About Starizona Hyperstar…

Starizona Hyperstar

Starizona Hyperstar is a device sold by Starizona to convert a slow f/10 Schmidt Cassegrain telescope into a super fast F/2 camera lens. The idea always seemed appealing to me since I have a Celestron EdgeHD 11 inch Schmidt Cassegrain to use it on. Some years ago I bought a Starizona Hyperstar device, but sadly it has been rarely used since I bought it. Several of the problems with it are that it is difficult to get into perfect focus, and collimating is difficult.

In the last year my interest in using this device has been enhanced by exposure to the fine results that others are getting with Hyperstar, particularly in the realm of narrowband imaging. Narrowband imaging requires hours and hours of long exposures since the light that reaches the camera just trickles in a photon at a time. With Hyperstar, that imaging time can be cut down substantially.

One of the weaknesses is that stars just seem to work better with refractors. If there was a way to combine the nebulosity of narrowband from the Hyperstar with RGB stars from a refractor, then the combined image could be acquired in a more efficient way. Today’s wonderful software allows you to do just that.

Below is the field of view of a Takahashi FSQ 106 refractor compared with a Celestron 11 inch Hyperstar equipped Schmidt Cassegrain. Both are equipped with a ZWO ASI 1600MM camera. The similar fields of view make it much easier to combine images. With this in mind, I have been upgrading my Hyperstar setup to engage in this type of imaging.

Below is a link to an image that was acquired and processed by a top imager at Astrobin using these techniques. It looks pretty magnificent to me, so I guess I will give it a try.


Pre-Order the Unique 2022 Astro La Vista Observatory Calendar (8 1/2” X 11”) on Premium Glossy Card Stock.

Pre-Order the Unique 2022 Astro La Vista Observatory Calendar (8 1/2” X !1”)

The calendar is $29.99 + $3.99 US flat rate shipping. Delivery by October 31st.


It is the time of year to assemble my best images to produce next year’s unique 2022 Astro La Vista Observatory calendar.  I give these calendars to immediate neighbors and family, but I can accommodate other folks that might want a copy.

This past year I have taken a number of Milky Way images from my home in Prescott, Az. as well as Borrego Springs, Ca. (including one of a metal art Serpent). In addition I have a few images that were processed from data that was acquired from the nice people at Insight Observatory that have access to a telescope in Chile.  I also had some Sunrises and Sunsets with beautiful terrain in the foreground.  If you are located in the US you can order it now. If you are located outside the US, I will see what I can do to accommodate you.

The cover photo on the unique 2022 Astro La Vista Observatory calendar is an image of the Milky Way galactic center over the Astro La Vista Observatory that was taken from my back yard in early May, 2021. I used my Nikon D780 together with a Sigma Art 14mm f1.8 wide angle lens. One 4 minute untracked foreground shot was blended with five tracked 4 minute sky images at F2.8 and ISO 800. For tracking the sky movement I used the Move Shoot Move tracking mount. These were taken around the time of a New Moon between 3AM and 4AM. The sky glow is from Phoenix, which is roughly 90 miles South East from my location.

The January image is a 2 panel mosaic of Sunset at Fonts Point in Borrego Springs. This is a very popular spot for visitors to the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. In late February, 2020 the Full Moon was rising in the East at the same time as the Sun was setting in the West (See December’s image). For this Sunset image I used the Nikon D780 together with the Sigma Art 14mm f2.8 to produce two images that were merged to produce the two panel mosaic.

The Pencil Nebula was processed from data acquired by Gturgeon (Astrobin) on a 17” CDK telescope located in Chile. His raw images are available on a subscription basis. The Pencil Nebula is usually below the horizon in my location, so this was a way to work on image data that I was unable to obtain through my own telescopes.

The “blood moon” image was the best one out of two hundred two second exposures that I took with my Nikon D780 matched with the Nikon AF VR Nikkor 80-400 f4.5-5.6 telephoto at 400mm and f5.6. Since we were battling clouds, this was a lucky shot. A blood moon is seen during a total lunar eclipse.

The April Colorado River Milky Way photograph was taken at Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah. I spent a Saturday night (New Moon) perched on a pitch black ledge, shielding my tripod from 15-20 mile winds in hundred degree heat with smoke from forest fires all around. With all the wind, I had to stick with short exposures. I tried a few surface shots, but with all of the wind, there wasn’t much point in using them since they were pretty much as blurry as stacking these tracked shots by themselves.

In the interest of living a long life, I exited the ledge after I took five sixty second tracked shots at f2.8 and ISO 3200. The Colorado River can be seen in the distance. I found it interesting that you could see no light domes of towns or cities from this location. I used PhotoPills to scope out the time, day and location for this image, all I had to do was show up. Here is what it looks like during the day.

The May image is a photograph of Borrego Springs famous “Serpent.” A wealthy man owned a bunch of Borrego Springs real estate that he never developed. Instead he placed metal art on it throughout the town. The Serpent is one of the most famous pieces. It was not easy to find the Serpent after midnight in the dark sky of a new moon, but I soon located it with my trusty flash light. I took a bunch of images, but narrowed it down to one 4 minute image for the sky and one 4 minute image for the foreground. This was processed in Photoshop.

The June image for the unique 2020 Astro La Vista Observatory Calendar was taken at the Rams Hill Course in Borrego Springs. Borrego Springs offers a bit of dark sky compared to the urban areas that are nearby. With the new moon, I thought I would give the Milky Way a try. This is an 8 panel mosaic of what is right in our back yard there. The 8 unguided 15 second image panels were taken with a Nikon D780 and a Sigma Art 28mm f1.4 lens shot at f1.8.

