Location: Downtown Portland NE, OR
I went out at 9pm to start my scope alignment steps. I had decided to set as a goal control the Go-to functionality of my mount through a planetarium software in my laptop. After many tries, I was able to control my mount using Stellarium and ASCOM drivers. These 2 pieces of software cost $0. I achieve the magical moment at 11:43pm. It felt trully magical to click in an object in Stellarium and hear the mount looking for that object in sky.
My first (ever) DSO object was the Great Global Cluster of Hercules, also known as M13.
I controlled my Canon 40D with EOS utilities another free utility that came with my Canon camera. My 40D was connected to my Orion Mak 150mm (FL=1800mm). I set my Canon 40D to high ISO (3200), exposure 10 seconds to check how close I was to object and I could not believe, the first exposure showed M13. It was a bit off to the east, so I made a small correction through the hand-controller, took another shot and dead-center. I was shock and filled with happiness. I'm a newbie and I had not done any planning, so I went to the Internet to check for exposure times, and I decided to give M13 9 min. exposure through 3 frames of 3 minutes each.
Then, I kicked-off PHD (another free utility for guiding), I gave it 3 minutes to stabilize the autoguiding.
I gave EOS utility the instructions for exposure times and this is what I got:
Then, I went crazy, I look for the nebula ring, dumbbell nebula, galaxies, basically, I stayed there until 4am. I could not stop but I was very tired. The pictures of the other objects are not as good, I'm still figuring out how processing works...and of course, fighting with light polution.