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11/30/-1
    
Saturday, July 25th, 2009
Trout Lake Star Party

What a blast. Lots of folks turned out and I thoroughly enjoyed the social and observing aspects to this event. Thanks Jan!

Observing Session
The sky was dark and clear, but seeing was iffy. 150x-175x power was all I could pull off. From observing reports of others it sounded like they were experiencing about the same.

Even still, I stayed at about 150x the bulk of the night and thoroughly enjoyed the views.

My favorite thing to do in dark sky is to look at the extremely faint stuff I can't see from my house. Stephen's Quintet, NGC 7337, and the like. I was pulling up faint fuzzies like nobody's business! This is the darkest sky I've had my scope at yet.

In Maupin I was not able to make out the 15+ mag objects, but here I was. Two particular trophies were IC1296 - a 15.1 mag barred spiral next to M57 and NGC 7336 and 7337 - two 15.4 mag galaxies in the Deer Lick group. Have I mentioned how much I love my 16" scope? Woot!

C/2006 W3 Christensen was a nice site. Slight elongation to the southeast, but other then that, no real tail per se.

Imaging Session
I was a bit lame on the imaging because I didn't have the time to put together a planner for this star party. Winging it I took a few shots that didn't pan out due to lack of planning. However, the two shots I actually did plan was a wide field of the Veil Complex via the ZenithStar 66 SD and a narrower field of the Western portion NGC 6995 via the R200SS. These shots turned out and I'm posting them here.

Veil Nebula Complex Image
Scope:
William Optics ZenithStar 66 SD 66mm @ f/4.7 w/William Opics 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope:
Vixen R200SS
Camera: Canon EOS 20D (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 2 hours 45 minutes - (33 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with high dithering, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker (Kappa-Sigma Clipping for all frames),
Levels, Curves, Astronomy Tools, Gradient XTerminator and Noise Ninja in Photoshop
Support Files: 24 flats, 24 bias, one dark used as a bad pixel map
See Gallery below for image

NGC 6995 Veil Nebula Image
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 30 minutes - (18 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with high dithering, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker (Kappa-Sigma Clipping for all frames),
Levels, Curves, Astronomy Tools, Gradient XTerminator and Noise Ninja in Photoshop
Support Files: 24 flats, 24 bias, one dark used as a bad pixel map
See Gallery below for image


Image Gallery For This Session
01 Veil WF 2h 45m 02 Veil 1h 30m
   

01-Veil-WF-2h-45m.jpg
Click picture above for larger version
If the picture seems too bright or too dark, try adjusting the brightness below.
Brightness:
|
  



Comments:
On 07/29/09 at 01:23pm Miquel wrote:
Amazing shots Neil!!! I love them!!! :)

On 07/28/09 at 08:33pm Neil Heacock wrote:
Greg: I hear you about the modded camera. I want one, and I don't want one. Maybe I'll mod the 350D and stick a permanent 6nm h-alpha filter on it and do combo shots between it and the unmodded 20D. Hmmm... not a bad idea methinks!

And the star field has kept me from shooting it in the past. As you say, the nebula can easily get lost in the sea of stars. Only the finest instruments image this region *amazingly* well. I feel that my gear has captured it quite well and I'm happy to have the shots in my collection.

Andy: Thanks so much for the fine compliment. I'm very pleased with these images considering my equipment. It's a testament that a modest stock setup can produce quality results.

-Neil

On 07/28/09 at 08:24pm Andy Rusten wrote:
Beautiful shot Neil, You should sell prints....

On 07/27/09 at 05:23pm Greg Marshall wrote:
Work didn't keep me away. OK, I wimped out after the first night at Trout Lake, but I was up until 3 last night in the back yard.

Love both of these shots, Neil. A modded camera would give you more of the red, but then the blue isn't as impressive. The hardest thing about shooting the veil is that there are SO many bright stars around it that you can barely distinguish the veil.


On 07/27/09 at 03:43pm Neil Heacock wrote:
Oh man... I wish I could have. Work on Monday... sheesh... why does something that funds the hobby have to get in the way of experiencing the hobby? 8^)

-Neil

On 07/27/09 at 03:33pm Scott K. wrote:
You should have stayed the extra night. Absolutely fantastic all night long. Took a nap and woke up at 10 to no clouds in the sky all night long. It only got down to about 61 degrees temp.

Love the complex picture.

$

On 07/27/09 at 12:48pm Neil Heacock wrote:
Unfortunately, high clouds (and low clouds as well) were rolling in and out during the wide field session limiting the already faint nebula trying to be picked up by an unmodified camera in a very small 66mm scope.

And yeah.... since my camera is not modified there is no H-Alpha data for me... waaaaa... one of these days though!

On 07/27/09 at 12:39pm Neil Heacock wrote:
LOL.. you mean clip the highlights and blackpoint? Hee heeeeeeeee...

-Neil

On 07/27/09 at 07:03am Dave wrote:
Neil;
love them,esp the Vixens work...Of course I had to "adjust" them to my quirky taste...I must have a shot at them.
Getting the Ha would really be spectacular.....



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