Archive for the Evenimente Category

The transit of Mercury – May 9, 2016

Posted in ASTRO, Evenimente on May 9, 2016 by maxpho

Sometimes objects fly in front of the Sun: bees, birds, planes, the International Space Station…and sometimes planets also.

Today it was Mercury that transited the Sun.

Not the best conditions for this imaging session, but I did manage to observe the event with my wife, Eli, from the Comana Woods, south of Bucharest.

For now, only a few shots are posted, since the 200Gb of data will take some time to analyze.

The image below, was acquired using the 115mm F/7 APO Refractor and 3x Barlow lens, full aperture Baader solar filter, ASI 174MM camera and a Baader Red filter. Seeing was 4/10, with a lot of clouds passing rapidly.



Eli did a time-lapse transit evolution with Mercury in different positions. Note the unequal distances between the positions since she captured the shots between the clouds:


And a short animation showing the great differences between white-light and H-alpha  in solar imaging:


Thanks to Adrian Sonka, I could use a Coronado PST (40mm) which “sees” only the light emitted by the Hydrogen atoms. It offered the best views while observing the event at the eyepiece.

A wide view with moderate resolution (for 13:42 U.T.):

MercuryTransitMax1342ut May9.jpg



Zerynthia polyxena – February 21, 2016

Posted in Evenimente, Experimente, Specii rare on February 21, 2016 by maxpho

One of my “back to Nature” activities (involving breeding some insect species for re-population of areas that had these species which are now critically endangered) is up and running well I might say:

ZERY 1.jpg

This year’s species is Zerynthia polyxena, one of the most beautiful butterflies in Europe, and one of the earliest ones to emerge in March.  Last year I’ve reared almost a hundred caterpillars of this species, collected either as larvae or egg from two locations with very large populations (one of the locations had around 1000 larvae !!). The reason for this was to repopulate one area that had the species until a few years ago (but was eradicated due to very stupid and fast urbanization) and to increase the very fast declining numbers of individuals at another location (the very stupid way that agriculture is done is the main reason for this population’s decline).

Of course I had to make a few investigations regarding the future habitats where the butterflies will be released, and as for any other projects of this kind, I can only hope that the locations I have in mind will remain the same for some time (that is, not to be destroyed by humans in the next 5-10 years at least).

At the moment, due both to very warm temperatures for this period of the year (+15 to +20 degrees Celsius!!) and a warm winter from my part (the location for the butterfly pupae had temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius in December and January), some of the individuals have started to emerge. This is good but not very good, since their host plant is still mostly underground at the predicted locations. I have to ensure some good conditions for this adults until I’ll release them back to Nature.

For now, a few shots with some of the freshly emerged butterflies:

ZERY 2.jpg

ZERY 3.jpg

ZERY 4.jpg

Best of Maximus Astro-Photography – 2015

Posted in ASTRO, Evenimente, Tranzite ISS on December 31, 2015 by maxpho

This is the last day of 2015 and, as some others recap the successes or failures and plan strategies for the upcoming year, I’ll recap some of the best astro-shots of this year; they are either the best in terms of technique, artistic significance or importance of the subject.



The main subject that I (and many others) followed during this month, and afterwards, was comet Q2 Lovejoy.


Link to the original post here.

This comet passed near the Pleiades also:


Link to the original post here.


In February comet Q2 Lovejoy was still pretty much the most photogenic object, with its long ion tail interacting with the solar wind:


Link to the original post here.


March had one more interesting comet visible along side Q2 Lovejoy. It was a very brief yet extremely interesting evolution of a SOHO comet named C/2015 D1. This little fellow disintegrated after passing too close to our star. To image this comet in the very bright dusk skies was a challenge. The same night I’ve observed this comet, Lovejoy and the Moon were present:


Link to the original post here.

In March I’ve also acquired my first acceptable Jupiter shot with the then-new homemade 14 inch scope:


Link to the original post here.

Also in March we had a partial solar eclipse, which was almost lost to clouds, but I did manage to take a few shots.


Link to the original post here.


After a long break in Astrophotography due to a different interest and some expeditions to find rare insects and reptiles, I’ve rebooted myself and restarted imaging the sky.

We had some very nice and quite large sunspot groups this year, and in August the planet Venus was also close to our Sun (apparently) which made possible to image both the star and planet during daytime.

Following is a composition showing the two:


Link to the original post here.

Many interesting sunspots made me get out more often in the beautiful Summer days:


Link to the original post here.


September was the month in which I made my dreams come true in terms of Astrophotography. With the finished 14 inch scope, and the new ASI 120MM-S camera (the old 120mm stopped working in December 2014) I’ve finally got my first great resolution shots of the Moon, practically at the limit of a 14 inch scope. This is what I’ve wanted from the very first days (10 years ago maybe) I’ve seen some fantastically sharp and detailed shots on the LPOD site, made by amateurs with amateur equipment.

But before those HR shots, a “SuperMoon eclipse” shot:


Original post here.

And now, for my best High Resolution shot of September: crater Posidonius.


This is only one of the craters imaged on that session. More can be seen here.

Other HR shots from a different September session show also very fine details at the lunar surface, some of 350 meters!



Original post here.

Another incredible session from September, with images showing details inside the Ina caldera and small rilles inside large craters:



Link to the original post here.


October was good to experiment a bit with the processing techniques and some interesting result came out of this.

My very first HR-HDR (High Resolution – High Dynamic Range) lunar shots:


Original post here.

And another HR/HDR view:


Original post here.

