The Orion Nebula from a Bortle 7 Red Zone

M42 on Jan 13, 2017. 11×60 sec @ ISO 200, TV-85 at F/5.6, Canon T3, Atlas EQ-G w/EQMOD.

I was doing a shakedown of new equipment and decided to post the results of my test shot of the Orion Nebula.  The 11 sub-images were taken from a red zone on the LP map, probably a Bortle 7 to 8 sky with only the brightest stars visible.

I was trying out a freshly configured Windows 10 laptop, a new guiding camera and a new guide scope.   Yep, I broke down and bought the new Orion Ultra-Mini guide scope, since it matched with my relatively new Aptina AR0130 color planetary/guider cam.    I also used a new Shoestring Bluetooth wireless interface for the mount, which although it worked well enough towards the end, the first part of the session was not without issues.

M42 on Jan 13, 2017. 11×60 sec @ ISO 200, TV-85 at F/5.6, Canon T3, Atlas EQ-G w/EQMOD. Color added from previous image.

This session was also the first one where everything actually worked since I replaced the two stepper motors in my Atlas mount.  The last time I tried it I couldn’t get the little netbook I was using to stay connected  to the mount.  A different laptop with a more robust USB bus did the trick.

There are still kinks to work out with the new guiding camera arrangement and the newest version PHD2 Guiding.  The last time I used PHD Guiding, it was Craig Stark’s original version.  This is the first time I’ve used the new Open Source version.   It will take time, but I’m sure the setup is capable of getting the job done.   I got rid of the Meade SN-6 scope I was using as a guide scope and that reduced the weight and bulk of the imaging rig.   A lighter payload should let me get better tracking once I have all the settings tuned, hopefully.

I’ve gotten behind in the last couple of years and now I can finally catch back up to all the new technology and software that is now available.    Soon, I hope to transport my revamped imaging rig to a dark sky sight and churn out some new keeper comet and deep sky images before summer arrives.   Wish me luck.  🙂

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