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11/30/-1
    
Friday, April 24th, 2009
Maupin Star Party
 
Hmmm... this location isn't terrible. You can see Portland/Gresham to the Northwest, Madras(?) to the south west, something to the north. So we're surrounded by light bubbles. However, the sky is pretty dark and where I'm viewing and shooting there is virtually no light pollution. It took me 2.5 hours to drive here and I can make it here and back on one tank of gas. The bad part about tonight is that it's terribly windy. As solid as my Sirius mount is, it can't keep up in this wind. I shot 3 images before giving up. Only one turned out. Observing was extremely frustrating as the dob can't stay on anything at any power. I was able to bag a few observing objects that I just don't get to see from my house like the Antennae Galaxies and M104 and other galaxies in the Virgo cluster.

I packed it up by 1am even though the sky was mostly clear. Being shut down by wind is unfortunate. I need to get back on my wind shield project.

There were about 18 people or so here, but now everyone has gone and I'm here alone with Aaron whose 7 this year. I'm staying for tonight and we'll see what happens. Worst case for astronomy is that I get skunked by the wind, but even if that's the case I still get to hang out with my son so we'll have a good time regardless.

The Leo Triplet is the image from tonight that I'm pretty pleased with all things considered. I also took M81/82, but had to give up only 20 minutes into it and salvage the shots. I needed some extreme processing to try and keep it decent. Now I wish I'd have just let the camera go for a couple hours on M81/82 and just stacked the best 20% of the shots or something instead of turning in, but the wind was only getting stringer as the night went on.

Saturday update:
Saturday night was still pretty windy and I wasn't able to get much with the 800mm focal length Vixen though I tried. So I switched scopes to the WO ZS 66 which is 388 focal length and it handled the wind much better. Clearly I need a field flattener for it and I may go for the focal reducer as well.

The IC1396 and NGC7000 show me that changing my camera setting to mute the colors isn't a good idea for nebulae. It produced pretty colorful stars, but the nebulosity was very hard to pull out due to me turning down the contrast ad saturation settings in the camera. Doh!

Leo Triplet Image
It's amazing how much detail is in these galaxies. I'd like to shoot them again when the wind is not blowing so much. Maybe even do 2 hours next time to really pull in some of the faint fuzzies in the background.
Scope: Vixen R200SS 200mm @ f/4 w/Vixen R200SS Coma Corrector
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: William Optics ZenithStar 66 SD
Camera: Canon EOS 20D (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 1 hour 20 minutes - (16 x 300s) (no darks, flats, or bias)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image


M81/M82 Image
In this image the stars were bouncing all over the place due to the wind picking up. I overprocessed it a bit to try and keep it clean. The results are okay, but I will be shooting this target again the next time I'm in excellent condtions.
Scope: Vixen R200SS 200mm @ f/4 w/Vixen R200SS Coma Corrector
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: William Optics ZenithStar 66 SD
Camera: Canon EOS 20D (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 20 minutes - (4 x 300s) (no darks, flats, or bias)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image


IC1396
When I shot this last year my results were much better, but the sky was significantly darker and I didn't have my colors muted in camera. It was a test, but I see that I don't particularly like the muted look.
Scope:
William Optics ZenithStar 66 SD
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope:
Vixen R200SS 200mm @ f/4 w/Vixen R200SS Coma Corrector
Camera: Canon EOS 20D (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 2 hours - (24 x 300s) (no darks, flats, or bias)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image

NGC7000
Same camera muting on this one, but the nebula is framed pretty well. With both this one and IC1396 I was partically testing the usable FOV of the scope. I will definitely be getting a reducer flattener to replace the MPCC.
Scope:
William Optics ZenithStar 66 SD
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope:
Vixen R200SS 200mm @ f/4 w/Vixen R200SS Coma Corrector
Camera: Canon EOS 20D (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 1 hour - (6 x 600s) (no darks, flats, or bias)
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
1 Leo Trio 1h 20m 2 M81 82 20m
3 IC1396 2h 4 NGC7000 1h
5 Guide with R200SS
   

1-Leo_Trio-1h-20m.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 04/28/09 at 12:09am Neil Heacock wrote:
Hee heeee... have I mentioned how much I LOVE my setup?

-Neil

On 04/27/09 at 10:38pm Barry wrote:
These are great, Neil. So, your switched scopes around? Used the Vixon as your guide scope and the WO 66 as the primary? Interesting.



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