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EAA Monthly Observing Challenge - November 2022

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#1 steveincolo

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Posted 31 October 2022 - 12:35 PM

November 2022 EAA Challenge

 

The challenge this month spans four categories of objects, roughly in order from easiest to hardest:

  • Open clusters
  • Galaxies
  • Bright nebulas
  • Supernova remnants

In each category, there are three challenges:  a signature challenge, a technical challenge, and a showstopper challenge.  (Any resemblance of this format to formats in challenges of skill in other fields is purely intentional.)  The signature challenge consists of two objects you can choose from according to your equipment, technique, and preferences.  The technical challenge will be an object that is intended to test an aspect of EAA technique.  And the showstopper challenge will be a crowd-pleaser for you to show off your stuff!  In order of difficulty, from easiest to hardest:  showstopper, signature, technical.

 

Feel free to take any approach to these you like.  Linger over one of them for hours, or zip through them all at a few minutes per object.  Use a widefield setup for tiny galaxies, or a long focal length for portions of the large targets.  Don’t let anyone tell you how to do EAA.  (Just as long as you don’t post-process them, that is.)  I hope you enjoy your bakesviews, with their focus on the November constellations of Taurus and Auriga.

 

Open Clusters

 

Signature Challenge:  Messier 38 and Messier 36, both in Auriga.  Both open clusters have a nearby object you may be able to fit into the field of view.  Near Messier 38 lies open cluster NGC 1907 (as well as less impressive Czernik 21).  Messier 36 is near dark nebula Barnard 226. Pick the one that piques your interest.

 

Technical Challenge:  The Trapezium, in Orion.  The technical challenge here is to resolve as many stars in the Trapezium (and any others in the cluster) as you can.  The problem lies in the famous bright nebula that not only births them but drowns them out.  (Though, Galileo when he viewed the Trapezium somehow missed the Great Orion Nebula entirely.)  See how much you can get of both at the same time, playing with your gain and/or sub exposure times.

 

Showstopper Challenge:  Messier 45, in Taurus.  Try to capture the faint reflection nebulosity, which has been likened to frost on a windowpane. 

 

Galaxies

 

Signature Challenge:  NGC 925, in Triangulum, and NGC 1055, in Cetus.  If you like dust lanes, then view NGC 1055, near M 77.  It’s an almost edge-on spiral with a wide, prominent dust lane.  You may be able to bring out some of the texture in the dust lane; also try to detect details that show the spiral nature.  If you like face-on galaxies with knotty arms, view barred spiral NGC 925, a member of the NGC 1023 group.  Try to bring out as much of the arms as you can.

 

Technical Challenge:  NGC 660, in Pisces.  This polar ring galaxy, a member of the M 74 group, has a bright, mottled core surrounded by a dust lane and a polar ring.  The technical challenge is to preserve detail in the core but show as much as you can of the faint extensions of the ring.  This galaxy isn’t in the Arp catalog, but it is in the Vorontsov-Velyaminov catalog of interacting galaxies, as VV 979.

 

Showstopper Challenge:  NGC 253, in Sculptor.  For me, the Sculptor (or Silver Dollar) Galaxy bests M31 and M33 in bringing out my personal oohs and aahs.  The amount of detail that can be seen is just incredible.  The biggest challenge for northern viewers might be its -25 degree declination.  If you were able to get the Helix Nebula, NGC 7329, last month, you just need to go five degrees lower, or if you've viewed M8, the Lagoon Nebula, then only one more degree down.  It's worth it.

 

Bright Nebulas

 

Three of the November bright nebulas lie close together in Auriga.  You might be able to bag them all at one go with an extreme widefield setup, and even scoop in Messier 38 while you’re at it. 

 

Signature Challenge:  IC 410 and NGC 1931, in Auriga.  If you like “pillars of creation,” go for IC 410, the Tadpole Nebula.  The two “tadpoles” should suit you.  Or try NGC 1931, which has been described as a miniature Great Orion Nebula.  It’s also called the Fly, thanks in part to the faint extensions but also to nearby IC 417, the Spider Nebula, which you might like to include in the view if your equipment permits.

 

Technical Challenge:  IC 405, in Auriga.  The technical challenge is to show both the emission nebula and the reflection nebula in the Flaming Star Nebula.  The emission nebula will show well with a narrowband filter, but that may not let through enough light to also show the reflection nebula.  Conversely, a broadband approach may do well with the reflection nebula but less well with the emission nebula.  Current EAA software doesn’t allow one to combine both approaches, so try to choose the single approach best suited for this object. 

