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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Busy night

Well, finally had a dark night. Moon didn't come up until 2:30 AM. My 8-year old daughter dearly wanted to join me. So, I walked her through how to use the telescope to take pictures, and she proceeded to tell me that she wanted to take a picture of the Rosette Nebula. Heh. She did great, managing to capture 20 frames ranging from 30 seconds to 1 minute in exposure. The results of her efforts are below, she was very excited.

Now, she's created a list of other heavenly objects she wants to go after. I won't be lacking for company.

Had a reasonable good night. Took some strictly technical shots of the Leo Triplet and Virgo galaxy cluster to evaluate. Will not be able to resolve anything beyond magnitude 13, but interesting to consider what else is lurking there.

Somehow, taking photos of a beautiful bright star is irresistible. So, I did. Arcturus appears below, dressed up with a legend of the constellation Bootes in which it resides as the alpha star.

Captured the open cluster M41, again not as striking as some, but certainly filled with stars!

I was surprised by the next one, the Beehive Cluster M44, this looked great!

In my wonderings, I settled back on Hercules and found M92 showing brightly in my telescope. I hadn't realized another significant cluster was in the same constellation as M13. Cool. Grabbed 10 frames of 1 minutes exposures for that one.

The next shot is of the Pinwheel Galaxy M101, this is kind of a test shoot for me. My recent attempts at galaxies has been pathetic. The results of this night proved to be better. Another 10 frames of 1 minutes exposures on a dark clear night reveals the subtle blue color and some of the brighter blue elements of this spiral galaxy. Will keep building stackable images of this and other galaxies to help improve the signal to noise ratio.

Took another 5 frames of 1 minute exposures of M104 before calling it quits last night. Stacked these on top of the prior ones (see early post below) and the final image shows improvement from before. Looking forward to another night to do the same with the frames I've captured for M101!

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