Flintstone Stargazing

November 30, 2007

Continuing the Messier Hunt: M72 – M74

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Messier Objects, Observation Journal — Tags: , , — Ed @ 12:18 am

M72 on 11/29/07

It had been a while since I captured anything except Comet 17P/Holmes, M31 and the Moon and so I thought I would resume my hunt for the Messier Objects. Tonight I filled in 3 gaps in my collection with M72, M73 and M74. M74 in particular is really neat – a top down view of a spiral galaxy. I’m sure I’ll be making a trip back there soon. Below are the images of M73 and M74.

On a side note, one of my other tripod legs is now broken so I wasn’t able to take as long of exposures as I had hoped to. I’ll have to fix it as well and then get some more images.

M73 on 11/29/07
M73 on 11/29/07 (it’s the small group of stars)

M74 on 11/29/07
M74 on 11/29/07



  1. Excellent images Ed!.I haven’t had my scope out in quite a while due to clouds.If the wind dies down tonight,maybe I can get a few shots as good as yours!.
    Good job!!!

    Comment by Andrew — November 30, 2007 @ 6:04 am

  2. We’ve had a lot of cloudiness as well – which in this case has meant some much needed rain. It’s also cold now (cold for here anyway) which is a new experience for me as far as stargazing goes. Since I spend most of the time just sitting I really have to pile on the layers to keep warm. Of course, I have a lot less noise in my camera as a result of the cold so it kind of evens out overall.

    Comment by Ed — November 30, 2007 @ 8:37 am

  3. cool. I like M74.

    maybe you should get yourself a 55 gallon drum and have an old fashioned burn barrel in your driveway?

    Comment by bobw — November 30, 2007 @ 9:22 am

  4. I have spent many a night in below zero temps with my scope and have still yet to figure out a reliable way of staying warm.A burn barrel is a thought except for the unwanted smoke obscuring the night sky.Probably the best bet is to have a electric space heater and tent right at the scope?!.Hmmmm….maybe I should do that? šŸ˜› .Well,I won’t be able to try that out for a while (not this weekend anyway) because it is suppose to be windy with a snow storm moving in by the end of the weekend.UGH,I hate snow!.
    Good luck!

    Comment by Andrew — November 30, 2007 @ 11:21 am

  5. I’m sure my neighbors would absolutely love a burn barrel! I’m actually thinking of getting a really long USB cable so that I can run the camera from inside.

    Comment by Ed — November 30, 2007 @ 6:46 pm

  6. I was using a long USB before I received the laptop.It is about 60ft long and workd really good.I bought it at Radio shack….I can’t remember the price but,I think it was pretty cheap.I was using that to run my LPI from my desktop,which meant that I was running up and down the stairs a lot.At least with the laptop,I can tweak what I need to at the scope and then come in and get warm!!!.

    Comment by Andrew — December 1, 2007 @ 10:15 am

  7. Ed, I regularly visit your site because I’m continuously amazed at what you can squeeze out of a Tasco with a broken tripod leg. The weather’s terrible here in Seattle but when it clears up, I’m going to be setting up my ancient Celestron 8 with a Nikon D50 and see what I can come up with. Thanks a million for the inspiration.


    Comment by Pierre — December 1, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

  8. Regarding staying warm, I’ve been seriously considering leveraging Remote Desktop from another computer running inside my house. It comes with all versions of Windows. Or if you’re using Linux you could always leverage VNC. The only problem though is that for Nikon’s Capture software, you can only remotely open the shutter for no more than 30 seconds. After that you’ve got to use a remote trigger. But since you’re using one of those Meade DSI imagers, you should be totally set if you’ve got two or more computers in the house along with Remote Desktop. No long USB cable needed.

    Comment by Pierre — December 1, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

  9. Pierre, I’m actually a developer by day so I definitely could have the remote desktop working, but I feel like I’d also need a webcam to make sure no one driving by my house could nick the laptop and drive away. A telescope in the driveway isn’t as tempting a target as a laptop (particularly my telescope). I suppose I could stick the laptop in my truck, run the cables out a window crack and then lock the truck. Overall, though I think I’d rather just run a USB cable 30 feet to inside my house. That said, I think I’ll wait until I get a tripod that supports goto so that I can both run the camera and point the scope at the same time. As it is now I also could run into a situation where the motor could run the telescope into a tripod leg without me seeing that since I wouldn’t be there. And thanks for your encouragement. I really do love working with this scope – it’s challenging and I’m learning quite a lot as I go.

    Comment by Ed — December 2, 2007 @ 7:46 pm

  10. cool pics and where did u get the telescope from?

    Comment by jennifer — February 9, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

    • That particular scope was purchased off of a homeschool newsletter. My more recent equipment has been from eBay and/or a local guy.

      Comment by Ed — February 21, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

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