 

Showstopper Challenge:  The Great Orion Nebula might be the obvious choice, but you already have an opportunity with the Trapezium to view it.  For me, NGC 2024, the Flame Nebula, in Orion might be more striking, because of the dark dust lanes that permeate it.  But watch out for nearby Alnitak, it’ll make this challenge more difficult.

 

Supernova Remnants

 

Signature Challenge: Sh2 240, in Taurus, and IC 443, in Gemini.  Sh2 240, the Spaghetti Nebula, has filaments just like November’s showstopper below, but it’s huge, perhaps 4 degrees across, and rather faint.  This one is for the super widefield aficionados.  IC 443, the Jellyfish Nebula, is somewhat more manageable, under a degree across and a bit brighter.  Both should benefit from a narrowband approach. 

 

Technical Challenge:  Sh2 224, in Auriga.  This supernova remnant is very faint, so this will test your ability to stretch the view.  Flats should help.  This is probably the most difficult and least visually rewarding object this month, so feel good if you’re able to detect it at all.

 

Showstopper Challenge: Messier 1, in Taurus.  While the Veil Nebula is the premier supernova remnant in summer skies, the Crab Nebula is tops in the fall and winter.  Try to view as much as you can of the filaments.  A broadband approach can work, but narrowband filters may show more.


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#2 Larry Mc

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Posted 01 November 2022 - 12:10 AM

Here's a couple of EAA Observations from the tail end of October (10/27 & 28) from Calhoun Park in WV:

8" SCT optical tube @ f6.3 on an Atlas Gem, ZWO ASI294MC Pro camera

 

NGC253 - "The Silver Coin Galaxy" -  (L-Pro broadband filter, 300 second subs, Gain=350, PHD guided, livestacked for 30 minutes using Sharpcap with dark & flat calibration frames pre-applied, and histogram tweaked on the fly. Image cropped and resized).

 

And IC405 - "The Flaming Star Nebula" - (L-eNhance narrowband filter, 300 second subs, Gain=350, PHD guided, livestacked for 60 minutes using Sharpcap with dark & flat calibration frames pre-applied, and histogram tweaked on the fly. Image cropped and resized).

Attached Thumbnails

  • NGC253-10272022.jpg
  • IC405-10282022.jpg

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#3 BrentKnight

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Posted 01 November 2022 - 03:46 PM

Nice list Steve.


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#4 alphatripleplus

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Posted 01 November 2022 - 04:04 PM

Yes, I'm looking forward to revisiting my old friend (NGC253) and hopefully a new one (NGC1055), among others.lol.gif


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#5 steveincolo

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Posted 01 November 2022 - 05:31 PM

Here's a couple of EAA Observations from the tail end of October (10/27 & 28) from Calhoun Park in WV:

8" SCT optical tube @ f6.3 on an Atlas Gem, ZWO ASI294MC Pro camera

 

NGC253 - "The Silver Coin Galaxy" -  (L-Pro broadband filter, 300 second subs, Gain=350, PHD guided, livestacked for 30 minutes using Sharpcap with dark & flat calibration frames pre-applied, and histogram tweaked on the fly. Image cropped and resized).

 

And IC405 - "The Flaming Star Nebula" - (L-eNhance narrowband filter, 300 second subs, Gain=350, PHD guided, livestacked for 60 minutes using Sharpcap with dark & flat calibration frames pre-applied, and histogram tweaked on the fly. Image cropped and resized).

You definitely got the "flame" (emission nebula) in IC 405, and some of the "smoke" (reflection nebula).  Nice!  Did you use any unsharp mask on NGC 253? 



#6 thib

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Posted 01 November 2022 - 05:56 PM

I'm new here but I've been reading these forums on EAA for a long time. I'm used to be outside with my 8 inch dob but recently I decided to add some EAA capable gear to this amazing hobby.

 

I use a HEQ5 with a 130 pds and zwo224mc (with focal reducer & ir cut filter) but I still have to learn a lot.

 

Last weekend I tried to look at M1. Once I got it on screen in sharpcap I played around with the settings and waited long enoug to see the filaments. I hope this qualifies as a decent try! :) I will definitely try some of the other targets as soon as I have a clear night again.

