Catching Light

Photography by

Dan Lessmann

Oklahoma City Clear Sky Clock

Cheddar Ranch Observatory Clear Sky Clock

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“For everyone, as I think, must see

that astronomy compels the soul to look upwards

and leads from this world to another.”

--Plato, The Republic, Book VII, 1 – 529 B.C.


My interest in astronomy goes back to growing up in the sixties with the Apollo program.  The later robotic planetary missions and the Hubble Space Telescope along with my interest in photography led me into astrophotography.  Visual astronomy is interesting to me and I'm still awed by a "live" view of Saturn or the Great Orion Nebula through a telescope.  But, for me, to really get out there requires a camera and long exposures.

I've been working with digital astrophotography for only a short time now.  Astrophotography has steep learning curves but things are progressing nicely.  For those just starting out or considering astrophotography as a hobby, I've documented some of my experiences here and I hope you find this helpful.  I've also documented some of the mistakes I've made along the way here.

I also tend to leave some of my earlier work on this site to document my progress.  You'll find these previous attempts on the same pages as my latest attempts.

Here is some of my work to date.  Click the links below to go to particular types of images.

Lunar  Planetary  Star Trails and Widefield  Deep Sky  Messier Gallery



Most recent first.

The Moon and Venus at Dawn, 7/23/2006

Earthshine, 6/28/2006

Plato Crater

Palus Somni
Rupes Recta
Montes Alpes and Crater Cassini
Five Day Old Moon, 6/23/2004
Five Day Old Moon With Jupiter, 6/23/2004
Star Trails and Widefield Most Recent First
Cygnus, 10/21/2006
Brocchi's Cluster, 7/18/2006
Between the Scorpion and the Teapot, 6/24/2006
Cheddar Ranch Star Trail, 6/24/2006
Heart of the Scorpion, 6/24/2006
A Night at Okie-Tex, 10/4/2005
Star Trails From Home, 6/22/2005
Planetary and Solar System Most Recent First
Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON)
Comet Holmes (17P), 2007
Comet Machholz (C/2004 Q2), 12/11/2004
Jupiter at f/20, 1/30/2004
Saturn at f/20, 1/30/2004
Jupiter with Great Red Spot, 2/12/2004
Jupiter Double Shadow Transit, 3/20/2004
Deep Sky Most Recent Processing First
M108,  2/2013
M78,  12/2012
IC434, The Horsehead Nebula Region, 1/2013
NGC 1909, The Witch Head Nebula, 11/2012
C14, The Double Cluster, 11/2012
M31, The Andromeda Galaxy, 10/16/2012
M33, The Triangulum Galaxy, 10/2012
Sharpless 2-171, 8/27/2012
M92, 6/15/2012
M81, Bode's Galaxy, 4/21/2012
M63, The Sunflower Galaxy, 4/21/2012
M16, The Eagle Nebula, 3/23/2012
Markarian's Chain of Galaxies in the Virgo Cluster, 2/24/2012
NGC 2264, The Cone Nebula and Christmas Tree Cluster, 1/21/2012
M65, M66, NGC 3628, The Leo Trio, 1/20/2012
IC443, The Jellyfish Nebula, 12/30/2011
M42 and Orion's Sword, 12/26/2011
IC1396, The Elephant Trunk Nebula, 07/2011
NGC 7023, The Iris Nebula, 08/10/2010
Andromeda Galaxy Core, 10/25/2008
M32, 10/25/2008
NGC 2403, 10/25/2008
NGC 7635, The Bubble Nebula, 10/03/2008
M76, The Little Dumbbell Nebula, 10/03/2008
NGC 253, The Sculptor Galaxy, 10/01/2008
M26, 10/01/2008
M2, 10/01/2008
NGC 7293, The Helix Nebula, 9/29/2008
M14, 9/29/2008
M10, 8/2/2008
M12, 8/2/2008
M15, 8/2/2008
M22, 8/2/2008
M110, 8/2/2008
M35, 1/7/2008
M34, 1/7/2008
M21, 7/14/2007
M8, 7/14/2007
M13, 5/12/2007
M27, 5/12/2007
M51, 5/12/2007
M57, 5/12/2007
M35, 2/17/2007
M37, 2/17/2007
M67, 2/17/2007
M93, 2/17/2007
M1, The Crab Nebula, 12/22/2006
M43, 12/22/2006
M38, 12/22/2006
M36, 12/22/2006
M20, The Trifid Nebula, 7/22/2006
M17, The Swan Nebula, 7/22/2006
M11, The Wild Duck Cluster, 6/30/2006
M3, 5/23/2006
NGC 2244, The Rosette Nebula, 1/28/2006
M45, The Pleiades with Diffraction Spikes, 12/30/2005
Veil Nebula Complex, 10/5/2005
NGC 7000, The North American Nebula, 9/30/2005
M81, M82, The Cigar Galaxy and Bode's Galaxy, 3/4/2005
M52, The Cobra Cluster, 11/07/2004

Last Updated: 11/12/2014  -  Copyright © 2004-2013 by Dan Lessmann.  All rights reserved.  Please click here for my usage policy.