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8SE Mount Advice

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#26 GuitsBoy

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 08:26 PM

The wind is brutal out there. Too much shake. Didn't bother setting up guidance. Just a quick alignment, and I'm letting the camera click away 15 second subs with the regular intervalometer. I doubt I'll get much. Tomorrow might be good too, so maybe I'll try again. Hooray for house arrest!



#27 rnyboy

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Posted 10 April 2020 - 08:05 AM

Yeah, it was windy here all day yesterday and continue through today.  Roofs were white when I got up.  In fact it's snowing pretty hard outside at the moment, lake effect, but it's not accumulating.  With the wind it's getting plastered on the west side of my trees.  coldday.gif

 

In regards to a comment in one of my previous posts...  "I find the idea of adding autoguiding to my 6SE interesting.  And maybe a wedge could be in my future as well."

 

I just found out that if you use an alt/az mount for autoguiding the imaged field will rotate around the guide star.  I guess if you can find a guide star close to the center of the main object of interest then autoguiding would still seem to be better for keeping the object/area of interest centered than just using the native tracking ability of the SE mount alone for the short exposures used with stacking. 

 

A bit more info on 6/8SE autoguiding...  It appears the 6/8SE mounts will only guide when in EQ mode, so it needs to be on a wedge.

 

Since I'm currently not having much trouble tracking an object once centered I think I'll put autoguiding way back on the back burner.  For what it's worth, when capturing images in SharpCap Pro, you can pause the image capture, recenter the object, and restart the image capture to continue on.  The main issue again is the field rotation can get to be large and, depending on where you are tracking in the sky and how large the object you're imaging is in the frame, makes cropping of the derotated stacked image tougher for getting a nice looking final image. 

 

Also...  The ground is starting to get a bit on the white side. frown.gif    Well at least it will go away fast.


Edited by rnyboy, 10 April 2020 - 10:36 AM.


#28 GuitsBoy

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Posted 10 April 2020 - 11:12 AM

Here are a few quick and dirty grabs from last night.   I think they were all 15 second subs, unguided, blowing in the strong wind.  Only about half the frames i took were usable.  These were between about 15 and 30 stacked exposures each.  I didnt spend more than a minute or two post processing, so please dont expect too much.

 

20200409_catseye (Medium).jpg

Cats eye nebula came out pretty blurry with no structure.  Focusing?  Wind?  Who knows.  Ill try a barlow next time, its just too small with the focal reducer.

 

20200409_m3 (Medium).jpg

M3 Globular Cluster

 

20200409_m13 (Medium).jpg

M13 Hercules Globular Cluster

 

20200409_m44 (Medium).jpg

M44 Beehive Cluster

 

20200409_m51 (Medium).jpg

M51 Whirlpool Galaxy.  Took over 60 shots here but only half could be used.  The longer exposures gave me better results.  And the wind didnt help....

 

20200409_m57 (Medium).jpg

M57 Ring Nebula.  This one looked decent with single shots too.


Edited by GuitsBoy, 10 April 2020 - 11:41 AM.


#29 GuitsBoy

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Posted 10 April 2020 - 11:20 AM

And some more...

 

20200409_m63 (Medium).jpg

M63 Sunflower Galaxy - I couldnt remember what this one was.  It had the most amount of stacked subs, and was near zenith, but was still the faintest object despite its magnitude being better than some others.

 

20200409_m64 (Medium).jpg

M64 Black Eye Galaxy - Another cool one that would do well with some extra time and better conditions.  

 

20200409_m81_m82 (Medium).jpg

Cigar and Bodes again.  These captured fairly easily, and was on the lower end of stacked exposures.

 

20200409_m81 (Small).jpg

Bodes by itself.  Some more stacked subs than the pair, but had trouble coaxing out details.  Too much camera shake.


Edited by GuitsBoy, 10 April 2020 - 11:42 AM.