 

 

 

crab-nebula.jpg?w=1024


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#7 steveincolo

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Posted 01 November 2022 - 06:18 PM

I'm new here but I've been reading these forums on EAA for a long time. I'm used to be outside with my 8 inch dob but recently I decided to add some EAA capable gear to this amazing hobby.

 

I use a HEQ5 with a 130 pds and zwo224mc (with focal reducer & ir cut filter) but I still have to learn a lot.

 

Last weekend I tried to look at M1. Once I got it on screen in sharpcap I played around with the settings and waited long enoug to see the filaments. I hope this qualifies as a decent try! smile.gif I will definitely try some of the other targets as soon as I have a clear night again.

 

 

 

crab-nebula.jpg?w=1024

That's excellent!  



#8 Cey42

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Posted 01 November 2022 - 09:35 PM

Great mix of objects.Several that I have not seen before.

 

Here is the SkySafari observing list.

Attached File  CN Nov22.skylist   2.94KB   24 downloads


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#9 bips3453

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Posted 01 November 2022 - 09:47 PM

 

Open Clusters

 

Signature Challenge:  Messier 38 and Messier 36, both in Auriga.  Both open clusters have a nearby object you may be able to fit into the field of view.  Near Messier 38 lies open cluster NGC 1907 (as well as less impressive Czernik 21).  Messier 36 is near dark nebula Barnard 226. Pick the one that piques your interest.

 

Technical Challenge:  The Trapezium, in Orion.  The technical challenge here is to resolve as many stars in the Trapezium (and any others in the cluster) as you can.  The problem lies in the famous bright nebula that not only births them but drowns them out.  (Though, Galileo when he viewed the Trapezium somehow missed the Great Orion Nebula entirely.)  See how much you can get of both at the same time, playing with your gain and/or sub exposure times.

 

Showstopper Challenge:  Messier 45, in Taurus.  Try to capture the faint reflection nebulosity, which has been likened to frost on a windowpane. 

 

Nice selection... Thanks!
 
Sharing recent captures, I am still tuning my skills and the equipment.
 
M38 and NGC 1907
M 38

 

Orion (Need to go deeper with the C8 to resolve individual stars in the trapezium)

M 42

 

M45 (Captured a bit of nebulosity)

M 45

Edited by bips3453, 01 November 2022 - 10:03 PM.

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#10 Larry Mc

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Posted 01 November 2022 - 09:48 PM

You definitely got the "flame" (emission nebula) in IC 405, and some of the "smoke" (reflection nebula).  Nice!  Did you use any unsharp mask on NGC 253? 

Hi Steve,

Nope, for NGC253, it's just the 'magic' of Sharpcap realtime Livestacking and tweaking the setting, LOL

(and the L-Pro broadband filter. Also probably really helped being at a dark-sky site too!). I do use Sigma clipping on the stacking tab, and blended-offset on background subtraction.

 

For IC405, the deciding factor was using the L-eNhance narrowband filter, along with doing 5 minute exposures stacked for an hour.  I would have liked to have also tried the L-Pro broadband filter on the nebula, but had too many other objects on my observing list for that night. I'll be back down to Calhoun Park in a couple of weeks and may try a similar long exposure using the L-Pro filter on IC405 to see what differences it shows. The L-Pro generally does a much better job on bringing out reflection nebula than the L-eNhance filter, but less so on the Ha & OIII that the L-eNhance excels on.


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#11 steveincolo

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Posted 01 November 2022 - 10:30 PM

 

Nice selection... Thanks!
 
Sharing recent captures, I am still tuning my skills and the equipment.
 
M38 and NGC 1907
 

 

Orion (Need to go deeper with the C8 to resolve individual stars in the trapezium)

 

 

M45 (Captured a bit of nebulosity)

 

Very nice! I see some of the texture of the nebulosity around Merope.  



#12 roelb

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Posted 03 November 2022 - 08:01 PM

Sometimes I'm missing equipment used and exposure data.


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#13 bips3453

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Posted 04 November 2022 - 08:54 AM

 

Nice selection... Thanks!
 
Sharing recent captures, I am still tuning my skills and the equipment.
 
