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11/30/-1
    
Thursday, May 10th, 2007
Another clear night here in the great northwest. The temperature was mild and the wind was subtle. I only had a short time out and took another three pictures.

In my case, though my EQ platform is awesome for visual observing, it's not very good for photography. I end up throwing out about 50% of the frames I take which basically means that in order to get 10 minutes worth of data, I need to be shooting for almost an hour. The reason why it takes almost an hour is because I also need to take time between each frame for writing the RAW file to the hard drive as well as taking a few seconds of dampening time. This makes for a not very productive evening.

Alan asked me if it's worth the time to take the pictures rather then just observe since it takes so long to get a short exposure shot. My answer is, "Yes, it's totally worth it". The main reason why it's worth it is because I can "see" more detail and more faint objects on my screen as I'm capturing images to stack then I can in the eyepiece. In fact, with M86 and the companion galaxies, I was only barely able to make out M86 and the others were completely invisible to me. Yet, I could see them on the screen as I acquired the frames to make the final image.

Here are the images I acquired tonight:
 
M3
My focus was pretty sharp tonight and as a result, M3 is pretty good.
Scope: Hardin 12" (300mm) Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 120 seconds total - 12 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels, Curves and in Photoshop, no cropping
Resolution: 30%
M27
I took M27 again even though I was pretty happy with the results from the other night. However, tonight I had more time to take more frames. In this case, I was able to use about 80% of the frames I took for the final stack. There is much more color and red detail in the core this time as well as more saturated stars.
Scope: Hardin 12" (300mm) Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 19.5 minutes total - 118 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels, Curves and in Photoshop
Resolution: 50% (and cropped)
M27 Image


M64
I wanted to take more galaxy shots, which so far are not turning out in color very well, but process much better in grayscale. The outer portions of the galaxy are very diffused and fade into the overall noise and light pollution, but there is actually 3 dimensional detail in the core. I'm pretty pleased with this image.
Scope: Hardin 12" (300mm) Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 470 seconds total - 47 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels, Curves and in Photoshop, no cropping
Resolution: 30%
 
 
M84 - M86 and Companions
Again, though the overall quality of this image is lacking for both the ultra short 10 second frames plus the fact that Virgo is right in the light pollution of Portland, I'm still ecstatic that I was able to frame it and get all 9 NGC galaxies in the field of view. This is a portion of the Markarian's Chain group of galaxies.
The objects in this image from left to right, top to bottom are:
NGC4435, M86, M84, NGC4438, NGC4387, IC3303 (smallest and faintest - directly below M84), NGC4425, NGC4388, NGC4413
Scope: Hardin 12" (300mm) Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 420 seconds total - 42 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels, Curves and in Photoshop, no cropping
Resolution: 25%
M84 - M86 Image

 
I think I'll try some more galaxy groups like this one and label up the image. The nebulae are really fun because of how much color is in them, but bringing 15th magnitude and fainter galaxies into "view" from my back yard is also a blast. 



Image Gallery For This Session
M27 07 05 10 1180 sec M3 07 05 10 120 sec
M64 07 05 10 470 sec M86 07 05 10 320 sec
   

M27-07-05-10-1180-sec.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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