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#11751 mgCatskills

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Posted 20 February 2024 - 10:05 AM

Beautiful, clear (mostly) night in the Catskills.  Dropped to about 20° with a wind that started around 8 mph; kicked up to about 10-12 mph for an hour or so, then eased after 10 pm.  The steady 8mph wind wasn't a problem for my EdgeHD 8" at F10, though I started the evening at 15s exposures.  When it kicked up, SharpCap was filtering about half the lights. Without a pier, I don't think any of that would have been possible at 2032mm focal length.

 

The Feb challenge reminded me of Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies.  The Astronomical League has an observing program where you get a certificate if you observe at least 100 of the 338 catalogued in the original Atlas.  I'm giving it serious consideration... so my objective for the evening was mostly Arps.  I didn't have time to do a deep dive in planning targets, but had a couple early in the evening (M32 which I started with, but am not showing.  I guess its proximity to M31 is what makes it "peculiar" because by itself it seems unremarkable), and M82, which I've never observed with a long focal length scope.

 

All exposures EdgeHD 8" F10 | ASI294mc-pro camera 305g Darks Applied | UV/IR Filter | 88% Moon | Dithered & Re-centered in SharpCap

 

M82 | 15s exposures | Cropped | 56.5m

M82 Cigar Galaxy Stack Cropped 226frames 3390s WithDisplayStretch
 
M105 is the "other" Leo triplet.  No Arp galaxies here, but I had time to kill before Copeland's Septet got high enough, and it's been on my list for a while.
 
M105 | 15s exposures | Cropped | 41.5m
M105 cropped Stack 165frames 2475s WithDisplayStretch
 
I'm sort of amazed the Copeland's Septet came out as well as it did given the moon.  The brightest galaxy here is 14th magnitude, the dimmer ones are 15th magnitude.  Wanted to spend more time on it, but was struggling with the brightness filter... the only time all night there seemed to be high clouds.  Between the wind and the clouds, decided to cut it short and try another patch of sky, which turned out to be the right decision.
 
NGC3746 Copeland's Septet | 15s exposures | Cropped | 21.5m
NGC3746 Copeland's Septet cropped Stack 86frames 1290s WithDisplayStretch

 

Loved the Cocoon.  Beautiful.  I've started using SharpCap's display stretch to boost brightness of the image without affecting the color balance derived from the Live Stack histogram.  This benefits from that. 

 

NGC4490 Cocoon Galaxy | 15s exposures | Cropped | 30.75 m

NGC4490 Cocoon Galaxy Cropped Stack 123frames 1845s WithDisplayStretch
 
Struggled with the Whale.  It wouldn't stack, despite brightness being OK and FWHM being plenty low.  Then realized there just might not have been enought stars in the image.  I stepped outside, realized the wind had died down, and upped the exposure to 30s.  That made SharpCap very happy and I don't think I lost another light all evening.
 

NGC4631 Whale Galaxy | 30s exposures | Cropped | 15.5 m

NGC4631 Whale Galaxy Cropped Stack 31frames 930s
 
I'd now run out of my planned targets.  Even though it was past midnight, conditions were so good that it seemed a pity to just stop.  Now, M51 is an Arp Peculiar galaxy, as I discovered when researching the others.  Hadn't planned on observing it because a year ago I'd done a pretty good job of it with my C9.25 with the Celestron Reducer.  That was literally the last image I'd captured with it before it got dropped on the deck.  At midnight, though, I wasn't about to do any research, so decided to gave M51 a shot.  This observation is prettier and shows a fair amount more detail.
 
M51 Whirlpool Galaxy | 30s exposures | Cropped | 52 m
M51 Whirlpool Galaxy Cropped Stack 104frames 3120s WithDisplayStretch

Edited by mgCatskills, 20 February 2024 - 11:03 AM.

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#11752 BrentKnight

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Posted 20 February 2024 - 06:14 PM

... so my objective for the evening was mostly Arps.  I didn't have time to do a deep dive in planning targets, but had a couple early in the evening (M32 which I started with, but am not showing.  I guess its proximity to M31 is what makes it "peculiar" because by itself it seems unremarkable)

 

We have all seen what makes this galaxy "peculiar", but probably didn't notice it in quite the same way that Arp did.  What he noted was that the galaxy was surrounded by a "plume" of diffuse material that curves away from the main disk of M31.  Everyone notes that M32 seems imbedded within M31 - and it is peculiar.