M38 and NGC 1907
 

 

Orion (Need to go deeper with the C8 to resolve individual stars in the trapezium)

 

 

M45 (Captured a bit of nebulosity)

 

Sorry, the equipment is listed in the image description, here it is for reference (I am not seeing the option to edit my post)

AT60ED 0.8x on a NexStarSE mount
QHY163M camera

4s x 64 exposures, 150 gain
Captured via Astroberry, Live stacked on AstroToaster via folder monitor


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#14 alphatripleplus

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Posted 04 November 2022 - 09:41 AM

Moderator Informational Note:

 

On CN you can only edit your posts during a 24 hr edit window after the initial time of the post.


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#15 Alien Observatory

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Posted 05 November 2022 - 08:31 AM

M45, Stellina, 80mm F5, 10 sec subs, 30 minutes, Bin 2, CLS filter.  I will try the Mosaic mode (larger FOV) next clear night... Pat Utah smile.gif

Attached Thumbnails

  • M45_Nov_3_2022 copy.jpeg

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#16 Mark Lovik

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Posted 06 November 2022 - 08:59 PM

I was messing around last night (cloudy, near full moon) to setup nuc computer for remote EAA observing this winter.  Was just tooling around the sky EAA style with my small scope (72mm) and big color camera (2600).  Most of my EAA views were really short because passing clouds tended to mess the live stack quickly.  I had aggressive FWHM and brightness filtering but the clouds and moon would produce brighter images ... ugh.  I also was careful to create new flats and darks for my new computer - the moon will terrorize uncorrected EAA views.

 

M38 widefield style with a few of the November targets

This view was stretched to see background nebulosity in the region.  It was the last EAA image collected while messing around with stretching to see what was in the general area.

Note: more detailed notes are found in the gallery view of this image

 

M38 wide 72bc Stack 20frames 300s clipped

 

Platesolved image with the targets labeled

 

M38 wide localEnvironment 7275896

Edited by Mark Lovik, 06 November 2022 - 09:02 PM.

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#17 Mark Lovik

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Posted 06 November 2022 - 09:17 PM

4 Minute view of M45

Same conditions as above - just this was a time when the clouds and the moon were a bit of a problem.  I finally had a live stack (mostly) work with a small break in the clouds.  This is mostly a view to prove I could do it under the wrong conditions!  The haze in the upper right is where the clouds won near the end of the view.

 

M45 72bc Stack 16frames 240s clipped
 
 
My tooling around EAA style in the previous post elaborated:
 
Most of my time was fiddling with new hardware and approaches.  The clouds interrupted half of the remaining time.  I still had 11 EAA views completed before the clouds shut me down around 1:30am.  I sometimes spend too much time getting EAA pretty pictures.  I had fun breaking out of my EAA pretties mode and would have seen over 20-25 objects if the clouds would not have shut me down!
 
The 72mm wide field view sometimes is a bit large for the objects - but I may do some more quick EAA sessions like this in the future.  A 3.9 by 2.6o field of view is good for canvasing objects in the sky and can find interesting context and it looks like I can rapidly churn through night sky objects to see them in a new way.  This provides context for a follow up with my bigger EAA rigs and to select the best scope to further view the object.

Edited by Mark Lovik, 06 November 2022 - 09:43 PM.

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#18 cnbilbo

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Posted 06 November 2022 - 10:17 PM

Another run with the ASI Air / 485MC / 80ED No filters etc

 

Still trying to get me head round these fits files

 

Flame Neb 13 x 30s

 

 

Stack13_Light_Alnitak_30.0s_Bin1_485MC_gain100_20221105-003638_10.3C resized.jpg


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#19 Mark Lovik

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Posted 06 November 2022 - 11:21 PM

Widefield Horsehead / Flame Nebula and outlying nebulosity in Orion's Belt
5 minute 30 second EAA View

 

Again this is part of my wide field night playing with new imaging electronics (NUC computer and wireless).  Did not expect to get much with clouds and a near full moon in the sky.  This view of the flame (orange to the left side of the image) was stretched to see outlying nebulosity, so the image is a bit rough within a 5ish minute view.  It shows the outer lying nebulosity well but could use a bit of noise reduction when stretched.  I did not do this in SharpCap (enhancements would have been great in this view) until I characterize the calculation load on the fast I5 nuc with a large pixel camera.

 

Same scope and camera conditions as my previous images posted on this thread.

