Andromeda Galaxy – M31

In Autumn the Andromeda galaxy is conveniently placed in the darkes part of the sky for my home, the eastern sky.

Due to the vibration prone location of my telescope on the top of our house, I had to throw away 2/3rds of the individual exposures due to trailed stars, so I ended up with only 22,5 minutes of data. Another possibility is, that the guiding didn’t work properly, calibration was suspiciously short.

Anyways, here is the Andromeda galaxy at 1016mm focal length, Nikon D750, 45x30s, ISO 1600, Astro-Physics 127mm f/8, Meade LXD 650 mount.

45x30s, Astro-Physics 127mm f/8, Nikon D750, ISO 1600, preprocessed and stacked in Regim, developed in Photoshop and Lightroom.

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The Moon and Sun two weeks before the 2017 solar eclipse

Two weeks before the moon will eclipse the sun, the moon was partially eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow

I had to turn around, when the road to my observing location was blocked, then I rushed to another spot, to find clouds on the horizon blocking the view for quite a while. But finally the still eclipsed moon emerged from the clouds and I was able to take some quick shots.

I used my 80mm refractor and a 300mm lens for the images.

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Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák, 25.3.2017

The Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák is passing through the constellation Ursa Major these nights.

66×30″, ISO1600, 300mm f/4, Nikon D750, Skywatcher Star Adventurer, Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom.

66×30″, ISO1600, 300mm f/4, Nikon D750, Skywatcher Star Adventurer, Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom. Crop from the image above.

This animation created from the individual frames used for the image above, shows the movement of Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák against the starry Background. The time-span of the animation is 36 minutes between 19:09 and 19:45 UT on the evening of March, 25th.

Venus at 4%

Today Venus was a very delicate crescent, with only about 4% of it’s visible disc illuminated by the sun. I used the 127mm f/8 refractor with a 1.4x teleconverter and took a number of images using the Nikon D750. 20% of 46 individual images were used to create this image using the software Autostakkert:

127mm f/8 Astro-Physics, Nikon D750, TC-E14II

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Taurus Molecular Cloud

Inspite of all the beautiful stars, I have a fascination for the dark stuff lurking between them Today I managed to get almost an hour of exposures of the Taurus molecular cloud,

The dust cloud between the Pleiades and Auriga is called the Taurus molecular cloud, 27x120s (54m), AF-D Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 at f/2.8, Nikon D750, ISO 800.

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M13, M5, M57

In spite of bad seeing and strong gusts of wind I did set up the big refractor to do some astrophotography. I spent quite some time to get things running – in the end the spring galaxies were already too far west in the glare of the train station, so I switched my targets to two globulars and a planetary nebula. Here is a list of what went wrong:

  • I wasn’t aware that the D750 uses a non-standard USB port on the camera, I had to search for half an hour to find the original cable
  • the laptop I usually use has been upgraded to Windows 10, installing the drivers for the guiding camera did not work
  • on the backup laptop guiding with PHD worked, but Backyard Nikon crashed and/or got no connection to the camera, I tried many combinations of USB extension cables, USB ports, removing the SD card, formatting the SD card, upgrading to BackyardNikon 1.0.5, in the end I focused using live view of the camera and used the built-in interval timer of the camera to shoot 30 second exposures…
  • the seeing was really terrible, making focusing difficult, and bloating the stars during the exposure
  • for reasons unkown (user error?) the quality setting on the camera was changed to FINE, so I only took JPEG images instead of NEF( Raw)

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Preparing for the mercury transit

Today I was making sure everything is in working order for Monday’s transit of Mercury across the sun.

I was able to fix the issue of the declination runaway motor of our club’s LXD-650 mount, and took some images using the 127mm refractor with a 1,4x teleconverter.

The sun 05-05-2016, Astro-Phsyics 127mm f/8, Nikon TC-14E II, Nikon D750, 1/4000s, Baader ND3.8 photographic solar film

The sun 05-05-2016, Astro-Phsyics 127mm f/8, Nikon TC-14E II, Nikon D750, 1/4000s, Baader ND3.8 photographic solar film

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