#30 GuitsBoy

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Posted 10 April 2020 - 11:22 AM

And last couple of faint fuzzys from last night...

 

20200409_m104 (Medium).jpg

M104 Sombrero Galaxy.  I shot this one before, but its facing towards the light pollution and was fairly low in the sky.

 

20200409_spindle (Medium).jpg

Spindle Galaxy.  This one was new, but like m104 its facing the light pollution and low in the sky.


Edited by GuitsBoy, 10 April 2020 - 11:39 AM.


#31 rnyboy

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Posted 10 April 2020 - 01:17 PM

GuitsBoy…  You got all those last night?  Wow!  I'm lucky if I can get two or three things a night.  I think it was maybe my third or fourth time out I was aligned such that I was going from small star cluster to another for five or six different objects and comparing them to what they looked like in Stellarium pretty much just to see how close the gotos were.  I don't even remember what set of reducers I was using but I think it may have just been the single f/6.3.  I didn't take any images though.  In hindsight I should have just livestacked them and saved a png because it would have went fast.  Now that I think about it I may not have even been using SharpCap at that time, so no livestacking.

 

I really want to get the ring nebula but it's just not in the right place for me to get to.  You must have a pretty open site.  I have site envy now.

 

Here's my sombrero and a couple of planetary nebula... the Ghost of Jupiter ( NGC3242) and NGC2438.  The NGC2438 was pushed hard in PS to try to bring out the colors.

 

lFgxNnH.jpg

 

EiOHV3P.png

 

 

kY4oYRL.jpg


Edited by rnyboy, 10 April 2020 - 01:21 PM.


#32 GuitsBoy

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Posted 10 April 2020 - 02:01 PM

GuitsBoy…  You got all those last night?  Wow!  I'm lucky if I can get two or three things a night.  

RNY, Thanks, yeah, with the wind gusting I didnt bother with an elaborate setup.  I just wanted something quick and dirty, so I wouldn't care much if the wind ruined things.  I just aligned, tossed the camera on, and pretty much just went down the list of Named objects in the nexstar menu to see what was in view.   I set the intervalometer to take 50 or so 15-second subs, then walked back in the house for twenty minutes before going back out to change targets.   The scope as out from 9pm to 1am, but I was only out for about an hour in total.  If I was autoguiding, I would have been out there babysitting, or at least remotely connected to the laptop from my PC inside the house.  I started using a cheap lighted reticle eyepiece to do my alignments, and the go-tos are pretty much spot on now, at least within the first test shot.  Anyway, mine arent anything to be particularly proud of, but it does show that the 6se/8se with the focal reducer and mounted on a wedge will function as a starting point.  Then again at 15 second subs, alt-az mode might have also just squeeked by.

 

As for the autoguiding, yes, I think a wedge is very much necessary before guiding.  I dont know if it will work in alt-az mode or not, but I'd think the wedge is a pre-requisite.  As mentioned, if you have the means, you can slap together a home built one in about a half an hour for $20 bucks worth of materials.  You can use just about anything for a guide scope, and amazon has a great low light USB camera for 40 bucks, using the popular ar0130 chip.  A webcam to 1.25 eye piece runs about 10 bucks.  So all in, its not a ton of money to try it out, if the idea keeps nagging at you.  But I digress.

 

Anyway, youre sombrero looks great, as do the two nebulas. Those were from last night as well?   I havent attempted either of those, but from the looks of it, Ill need a barlow and possibly to remove the focal reducer to get anything bigger than a pixel or two wide.  The structure you got is incredible.  Nice work with a little 6" scope.  How are your skies?  Hopefully youre on the outskirts of Rochester and not the city proper.  Dark skies make such a difference.  Sadly I'm stuck in the orange/red zone down here.  My dad is up in the Adirondacks under bortle-2 skies with both a c11, and a 6" apo refractor, but he just never got into AP with it.  Seems such a waste!  Anyway, I hope the snow is short lived, and the skies clear up for you soon.