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#11753 bigbangbaby

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Posted 20 February 2024 - 10:56 PM

Second night out with the 8" f/4 @ f/3 Newtonian fitted with an optical window. It's going to be a bit of a learning curve, but I think there's great potential. It's fast! Focus is extremely critical; plus/minus just a few single EAF steps. As expected, no diffraction spikes. Stars appear round to the frame edges. Collimation seems pretty right. 

 

No flats yet but will soon. 

 

The Great Orion Nebula

8" f/4 @ f/3

5 x 60 sec each LRGB

QHY 533M @ 60 gain, 0 deg C

Livestacked in Jocular 

M42 20Feb24 21 23 08

 

 

One of my favorites, The Beehive Cluster, M44. I wanted to see how the scope performed on bright stars. Pretty happy with the result.

8" f/4 @ f/3

5 x 60 sec each LRGB

QHY 533M @ 60 gain, 0 deg C

Livestacked in Jocular 

M44 20Feb24 22 06 23
 
EDIT: Added “Livestacked in Jocular.”

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by bigbangbaby, 21 February 2024 - 04:07 AM.

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#11754 MarMax

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Posted 21 February 2024 - 12:51 AM

So Larry, are you using Jocular?

 

I can't wait to see some images with calibration frames.


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#11755 bigbangbaby

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Posted 21 February 2024 - 04:12 AM

So Larry, are you using Jocular?

 

I can't wait to see some images with calibration frames.

Jocular, yes. Edited the posting. 

It will be interesting to see what calibration does. 



#11756 mgCatskills

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Posted 21 February 2024 - 02:01 PM

Last night (Tuesday), I launched my Arp challenge in earnest.  The first night was easy: I cherry picked a lot of the largest, brightest, showcase Arp targets.  Last night I was trying to capture mostly mid range targets (mag 13+) in constellations like Andromeda that won't be available much longer.  It was an interesting, and not entirely comfortable, shift in perspective.

 

I realize that a lot of my joy in EAA comes from picking targets I think will engage me visually and aesthetically.  That's part of why I try to make "pretty" pictures.  While all of the Arp targets are fascinating to the left brain, many of them are just too small to be visually arresting.  So it was tough.

 

It was also challenging because there was real time pressure on objects that started due west below 40°, and the night wasn't as clear as the night before... especially early in the evening when the time pressure was worst, brightness filtering was making life stressful.

 

Anyway, my favorite capture was the last of the night.  An EAA "legal" image is here:

 

Arp 104 | 60m

ARP104 Cropped Stack 120frames 3600s

 

However, check out these two links.  In one I did some "nasty" post processing to emphasize the dust lane that is barely visible in the "legal" image.  Trust me, it was hard work to pull that out of the "legal" EAA session, even though it is sort of the point of Arp 104.  That's why I spent an hour.. but if you look at the legal image under ideal conditions it is (barely) there.  But much clearer in this processed version:

 

https://www.cloudyni...622_1873394.jpg

 

Second, is kind of an amazing comparison of the world's best astrographs in 1965 (which are arguably the 200" and 75" telescopes used to capture the Arp images), and my EdgeHD 8" with a CMOS camera and some (clumsy) digital post processing.

 

It's a very different world....

 

https://www.cloudyni...5622_654803.jpg


Edited by mgCatskills, 21 February 2024 - 02:06 PM.

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#11757 Baron

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Posted 23 February 2024 - 01:44 PM

Hi,

 

an attempt at M82, it can be done better.

 

M82

195×8″ = 26'

Celestron C9,25

Player One Saturn-C SQR

Filter UV/IR Cut

SharpCap Pro live stacking with master dark.

 

get.jpg?insecure


Edited by Baron, 23 February 2024 - 01:45 PM.

