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Saturday, August 18th, 2007
The Oregon Star Party. This year turned into 3 amazing night of clear skies and one night that was a bust due to cloud cover and rain. 
 
Wednesday night temps kept me in a T-Shirt all night long, but Thursday and Friday got to the low 50's and I was glad I brought warm clothes to keep me as comfortable as possible through the night. Saturday clouded over and the clouds stayed into the night and Sunday as well. We made the most of it by watching movies and just hanging out.
 
This star party was special for my son Ian (9 years old) because he got his first telescope. A 6" X-Class Dobsonian. The perfect height, weight and overall size for a kid his age.
 
At this star party I decided to try and experiment. I reserved one night for imaging and the rest for visual observation at the eyepiece. I wasn't sure how much I'd like that since I can only image a few objects in one night where I can view dozens.
 
In the end I felt like if I get enough nights to work with (like a 4 day stint at OSP) then if I image one night I can observe the other nights. Or I can observe every night and if I see something that I want to image, then I can throw the camera on and go for it.
 
In the end, I felt like this week was a good week of both imaging and stunning
visual observation.
 
Here are the images I took from this star party:
 
Aquila
Barnard's E - B 142 & B143 - Dark Nebula
This was an experiment to see, not if I can get that star saturated look I've seen in so many cool pictures of the Milky Way regions.
Scope: Celestron 102mm Short Tube Achromat @ f/5
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 16 minutes - 32 @ 30 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image
 
 
Cygnus
Cocoon Nebula - IC 1546
I took about 20 minutes of this object from my backyard (image here) but adding only 10 minutes of data from ITS makes a huge difference.
Scope: Hardin 12" Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 28 minutes - 172 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image
 
 
Ophiucus
Dark Horse Nebula - Wide angle Milky Way
I wanted to try for a wide angle Milky Way shot. Specifically, I'm shooting for the Dark Horse nebula (the dark nebula that goes by many names) in this image.  This shot is from the center of the tea pot to the neck of the scorpion, from the bottom of Ophiucus to the middle of the scoprpion's tail. You'll notice the image also has very bright Jupiter above Antares.
Scope: Canon stock 55mm @ f/5.6
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 20 minutes - 40 @ 30 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image
 
 
Aquarius
Helix Nebula - NGC 7293
I figured I'd only take pictures of things I can't see form my back yard. The helix is right in the glow of Portland for me, so I thought I'd shoot it. I shot it once before but it was so faint that I couldn't even really make it out. That was before I learned the art of stacking.
Scope: Hardin 12" Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 10 minutes - 60 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image
 
 
Sculptor
Sculptor Galaxy - NGC 253
While observing, by brother Alan came across this object in his eyepiece. Since it was so huge (sort of a mini-Andromeda) he thought it might image well and requested that I try it it. I'm glad he did because it's the best galaxy shot I have taken to date.
Scope: Hardin 12" Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 12 minutes - 72 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image
 
 
Overall, an amazing star party. The view were spectacular, the resulting images are great, and our family had tons of fun.


Image Gallery For This Session
B142 B143 16min 0sec lg Cocoon Nebula 28min lg
Dark Horse Nebula 20min lg Helix Nebula 10min 40sec lg
Sculptor Galaxy 12min lg
   

B142-B143-16min-0sec-lg.jpg
Click picture above for larger version
If the picture seems too bright or too dark, try adjusting the brightness below.
Brightness:
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