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Tuesday, September 11th, 2007
Tonight I made some changes to my setup. Namely, instead of having my scope sit on top of the platform I made the top of the platform be the bottom to the base of the scope. This lowered the eyepiece by about 2.5 inches and added increased stability to the overall setup and definitely improved the images. I generally toss about 30%-50% or more of the acquired frames due to problems in platform stability. Tonight I tossed less then 10%.
 
Here are the images from the last few nights:
 
M45 - Pleiades - Open Cluster with Nebulosity
I imaged this object last year at OSP (link). Since Ive learned to stack and take better pictures in general I thought I'd try it again. The seeing was not that great the night I took this image, but it is still far superior to the last one, but I still think I can do better.
Scope: Celestron 102mm Short Tube Achromat @ f/5
Mount: Round Table Platform 45 Equatorial Platform
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 25 minutes - 50 @ 30 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image
 
Merope - One of the Seven Sisters in the Pleiades & IC 349 - Reflection Nebula
There were two objectives with wanting to shoot this star. One was to try and capture more detailed nebulosity by using the 12" instead of the 102mm. But another was to try and capture IC 349 a reflection nebula right next to Merope. The nebula is barely seen in the larger image, but it is more easily seen in the 100% image of IC 349. It's a bit obscured by the diffraction  spike, but definitely there. I have not tried to observe this object visually.
Scope: Hardin 12" (300mm) Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Mount: Round Table Platform 45 Equatorial Platform
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 10 minutes 20 seconds - 62 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image
 
 
M33 - Face On Spiral Galaxy 
I also shot this object last year at OSP (link). Like M45, this version is much better then the last one. In last year's shot you could barely make out any of the nebulae, or clusters in the galaxy. This shot, though nothing compared to images with hours of exposure, definitely reveals clusters and nebulae within the galaxy. Very cool.
Scope: Hardin 12" (300mm) Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Mount: Round Table Platform 45 Equatorial Platform
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 23 minutes 10 seconds - 139 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image
 
 
NGC 7331 - Spiral Galaxy & Stephan's Quintet
I visually observed this galaxy and the surrounding UGC's, PGC's and the nearby Stephan's Quintet at OPS this year. The smaller galaxies are 14+ mag and the very small one's are as faint as 17.98! This image didn't process as nicely as I would have liked. The signal to noise ratio wasn't very good for this picture. Still, I'm pretty pleased with the terraced detail in NGC 7331 as well as the distinction of all 5 of the Stephan's Quintet grouping.
Scope: Hardin 12" (300mm) Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Mount: Round Table Platform 45 Equatorial Platform
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 15 minutes - 90 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image
 
 
M76 - Planetary Nebula 
I think I got a decent shot of this object. The stars are nice and round to the edges (no cropping in these images since I've started using the Baadar MPCC) and the color of the nebula is deep and bright. A slight variation in the center of the nebula, but a longer focal length and more exposure time would pull out more detail.
Scope: Hardin 12" (300mm) Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Mount: Round Table Platform 45 Equatorial Platform
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
 

Over all I'm very pleased again with the way the images turned out. My progression continues. I know that I have a major issue with the signal to noise ratio. The only real solution is to get longer exposures. The problem there is that my equipment can't accomplish that. So I'm considering if I want to get a setup that is more conducive to imaging. More to come on that note...


Image Gallery For This Session
IC 349 M33 23m 10s lg
M45 25m 0s lg M76 9m 50s lg
Merope 10m 20s lg NGC7331 15m 0s lg
NGC772 23m 40s lg
   

IC_349.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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