July offers a smoky Sunset near downtown Prescott, Az. One of the prime geological features of the Prescott Arizona landscape is Thumb Butte. I was visiting a friend and managed to capture this smoky sunset image of Thumb Butte within a few days of the Summer Solstice from their back patio with my Iphone. I did a photo merge of 10 images to come up with this final version.

The Cygnus region of the Milky Way is featured in the August image. The North American Nebula is a rather small feature that is located to the left of center just below the star Deneb in the photo. This is first light for a Sigma 28mm f1.4 lens that I acquired for Milky Way photography. Due to wind and ambient light, I was limited to one minute exposures on my SkyWatcher Star Adventurer mount. At the bottom right is the Phoenix. AZ light dome (90 miles S). Ten images were stacked in Lightroom. ISO 800, shot at f1.8.

The September image was processed from data I acquired from Insight Observatory which has a telescope in Chile. Insight Observatory proved to have some exciting material for the unique 2022 Astro La Vista Observatory Calendar. The Vela remnant is visible in the Southern Hemisphere. Here are some words about it from Insight Observatory…

“The Moon is the biggest single object in the night sky that’s visible to the eye alone. But many objects that are too faint to see are much bigger. The “Vela” nebula spans about 16 times the width of the Moon, almost the size of your fist held at arm’s length and it’s getting bigger all the time.“

This image represents a tiny piece of that very large Supernova remnant. Image acquisition by: Insight Observatory (Franck Jobard at Deep Sky Chile). Image processing by Jim Matzger (me).

The Tarantula Nebula was also processed from Insight data. Here is a little bit about the telescope:

”Insight Observatory’s affiliate remote telescope designated the Astronomical Telescope for Educational Outreach (ATEO-3) is a 12.5″ f/9 (2860mm focal length) Quasar Optics Ritchey Chretien owned and operated by Franck Jobard. This remote telescope is located at an elevation over 5990 ft at Deep Sky Chile remote telescope hosting in the dark skies of the Rio Hurtado Valley in Chile. The telescope is accessible remotely via the internet for conducting astronomical research projects for science education, the general public or accessing image sets from Starbase for image processing”

You can find out more about Insight Observatory at the link below:


The “Running Chicken Nebula” was another fun project from Chile. I think it turned out pretty well, if I don’t say so myself. The final image brings us back to where we started, a full moon as seen from Fonts Point.

Needless to say, the year involved photo shoots all over the place. Order your unique Astro La Vista Observatory calendar below. Astro La Vista wishes you a Happy New Year in 2022. Astro La Vista, Baby!

Unique 2022 Astro La Vista Observatory Calendar

Pre-Order the Unique 2022 Astro La Vista Observatory Calendar (8 1/2” X !1”)

The calendar is $29.99 + $3.99 US flat rate shipping. Delivery by October 31st.


Mosaic of the Cygnus Region of the Milky Way


This is a mosaic of 18 separate panels taken through an H-Alpha filter with the Rokinon 135mm f2.0 lens piggy backed on the Celestron C11 telescope.  Each panel was produced by stacking 20 images comprised of 5 and 10 minute exposures.  The total exposure time was 45 hours.  The picture includes the Veil Nebula, North American Nebula, Pelican Nebula, Tulip Nebula, Propeller Nebula and the Crescent Nebula in the Constellation Cygnus.  Microsoft ICE was used to assemble the mosaic.  Other software that was used included Adobe Photoshop, Pixinsight, and Maxim DL.

Rho Ophiuchi

Some things look best when they are photographed with a 135mm lens.

From Wikipedia:

“The Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex is a dark nebula of gas and dust that is located 1° south of the star ρ Ophiuchi of the constellation Ophiuchus. At an estimated distance of 131 ± 3 parsecs, this cloud is one of the closest star-forming regions to the Solar System.

This cloud covers an angular area of 4.5° × 6.5° on the celestial sphere. It consists of two major regions of dense gas and dust. The first contains a star-forming cloud (L1688) and two filaments (L1709 and L1755), while the second has a star-forming region (L1689) and a filament (L1712–L1729). These filaments extend up to 10–17.5 parsecs in length and can be as narrow as 0.24 parsecs in width. Some of the structures within the complex appear to be the result of a shock front passing through the clouds from the direction of the neighboring Sco OB2 association.

Temperatures of the clouds range from 13–22 K, and there is a total of about 3,000 times the mass of the Sun in material. Over half of the mass of the complex is concentrated around the L1688 cloud, and this is the most active star-forming region. There are embedded infrared sources within the complex.  A total of 425 infrared sources have been detected near the L1688 cloud. These are presumed to be young stellar objects, including 16 classified as protostars, 123 T Tauri stars with dense circumstellar disks, and 77 weaker T Tauri stars with thinner disks.  The last two categories of stars have estimated ages ranging from 100,000 to a million years.”

More info is available at Astrobin.



Astrobin Gallery

Below is a link to my Astrobin gallery. After about a year and a half of acquiring and processing images I finally made it to the Astrobin “leaderboard” which is reserved for the top 100 Astrophotographers out of 5000+ contributors from all over the world. Given that I am always dumbfounded by what those in the top 10 are able to accomplish, I am happy to at least be a placeholder in the top 100. The nice thing about Astrobin is that you can see what equipment and processes others are using to produce their images. Then you just learn by doing. Some Astrobin contributors are just getting started and have a few images taken with a modest telescope and a videocam or dslr. Others have sophisticated setups in dark sky areas. Some even use source material from the Hubble or large professional telescopes. I am amazed by what some people can accomplish with the smallest of setups in the most light polluted cities. It is an interesting place to browse and learn.