [bad November] weather I'm sure most of us are reviewing our image captures from the summer. This morning I noticed some murky images of M20 during some sessions at Cattle Point. As I recall the seeing and transparency was less than perfect but through some selective masking I was able to salvage a widefield image of M20 and surprisingly a nearby neighbour M21. I'm always happy to discover these little gems because I often ignore them in the eyepiece when you're concentrating on a target such as M20. As a reminder for next summer I created a 2 degree view (21mm with the NP101) of the pair from a 30 second image at f/1.8 ISO 1600. The open cluster M21 is quite pretty and has an interesting pattern of stars.
The Moon - May 13, 2006 - I finally had an opportunity where the weather and desire coincided with some astro-imaging. After accumulating some equipment over the winter I had a chance to try out the DSI Pro and the MiniBorg 45ED.

The DSI Pro does take some getting use to with it's small chip but with some help from Joe and a large object eg. the Moon I was able to get some images through the MiniBorg 45ED and the Pronto. The Envisage software is quite easy to use once you get use to the interface. I remember playing around with this around Christmas time when I bought the DSI but I had all but forgotten since this was not done with a real astronomical subject.
M31, Andromeda Galaxy - Sept 8, 2005 - Dave Bennett and I trekked out to Island View Beach last night. When we arrived there were dense clouds in the East. Venturing out seemed like a good idea at the time :-( at least from the city view. Being stubborn and optimistic astronomers we convinced ourselves to wait it out. Indeed over the next couple of hours we caught glimpses of the sky, found M11 (Wild Duck Cluster) and M26 both beautiful open clusters of stars. Imaging opportunities were average to poor but it was a good opportunity to practice with my new mount. This exposure is just over a minute set at a high sensitivity setting. I'm getting about the same amount of light as I did the other night at the Centre of the Universe but I will have to wait for a better night and site to see more of M31. Unfortunately light pollution limits my exposure time. Time to get out the light pollution filter :-)

Camera: Fuji Finepix S2
Lens: AF Nikkor 180/2.8
Sensor ISO: 1600
Exposure: 76 seconds at f/2.8
Venus & Jupiter with the Crescent Moon - Sept 6, 2005 - Venus and Jupiter appeared above the Crescent Moon last night forming a right angle triangle with lights on the distant hillside. If you look closely you can see the star Spica below Venus on the left.

Camera: Fuji Finepix S2
Lens: AF Nikkor 180/2.8
Sensor ISO: 800
Exposure: 1/6 second at f/2.8
The Moon - Gassendi and Gassendi A (above it) - August 15, 2005 - It forms what is commonly known as the diamond ring.

Camera: Fuji Finepix S2
Telescope: Televue Pronto 70mm / 480mm FL
Additional Optics: Eyepiece projection with 13mm Televue Plossl
Effective Focal Length: 2544mm
Exposure: 0.50 second at f/36
Sensor ISO: 400

Perseid Meteor Shower - August 12, 2005 12:20am - Tonight should be another good opportunity for spotting Perseids. Brenda and
I were out at Island View Beach early this morning looking up at the sky.
There were a few good ones but didn't seem to be that numerous. The skies at
Island View Beach were not as dark as at Sandy's place in Otter Point but
not bad for 15 minutes from home. The actual peak is in a few hours during
our daylight hours, so tonight should be as good as last night.

I didn't get my new mount together for last night so the exposure is from a
tripod shot ... many 30 second exposures with my 20mm lens.

Camera: Fuji Finepix S2
Lens: Nikkor 20/2.8 AF
Exposure: f/2.8 at 30 seconds
Sensor ISO Speed: 1600
Crescent Moon - Venus Conjunction - Aug 7, 2005I watched the Sun set this evening leaving a warm orangy glow where it had dropped behind the hillside. I was still looking for Venus as the Sun set. The bobbing of a close dragonfly pointed out the evening pair. A beautiful crescent next to a brilliant planet. I waited as they got closer to the hillside and snapped this picture.

Camera: Fuji Finepix S2
Telescope: Televue Pronto 480mm/6.8
Additional Optics: .8x Field Flattener for equivalent FL=384mm
Exposure: f/5.4 at 0.3 seconds
Sensor ISO: 800
Size of Recent Solar Flares - In doing public outreach we are often asked how big objects are that we show in our telescopes. Well I actually asked myself this question this afternoon when looking at some of the images from the SolarMax 40.

