Sunday, January 13, 2013

Another Year, Another M42

I've imaged good old M42 a couple of times in the past with my DSLR and ST80. This is a more ambitious try, using my ST8300 monochrome CCD and AT72ED:

M42 (click for full size)
What's ambitious is that it's my first serious attempt at an LRGB image where I've given some thought about how to properly combine luminance and color data. This could definitely use a longer integration time--it was only about 15 minutes per channel at f/6, made worse by fairly substantial light pollution.

Notice those spikes coming out of the brighter stars? They're from overhead power lines!

The next clear night I'll try taking some shorter exposures so that I can mask in the overexposed center of the nebula.

Coming shortly will be a report on the Orion 50mm mini-guider. I will be using it for autoguiding on scopes of different focal lengths. It cuts about five pounds off my mount's load by replacing my ST80, which weighs about 6.4 pounds when guiding. This is particularly significant because that 6.4 pounds rides piggyback on my telescopes and has a substantial moment arm.

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