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It's getting dark...



There's an old saying, 'If you want to give the gods a laugh tell them your plans for the future'. 
My plans were along the lines of spending the very light nights setting up and testing ASCOM,  PHD2 and other software and practising my post processing.  What actually happened was that my laptop died, taking with it all of the settings that I'd struggled to figure out - but hadn't noted down  It also had lots of personal data that hadn't been backed up recently so a new laptop and dozens of hours getting the old hard disk connected and copied.  I also had and my mount in bits as I tried to figure out how to improve the latitude adjustment.

Anyway, on Thursday night I had everything assembled, all the software re-installed and maybe working and a free evening to play with it.  I got on quite well before it clouded over and Friday night was forecast to be clear.  By twilight I was all set up and ready to go. 

I started work as soon as it was dark enough for the guide setup to work and got a good series of exposures up to 3 minutes long guiding with perfect stars - I was delighted! After trying a few things out I set the rig up to take a series of 20 second exposures of M11, the Wild Duck Cluster.  It was still too light but I wanted to see if it would behave when left alone.

A bit later I started on M27, the Dumbell nebula.  There was quite a bit of high, wispy cloud blowing through so I kept it to 30 second subs - 198 of them.  Basic processing has got me this image which is my first public post on Astrobin.  I still need to go through the images and remove the poorer quality ones, re-stack and spend more time processing.




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