Back to the drawing board, as they say. It has been a long time.....especially for an old guy with an iffy memory. I decided to do some imaging after I returned home from our astronomy club meeting.
Conditions were fair at first (11pm), but as the night went on, the sky got hazy and lighter, and some ground fog began developing. The dew was coming down like rain.
I took way too long getting set up....something you can't do when you only have at most 4 hours of decent darkness. By the time I was set up and aligned it was almost 12:30am. At that point, I decided to revisit an old friend. Nobody can screw up a photo of M57, right? Wrong. Just watch me.
Right off the bat, PHD guiding refused to calibrate. It took me half an hour to figure out I had neglected to plug the 'other' end of the cord into the guide port on the scope. That solved, my Starshoot suddenly decided to act goofy.....getting bright and dim alternately. I managed to get 34 minutes......17 frames @ 2 minutes each, out of a total of 21. I threw out 4 frames that were ruined by the declination axis acting up every few minutes. In view of all this, I am not too unhappy with the result.......a pretty star field.
I moved on to M106, but I could not get properly locked onto a decent guide star. PHD kept urgently reminding me that it had low SNR. Drat! By the time I got 20 two minute subs, the sky was too bright to continue (3:30am). I will try this one again.
M57, the Ring Nebula:
17 frames @ 2 minutes per frame at ISO 800
Primary scope: Orion 6" imaging Newtonian
Guide scope: Orion 80mm ST refractor
Camera: Canon 350D (unmodified)
guide camera: Orion Starshoot II color
Mount: Celestron CG5 GT
Captured in Nebulosity, guided by PHD, aligned and stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, processed in Photo Shop Elements with Carboni tools and Gradient Exterminator.