Edited by GuitsBoy, 10 April 2020 - 02:05 PM.


#33 GuitsBoy

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Posted 10 April 2020 - 02:03 PM

If you can, can you try a few more galaxies or planetary nebula? Whatever you can do would be great!

 

I'm starting my session now... hopefully I get something good

 

Thanks! smile.gif

Jujubean, how did you do last night?   Any keepers?  Was it tracking well?  Make any adjustments or improvements to the scope?  We're all anxiously waiting for an update.



#34 rnyboy

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Posted 10 April 2020 - 05:02 PM

No, they weren't from last night.  It was way too windy here.  It's still very windy outside.

 

I live in Irondequoit, which is the first suburb (but very much connected to the city) to the NE of the city and it borders on Lake Ontario.  Most of my viewing in the backyard skirts the worse from the city lights, which is more to the WSW.  I have lots of trees along my E and W borders with some unstrategically placed very tall pines that are way too close to the house and garage for comfort.

 

So far I just like setting up the scope facing south just outside of the breeze way and then, like you do, go inside and control it from a desktop in what I call my "office".  So far that works out pretty well.  I can tell you one thing, last November I never would have guessed I was going to be doing astronomy like this.  All I wanted was a good quality starter grab&go goto for visual observing with EPs.  Maybe just my opinion but doing EAA with the little  6" SCT seems to be about the equivalent of using a ~10" with EPs.  Plus you get to keep the images!  I have an image from the Trapezium that nearly matches the same area, and orientation by coincidence, taken with about a $12,000 scope setup (10" Meade LX200, http://www.pknoll.ne...omy/ob04004.htm ).   Mine's a bit grainier and noisier (and it's also the first object I ever imaged (blown stars)), but it shows nearly all the same details in the 10x pricier-setup scope's image.  I know I could do better on it now if given the same seeing conditions:

 

wSerxI4.jpg


Edited by rnyboy, 10 April 2020 - 06:01 PM.


#35 rnyboy

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Posted 11 April 2020 - 07:24 AM

Hey Jujubean,  any interesting progress, or regress <- it happens sometimes frown.gif ?



#36 Jujubean

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Posted 11 April 2020 - 12:27 PM

After two nights:

 

The first night took a few frames of random things: globular + open clusters, planetary nebulae, etc.

 

Last night I took a while worth of Bode's Galaxy, most of which had to be discarded due to a tree.

 

I got 47 decent 15 second frames. In deep sky stacker, after trying for an hour, the most I could stack were 8. I'm not sure if its my frames or me that is the problem...

 

confused1.gif


Edited by Jujubean, 11 April 2020 - 01:10 PM.


#37 Jujubean

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Posted 11 April 2020 - 12:32 PM

Sorry guys for not responding for a while! 

 

I'm not receiving these in my cloudy nights notifications


Edited by Jujubean, 11 April 2020 - 12:47 PM.


#38 Jujubean

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Posted 11 April 2020 - 12:46 PM

First frame of Bode's Galaxy
 
MG 1231
 
Last frame of Bode's Galaxy
 
MG 1277

 

It drifted quite a bit throughout the 47 frames...

 

 

 

 

MG 1209

 

Single Frame of Cat's Eye Nebula


Edited by Jujubean, 11 April 2020 - 01:02 PM.


#39 rnyboy

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Posted 11 April 2020 - 01:43 PM

Jujubean,  does the object in your images usually drift downward with time being tracked?  If so your scope could be front heavy and/or your alt clutch maybe a little weak.  You can do a search on how to check and adjust the alt clutch if so.  Same kind of thing if a scope is back heavy and/or the clutch is weak in that the image will drift upward with tracking time.  The preceding stuff assumes your images are upright and not upside down in your camera frame. 

 

Based on your Bode's image you got the very bright central region of the galaxy.  The full galaxy along it's longest axis is about as long as the distance between the bright core you have in your images and the two closely spaced stars just left of the center along the top edge of your first image.  In your top image the long axis of Bode's would lie along a line going roughly through the galactic core and about 1 o'clock on a clock face.

