Digital Images

Beautiful Digital Images of the Cosmos

Here is a slideshow of astronomical digital images recently captured at KPO, and historical images. The observatory contains many types of optical equipment, cameras, and computer systems to allow us to capture our beautiful digital images of the night sky.

The main instrument in the observatory is the KPO 18″ Reflector, a standard Newtonian reflecting telescope with an original Coulter 18″ F/4.5 parabolic mirror.

M8 - The Lagoon Nebula in Sagittarius

Solar Eclipse Mosaic

Solar Prominences

Solar Corona Eclipse 2017

Eclipse Corona with Lunar Features

Eclipse at Brasstown Bald

Diamond Ring through the Clouds

Crescent Nebula (NGC 6888)

Messier 92 in Hercules

The Flame Nebula, NGC 2024

The New Year’s Eve Comet: Comet 45/P; Honda-Mrkos-Padusakova

NGC 2403 - Galaxy in Camelopardalis

M78 - Nebula in Orion

Monkeyhead Nebula

Great Nebula in Orion Closeup

NGC 247 in Sculptor

Crescent Moon 11-1-16

QM2 Sunset Sunspots

Jodrell Bank - The Lovell 250' Dish at Night 2

Crescent Moon over Salisbury 1


Digital Images of astronomical objects from KPO, created with Sky SentinelOur custom Sky Sentinel control and imaging software drives the telescope to locate deep sky object targets. It also uses electronic images, from the cameras mounted on the guide scopes, to provide an electronic optical lock during image acquisition. This allows the imaging camera to collect image data while keeping the target object perfectly stationary over a period of hours. The telescope, robotic mount, control electronics, and software were all designed and made by David Hearn.


We use Canon DSLR cameras and Astronomik light pollution reduction filters to capture our images. We stack and process our image data in software called “StarTools”. The image capture sessions are automated by software called “Nebulosity” which runs on the imaging computer. Both the imaging and telescope control computers are older Macintosh systems.