October continued with some great/excellent seeing conditions, so HR images of lunar areas continued:




Original post here.

In October we also had a nice “hiding” of Aldebaran by our Moon:


Original post here.


November continued with good seeing, and the Moon was again the main target. But some other objects were observed, like the famous Sirius b and a very tiny Mars at only 4.4 arc seconds.



Original post here.

HR lunar shots were again possible…


Original post here.

…as were some other experimental processing techniques:


Link to original post here.


December was a pretty full month for me, due mostly to the good seeing conditions (which were actually abnormal for this month at my location) and a few nice events.

An ISS transit over the Moon:


Original link here.

I’ve also been lucky enough to capture a plane into my small field of view while imaging a large sunspot:


Original post here.

And the last HR lunar session of the year, with very good seeing conditions:


Original post here.

One final “astro” shot, showing the Moon rising:



Some “astro-hopes” for 2016:

-Hope to increase the success in lunar/solar/planetary imaging in 2016, since a new camera just arrived (the ZWO ASI 174MM),

-Hope to be more active also in the Summer nights, despite other interests,

-Have a very large Lunar mosaic showing an entire lunar phase in HR.

-And hope to get under darker skies and marvel at the Milky Way and other deep sky objects together with my wife and anyone truly interested in conversations regarding our place in the Universe 🙂 !

Have a Great 2016 !


December 31, 2015

A Full Moon for Christmas – December 25th, 2015

Posted in ASTRO, Evenimente on December 25, 2015 by maxpho

A Full Moon mosaic acquired on the night of December 24 to 25, 2015. After a short High Resolution session of some lunar craters together with my brother in law and the 14 inch scope, I’ve decided, due to degrading seeing conditions, to make a small lunar mosaic. The result shown below is a 30 panel mosaic, each a 700 frames stack with the ASI 120MM-S camera and Red filter at the focal plane of the 355mm F/5 Newtonian. The image is resized to 50% due to degrading seeing conditions altering the different panels.



Perfect Christmas!

Posted in ASTRO, Evenimente on December 24, 2015 by maxpho

This is perhaps how an amateur astronomer sees the perfect Christmas! I know I do…

Perfect Christmas.jpg

The lunar images showing the large crater Clavius was acquired just a few days ago in very good seeing conditions (one more gift for me), while the comet image (showing comet ISON) was acquired in 2013.


Perfect Christmas for all!


Expozitia “Fluturi tropicali vii” – 26 Iunie 2013

Posted in Evenimente on June 26, 2013 by maxpho

O alta scurta vizita pana la expozitia de fluturi…

Asta pentru ca am avut putin timp liber si am zis de ce sa nu vad speciile de fluturi si pe timp de zi, nu doar seara…

Dupa o conversatie cu ingrijitorul expozitiei – Balog Zsolt – am intrat putin sa imi mai delectez pleoapele cu culorile fluturilor destul de activi la ora respectiva.






Pe langa exemplarele adulte de Morpho si Caligo, Zsolt mi-a mai aratat si cateva omizi de Morpho iesite din ouale fotografiate de mine in urma cu cateva saptamani pe frunzele din expozitie. Deja dupa a doua naparlire, omizile au o pofta de mancare exagerata. Ceea ce e foarte bine !




Probabil ca in 3-4 saptamani omizile or sa ajunga la maturitate si poate se si transforma in crisalide, ceea ce ar face ca undeva la finalul expozitiei sa apar cateva exemplare noi de Morpho peleides.


(26 Iunie 2013)

Expozitia “Fluturi tropicali vii” – 25 Iunie 2013

Posted in Evenimente on June 25, 2013 by maxpho

“Dezastru” !!

Cam asta a fost primul gand ce mi-a trecut prin minte cand, ajuns impreuna cu Claudiu la poarta “cortului-de-fluturi” din curtea Muzeului G. Antipa, responsabilul expozitiei de fluturi mi-a spus ca “incinta” le fusese sparta de cativa “cretinoizi-melteni” (gruparea de cuvinte apartine autorului acestui post).

Cum altfel daca nu in mod deja normal pentru tara noastra, cativa dobitoci au spart cortul in cateva locuri si au furat exemplare din fluturii expozitiei…”cam 50%” chiar din ce imi spusese ingrijitorul. De ce e clar ca au furat, pai gaurile in sine au fost “date” chiar in locurile unde marea parte dintre fluturi se odihnesc la final de zi, cu precadere pe marginile interioare.

Doua exemple dintre cele cateva gauri, peticite de ingrijitor:


Intrati in voliera am simtit lipsa unui mare numar de fluturi. Ce-i drept cateva specii noi ne-au mai schimbat in bine starea generala.






Evident ca si speciile deja “consacrate” erau reprezentate, insa in numar mult mai mic…












Speciile de Caligo erau cele mai bine reprezentate, cu cateva exemplare de dimensiuni mari:







Si evident si exemplare “foarte vechi” erau prezente, martori ai imbecilitatii din zilele trecute, cand o parte din “colegii” lor au disparut…


Si printre exemplarele “vechi” ale expozitiei se mai numara o specie, surprinsa fotografic de Claudiu. Pare o specie neidentificabila, aparent suficient de interesata de celelalte specii prezente, incat sa isi cedeze prin pori o mare parte din lichide datorita efectului de sera…


Expozitia mai are aproximativ o luna pana la incheiere, asa ca celor carora Natura le mai descreteste putin fruntile le transmit un politicos indemn: “Duceti-va pana nu fura meltenii toti fluturii !!!


(25 Iunie 2013)