It was a clear Sunday evening on Jan 28th, 2024 and I had to do some tweaking to the scope, so I took advantage of the good weather and did some imaging to test the results.
After the tweaks and adjustments for the scope, I went straight to Comet 144P/Kushida, which was well placed in the early evening sky. I took 45 minutes worth of subs and above are the two images I generated from this data.
I shot of few sub-images of M35 the last time I was out and wanted to return to it now that I tweaked the scope. I got two hours of data on it and it came out reasonably well.
By the time I finished M35, the moon had risen high enough to drown out any dim nebulae and whatnot, so I shot the moon itself. It was still rather low in the sky, but did not come out too bad:
I resized it 200% for this display image and did some sharpening with the AstraImage Maximum Entropy Deconvolution filter in PS. Yes, not too bad at all for a 60mm scope.
It was a very clear night after a cold front had passed and enough time had gone by for the winds to calm down again. I setup before sunset and got ready.
The Moon was out and in conjunction with Saturn, which was right above it. Unfortunately, the field of view was too narrow to include both in one frame without rotating the camera to another angle. So, I just shot the moon
I composited together an overexposed shot and the first image and blended it to show the moon among a few stars. Not quite what I was hoping for, but you get the idea.
The Pleiades is one of those images I end up with when I want to kill time while waiting for what I really want to image. In this case, it was the Seagull Nebula, which was my main target for this session.
I maxed out for one night with 4.5 hours on this object, which when added with the session from last week, gave me nearly 6 hours on the Seagull. Finally, an amount of time that gives very smooth results – once you add them all together properly.
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!
A full moon night, but it was clear and relatively transparent. I needed to test some scope adjustments anyway, so I figured I would just do a few of those things, get a shot of the moon and call it a night. I ended staying up all night and shooting a variety of objects, even with a full moon from the metro.
Not only was it a full moon, it joined Jupiter for a conjunction, and I got a shot of that plus a few others:
This session was also a test for a new SkyWatcher GTi mount with EQMOD software, which worked right out the box, since I’ve been using it with my Atlas EQ-G for years. I didn’t have to reconfigure anything for it to work, which was great.
After the moon, I did some guiding tests and took some 60 second images with only a UV/IR filter, despite the heavy LP at my location. Not too bad, but definitely harder to process out. I tested on the Crescent Nebula and the M22 globular cluster. 11×60 for the Crescent and 30×60 for M22:
Tiny Mars right below the full moon of Dec 2022. Here in Cajun Country, we saw a near miss of Mars being occulted. Further north and west was where you could see it go behind the Moon.
I used the smallest scope I have to take this (only 180mm of focal length) because it was ready to go and I didn’t have much time to prep. Sure wish I would have had my old C-8 for this instead. Oh, well…
This crop is at 100% of the camera’s native resolution.
Enhanced version of above with harder push on star brightness.
I woke up at about 3:00 am after just a few hours of sleep to catch this. I had setup the scope earlier that evening and was ready. I have images from throughout the event, but these were the better ones during totality.
Bonus: In addition to the eclipsed moon, in the wide angle crops or full-frame images, the planet Uranus and at least one of its moons are visible at the extreme left edge: