Flintstone Stargazing

December 30, 2007

First light with my LXD75/Meade DSI Color II

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Equipment, Messier Objects, Observation Journal — Tags: , — Ed @ 11:27 pm


M42-Great Orion Nebula on 12/30/07

This is the first image I took with the new scope and all I can say is WOW! I had a lot of trouble with the scope early in the evening (I’ll discuss that in a post tomorrow), but by 10:00 I was ready to go and as my first imaging target I chose M42-The Great Orion Nebula. Immediately, I could see the difference both from the new camera, which had a better color display and a larger image area, and from the telescope, which resolved stars much more precisely and which pulled in MUCH more light. For this image, I hadn’t yet captured dark frames which are used to remove noise in the image and so there is a bit of background noise, but I couldn’t wait and so I plunged ahead anyway.

In the image above, I took 8 second exposures which were stacked. At that exposure level, you can still make out the Trapezium (the four bright stars in the center of the nebula) as four stars. The resolving detail on this scope is significantly better than my Tasco and this is a good example where that’s clearly visible.

Below is a bit longer exposure (I used 15second exposures) and you can see even more detail in the nebula.

M42-Great Orion Nebula on 12/30/07
M42-Great Orion Nebula on 12/30/07

I haven’t quite figured out how to get my computer to guide my scope to enable automatic capturing of panoramas using Drizzle, but that’s my next project. Once I’m able to do that, I’ll be taking shots of the full nebula for sure.

I also took a number of other shots including Mars (with some detail!), M81 and M82. I’ll post about those tomorrow, but if you want to see them in the meantime, you can click on my flickr links on the right.

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