With the help of Photoshop's measure tool I measured the diameter of the solar disc and the height of the large prominence we've had the pleasure to see lately. With some simple mathematics I got an approximate size that works out to be about 5 Earth diameters. That's pretty big :-)

Solar Flares - July 31, 2005 3:46pm - More prominences ... the previous day's large prominence was joined by a few more and the flame-like structure had turned into a loop-like one.
Solar Flares - July 30, 2005 4:17pm - The Sun has certainly been putting on a show with the large prominence near Sunspot 792. The morning sighting yesterday by the Red Barn was just a teaser for an afternoon of imaging using successful and less than successful techniques. I finally settled on using the SolarMax 40 on my alt-az mount. The exposures ranged from 1/500 second for the face of the Sun to 1/30 second for the prominences. The image is a composite of the 1/350 second frame and the 1/60 second frame. The face frame was adjusted for detail and colour.
Solar Flare - July 30, 2005 10:31am - This morning there was a huge solar flare on the edge of the Sun. I took a crude afocal image with the S2 and the SolarMax.
Antares Grazes the Moon - July 17, 2005 - Using images taken by Joe Carr, Guy Walton and my own, I've traced the path of Antares last night. I manually merged the images so registration can be improved but it does show the progress of the movement and how rapidly it moved.
Antares Grazes the Moon - July 17, 2005 9:02pm - From the deck of the Centre of the Universe we watched Antares appear as merely a glint in the evening sky right next to the Moon. As night approached it flickered in the atmosphere offering hints of orange. The view through the telescope was much more impressive, so I'm glad I was sensible and looked through the eyepiece as well :-).

Camera: Fuji Finepix S2
Telescope: Televue Pronto
Sensor ISO: 400
Exposure: 1/350 second f/6.8
Antares Grazes the Moon - July 17, 2005 9:02pm - a darker sky version of the above image.
The Moon and Venus - July 8, 2005 - Friday night I had hoped to photograph the Crescent Moon and two planets, Venus and Mercury. Unfortunately Mercury was behind the hillside so I only managed to get two of the objects. I was lucky to get even this as it was raining just 20 minutes before. As the sky got darker the earthshine on the Moon was easier to capture. The Moon was 6.75% lit and almost 3 days from New Moon. It's always a challenge to capture the earthshine without enlarging or bloating the crescent too much because of the extreme difference in exposure.

Camera: Fuji Finepix S2
Sensor ISO: 400
Lens: AF Nikkor 35-70/2.8 Zoom set at 70mm, image cropped
Exposure: f/4 at .5 second
Planetary Conjunction - Venus-Mercury-Saturn - June 27, 2005 10:19pm, from the old 16" site on Observatory Hill.  It turned out to be a beautiful evening in spite of the cloudy afternoon.

Camera: Fuji Finepix S2
Sensor: ISO 400
Lens: 105/2.5 Nikkor Manual
Exposure: 1/6 second at f/4

481k QuickTime Movie of Mercury and Venus setting behind the hill.

Planetary Conjunction - Venus-Mercury-Saturn - June 23, 2005 10:02pm, old 16" site on Observatory Hill.  Tonight was a bit of challenge but Venus, Mercury and Saturn made themselves available for yet another planetary portrait. The wispy dark clouds below looked more like an ocean than the sky.

Camera: Fuji Finepix S2
Lens: 105mm/2.5 Nikkor Manual
Sensor ISO: 400
Exposure: f/4 at 1/8 second
Planetary Conjunction - Venus-Mercury-Saturn - June 22, 2005 10:30pm, old 16" site on Observatory Hill. A group of RASCals waited patiently for the Sun to set under the hills. Venus popped up first, then we spotted Mercury and Saturn. Jupiter was almost forgotten as we focused on the trio closely packed along the horizon line.

Camera: Fuji Finepix S2
Lens: 105mm/2.5 Nikkor Manual
Sensor ISO: 400
Exposure: f/4 at 1.5 seconds

Jupiter's Great Red Spot - June 20, 2005 10:18pm at the Center of the Universe using the 16" telescope and a Celestron Neximage imager.  The seeing was fairly steady tonight and as JupSat Pro displayed the view with the Great Red Spot (GRS) I knew I had to image the planet's famous storm area.

I've re-processed the image of Jupiter with the Great Red Spot. The spot is much more apparent. Ah, the wonders of re-processing your original capture footage, you can do it again and again ... at least until you're bored :-)

Jupiter Double Shadow transit - June 8, 2005 10:02pm at the Center of the Universe using the 16" telescope and a Celestron Neximage imager.

Viewing the double transit tonight was sketchy but Joe Carr, some Centre of the Universe guests and myself watched Jupiter appear and reappear out of the clouds. The seeing was poor but again I put the Neximage webcam on the 16" to see what it could capture. The video was murky as it was on Monday night. The Registax software made some sense of the mushy viewing conditions. You can see the moon Europa off to one side with two shadows on the opposing side. Io's shadow is next to Europa's. I'm not sure of the order of the shadows, though the Sky and Telescope web article describes Europa's shadow appearing first. The exposure of the planet is quite different than for the moons so I did have to dodge Europa so you could see it better.

Jupiter - June 6, 2005 10:02pm at the Center of the Universe using the 16" telescope and a Celestron Neximage imager.

In spite of the poor seeing last night I couldn't resist experimenting with the Neximage imager I just got from Brian. The webcam actually received first light the previous night but I was having problems with my mount so off I went to the Centre of the Universe. The 16" telescope was already cooling when I arrived at 8:30pm. We waited until it got dark and then got Jupiter in the telrad. Jupiter was swimming in a pool of turbulence, certainly not the night for serious imaging. The selective processing of the Registax software worked it's magic in moments bringing out more detail than in the original video capture. I can see there's great potential here and why most amateurs have chosen the webcam route for planets. Thanks Ian and the rest of the staff at the Centre of Universe for some time on the 16".

