Flintstone Stargazing

February 10, 2008

Tonight’s astrophotography

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Messier Objects, Moon, Observation Journal — Tags: , , — Ed @ 10:39 pm

The Moon on 2/10/08

Tonight was very nice, but a bit windy (which made it feel colder than the 45°F that the thermometer was reading). It also meant that the telescope would shake a bit too much to get many long term exposures. Realizing this, I decided to start with the Moon. When imaging the moon I used an exposure of .003s through my refractor which is quick enough to block out most of the wind movement. I thought this image came out nice and sharp. When looking, particularly at higher magnification, visually I could see a lot of turbulence between me and the Moon. Actually, I suppose that most of that turbulence is close to me. It’s probably just the first 100 miles or so that are turbulent. After that it’s clear for the next 180,000 miles.

M79 on 2/10/08
M79 on 2/10/08

After getting the moon, I thought I’d have a go at the only globular cluster Messier object visible in the early evening, M79. I was able to get one hundred 30s images that were stacked to give me the image above.

M43-de Mairan's Nebula on 2/10/08
M43-de Mairan’s Nebula on 2/10/08

Finally, I thought I’d take a look at something brighter since the wind was picking up so I pointed the scope at M43-de Mairan’s Nebula which is the “knob” on the end of the Great Orion Nebula. I took a bunch of 8s exposures and it turned out okay. I then tried to pull the image into DeepSkyStacker, but it seems that the newest version of that software is having some problems with finding stars in images. The guy who writes the software updates it pretty often so I’m hoping he’ll have a fix soon. and I’ll be able to reprocess a number of images that I’ve taken recently.


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