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Friday, April 22nd, 2011
The Heacock Star Party
"Heacock Star Party" LOL... some friends from our local club came over. Scott K, Rebecca, Steve and Barry. The 5 of us had a good time. Steve brought his 13 Ethos, but had to head out before I had my dob ready to go. Bummers too I wanted to see that thing in my scope... woot!
 
Scott and Rebecca had their 12" and 10" dobs next to each other and I could hear them chatting away as they were locating objects.
 
Barry was setting up his imaging gear to shoot the Leo Trio for the remainder of the night while I was bringing out gear and setting up for both imaging and visual observing.
 
The sky looked decent overall. A tad bright due to some moisture in the air, but it came and went for a few hours while we observed. Still, stars were sharp and we had many wonderful views. It was fun and we'll have to do it again.
 
 
First Attempt at Galaxy Enhancing with H-Alpha
So tonight I tried my hand at shooting H-alpha on a galaxy target. The target was M81/M82. Both of which have some nice hydrogen elements in them that could be enhanced.
 
I think I blew it a little because in my eagerness to get going I didn't spend the time really making sure polar alignment was excellent. It's a little silly that I didn't because I knew I was going to be taking 20 minute sub exposures. They didn't work out, so I dropped to 10 minute exposures which were fine, but didn't get the data as far out of the noise as I was hoping. Oh well, live and learn, right?
 
Even still, it worked out fine I think and I'm pleased with the results. This is by far the best M81/M82 shot I've ever taken.
 
The RGB data i a year old and came from a dark sky site with a Bortle 1 sky. The H-alpha data was taken from my house in a Bortle 5 sky.
 
My poor Ha RGB (mis)alignment is causing many of the stars in the lower left in particular to have a red dot next to them. Oh well. Next time I do this I'll have all of my frame aligning dialed in as well.
 
M81/M82 - Face on Spiral/Edge On Spiral - Galaxies in Ursa Major 
Scope: 
Vixen ED103S with WO Flat 2 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: 
William Optics ZenithStar 66 SD
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Modified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800 RGB
ISO: 1600 Ha
Exposure: 2 hours 30 minutes RGB (18 x 300s), 2 hours 30 minutes H-alpha (15 x 600s) = 5 hours total time
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Calibration, Stacking Deep Sky Stacker, Levels, Curves, Astronomy Tools and Noise Ninja in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 flat darks, 40 bias, 60 darks
See Gallery Below For Image



Image Gallery For This Session
M81 M82 HaRGB 5hr
   

M81_M82-HaRGB-5hr.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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Comments:
On 04/23/11 at 02:56pm Greg wrote:
That looks great, Neil, sorry I missed it. I was debugging stuff at Wa'chur'ed Observatory, but MAYBE got an image of the Markarian Chain out of it.

On 04/23/11 at 02:32pm Neil Heacock wrote:
Thanks Barr. I appreciate that. The RGB data from Hancock last April is really what makes the image, but the red stuff I shot last night is like icing on the cake.

On 04/23/11 at 02:27pm Barry wrote:
THAT is a great picture of M81/82! Congrats on picking up the red flares in M82! Nice work. Very nicely processed.



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