Astrophotography Report 9/06/14

Well it’s been a little while. It has been very cloudy and rainy. I recently got the camera, and even more recently I got a focal reducer. This allows my F10 SCT to be useful for astrophotography. Everyone in every forum has told me AP with an SCT is hard or impossible. Well, I decided to give it a shot. The Nexstar is far from ideal. The Alt-az mount only allows short exposures as the tracking is poor, and the image rotates as it goes through the sky.
Enough about how it can’t be done. Let’s see what can be done.

This is M20, my first ever DSLR telescope AP. M20 is fairly new to me. I recently wrote about the star party where I sat it for the first time. I was very pleased with this. It’s far from perfect, it’s not as good as most you can see on astrobin and is laughable when you look at a Hubble image of M20. But I was thrilled that I was able to get what I did.
I think I have written about this before, I remember as a very small boy, my Dad taking me out a few times when he was setting up his telescope. I remember trying to look through the eyepiece but not seeing much. But I remember the night sky and how pretty all the stars were. I have always had an interest in space, and science. Sadly I didn’t pursue it other than very recently as a small hobby. But the love has always been there. I have always had backgrounds and screensavers of hubble images, pictures of galaxies, nebulas and so on. Even if I didn’t really know what they were. To be able this with my own equipment, in my backyard, and process it with my own hands and consumer grade computer, is very gratifying.

This is about 20 frames, 10 second exposures stacked and processed in Nebulosity. I haven’t paid the $80 so there are lines that can be seen in the image. I have tried using bias and dark frames, but it seemed to darken the image too much. The biggest issue is my need to get a GEM. This will allow longer exposures for more detail, and more exact tracking for more pinpoint stars.

While I was out I took a few frames of other objects, including the double cluster and M31. But it was getting late and I needed to get in, I only took a couple of frames of each so no worthwhile image couple be had.

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