February 19 – 20, 2020
Weather: Clear, light wind to calm, 65-45° F (18-13°C)
Observing Time: 9 pm to 3 am.
Bortle Scale: 2
M42 looks remarkable from this location through my 8″ scope! The structure looks very similar to the images, albeit grayscale. There was some wind for a couple hours, so it was the perfect time to just use my eyes and gaze. Once it started calming down, then the imaging was next!
Essentially, this was my first time trying out the setup including a 2X Barlow on both the scope and the guide scope. Many distant galaxies and planetary nebulae are small in angular size and need a longer focal length (more zoom) to make details visible.
M42 was not a planned shot, but I wanted to use it to see how long I could realistically expose before it was too much for the autoguider… and just under 5 minutes seemed to be the trick. I didn’t expect the reactions for the image to be so positive. Since then, I’ve been using it to present to people in public when showcasing M42 through a telescope.
M1 was a planned shot, in honor of my grandmother who had passed a week prior. I wanted to take a picture of the remains of a dead star, and use it in a small eulogy at her service.
I of course wanted to try M51, and despite getting okay shots for it, I wasn’t satisfied with the clarity… thus I will always have that bug to try that object again, same with M101. With a longer focal length, the needed exposure times double, and on this particular night my mount and autoguider couldn’t seem to handle anything longer than 5-7 minutes.
I took the Barlows out and tried bits of the Virgo Cluster, and despite the shorter focal length, I was still having the same issues. Despite that, I managed a decent shot of Markarians Chain and M100.
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