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02/24/04
    
Saturday, May 3rd, 2008
Hancock Field Station star party weekend. I was sooo looking forward to this weekend, and it turned out to be pretty much a bust like last month. Clouds and more clouds. We got a tiny bit of viewing in, but not much. For staying up until dawn two nights in a row I ended up with maybe an hour of viewing through sucker holes.
 
I did manage to get a few shots off. They are only a few minutes each since that's all I could get before clouds overtook them and I needed to move on to a different object. It was quite discouraging considering the cost of the weekend and the fact that if the sky was clear the location is spectacular.
 
I spent most of the time with David Haworth who, as a seasoned imager, gave me tons of tips on how to improve my tracking with more accurate polar alignment and scope/mount alignment. I spent some time studying the chart of 3 degrees around Polaris and committing it to memory. Triangulating the current location of the NCP (North Celestial Pole).
 
I did very little visual observing since every time the sky cleared I tried to pop a shot off.
 
Here are the images from the Hancock weekend:
 
M81/M82
15 minutes worth is all I could get. I was really hoping for more data. Oh well, maybe next time.
Scope: Celestron 102mm Achromat Refractor @ f/5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 15 minutes - 3 @ 300 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image
 
M27
10 minutes on this one before the clouds overtook it and it never came back.
Scope: Celestron 102mm Achromat Refractor @ f/5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 10 minutes - 2 @ 300 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image
 
M13
2 minutes 30 seconds on this one. Sheesh.
Scope: Celestron 102mm Achromat Refractor @ f/5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Unguided
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 2 minutes 30 seconds - 5 @ 30 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image

 
Sunday night when I got home it was clear for a little over an hour. I decided to try and shoot some more during that time.
 
NGC 6939 / NGC 6946
During the clear time I shot one of my favorite groupings in Cepheus NGC 6939 and NGC 6946. I was thrilled to see the spiral arms on NGC 6946.
Scope: Celestron 102mm Achromat Refractor @ f/5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 1 hour 15 minutes - 15 @ 300 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image

 
Fairy Ring Asterism
After shooting the NGC objects in Cepheus for an hour Cygnus was up and I played around with shooting the North American Nebula and the Veil. Maybe another day when the clouds are completely gone. So I decided to shoot the Fairy Ring since it was bright and I didn't need much exposure.
Scope: Celestron 102mm Achromat Refractor @ f/5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 12 minutes - 4 @ 180 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image


Image Gallery For This Session
Fairy Ring M13 2m 30s
M27 10m M81 82 15m lg
NGC6939 6946 1hr 18m lg
   

Fairy_Ring.jpg
Click picture above for larger version
If the picture seems too bright or too dark, try adjusting the brightness below.
Brightness:
|
  



Comments:
On 05/09/08 at 01:35am Barry wrote:
Very nice, Neil. These are awfully good. Amazing, when you consider the on again, off again clouds. Nice work.

Now if you could only get rid of that big speckled dust bunny in the middle of the M13 frame. LOL



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