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#11758 gun4hire

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Posted 24 February 2024 - 05:58 PM

 

Beautiful, clear (mostly) night in the Catskills.  Dropped to about 20° with a wind that started around 8 mph; kicked up to about 10-12 mph for an hour or so, then eased after 10 pm.  The steady 8mph wind wasn't a problem for my EdgeHD 8" at F10, though I started the evening at 15s exposures.  When it kicked up, SharpCap was filtering about half the lights. Without a pier, I don't think any of that would have been possible at 2032mm focal length.

 

The Feb challenge reminded me of Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies.  The Astronomical League has an observing program where you get a certificate if you observe at least 100 of the 338 catalogued in the original Atlas.  I'm giving it serious consideration... so my objective for the evening was mostly Arps.  I didn't have time to do a deep dive in planning targets, but had a couple early in the evening (M32 which I started with, but am not showing.  I guess its proximity to M31 is what makes it "peculiar" because by itself it seems unremarkable), and M82, which I've never observed with a long focal length scope.

 

All exposures EdgeHD 8" F10 | ASI294mc-pro camera 305g Darks Applied | UV/IR Filter | 88% Moon | Dithered & Re-centered in SharpCap

 

 

 

Michael, those are great shots...Thanks a lot!!!! I am fretting about possibly getting an EDGE (8", 9.5" or 11") and you post those pics with nice tight stars and great colors. My credit card is hiding from me now thanks to you!!lol.gif lol.gif waytogo.gif


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#11759 Borodog

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Posted 25 February 2024 - 09:59 AM

Had some fun last night demoing both the chromatic aberration correction and the solar system live stacking in SharpCap with a $50 achromatic 30mm f/4 guide scope and a $119 SV305C camera. The Moon was full, the transparency was poor, and the guide scope is TERRIBLE.  Just a hunk of glass. It can't focus stars. At all. Anywhere in the field. lol.gif  It has nothing BUT chromatic aberration. The SV305C is a nice upgrade to the older SV305 though. The new IMX662 sensor is much lower noise than the IMX290 in the old ones.

 

Here's M42 & the Running Man and the Horsehead & Flame. The chromatic aberration correction really does work well.

 

f4_guide_scope_EAA.jpg

 

How terrible is the guide scope, by the way? On the left is the absolute best focus possible with the scope, single snapshot. On the right is the live stacked sharpened "mineral Moon" version.

 

junk_guide_camera_moon.jpg

 

 


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#11760 Bob Campbell

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Posted 25 February 2024 - 10:12 AM

Had some fun last night demoing both the chromatic aberration correction and the solar system live stacking in SharpCap with a $50 achromatic 30mm f/4 guide scope and a $119 SV305C camera. The Moon was full, the transparency was poor, and the guide scope is TERRIBLE.  Just a hunk of glass. It can't focus stars. At all. Anywhere in the field. lol.gif  It has nothing BUT chromatic aberration. The SV305C is a nice upgrade to the older SV305 though. The new IMX662 sensor is much lower noise than the IMX290 in the old ones.

 

Here's M42 & the Running Man and the Horsehead & Flame. The chromatic aberration correction really does work well.

 

attachicon.gif f4_guide_scope_EAA.jpg

 

How terrible is the guide scope, by the way? On the left is the absolute best focus possible with the scope, single snapshot. On the right is the live stacked sharpened "mineral Moon" version.

 

attachicon.gif junk_guide_camera_moon.jpg

Impressive!

 

Is the CA correction in the latest version? I Have a version a couple days old, and did not see it.

 

thanks

 

Bob



#11761 Borodog

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Posted 25 February 2024 - 11:53 AM

Bob, yes. There’s a whole thread on it. It’s at the bottom of the Preprocessing section in the right hand panel.
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#11762 bigbangbaby

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Posted 26 February 2024 - 09:46 AM

Here is the final image taken with my 8" f/4 Newtonian. I will be replacing it with a TBD fast/large scope. Full moon, so details are faint, but the uncompressed version does show some nebulosity. It's a magnificent object worthy of more time and attention, interesting in both broadband and narrowband. 

