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Sunday, July 23rd, 2006
Astrophotography getting better.
 
Tonight made a significant difference. For one, it was not blazingly hot with 80% humidity like last night (which I didn't journal because I got nothing done except watch my eyepieces fog up in the humidity and 90 degree evening). So that's better. Secondly, the seeing was much better. I was able to split tight doubles (see the shot of Almach as an example). Then finally, the most important factor is that I had excellent tracking tonight which made for crisper stars and longer exposures.
 
Here are the photos from this evenings session:
 
Cassiopeia 
Gamma Andromedae/Almach - Binary Star System
This is probably my favorite double in the sky. Pointed out on this site by Mizar, my first view of it was on September 6th, 2004 and I've looked at it nearly every chance I get since. I was thrilled to see the stars so separated in this shot.
Photo Specs -
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT
Telescope: Hardin 12" Deep Space Hunter
Tracking: Singe Axis Equatorial Platform
ISO: 1600
Prime Focus
Exposure: 1/60th
Number of Exposures: 1
Post Processing: Photoshop
Almach Image
 
M103 - Open Cluster
This open cluster is smallish with the distinct elongated triangle of three fairly bright stars (8.1, 8,5 and 9th magnitudes). The image picks up several many more stars in the cluster than I can normally see. There is a near center star that is distictly orange and stands out from the others. 
Photo Specs -
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT Telescope: Hardin 12" Deep Space Hunter
Tracking: Singe Axis Equatorial Platform
ISO: 1600
Prime Focus
Exposure: 12 sec
Number of Exposures: 1
Post Processing: Photoshop
M103 Image
 
M52 - Open Cluster
A pinch larger than M103, tighter and more stars, this open cluster is a fuzzy patch at low power but becomes a nice round group of stars at about 100 power and above. There are not really any bright stars, but a few of the stars are brighter than the others.
Photo Specs -
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT
Telescope: Hardin 12" Deep Space Hunter
Tracking: Singe Axis Equatorial Platform
ISO: 1600
Prime Focus
Exposure: 11 sec
Number of Exposures: 1
Post Processing: Photoshop
M52 Image
 
NGC457 - Owl Cluster - Open Cluster 
I know. I'm on a Cassiopeia open cluster-a-thon. But they are so cool! This open cluster is really too large for this field of view, but I thought I'd try the shot anyway. I rotated the field so the "eyes" are at the top and the "feet" are at the bottom with the "wings" going out.
Photo Specs -
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT
Telescope: Hardin 12" Deep Space Hunter
Tracking: Singe Axis Equatorial Platform
ISO: 1600
Prime Focus
Exposure: 10 sec
Number of Exposures: 1
Post Processing: Photoshop
NGC457 Image
 
 
Andromeda 
M31/M32/M110 - Andromeda Galaxy 
I've been taking a shot of this every session trying to get a better one each time. Looking back on the last 5 images I've taken, this is the best one yet.
Photo Specs -
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT
Telescope: Celestron 102mm Achromat Refractor
Tracking: Singe Axis Equatorial Platform
ISO: 1600
Prime Focus
Exposure: 159 seconds
Number of Exposures: 1
Post Processing: Photoshop
M31 Image
 
Ursa Major
M101 - Face-On Spiral Galaxy 
M101 is pretty faint because it's so large and dispersed. In this image, though there isn't much detail, you can begin to see the "lopsidedness" of the structure. You can also see NGC 5474, another lopsided fae on spiral off to the left.
Photo Specs -
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT
Telescope: Celestron 102mm Achromat Refractor
Tracking: Singe Axis Equatorial Platform
ISO: 1600
Prime Focus
Exposure: 135 seconds
Number of Exposures: 1
Post Processing: Photoshop
M101 Image
 

Canis Venatici
M51 - Face-On Spiral Galaxy
Surprisngly enough, this image turned out better at the lower prime focus power of the 102mm than the 12" dob. You can almost see the arm reaching to the companion galaxy.
Photo Specs -
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT
Telescope: Celestron 102mm Achromat Refractor
Tracking: Singe Axis Equatorial Platform
ISO: 1600
Prime Focus
Exposure: 156 seconds
Number of Exposures: 1
Post Processing: Photoshop
M51 Image
 

Perseus
NGC 869/NGC 884 - Perseus Double Cluster - Open Clusters
This one was kinda fun. I've taken a few shots of this incredible cluster, but this time I chose for a wide field view through the 102mm and close-up views of each cluster through the 12" dob. The close up views are 11 second exposures (1 of each cluster) while the wide field view is 53 seconds.
Telescope: Hardin 12" Deep Space Hunter
Tracking: Singe Axis Equatorial Platform
ISO: 1600
Prime Focus
Exposure: 15 seconds
Number of Exposures: 1
Post Processing: Photoshop
NGC 869 Image
 
Telescope: Hardin 12" Deep Space Hunter
Tracking: Singe Axis Equatorial Platform
ISO: 1600
Prime Focus
Exposure: 15 seconds
Number of Exposures: 1
Post Processing: Photoshop
NGC 884 Image
 
Telescope: Celestron 102mm Achromat Refractor
Tracking: Singe Axis Equatorial Platform
ISO: 1600
Prime Focus
Exposure: 15 seconds
Number of Exposures: 1
Post Processing: Photoshop
Perseus Double Cluster Wide Field Image
 
 
 
H-Alpha Solar Image
This is an image of a large prominence on the sun at 3:42pm.
Photo Specs -
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT
Telescope: 40mm Coronado PST
ISO: 1600
Prime Focus
Exposure: 1/100th
Number of Exposures: 1
Post Processing: Photoshop  






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