 

Most of Bode's, except for the galactic core area, is pretty dim and I had to take 1000 frames with a 0.5x reducer to even get what I got of the spirals with my 6SE.  You'd have to take about 1000 frames using your 8SE without a reducer if your camera and my CMOS imager were comparable for capturing images.  Here's what one of those 1000 frames looked like using a 0.5x reducer. (Not all that much different than what your's looks like)...

 

pJyctGq.png

 

Bode's is drifting downwards a lot in your images you could be losing even more stars that DSS could have used for stacking.  Have you by chance investigated how good your camera is for doing AP?  Since I don't use a DLSR for my imaging I can't really comment too much but perhaps it's not well suited for AP.  You may just be restricted to the very brightest DSOs given the camera's capabilities.

 

I did a quick look at what camera GuitsBoy uses and it is capable of continuously capturing images and he is using it's intervalometer capabilities to take many frames compared to what you can get.  

 

I rather like the looks of the Cat's Eye and I'll need to look where that is in the sky and see if I have access too it from by backyard the next time I get the scope out.  I've been on and off thinking about setting it up for tonight but the winds are still blustery and more cloudy than sunny out.  I'm leaning towards it being a waste of time right now.  I saw this coming Monday late morning through Tuesday early morning we could be having gusts up to 70mph!  Just what I need, more branches or tree limbs to cut up, sheesh!


Edited by rnyboy, 11 April 2020 - 03:34 PM.


#40 Jujubean

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Posted 11 April 2020 - 02:17 PM

rny,

 

I haven't really tested it but I have not experienced this "drifting" before. My wedge arrived today so I'll try it again with that.

 

Do you think I would be able to stack the frames that I took from last night or did they drift too much?

 

Thanks.



#41 rnyboy

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Posted 11 April 2020 - 02:41 PM

Hey Jujubean…

 

I added a single file from the 1000 frame image set I used to construct my final image of Bode's plus some extra info in my previous posting.

 

I really suspect you have too much drift and maybe too few stars after the drift to use.  You can always try stacking them.  It's not that much effort in DSS to see what you can get.  Even with the 1000 frames I used I had to use DSS's after-the-stacking post-processing abilities to pull out the spirals, otherwise the initial stacked image still looked mostly like a bright galactic core.

 

I've only used DSS a few times so I'm far from an expert on that topic.  I can only pass on what I've encountered so far with it's use.

 

Note:  I just went back and looked at my settings for when I did Bode's.  Each frame was a 2 sec exposure, so 2000 total secs using a 0.5x reducer.  I'm estimating that a 6SE/0.5x reducer combo would require about the same length of exposure as a clean 8SE when allowing for your 2x bigger aperture.  You have 705 secs of exposure with a c8.  That may roughly mean you have about 1/3 the total signal I had.  My image also had a dark frame subtracted out from each image to reduce sensor noise that you don't have.   I'm thinking the drift will probably kill you for a decent final image because your last images are missing a big junk of Bode's and from my count you only have about seven stars that are in the image through all 47 frames that DSS can use for the derotation and aligning.  But seriously, I say try stacking your frames anyway.  If nothing else it's a learning experience and you may get something of an image anyway.

 

Do you have a remote shutter release for your camera before you start the 15s exposure sequence?  I'm wondering if you are actually touching the camera back after you have an object centered and maybe slightly shifting the OTA by accident and thus the image looks like it's drifted.

 

Also, based on GuitsBoy's images with the cigar galaxy in it I have to see if I an get to the cigar from my backyard.  I really love the DSOs that show some coloring to them.  I once had a bit of the flame nebula in an image while trying for the horse head nebula but clouds rolled in and put an end to trying to image any of that.  One of my goals is to get an image of the horse head nebula but I think it's too late to get that now because it's now in the trees for me.  I'll have to try again for that later in the year.

