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Monday, June 15th, 2009
Tonight Barry and I got together for an imaging and observation session (see bbrence's journal entry). We had a good time together.

On the observing front we looked at M51 catching the main structure but not highly contrasted detail or anything. My sky's decent, but it's certainly not "dark sky". For the first time from my location I was able to see NGC 6946. It's extremely faint, but I could never see it at all in my 12" dob. I love having a larger aperture scope!

I tossed on the OIII filter and we pulled up the east and west portions of the Veil Nebula as well as a look at the entire structure of M27. The OIII filter sure brings out the outer portions.

On the imaging front, I experimented with EQMOD tonight. It was nice to go direct to the mount and eliminate the need to touch the had controller. It worked very well, but I'm not sure if it worked any better then the software I've been using. I also tried another experiment tonight and that was to only guide on RA. I left the Dec guiding off and my stars are pretty good I'd think. I suppose it depends on how accurate my polar alignment is on any given night, but tonight it worked very well.

M106 Image
I shot 90 minutes of M106 during this test. It would have been better to get even more signal, but my sky may not be dark enough to really capture this galaxy.
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: 90 minutes - (18 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image


Abell 1656 Image
This is a shot that I took on another night, but I just processed it along with the wide field Cygnus and M106. I was thrilled to see how many galaxies showed up in the shot. I only took 2 subs before I chose to move to another target that night, but after seeing it, I wish I would have kept shooting it for an hour. This shot was taken from a moderately dark sky, but not my place. I haven't counted the galaxies, but they are everywhere in the shot top to bottom side to side. What an incredible cluster. Amazing.
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: 10 minutes - (2 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image


Cygnus Wide Field Image
This is another shot I took on a different night, but this one is from my house. I was testing a new (to me) Nikon 50mm manual focus lens. It's an f/1.8, but this is stopped down to f/4. It's framed so that I could get the North American Nebula and the Veil specifically. It just so happened that the clouds started to roll in which cut my hour down to 44 minutes, but it made the bright stars diffused and adds a nice touch to the picture.
Scope: Nikon f/1.8 50mm manual focus lens at f/4
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: William Optics ZenithStar 66 SD
Camera: Canon EOS 350D (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 44 minutes - (11 x 240s)
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
01 M106 1h 30m 02 Abell 1656 10m
03 Cygnus WF 44m
   

01-M106-1h-30m.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 06/23/09 at 12:34am Miquel wrote:
Wow! That 106 is totally breath-taking!!!

Miquel

On 06/18/09 at 12:05pm Jeff wrote:
Wow Neil, these are all great. The wide field one is just awesome and the Abel 1656 one, wow, so many galaxies. Ive got to try that one myself, ill have to look up that name and see where to point the scope.

I only have the stock lens that came with the 350d and I dont think its that good for AP but im going to try it some night for wide field. I really like the wide fields where the milky way just shines. I just dont expect to be able to get that great a short from my light polluted back yard.

Great stuff.

Jeff.


On 06/17/09 at 02:52pm Barry wrote:
These are great. Abell-1656 would be an awesome one to blow up to about 16x20. Wow.....really gets the wheels turning. What significance can the Earth (or us for that matter) have in the incredible vastness of space and time.
Is there anyone else out there, and if not, what is the purpose of it all. Are we intended to spread outward and populate the galaxy.....the universe? Maybe.....we have seen the aliens, and they are us.

Great pics!



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