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• 05/23/09
04/24/09
    
Saturday, May 23rd, 2009
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:
 
M13

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.
 
Cheers,

Miquel Casas
Portland, OR




Image Gallery For This Session
m13 m13v3
   

m13.jpg
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Comments:
On 06/01/09 at 10:59am Jeff wrote:
Barry,

I use stellarium to control my mount but you need an additional program called stellarium scope, its basically free, they ask for donations but its not required to download. That plus eqmod & ascom lets me control my HEQ5-pro which is a different branding of the Orion Sirus I think, Not sure if the CG5 is Synta as well, you can probably find out from the EQMOD site

Jeff.


On 05/31/09 at 10:46am Miquel wrote:
I just spent last night with Neil and although I don't have Photoshop, we did some tweaks in DSS and the results are amazing. I'm going to publish in another journal entry. Thanks everybody for the encouraging words!

On 05/30/09 at 08:51pm Barry wrote:
You have a great equipment package for photography. I am using your 80mm scope and the Starshoot as my primary scope and camera. When everything is dialed in properly,(too seldom) it achieves satisfactory results.....although nothing like Neil Heacock's photos on this site. I am only semi-serious and just have fun with it. The pictures will never win any awards, but they make decent souvenirs of observing sessions. From my light-poluted driveway, they also give me views of things that I cannot see at the eyepiece.

You might want to drop a note to Neil.....he uses a DSLR and a guide camera. His shots are awfully good. I suspect he might suggest a lower ISO setting. I think he stays around 800 ISO.

I think your mount and mine may be virtually the same except for the name. I am using a Celestron CG-5 goto. They look alike in photos. I am interested in how you were able to control the goto from your laptop with Stellarium. I use Stellarium and I can download the ASCOM drivers. Are you using a special version of Stellarium or the "free" download version? Was it difficult to get it working? Any tips of things to avoid?

On 05/30/09 at 04:35pm Tony wrote:
Wow! that is a phenominal picture of the cluster. My telescope, even at best magnification can see it like that but not that quality. And for your first DSO! Your doing great! But as my dad said (Barry), you should probably light it up.

On 05/26/09 at 12:01am Anonymous wrote:
Thanks a lot Barry! It is a good tip about lightening up the background. Regarding being a veteran in no time, I hope so, but I don't know. The learning curve is really steep. :)

On 05/25/09 at 11:07pm Barry wrote:
Very, very nice.......wow, especially for a first DSO! You might try lightening up the background just a bit......to bring out some more stars. All in all though, it's a great shot....nice focus....round stars! You will be a veteran in no time!



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