Well due to a combination of multiple major life events, bad weather, other interests and exhaustion I haven't been out with the scope in anger for over a year now. To be honest I was wondering if I ever would again.
Anyway the kids had buoyed me to have another crack mainly as a result of the BBC series and there was that happy confluence of a clear forecast, no moon and weekend that happens so very rarely.
So I gave it a pop.
1st part of the evening was with the big scope and we went out and looked at Jupiter without its southern belt, the setting crescent moon, the pliedes, the andromeda galaxy and alibreo and then whilst the kids were going through bed routine I changed for the imaging scope and let it cool down and let the moon set.
What to image? well After much thought and many choices I decided to plump for a guided image of the orion nebula - never taken long exposures on this before, only taken 90 second shots of this and I wanted to get one that showed some more of the dust that circles and swirls around the famous nebulas.
I was quickly reminded of why I got frustrated with the hobby as just as I had got it all set up - alignment of the mount and the scope, focus ( takes about 20 minutes) framing and the setting up of the guide scope and camera - the clouds rolled in
I had wanted to get about 5 hours worth of data for this as I have seen some might impressive results with my setup by others with this amount of data - but it just wasn't to be
So over the 5 hours of imaging time I had ( as the constellation goes behind the house at 1 am) I only managed 2 hours, and that wasn't often in large chunks.
Anyway I'm reasonably pleased with the results - I can always add another nights data at some point but its achieved the most important goal which was to get me back into this and to get all the equipment back up and working again.
ISO800 and a stack of 1 minute , 2 minute and 8 minute exposures
This is probably the only deep sky object you can actually overexpose in the night sky as the core is so 'bright' which is why I added in the shorted exposures, you lose the trapezium in this picture with those 4 newborn stars but as I said the intention was all the dust in this one.
Glad I went for this rather than the Seagull or the Jellyfish nebulas , sorry that its yet another shot of the same object....
Hopefully more to come over the coming weeks.
Orion Nebulas January 2011 by Sidleydoc, on Flickr