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The prodigal son has returned, Take Two!

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#1 SteveRosenow

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 05:11 PM

A few days ago, I returned from a weather-induced break in the hobby and had set up my telescope to begin imaging again in earnest. In post-processing I realized I had stars that were considerably wonky.

Last night, I had discovered that my telescope's permanent outdoor tripod had somehow been nudged a bit off of true celestial north. I also discovered my mirror lens had fell out of collimation, so I went to fixing both issues. After resolving it with a rather lengthy realignment and recollimating the lens, I began imaging the Orion Nebula again once it cleared a few patches in the trees. Needless to say, the efforts paid off.

Posted Image

I re-shot the Orion Nebula then added it in with data I had set aside after shooting last fall (before the rains set in). Much better stars! Alas, at this point the Orion Constellation began transiting behind a thick stand of trees, so, it was off to a long, 80-minute wait.

After the Orion Constellation re-emerged out of the stand of trees due south of the house, I set my sights on the belt stars. Specifically, I set sights on Alnitak. Since it was a bone-chilling 26 degrees outside, I had a hair dryer at the ready to fight off frost and dew on the gear, in addition to keeping me warm while at the controls. At this point, I set Alnitak as my guide star in the reticle, and began tracking it with the telescope. At the same time, I hit the shutter release cord, and began to capture data on that area - in the hopes I could successfully image the Horsehead Nebula and the Flame Nebula.

My efforts paid off after about three hours of data gathering, plus a couple hours of processing in DSS and Photoshop.

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#2 CA Stargazer

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 05:58 PM

Wow! 3hours at the Horsehead. Just beautiful.
You must have great skies.

#3 shrevestan

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:09 PM

2 winners!

#4 terry59

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:28 PM

Wow Steve...very nice indeed.

I have a couple of questions. Is your D5100 modified or stock? How did you collimate your lens?

You're going to make me get a D5100 :bawling:

#5 nofxrx

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:15 PM

Very nice, Steve!!
That D5100 is really producing great images.
I am curious to see if the new 24Mp D5200 does as well since I was hoping to get another/backup DSLR for higher resolution imaging..

Great work!!

#6 SteveRosenow

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:19 PM

Wow Steve...very nice indeed.

I have a couple of questions. Is your D5100 modified or stock? How did you collimate your lens?

You're going to make me get a D5100 :bawling:


It's stock. I use it for regular photography also.

As for collimating the lens, it took a bit of trickery to rotate the corrector back to where it should be

#7 srosenfraz

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:35 PM

Beautiful images, Steve. Your colors in both of these are superb.

#8 SteveRosenow

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:32 AM

Thanks, guys!

They're sure racking in quite the views over at my Flickr page. The Orion shot is rapidly climbing the "Most Viewed" list on Flickr's "Explore" feature... Needless to say, I didn't expect that! :shocked: :shocked:

#9 alpal

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 03:17 PM

Both pictures are top work -
you should be proud of those results.

#10 Nils_Lars

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 01:25 AM

These came out great Steve.

#11 SteveRosenow

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:14 AM

Thanks for the compliments, guys! :)

Also learned something a bit humbling, if not surprising...

It came as a great surprise to me tonight, that I was informed that my photo of the Great Orion Nebula and Running Man Nebula on Flickr, is now at the level of popularity that Google has ranked it #4 in search result rankings out of 284,000 results for the term "Great Orion Nebula" itself. It has also achieved status as my most-viewed photograph ever on Flickr in the seven years I've been a member, with just a few dozen shy of 2,000 views at present. To say I am humbled at this would be understating it. I never imagined that photo achieving the level of popularity (usually I average far less views per photo), but it did, and for that, I am speechless. Wow.

It's hard to imagine that that three nights ago, I stood outside in 26-degree temperatures for an hour and a half, gathering the imaging data.

#12 srosenfraz

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:53 PM

Congrats, Steve. Have you tried submitting it to Astronomy Magazine, Sky & Tel, APOD, etc.?

#13 SteveRosenow

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 01:24 PM

Congrats, Steve. Have you tried submitting it to Astronomy Magazine, Sky & Tel, APOD, etc.?


Haven't tried, but I'm definitely looking into it!

#14 TimN

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:10 PM

Wow Steve, I just got back and have been checking some of the posts I missed and came across these images. Truly fantastic. I also use a D5100 - just had it modified - but have been unable to use it since it came back. Mostly related to weather. Anyway, these should be hanging from your wall. Very well done!!!

#15 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:25 PM

Outstanding images.

#16 fco_star

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:57 PM

This is a fantastic job Steve. Congratulations!

#17 SteveRosenow

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:30 AM

Wow Steve, I just got back and have been checking some of the posts I missed and came across these images. Truly fantastic. I also use a D5100 - just had it modified - but have been unable to use it since it came back. Mostly related to weather. Anyway, these should be hanging from your wall. Very well done!!!


Who did the modifying?

I'm considering picking up a D5100 body as a spare and I'm considering having that done.

Also, thanks for the compliments!

#18 bilgebay

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:59 AM

Steve, we are lucky 'cause you returned :) Very impressive photos!

#19 TimN

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:38 PM

I had it modified by Brent Oliver. He is member of this forum and goes by the name of Nofxrx. He is a great guy to deal with and has a lot of experience with Nikons. Hopefully, when the moons gone, I can get some images to try it. Also it has to warm up a bit for me - was minus 40C last night.

#20 SunBlack

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:58 PM

Two nices, for a stock camera!

#21 SteveRosenow

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 05:17 AM

I had it modified by Brent Oliver. He is member of this forum and goes by the name of Nofxrx. He is a great guy to deal with and has a lot of experience with Nikons. Hopefully, when the moons gone, I can get some images to try it. Also it has to warm up a bit for me - was minus 40C last night.


Would love to see those images when ya take 'em!

I hope we have clear skies by the time the moon's at new phase!

I was hoping to try the California and Rosette Nebulas, plus gather some more on the Whirlpool Galaxy the night after I shot my Horsey and Orion duo but the next night we had a heavy inversion layer trap a thick fog over us for a week - that just wouldn't let up at all. As soon as it cleared out, rains set in!

This winter and the last two months of autumn has really been a downer in terms of my ability to do any AP here.







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