[Starry Story] Ariel Leonardo Cappelletti (Argentina)
[Starry Story] Ariel Leonardo Cappelletti (Argentina)
Hello, everyone!!! My name is Ariel Leonardo Cappelletti, I am 35 years old, I live in my hometown (Cordoba, Argentina), under heavily polluted skies (Bortle 9). I have a PhD in chemical sciences, and I work as a scientist at CONICET (National Council for Scientific and Technical Research). I've also beena musician for a long time, I play drums, guitar, bass and sing (although not very well hehe), and I also build electric guitars. I love to cook, make home craft beer, mmmm... I tink I have to many hobbies.
NGC 3372 2x2 Mosaic in SHO Palette. ASI 1600mm-pro and OPTOLONG narrow band filters.
THE SPARK THAT LIT THE FLAME
I would say that the Hubble Space Telescope was the trigger for my interest in the marvels of the night skies. At the beginning, I thought that these wonderful images could only be captured by professionally trained people using scientific installations, but I couldn't be more wrong! Thanks to local and international astronomy and astrophotography forums I could see that this beautiful hobby was possible to do with amateur equipment right from my backyard. Thanks to the improvement in technology and brands like OPTOLONG, ZWO, Sky-Watcher, among others, now beginner astrophotographers as me can achieve very impressive results with equipment that are not that expensive as used to be.
I have always been interested in photography and the basics of how the universe works, and astrophotography represents a beautiful discipline in which the artistic and technical aspects of photography are mixed with astronomical science. Although at first my approach to amateur astronomy began with a visual approach, that was not enough for me, my real interest was to capture and treasure those photons which have travelled millions of light-years right to my camera's sensor and to be able to share them with my loved ones.
My first seriours deep sky astrophotopgraphy. Nikon D5100mod + OPTOLONG (UV/IR cut + UHC)
I formally started astrophotography in July 2018, initially I started with wide field images with a DSLR camera and a lens and a small tracker mount. Then, in January 2019 I was able to buy with a lot of effort my first and only deep-space telescope mount, a small apochromatic refractor and my first OPTOLONG filters (a UV/IR cut filter and a UHC filter) and from there it was a one-way road that I hope it never ends.
MY JOURNEY WITH ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY
I have to say that everything I have achieved has not only been thanks to my effort, but from the beginning I had the constant support and understanding of my wife Cecilia, and the help of a great friend, Juan, who has never hesitated to share their knowledge and motivate me to keep improving.
One of my things that I least enjoy about astrophotography is the acquistion, not because it is not fun to see the first images of the object that you want to photograph arrive, but because it is very hard for me to stay awake at night, I really love sleeping hehe... In addition, unfortunately I do not have my own house or a fixed observatory, so I have to assemble and disassemble all the equipment every night that I take photographs. I have realized that what I enjoy the most is processing the images and seeing how to best represent the wonders of the deep sky.
NGC 3372 (LRGB+SHO). ASI 1600mmpro + Optolong Filters
Another drawback is that with a scientist's salary today it is very difficult for me to be able to buy new and better equipment, although as I said before there are companies that manufacture equipment of the highest quality for very reasonable prices such as OPTOLONG, in my case, all investment is the result of great effort and money saving for a long time.
M20 LRGB. ASI1600mm-pro + Optolong L-PRO and LRGB filters
Currently, light pollution represents a big problem for amateur astrophotographers, luckily, there are options such as the narrow band technique, or the existence of miraculous filters such as the OPTOLONG L-Pro, which I was blessed to win as a prize in the Optolong Deep-Sky Astrophotography Competition 2019, which has allowed me to make impressive LRGB images from my class 9 sky, something that I thought was impossible.Currently, light pollution represents a big problem for amateur astrophotographers, luckily, there are options such as the narrow band technique, or the existence of miraculous filters such as the OPTOLONG L-Pro, which I was blessed to win as a prize in the Optolong Deep-Sky Astrophotography Competition 2019, which has allowed me to make impressive LRGB images from my class 9 sky, something that I thought was impossible.
As I said before, my beginnings in astrophotography were with a DSLR camera with its kit lens and a Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer mount. I was then able to purchase a Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, which made it possible for me to use larger and heavier rigs. After purchasing the mount, I started using a Long Perng Apo refractor, which I used with my old DSLR camera and was later able to purchase a dedicated mono camera and narrowband filters.
Later I switched to Newtonian telescopes, which I fell madly in love with, first I started with a 200/1000 F5, then I switched to a 254/12000 F4.8, and now I plan to switch to a 200/800 F4. As far as cameras are concerned, I own two ZWO cameras (183MC-Pro and 1600mm-Pro), Optolong filters: Ha, OIII, SII, L, R, G, B and L-Pro. The minor equipment consists of a filter wheel, OAG, focuser, etc.
For wide field I have an Askar ACL200 apochromatic lens.
Newtonians telescope that I’ve used (SW 200/1000p on left side, SW 254/1000 pds on right side)
Among the main recognitions that I am lucky to have, are 2 APODs, and two prizes in astrophotography contests organized by OPTOLONG (OPTOLONG Deep-Sky Astrophotography Competition 2019 and 2021).
My first image selected as APOD. NGC 6188 in SHO Palette. ASI1600mm-pro and OPTOLONG narrow band filters
Optolong Deep-sky competition 2021 “Popularity Award”. NGC3324 SHO. ASI1600mm-pro and OPTOLONG narrow band filters
MY EXPERIENCE WITH OPTOLONG
In 2019 was able to buy my first Optolong (UR/IR cut and UHC). I was very satisfied with its performance, so when it came to investing more money in filters, I did not hesitate to trust OPTOLONG again and was able to buy my narrowband filters (Ha 7nm, OIII and SII 6.5nm). These filters literally changed my life, as they allow me to take pictures that I never thought possible from my backyard, even with a full moon. Their performance is amazing, and I would only trade them fro the new 3nm Optolong filters which I hope to get my hands on in the not too distant future, as these filters would further help me deal with my heavily polluted skies.
OPTOLONG deep-sky competition 2019 & 2021 prizes.
Then I was lucky enough to win an Optolong L-Pro filter in 2019, which came engraved with my name, an amazing gesture from the company, and this filter opened up possibilities that I had never considered before like being able to take LRGB photography (stacking the L-Pro and LRGB filters) from a Bortle 9 sky. Currently I was also lucky enough to win an awesome trophy in the OPTOLONG 2021 contest.
From NGC3576 to NGC 3293 1x2 Mosaic. ASI1600mm-pro and OPTOLONG narrowband filters.
All my current filters are Optolong. Although I have tried other brands of filters, I do not consider changing brands. I choose OPTOLONG because their products have excellent quality, their prices are extremely reasonable and something very important is that the human quality of their staff is wonderful, I especially want to thank Jessica Han for her kind attention.
MY ASTRO PLACES
The majority of my images are taken at my backyard in Córdoba, Argentina, mostly capturing narrow band images, but also some LRGB images.
I am lucky to have a great friend, Leonardo Julio, which has an incredible observatory (Observatorio La Banderita) with an amazing Bortle 1 Sky. Leo very generously has allowed me to travel to his observatory to take advantage of that incredible sky and share beautiful moments together with him and other friends.
NGC 2070 in SHO Palette. ASI 1600mm-pro and OPTOLONG narrow band filters.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
I hope that this beautiful journey never ends, although astrophotography is not simple, it requires a lot of dedication, study and sacrifice, this discipline has allowed me to meet wonderful people, and has given me a lot of satisfaction and joy. There is still a lot to learn, new objects to photograph and I’m looking forward to it!
A collage of some more of my images.
Thanks for reading, clear skies!!!