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Wednesday, July 19th, 2006
Another night of astrophotography, but this time with much better results. 
 
Again, seeing is not very good (probably due to the heat), but the sky is dark and there is no wind. I set up the equatorial platform and tried using prime focus in the 102mm Celestron and prime focus + barlow (to simply achieve focus) in the 12" dob. 
 
Right off the bat the thing that I noticed was that the shots with the dob were "wobbly" (that's the only way I can describe it) and the shots through the 102, though not perfectly crisp, actually turned out pretty decent. All of the images are at ISO 1600 using my Canon Diital Rebel XT.
 
Here are the shots:
Coathanger cluster 
A pretty large cluster at just under 2 degrees. A handful of bright stars in a straight line with 4 more making a crook. This shot was taken at prime focus with the 102mm, is a 20 second and tweaked a bit in Photoshop.
 
Perseus Double Cluster
Since my prime focus FOV is about 3 degrees, I decided to shoot for some large objects. The double cluster is roughtly 1 degree. Many orange and yellow stars in this cluster. A beautiful sight. This shot was taken at prime focus with the 102mm, is a 15 second exposure and tweaked a bit in Photoshop.
 
M31/M32/M110
Adromeda was not in a particularly dark part of the sky, but I wanted to shoot it. This is a 60 second exposure, also at prime focus with the 102mm and teaked (heavily) in Photoshop.
 
NGC 457 
Also known as The Owl Cluster and other names. This is a favorite of mine. It was cool to be able to get a picture of it. it turned out pretty decent.

M34
I'm not 100% sure if the blue of these stars is natural or if it's the chromatic abberation of the 102mm. Either way, it looks pretty cool. I'll look up some other pictures and see what color the stars are in them.
 
M33
I was somewhat surprised to see any kind of modeling in this galaxy in the image. The view in the scope is very diffused and faint even though it's a large and somewhat bright galaxy.
 
 
 
 
For some reason, none of the prime focus + barlow images from the 12" worked out very good. For some reason they were shakey and wobbly. Here are some examples.
 
M57 Shakey
Here is the wobbly version of M57. Can anyone tell me what might cause this?
 
M13 Shakey
Here is the funky version of M13. You can see from this one that it is not just a tracking issue. You can see the path of the stars go one way, then pull a u-turn.
 
Here is another image I took of M13 on another night with the exact same set up.
 

I'm going to continue to take pictures though astrophotography is not really something I'm interested in persuing deeply at this point. It's just cool to take at least some pictures with my own equipment. Perhaps in the future I will get deeper into it and actualy get real equipment that can focus better, track better and image better.





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