It was the first clear night since the last session on Nov 3rd. I wanted to see this comet and try to get images of the Heart Nebula. The comet was first in line since it was already getting low in the west after sundown. I forgot to adjust the gain down and shot it at the highest gain setting I usually use when focusing and star aligning. Surprisingly, I was able to salvage the sub-images and get a usable image from them. BTW, the comet seems to have a tail, but it could be an artifact of the gain setting or something.
Next up, I did a quick look see at M42 and the M46/M47 Open clusters area. I wasn’t planning on keeping these, but the data on my main target of the night, the Heart Nebula, was horrible. So, I thought better of just ditching these sub-images.
I also did a short run on the Cone Nebula/Christmas Tree Cluster area of 10 x 3 minutes, plus I got a few frames of M78 and M44. The Cone area is not too bad considering it is only 30 minutes of time. M44 was a very quick look and I just wanted to see how it would fit with this rig I was using. But, M78 needs a couple of hours to even begin to look nice and I only got 21 minutes worth. Oh, well… next time.
And, finally, here is the salvage job on the Heart Nebula, of which I had two sets of data. One was slightly out of focus, the other had a terrible gradient from an IR source that was pointed right at the lens and I think some of it got through the UHC-S filter, or it was a reflection off the front glass.
What I ended up doing is taking the slightly out of focus stars and removing them totally, then taking the good stars from the data that had the bad gradient and combining them. Still noisy and not that great, but reducing it to 33% smoothed it out enough to pass as a display image.
Oh, well. Another reshoot for this one is in order and also for its close neighbor, the Soul Nebula.
Well, it was clear on Friday evening for a while when I started shooting the above. The forecast was for it to remain clear. I had setup and planned go the distance all night. But, before too long, high cirrus clouds came in and parked over my location. It was during the first exposure run on the Veil. I took 40 shots and between clouds and guiding issues, only 18 were any good.
I took this small amount of L-eNhance filtered data and tried to combine it with the previous UHC-s filter data and the image below is what I got. I was hoping for 3 hours worth, but it was not to be.
Not satisfied with the above image, I recombined the 18×180’s with the starless data I had from the previous session and came up with this rendition:
With Halloween just passed, I was reminded that I haven’t checked out my old friend the Ghost Nebula since last year. So, I gave it a whirl when the clouds gave me a break for about an hour.
Unfortunately, the clouds came back and the only thing left to shoot was the moon rising in the east. It was boiling and unstable low in the muck, but I got a shot of it regardless.
I called it a night after that and packed it in and went to bed. But, wouldn’t you know it? I woke up before dawn the next morning and went outside and looked at the sky. It was crystal clear. D’oh!
Images of Comets, Nebulae, Galaxies and Star Clusters