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11/30/-1
    
Friday, July 13th, 2007
This weekend was the RCA Trout Lake Star Party. Trout Lake is a new location for me and the spot was not too bad. The horizon was limited by trees and we set up in a parking lot, but the light pollution map has the sky as gray which is pretty dark in the grand scheme of things.
 
Friday night we didn't have the quality of sky that I'm sure that location is capable of. The night was partly cloudy until maybe midnight or earlier when the sky basically cleared. There was a high altitude haze that stayed all night long making anything over about 125 power essentially mush.
There was a wind that blew all night long. Gusts that were blowing things all over the place and a steady view was tricky to get. The wind kept me from my objective of imaging, but the visual observation was well worth the trip.
 
Here is a pretty typical image of what was turning out based on the strong winds.
 

Here are the few images I actually got. Because of the poor seeing conditions the stars are very bloated and the nebulosity is pretty faint.
 
LINEAR C/2006 VZ13 - Comet
It's pretty crazy, but I took 80 shots of this comet and only had 6 good frames. The rest looked like the windy shot above. I've never shot a comet before so I'm pretty pleased with the outcome, particularly due to the sky scenario.
Scope: Hardin 12" (300mm) Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 1 minute - 6 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
Resolution: 30%
LINEAR C2006 VZ13 Image 
 
Here is a single frame of a good shot which is actually a pretty good depiction of what I saw in the eyepiece.
 
 
M17 - Swan Nebula
I have another shot of this object that I took last August at Indian Trail Spring. It was more colorful and the stars were a bit sharper. But it was a single frame where this one is a stack. The other one was taken through the 102mm and this one is taken through the 12". Again, the wind and moisture problems limited the shot, but I think I got a decent one still.
Scope: Hardin 12" (300mm) Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 2 minute - 12 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
Resolution: 30%

 
Saturday night was pretty much a bust as far as observing goes. Clouds all night and even the sucker holes were just about too few and small to really to anything with. I'd say we got  cumulative 30 minutes or less of viewing. 
 
NGC7000 - North American Nebula
I did take a shot on Saturday. The clouds moved constantly through the shot which I think hid some of the possible nebulosity, but it was one of the few areas of the sky that actually had a sucker hole to shoot into. This shot was with the 102 and I was able to get longer exposures with the lower power scope.
Scope: Hardin 12" (300mm) Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 11 minute - 22 @ 30 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
Resolution: 50%

 
All in all I'd say that it was a good star party though certainly not the best. Even with the weak viewing conditions, the company was most excellent and a fun time was had by all.


Image Gallery For This Session
Linear C2006 VZ13 1min M17 2min 0sec
NGC7000 11min 0sec Single Comet Sub
Wind Effect
   

Linear_C2006_VZ13_1min.jpg
Click picture above for larger version
If the picture seems too bright or too dark, try adjusting the brightness below.
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