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Saturday, April 10th, 2010
 CAMP HANCOCK, Central Oregon, Friday, 4/9/10:
 
My son Tony (age 10), and I spent Friday, Friday night and Saturday morning in Central Oregon at OMSI's (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) Camp Hancock Field Station, near Clarno.
 
The day was pleasant, although were concerned about persistent high clouds.  We needn't have worried.  Right on cue as darkness fell, the clouds evaporated, and we had clear skies all night until the sun came up Saturday morning.   Tony got a nice view of M13 in his 6" Dob.   Once I showed him how to find  it with his Telrad, he was able to go back to it later without help.  He also got a great view of M42 earlier in the evening.  Later (I am terrible with names) one of Neil's friends gave Tony some great views of Markarian's chain in his 18" Dob.
 
The seeing was a bit mushy, and it was Coooooold......about 30 degrees.  All of our gear was coverend in frost.  At about 4:30am we retreated to the car.   Ran the engine for a while and we were toasty warm inside......although a few hours short of a night's sleep.
 
This was my first outing  with autoguiding gear and it was only partially successful.   I shot (3) sequences of M101.  The first two were not well focussed, and the auto guider had problems keeping the Declination axis under control......the Declination graph was girating by up to 4 pixels......way too much.   The images all had oblong stars even with 2 minutes exposures.
 
Then for some odd reason, the auto guider took hold and the graph smoothed out.....showing less than a pixel of fluctuation.   I ended up getting (40) 2 minute frames of M101.  *see gallery.
 
Controlling the telescope pointing with Stellarium was a failure.   It worked but the mount wasn't aligned accurately enough for it to center objects.   I think that can be solved.
 
I am not sure about the declination axis issues.   It may be a problem with my CG5 mount, or it could be a weight or balance issue.  I will work on it.    Actually I should have known better than to try things for the first time in the pitch darkness.   I should have worked out the kinks at home where I can turn on a light if I need to.
 
I moved the scope to NGC 4565, but then the auto guiding graph started wildly girating again.....so I don't think I got any useable frames.   My focus looked off as well.   I didn't refocus......which is turning out to be an absolute must.
 
Astrophotography is great fun, BUT there are literally a hundred things that can and will go wrong.......I should probably make myself a NASA style check list, and check things off as they are done.   It is very easy to forget simple things like locking down the focuser.  
 
M101:
6" f/5 imaging Newtonian:  primary scope
80MM ST refractor:  guide scope
CG5 GT mount
Canon 350D imaging camera
Orion StarShoot II  guide camera
captured in Nebulosity
PHD guiding
Aligned and stacked in Deep Sky Stacker
Processed in Photo Shop Elements with Carboni tools + Gradient Exterminator
 
40 subs at 2 minutes per sub, ISO 800     * Both images (slightly different processing) are un-cropped but downsized.
 
NGC 4565:
Didn't come out as bad as I thought it would
Cropped & sized to 35%
21 subs at 2 minutes per sub, ISO 800
Lots of noise in the background.....probably because I failed to take any new dark frames....forced to use previously taken 60 second darks.


Image Gallery For This Session
M101 Hancock 4 9 10  ISO 800  40 x 2 min crop 2 M101 apply 3a2
M101 apply 4 9 10 ISO 800  40 x 120 sec B labeled NGC 4565 4 12 10 d1b
NGC 4565 Hancock  4 9 10  ISO 800 21 x 2 min b NGC 4565  4 12 10  color cast
TemporaryActionCopy 2 Terry setting up
Tony 4 9 10 entrance to camp b Tony at hancock 4 9 10
hancock hancock intrance 4 9 10
set up time setting up 2
   

M101_Hancock_4_9_10__ISO_800__40_x_2_min_crop_2.jpg
Click picture above for larger version
If the picture seems too bright or too dark, try adjusting the brightness below.
Brightness:
|
  



Comments:
On 04/12/10 at 09:01pm Barry wrote:
Hi Miquel,
Thanks!! You have posted pictures every bit as good as these. Now Neil's pics, those we can both be envious of. Little by little I am inching forward....trouble is, when I move forward and inch and Neil moves forward a foot. I think I'm slipping further behind all the time. He works much harder at it than I do.....maybe that has something to do with it. LOL

Thanks again.

On 04/12/10 at 07:26pm Miquel wrote:
Hi Barry,

Wonderful pictures! I'm envious. :)

Thanks for sharing them!

M.

On 04/12/10 at 06:17pm Barry wrote:
The temporary action copy 2

On 04/12/10 at 05:22pm Neil Heacock wrote:
I think it's going the right direction! Less green cast.

-Neil

On 04/12/10 at 04:28pm Barry wrote:
Somebody online gave me a tip to try "color cast" in Photo Shop Elements to take the green tint out of DSS images. I think it seems to work, and also brings out a bit of color in the stars. So much so that I had to go back in and tone down the saturation a bit. What do you think?

On 04/11/10 at 04:26am Neil Heacock wrote:
Great report Barr. That was so awesome Friday night. Saturday had it's moments to it wasn't a total loss.

I like your M101. I think it looks excellent. Great focus, great detail, lots of little background galaxies and such. VERY well done! Congratulations on a fine picture. Hopefully you can work out those Dec issues so you can get more consistent shots through the night.

-Neil



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