 

IC405

IC405 24Feb24 21 36 42

 

 


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#11763 dob45

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Posted 26 February 2024 - 11:04 AM

18" f/4,2  self-made dobson (OnStep motorized), ASI 485 MC, Baader MPCC, L-eNhance filter , Bortle 8, 98% Moon.

I'm very happy with the performance of the L-eNhance filter even with a full moon!

 

ngc 2261: Hubble's variable nebula, 60x4s =4 min ;  not many colors in this nebula.....

2261_Stack_60frames_240s.jpg

 

Abell 10 : PN in Orion, 90x4s = 6 min

abell10_Stack_90frames_360s.jpg

 

Sh2-271: HII region in Orion , near  ngc 2194  OC

Sh2-271_Stack_80frames_320s.jpg


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#11764 MarMax

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Posted 26 February 2024 - 12:14 PM

Here is the final image taken with my 8" f/4 Newtonian. I will be replacing it with a TBD fast/large scope. Full moon, so details are faint, but the uncompressed version does show some nebulosity. It's a magnificent object worthy of more time and attention, interesting in both broadband and narrowband. 

 

IC405

Have you swapped out the window? I see diffraction spikes on AE Aruigae.

 

Any ideas yet on what scope you are considering next? I know you don't like the diffraction spikes but the best attribute of the 8" f/4 Newts I've played with is the ability to control dew with a rear fan and short dew shield. All my other scopes require dew heaters and the C11 needs a dew heater and fans.



#11765 Baron

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Posted 26 February 2024 - 02:16 PM

Hi,

 

my first attempts at deep sky photography continue.

 

315×8″ = 42′

Celestron C9,25

Player One Saturn-C SQR

Filter UV/IR Cut

Celestron 0.63X Reducer

SharpCap Pro live stacking with master dark.

 

M81

get.jpg?insecure

 


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#11766 bigbangbaby

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Posted 26 February 2024 - 02:17 PM

Have you swapped out the window? I see diffraction spikes on AE Aruigae.

 

Any ideas yet on what scope you are considering next? I know you don't like the diffraction spikes but the best attribute of the 8" f/4 Newts I've played with is the ability to control dew with a rear fan and short dew shield. All my other scopes require dew heaters and the C11 needs a dew heater and fans.

 

Window produced ghost images with no way to fix them. I reinstalled the original four-vane spider, hence the spikes. Pretty disappointing the window didn't work as expected, but it was never a sure thing.

 

I still dislike diffraction spikes and anything I replace the Newt with won't have them. I won't go down the Hyperstar rabbit hole, especially because I shoot mono+filters and manually swapping filters in and out is a non-starter for my remote setup. I'm open to suggestions.



#11767 gun4hire

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Posted 27 February 2024 - 10:48 AM

I wanted to try some targets for My Askar107PHQ/ZWO2600/Optolong Ultimate filter, since the moon is bright and washing out any galaxies I might want to shoot. I won't be able to image for a week or so. That's not a big deal since the moon is a pain right now anyway. SQ was at 20 before the moon came up. I had some issues with spiking FWHM. I was constantly going out and focusing. It finally settled down on my last object.

 

I was having issues with a green cast on my first image. I realized I had left the darn little display histogram running. I used it to get an auto balance on my polar alignment captures. I left it running and it was messing up my main histogram. I turned it off and I was able to adjust my image again!! Lesson learned. It made me think my flat was bad so the image of the Cone/Christmas Tree was flatless. I was able to use the flat I captured scope side last night for all the rest. I used a new dark capture scope side too. I chose to do 90 second frames. My CEM40EC (no guiding) was flawless. Sharpcap was great every plate solve worked.  I did use 20 frames /30 minutes until my last capture, M1. I was getting tired and ended it early.

 

Click on the pic to go to Atrobin. Click again to see fullest possible resolution.

 

get.jpg?insecure

 

Monkey Head Nebula 20 frames 30 minutes cropped a little bit. The best one of the night!

 

get.jpg?insecure

 

Lowers Nebula 20fr 30min... I read this one is really hard to capture, so challenge accepted!! It is called the big brain. Small crop.