 

I just looked up the size, magnitude, and brightness of the Cat's Eye (CE) nebula.  It's about the same as the Ghost of Jupiter (GoJ); actually it's a little bit brighter and a little bit smaller.  That leads me to think that I should be able to get some detail out of the CE with a f/6.3 reducer.  Even possibly could get more detail without a reducer with many more exposures than I used for the GoJ.  The only negative is I'd have to try sometime after midnight for it to be high enough over the back of the house and maybe closer to 2AM to have it out of the trees.


Edited by rnyboy, 11 April 2020 - 04:32 PM.


#42 Jujubean

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Posted 11 April 2020 - 07:20 PM

My camera, the Canon T3i (from what I've heard) is pretty good for DSLR imaging.

 

I looked at your single frame and it looks quite similar to mine.

 

I'll check out my wedge tonight and try to use it on the next clear night. cloudy.gif

 

I do not manually touch the camera when shooting. I hook it up to my laptop using APT and CPWI and control it from inside. This shouldn't cause any vibrating/drifting... I'll keep looking into this.

 

Thank you! smile.gif



#43 rnyboy

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Posted 12 April 2020 - 07:09 AM

Good luck!  Post back with progress if you think about it.  I like seeing how the other noobs like me find ways to improve their results.

 

I should have setup for last night after all.  All afternoon the winds stayed gusty and later in the afternoon the cloud cover was thickening so I gave up on the idea.  But when I looked out about 7:45 pm it was calm and pretty clear.  When I went to bed at 10 pm it was still calm and clear.

 

The app atmospheric predicted it would be OK but my success with most of the predictive apps put the success rate at a little over 50% when predicting if a night is going to be good for viewing.  Sure, their pretty successful over all, but being correct about it being a cloudy night isn't nearly the let down that predicting a good night that turns out to be cloudy is. 


Edited by rnyboy, 12 April 2020 - 07:18 AM.


#44 Jujubean

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Posted 12 April 2020 - 09:54 AM

I would’ve gone last night but I was just too tired. Now we’re having a tornado warning. I will hopefully have some results by later in the week. (If the wind doesn’t mess things up)

 

If I’m using the wedge I might not be able to photograph Bode’s because I have to be in a different spot to see Polaris...



#45 GuitsBoy

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Posted 12 April 2020 - 10:07 AM

I would’ve gone last night but I was just too tired. Now we’re having a tornado warning. I will hopefully have some results by later in the week. (If the wind doesn’t mess things up)

 

If I’m using the wedge I might not be able to photograph Bode’s because I have to be in a different spot to see Polaris...

You dont have you be able to see polaris, though since i can, i do use it for initial line up.  Basically you align the hash marksand point the scope at the meridian to the south.  Then you pick two stars to align on.  After that you can do an ASPA to dial in the mount position.

 

I failed last night.... HARD.

 

I spent the time to get the scope aligned well.  Then I was having overexposure issues with the guidescope that wound up being a simple focus issue.  After finally figuring that out, I beat my head against a wall with a canon camera issue.  Another stupid fix, I didnt realize I had turned on wifi which disabled my USB cable.  Derp.  Then finally, and got my guider calibrated and dialed in and went to take my first long exposure of M51 when the laptop starts beeping saying guide adjustments are unresponsive.  Turns out the external battery died, even though it still had 3 of 5 status lights.  I guess I should have charged it.  The 8 AA batteries just weren't enough to move the scope with everything attached.  All  that work for nothing.  Had to pack it up and head back inside.  Chalk it up to a learning experience.  What a waste of a nearly perfect sky.  Utter failure.  And now I'm sad.



