So I made a Friday night drive out into West Texas to a dark sky site. I left around 11:15pm from DFW so I could arrive around the time the sky at the dark site was going to be clearing. I get there around 3:45 am (after stopping to get some sleep as the clouds hadn't cleared yet). Even with a slight haze the sky was spectacular. When it cleared completely I looked at Mars out to the west, it was insanely bright compared to what I've been used to seeing in DFW. The major stars in Orion were big and brighter than the other stars making it up, the bow was plain as day to me for the first time. The stars looked close some how, like you could reach up and touch them. I've been out in dark skies before, but this was something else, like seeing the night sky for the first time.
Any way the fail... I setup the SVQ100, aligned, configured NINA for a run on M42. Got focused, set the focus brake, watched over the first 5 or so captures. They looked okay, I was quite tired so I crashed in the car for a while. I get up about an hour later, knowing I'd slept longer than I'd wanted. The M42 sequence was on its last few images. And they looked terrible, clearly way out of focus. My fault, the telescope hadn't really reached a stable temperature before I started the sequence. And I'd missed seeing that there was some tilt in the imaging train, something I knew about many months ago and how to correct it, but forgot all about from many months of not imaging DSO's and dealing with the quirks of the setup. By then it was after 5am, still dark, about an hour or so before the sky would be wrecked by the sun's approach.
The laptop battery didn't last too much longer either, Li Ion batteries just don't do well in cool/cold temperatures.
It's not really salvageable. Looking through the images that were captured, I could see the changing focus, and after a mere 15 minutes it was looking like the image above.