 

ic434 72bc Stack 22frames 330s clipped

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#20 Bob Campbell

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Posted 08 November 2022 - 02:51 AM

My first round of

 

"Technical Challenge:  The Trapezium, in Orion.  The technical challenge here is to resolve as many stars in the Trapezium (and any others in the cluster) as you can.  The problem lies in the famous bright nebula that not only births them but drowns them out.  (Though, Galileo when he viewed the Trapezium somehow missed the Great Orion Nebula entirely.)  See how much you can get of both at the same time, playing with your gain and/or sub exposure times"

 

15 sec sub, about 5 minutes gain 300.

 

c6(f6.3)/az-gti/asi294mc-pro(0C) uv/ir cut + svbony cls

 

Played with the histogram to reveal details within the bright star forming region. Save as seen cropped to show the main 4 trapezium stars and others.

 

Comments welcome

 

Bob

 

Cropped.png

Trapezium.png

Trapeziumscale.png


Edited by Bob Campbell, 08 November 2022 - 10:59 AM.

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#21 steveincolo

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Posted 11 November 2022 - 03:56 PM

I viewed (among others) M36 and M38 under a full moon.  They were nice because (as far as I know) there's no associated nebulosity, so I could use short exposure and total integration times without much interference from the moon.  These use Jocular's synthetic luminance layer, created from the RGB filter data, an approach I've found works well for colorful open clusters in particular.  Subs exposed for 10 seconds, 3 each of R, G, and B.

 

C8 at 1450mm; Starizona SCT Corrector IV; ZWO LRGBSHO filters in ZWO EFW; ASI533MM at 5 C.  With the narrower field of this setup, I didn't try to include anything else.  

 

M36

Messier 36 09Nov22 00 57 21 - RGB synthetic L
 
M38
Messier 38 09Nov22 01 03 12 - RGB, synthetic L

 


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#22 alphatripleplus

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Posted 11 November 2022 - 06:30 PM

We had family over a couple of nights before full moon. Although my nephew was eager to see what EAA can do with galaxies (he is a visual observer), I was not really optimistic about hunting galaxies under the almost full moon. However, the night was clear so we took a look at NGC253 with my usual set-up (AT130EDT f/7, ASI290MM mono, no filters, no binning, at 300gain with ASILive)  in this 11min 15sec total exposure:

 

NGC253; 45 x 15sec

 

NGC253_f7.0_Light_Stack_45frames_15sec_RS_Bin1_22.7C_gain300_2022-11-06_231311.jpg

 

 

 

 


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#23 Bob Campbell

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Posted 11 November 2022 - 08:56 PM

We had family over a couple of nights before full moon. Although my nephew was eager to see what EAA can do with galaxies (he is a visual observer), I was not really optimistic about hunting galaxies under the almost full moon. However, the night was clear so we took a look at NGC253 with my usual set-up (AT130EDT f/7, ASI290MM mono, no filters, no binning, at 300gain with ASILive)  in this 11min 15sec total exposure:

 

NGC253; 45 x 15sec

 

attachicon.gifNGC253_f7.0_Light_Stack_45frames_15sec_RS_Bin1_22.7C_gain300_2022-11-06_231311.jpg

Impressive! You prevailed over some pretty inhospitable conditions.

 

Bob


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#24 RodgerDodger008

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Posted 11 November 2022 - 09:01 PM

Very pleased to say my first submission to the monthly challenge. Thanks everyone for your advice on my thread.

 

Screenshots because not sure how to reduce the size another way, image is saved as seen and only slightly cropped.

 

Sculptor Galaxy and the Orion Nebula. grin.gif

Attached Thumbnails

  • Screenshot_20221112-095026_Photos.jpg
  • Screenshot_20221112-095124_Photos.jpg

Edited by RodgerDodger008, 11 November 2022 - 09:02 PM.

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#25 bmcclana

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Posted 11 November 2022 - 09:50 PM

I just got my filter wheel setup with a full array of filters so now I can switch between a clear, UV/IR, LPS-D2 and NBZ filter and take dark frames all remotely.  while I was getting all the setting worked out, I tried for M45.  the moon was still much to close and really brightened the sky because of poor transparency. 

 

here was M45 with the UV/IR filter, but did manage to capture the brightest parts of the reflection nebula in 10 minutes. 

 

really need to revisit once the moon moves on...

 

AT60ed 0.85x UV/IR filter, Saturn-C camera, AZGTi mount as EQ. 

 

med_gallery_211179_21516_1097601.png

 

i also took a shot at NGC660, but it is just too small for this scope setup.... i wont post the tiny smudge of a galaxy...

 

 


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