The Pleiades in 10 Minutes – In Lots of LP

M45, the Pleiades. 10×120 sec @ ISO 100, TV-85 at F/5.6, Canon T3, Atlas EQ-G w/EQMOD.

It is surprising that you could get the Merope nebulousity in the Pleiades to show up under severe light pollution (LP) with just 10 minutes of exposure.  It was definitely transparent this night, so that helped.  Processing was no fun, however.   Nasty red LP took its toll.

Update Feb 5, 2017:

I did a guiding test on  Feb 3rd and used M45 as my target.  I shot lots of sub-images with 15 and 30 second exposures.   I took the best 74 and combined those with the above data is this is what I got:

M45 – 74×15 sec @ ISO 1600 added to 5×120 sec @ ISO 100 or about 28 minutes of integration.

It certainly smoothed out that muddy-looking background LP remnant splotchy-ness appearance.  Not too bad for shooting from a location next to shopping center parking lots.  lol

The Great Andromeda Galaxy – Combined Data

The Great Andromeda Galaxy. 3-panel mosaic taken with a SN-8 and data taken with TV-85 combined.

Data from a 3 panel mosaic taken with a Meade SN-8 telescope back in 2007 was combined with data taken with a Televue TV-85 from 2011.  I used Registar and was able to match the data to the base image, which was the 3-panel mosaic.

I like the way it came out and the orientation is in the classic style for M31.   Thinking about it further, it might be a good project for me to get even more data and add in everything together to get one deep image.    Hmmm…

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.  🙂

Full Moon, Jan 12, 2017

Full Moon Jan 12, 2017. Canon T3 @ ISO 100, 1/800 sec, TV-85 at F/5.6, Atlas EQ-G mount.

A close crop of the moon taken with the Canon T3 and TV-85 combo.  This is straight out of the Canon DPP software.  I cropped it in PS, but didn’t do any other modifications to it.

This was a shakedown imaging session to test my mount, laptop and new Bluetooth telescope interface.  Unfortunately, the test failed as the Bluetooth connection kept breaking.   I had tested it a few nights before with no problems, but something I installed afterward must have screwed it up.  It is back to the drawing board, I guess.   🙁

Moonset January 11, 2017

Moonset on Jan 11, 2017. Canon T3 @ ISO 400, Canon 200mm, F/2.8 telephoto, 1/320 sec for moon and 1/100 sec for background.

Here’s an image of the moon setting behind tree branches that I created recently.   Of course the nearly full moon was way overexposed in the image taken for the background, but I overlayed another shot taken at a much shorter exposure and blended the two together until it looked somewhat natural.

First Image for 2017

The Moon on Jan 7, 2017. Televue TV-85 at F/7, Aptina AR0130 color planetary cam, 40 frames out of 291.

It is not much of an image, but it was done with my trusty TV-85 and my Atlas EQ-G tracking mount, instead of that dobsonian I’ve been stuck using.

I managed to get those two items back into my possession recently.   Unfortunately, the Atlas mount needed lots of work just to get it barely running again.  There is a burnt out motor on one of the drive axis.   It was the RA motor, so I swapped it with the DEC motor to just get the tracking going.   During testing I was able to take a one minute video with decent tracking, which yielded just over 290 frames with the planetary cam I used.

I ordered some stepper motors for cheap from Amazon to replace the originals, which are both shot.  I’ll also have to get some new bearings for the mount and it needs a new power switch.   I might just get a hypertune kit with the ceramic bearings and possibly a belt-drive upgrade.   It definitely needs some TLC before it will be able to do any serious imaging.  🙁