Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Astro Photo M42

This is the time of the month when the moon is absent from the evening skies. But it has been super cloudy and rainy. I got out one night last week and took a few pictures in between the clouds. New moon is Sunday, so I have a few more nights of darkness, if it ever clears up, that is.

This picture is of M42, the great nebula in Orion. It is a combination of two time exposures of about two minutes each. I used a 300 mm zoom lens and cropped out the extra sky to zero in on the nebula. The aperture was 5.5 and I had the camera set at asa 800.

If you have ever seen M42 in a small telescope, you will recognize it from the picture, but I have to say, based on the images I've seen on the internet, that there is a lot of room for improvement here. You can click on the picture to see it bigger.

I also shot some webcam video of Saturn, but haven't tried processing it yet. The modified wedge I made for mounting the telescope let me get a really good polar alignment, but it isn't rigid enough for high power viewing. The slightest breeze had the image of Saturn wiggling all over the place. I'll need to find a piece of half inch aluminum or steel to use for my tripod wedge mod.

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