INDIAN TRAIL SPRING & OSP lite (Oregon Star Party): 8/18/09 - 8/19/09
The star party officially started today, but I had to leave for home at the crack of dawn. I arrived on Tuesday afternoon. Surprizingly, there were already over 100 people there.....with more arriving all afternoon and evening.....I heard they were planning on 500+. I overheard several people say that they arrived on Sunday. It is an approx. 40 acre site in the high desert about 45 miles east of Prineville, Oregon, at an elevation of 5000 ft. I am told this is one of the darkest areas in the United States, and I believe it. I will include a couple of area photos.
If you haven't been to a totally dark site in a number of years, you owe it to yourself to seek one out and go there for at least a night. The number of naked eye stars is easily ten fold over a typical urban location....and the Milky Way is brilliant! I had a view virtually horizon to horizon...360 degrees.
My prime objective was to image a couple of the famous nebulae in Sagitarius. Sagitarius is out of reach at home.....being low in the sky and due south, all but hidden in the large light bubble of the city of Portland. It was a wonderful sight in binoculars....and I had great views in my 12" Dob. The constellation is full of nebula and clusters. This was a real treat.
I was simply amazed by the general level of equipment......many, many large commercial and home built Dobs......the largest being 41". Takahashi refractors....large aperture SCT's....most on very high end mounts. I saw very little in the way low end (and low price) equipment. These are clearly folks who take their hobby very seriously. A vendor was selling Tele Vue eyepieces at a discount.....the cheapest $200....up to $500. They were selling briskly.
Equipment: Whoo Hoooo
12" classic Dob
Orion 80mm short tube refractor (imaging scope)
Celestron CG5 GT goto mount (unguided)
Orion StarShoot II color CCD
Orion 9x63 binoculars
Image list with exposure details:
1. Daytime views of the layout
2. M101: 60 subs x 60 sec 8/18/09 "the Pinwheel galaxy" 210,000 light years in diameter. NGC 5477, a 13.9 magnitude galaxy visible lower left. 10,000 light years in size and a member of the M101 group. Approx. 25 million light years distant
3. M33: 59 subs x 60 sec " galaxy in Triangulum with NGC nebulas, in the "Local group of galaxies including M31 and the Milky Way....approx. 2.5 million light years distant
Probably my best image
4. M31: 43 subs x 60 sec " Andromeda galaxy (visible to the naked eye)
5. M8: 61 subs x 40 sec 8/19/09 Lagoon Nebula
62 subs x 50 sec " Eagle Nebula
(Pillars of Creation visible in center)
7. NGC 6946: 62 subs x 60 sec " "the Fireworks galaxy" Approx. 10 million light years distant. Discovered by William Herschel in 1798.
The only image I am totally disappointed in, is M101. The background is uneven and streaky......probably because I didn't give the camera or the scope time to cool down before I started the imaging sequence......or there were still remnants of the clouds that hung around most of the day.
The Lagoon and the Eagle could be better. I will do some reprocessing on these when I get time.
M31 shows more detail than my previous attempts, but the field of view is just too small for this object. Focus could have been better.
I am most pleased with the image of M33. It is head and shoulders above my first attempt last year. I think the color is good, with reasonably good focus.....and moderately processed.