#46 rnyboy

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Posted 12 April 2020 - 10:36 AM

I once had some really weird stuff happening with CPWI and the first experimenting my brand new Starsense when I was doing some stuff during the day.  So I called Celestron tech support, very friendly/helpful btw, and after exchanging a couple of phone calls and emails I suddenly discovered I had plugged in my 12V DC to 12V DC PS cable into the mount and the 120V to 12V DC PS cord into the outlet.  So while Starsense was slewing the mount all over the place I had run down the 8AAs in the mount.  After doing a head slap and plugging in the 12V DC plug from the 120AC everything was now working fine.  I sheepishly sent an email to Celestron explaining I "fixed" the problem and apologizing and they said something like:  "Don't worry about it, we're just glad you got it working OK.  These things happen to everybody, especially when adding something new to their telescope."


Edited by rnyboy, 12 April 2020 - 10:45 AM.


#47 Jujubean

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Posted 12 April 2020 - 05:56 PM

rny and Guits,

 

I'm looking at my data from a few nights ago again... I was wondering if there was a way to stack them in batches/groups and then stack them into one image?

 

Also, I finished assembling the wedge and put the SCT on it. Looks very nice, hopefully it will perform well!


Edited by Jujubean, 12 April 2020 - 05:56 PM.


#48 rnyboy

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Posted 13 April 2020 - 08:24 AM

rny and Guits,

 

I'm looking at my data from a few nights ago again... I was wondering if there was a way to stack them in batches/groups and then stack them into one image?

On that I don't have a clue.  Sorry.

 

In regards to winds... today we're supposed to be getting possible gusts up to 60 mph later in the afternoon,  yesterday the prediction was for up to 70 mph.  I see (actually more like heard) the winds are just starting to pick up.   


Edited by rnyboy, 13 April 2020 - 08:28 AM.


#49 GuitsBoy

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Posted 13 April 2020 - 08:37 AM

Are you talking about stacking already stacked photos?  I dont know if thats possible either.  Buy why not just stack images from multiple nights?  Theres nothing saying you have to take them all at once.   You can amass hours of data over many nights if you wanted.

 

BTW, Jujubean, that Catseye image looks great for a single shot.  You can just start to see the internal structure.  It really shows the extra light your 8" gathers compared to my 6".

 

And RNY, that M42 image is breathtaking.  That your shot?  It looks like a hydrogen-alpha image.  Wow.

 

Hopefully you guys get some good skies soon.  Its pouring here, but may clear after the storm.



#50 rnyboy

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Posted 13 April 2020 - 09:08 AM

Yeah, it's mine and my first image capture.  Lucky to a large extent and it shows what you can do with "ignorance" and beginners luck.  It was actually captured using ASICAP downloaded from the ZWO website.  Most people would have done it with livestacking in Sharpcap.  It was made from stacking a 180s RAW8 avi file, I got two decent avis that night.  The gain was set at 450 and 0.77 s exposures with only a couple of hot pixels.  I was getting less than 1.3 fps so about 230 frames in the total stack.  The sensor was temp was 4.3C so sensor noise was helped there. I did manually adjust the color balance OK at the time.

 

In hindsight I wish I had used RAW16 and used the extra 4 bits available with my 385mc.  Maybe the stars would have been less blown out?  I tried for M42 a second time a week or two later when I was first learning to use Sharpcap livestacking with RAW16.  I had some OK stacked images showing more of the nebulosity and with less star blowout than I had the first time but while hacking away at getting a really nice image clouds came in so I didn't get anything that night but a better feeling as to what sharpcap live stacking could do.

 

Now Orion is too low and into the SW tree line so it won't be until later this year that I can try to improve on that first image.  That seems to be another one of the perverse things about astronomy in some cases.  By the time you finally get a "decent" image and think you can improve on it by trying something new it's no longer in your available field of view until almost a year later.  I could go out in the country but the sun has also set not too long before I could try for M42 now and I'd have that background to contend with as well.  Best just to go onto something new.  I am planning on trying for a better Ghost of Jupiter in the near future though.  It's in a better position than when I first tried for that.


Edited by rnyboy, 13 April 2020 - 09:20 AM.



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