 

get.jpg?insecure

 

M1 14 frames 21 minutes.. I cropped this heavy since it looked tiny with my combo

 

get.jpg?insecure

 

Cone and Christmas Tree area... 20 frames 30 minutes.. flat free due too my error. Ehhhh....Not the best. I have captured before and wanted to shoot it again. Small clean up crop.


Edited by gun4hire, 27 February 2024 - 10:51 AM.

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#11768 BrentKnight

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Posted 27 February 2024 - 11:12 AM

Gutsy doing faint nebulae on a moon soaked night - I just stuck with open clusters.  Nice captures though - L-Ultimate does well.  I'll have to add Lowers Nebula to my list - looks very interesting!


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#11769 rnyboy

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Posted 27 February 2024 - 11:53 AM

Now that things are working well with my wider field AT80EDL/0.8x r/f (f/5.6) AVX rig its now galaxy and other smaller "stuff" season, so I somewhat reluctantly decided to change back to the C6 with f/6.3 r/c (f.6.3) that was not yet fully "working well" before I switched over to the then new-to-me AT80EDL last summer.  Pre-AT80EDL I was very close to finishing up the modifications I was making to a NexStar 6SE OTA for it to become a full-fledged C6 capable of being auto guided on the then brand new AVX.  I almost had everything functioning like it should, except for the autoguiding, principally because I had just started to dip my toes into the autoguiding pond.

 

Yesterday I moved the newish 294mc Pro and EFW over to the C6.  It was an easy-peasy move to hit the proper 105mm backspacing for the f/6.3 r/c, but the added new extra weight resulted in having the AVX counterweight now at the end of the shaft and the rig was almost balanced.  I think the total C6 rig now weighs around 16 or so pounds and is a little heavier than the AT80EDL setup.  I could auto guide OK last night if I was tracking objects west of the meridian but had issues when it was on the east side.  For now, I'm chalking that up to that RA imbalance and I now have an extra 12 lb counterweight arriving this Wednesday.  I'm not sure how the AVX will like having an extra 12 lbs on the shaft.  It should help with the arm moment.  If it appears necessary, I'll find a smaller weight and just position it above the 12 lber.

 

I was kind of excited to see if autoguiding with the AVX could improve contrast and details for objects previously imaged with the NexStar SE mount.  I only have one example for comparing between the two mounts that was taken last night.  For that first test I went for a 15 min total exposure (350 gain, 10s subs) image of NGC3242 Ghost of Jupiter using only an IR/UV Cut filter.  That planetary nebula took up a really small area on the 294mc and the following is a significant crop of that original EAA image. After comparing the image below to my previous "best" NGC3242, captured in mid-April of 2020 at f/10 with the NexStar 6SE mount and 385mc, this newest image lacks a bit of finer detail but has much better color and significantly lower noise.  The complete image capture information for that 2020 image is not on this PC but it was obtained from a stack of 15 min total exposure image files that I processed using DeepSkyStacker.  The Ghost was low enough to the horizon (about 26 degrees in alt) that the stars in the frame suffered from some atmospheric dispersion.  That the nebula is strongly blue is probably a good thing in this case.

 

Both below images were captured using a C6 with f/6.3 r/c on AVX mount, 294mc Pro (-15C), UV-IR Cut filter, Bortle 7/8, ~85% Moon.  I think I'd like to retry both of these targets at f/10, and with no moon if lucky, just to see if more detail could be obtained after 60 mins of total exposure and if autoguiding with the AVX is better than expected.

 

NGC 3242 Ghost of Jupiter, 90 x10s = 15 min, 350 gain, dark subtracted, no flat

 

hUQJb2t.jpg

 

Before I went for the Ghost of Jupiter I wanted to capture NGC2261 Hubble's Variable Nebula after seeing its very tiny presence in the corner of the frame of a capture of the Christmas Tree Nebula I obtained a few weeks back.

 

https://www.cloudyni...ery/?p=13248929

 

It was still a "tiny" presence in the 294mc frame, but at least it was now taking up about four times the area on the frame.  It still required a significant crop to show any of the sparse detail in the nebula.

 

The first time intentionally going after this object, so another "personal best", resulted in this image...