C/2004 Q2 Comet Machholz, the Hyades & the Pleiades
Jan 5, 2005

I made another trek to Otter Point last night though there was light haze when I arrived it was clear enough. Not as good as Monday however. As Sandy and I discussed, Monday the sky was definitely blacker � inkier.

I do get a chuckle when people compliment me on my compositions � I can�t see through the viewfinder so I just point the camera in the general direction. Last night I was armed with a Rigel Starfinder strapped to the camera body, actually attached to an accessory shoe with double-sided tape. Trust me I tried the rubber bands and it didn�t stay properly. Thanks Cassie for putting it aside for me today. A mini version of a Telrad it works very well and allows me to place that familiar red bullseye on the area of the sky I want (for you astronomers in the crowd) and have my camera pointing in the same direction. With the Rigel Starfinder I was able to point a little bit more accurately than usual. Ask Brenda and Sandy sometime about my frustration in framing these shots eg. on Monday night.

I barely missed the trees again � but I did miss them and what I cropped out you won�t miss J.

Camera: Fuji Finepix S2 Pro
Lens: 50mm/1.8 Manual Nikkor
ISO Setting: 1600
Exposure: f/3.5 for 112 seconds

C/2004 Q2 Comet Machholz, the Hyades & the Pleiades
Jan 3, 2005

Well, Sandy was right the Comet is definitely worth seeing from Otter Point. What a spectacular view it was! The Hyades, Comet and the Pleiades formed a beautiful triangle in the sky. I was finally able to capture one of the tails of the Comet. No Orion Skyglow LPR filter necessary. Poor positioning of the mount didn�t leave me much wiggle room before the Comet headed for the trees. It was freezing out and Brenda and I had to warm up inside before breaking down the equipment. Technical problems with the mount continue to plague me but I hope to resolve them in the next few days. The Comet continues to shuttle across the sky getting closer and closer to the Pleiades. According to the weather prediction, Wednesday may be the last night before rain sets in on Thursday and Friday so we may miss the closest approach to the Pleaides.

Camera: Fuji Finepix S2 Pro
Lens: 50/1.8 Manual Focus Nikkor
ISO Setting: 1600
Exposure: f/2 at 80 seconds
Piggy-backed on C8 Super Polaris Mount

C/2004 Q2 Comet Machholz & the Pleiades
Jan 2, 2005

It was quite cold tonight but I couldn�t resist getting out and looking at the Comet. It�s getting very close to the Pleiades, not optimum position yet but you never know if the weather will change for its closest position. It was right next to the mag 6.88 star HIP 17617.

Technical Info:
Camera: Fuji S2 Finepix
Lens: 50/1.8 Manual Nikkor
Filter: Orion Skyglow
ISO Setting: 1600
Exposure: f/2 at 64 seconds
Piggy-backed on a C8 / Super Polaris Mount

The Summer Triangle at the 2004 RASCALs Star Party The Summer Triangle
2004 RASCALs Star Party
Sept 18, 2004

Evidence of clear skies at the Star Party � at least for a while.

Camera: Fuji S2
Lens: 16mm AF Nikkor (cropped)
Exposure: 30 seconds at f/2.8 untracked

Despite the weather it was fun to get together with everyone. Linda�s talk was well worth it.



Lunar Eclipse, Nov 8, 2003, Cattle Point, Victoria

Lunar Eclipse
Nov 8, 2003
Cattle Point, Victoria


The lunar eclipse from September 1996 was photographed prime focus using a Televue Pronto on a Super Polaris mount. A 2x Tamron AF teleconvertor was used to increase the size of the image. The effective aperture of the assembly was approximately f/14. The film used was Fujicolor 800 Super G Plus. Exposures ranged from 1/250 second to 15 seconds. Individual images were composited with Photoshop.

The identical setup as above was used for the partial lunar eclipse in March 1997.

Comet Hale-Bopp was photographed at the DAO. A 35mm camera with 105mm/2.5 lens was piggybacked and guided on the Pronto/Super Polaris system. Exposure was 8 minutes at f/2.5 with Orion Skyglow filter. Color correction was done to remove the magenta cast normally associated with the filter.

David's June 2002 Image Gallery

September 26 1996 Total Lunar Eclipse Victoria BC

March 23 1997 Partial Lunar Eclipse Victoria BC

April 8 1997 Comet Hale-Bopp Victoria BC


July 31 1999 Sunspots Victoria BC


August 29, 2003 - Mars - Centre of the Universe, Victoria BC


Sept 22, 2003 Mars over the Colwood gravel pit


Video Capture of Jupiter & Moons - David Lee uses video to increase his chances of capturing usable images of Jupiter.



Images are ©David Lee: David_Lee@telus.net

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