 

NGC2261 Hubble's Variable Nebula, 90 x15s = 30 min, 400 gain, dark subtracted, no flat

 

 

XZm4Tlg.jpg


Edited by rnyboy, 27 February 2024 - 02:01 PM.

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#11770 alphatripleplus

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Posted 27 February 2024 - 12:02 PM

Gutsy doing faint nebulae on a moon soaked night - I just stuck with open clusters.  Nice captures though - L-Ultimate does well.  I'll have to add Lowers Nebula to my list - looks very interesting!

Yeah, Lower's nebula is often overlooked with all  the other brighter emission nebulae in the the winter sky. I did post a 5 minute H-alpha capture of it and several other nebulae in the ultrafast afocal topic on the night of the full moon. You can tell looking at my other 5 minute H-alpha captures in that topic that Lower's  (along with the Seagull Nebula) had the lowest surface brightness of the ones I took that night.


Edited by alphatripleplus, 27 February 2024 - 12:03 PM.

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#11771 cnbilbo

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Posted 27 February 2024 - 06:23 PM

After a year of lousy weather I finally got my answer to what might seem a silly question, Can you seperate trapezium @390mm F/2?

Yep, Not pretty, warm scope, collimation off a touch, 89% Moon, Untidy cable's

Hyperstar 8, 585MC, Gain 252, single frame 100ms (1/10th sec) 300% Zoom.

Preview_M42_100.0ms_Bin1_585MC_gain252_20240220-201030_9.3C A.jpg

A lower gain & filter should help to clean this up.

Steve

Edited by cnbilbo, 27 February 2024 - 06:24 PM.

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#11772 Bob Campbell

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Posted 01 March 2024 - 08:24 AM

My first M51 for the season, 20 degree altitude. 2/2/9/24 My favorite galaxy by far. smile.gif

 

Scottsdale SQM17.99 plus streetlights and *searchlights* (some 'big' event south of me)

 

Nearly continuous haze amplifies the light dome,

 

C6(f6.7)/asi294mc-pro(0C)/L-pro az-gti(eq) flats and darks Sharpcap 4.1 using all the bells and whistles I can think of.

 

M51 12 sec sub, 1516sec total (gallery image, click image then filename choose Large size under options)

M51 2 29 24 crop Stack 125frames 1516s WithAnnotations
 
Bob

Edited by Bob Campbell, 01 March 2024 - 08:25 AM.

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#11773 bigbangbaby

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Posted 01 March 2024 - 08:35 AM

 

My first M51 for the season, 20 degree altitude. 2/2/9/24 My favorite galaxy by far. smile.gif

 

Scottsdale SQM17.99 plus streetlights and *searchlights* (some 'big' event south of me)

 

Nearly continuous haze amplifies the light dome,

 

C6(f6.7)/asi294mc-pro(0C)/L-pro az-gti(eq) flats and darks Sharpcap 4.1 using all the bells and whistles I can think of.

 

M51 12 sec sub, 1516sec total (gallery image, click image then filename choose Large size under options)

 
 
Bob

 

Valiant effort, Bob! That’s a lot to overcome and you can still see details. My skies are a little darker than that, but a big light dome to the north prevents visual observation of M51. Even the local astronomy club, which also struggles with a northern light dome, can’t see M51 with their C14. M51 was the first object I imaged when I set up my first EAA rig. What a thrill!


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#11774 Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell

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Posted 01 March 2024 - 09:22 AM

Valiant effort, Bob! 

 

Even the local astronomy club, which also struggles with a northern light dome, can’t see M51 with their C14. M51 was the first object I imaged when I set up my first EAA rig. What a thrill!

Thanks. They should get a good camera and do EAA. The C14 should really do the job. The LP was the reason I got  into EAA living in Scottsdale. Couldn't do it any other way

 

Bob


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#11775 bigbangbaby

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Posted 01 March 2024 - 12:00 PM

Thanks. They should get a good camera and do EAA. The C14 should really do the job. The LP was the reason I got  into EAA living in Scottsdale. Couldn't do it any other way

 

Bob

The club is heavily invested in visual, but recently a member attached a camera to a Televue 101. I think they'll do more of that going forward given the light pollution at the site.


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