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Hope everyone's keeping safe in these uncertain times. Hard to believe it's been just over a year since i last posted something using new data. Where did that year go?! As luck would have it, a few weeks back, i collected all my astro gear from the old family home, where i do used to do all my imaging and moved it down to our place, where the skies are worse, and the sky views are much more obstructed. I wanted to have another go at using the C8 for imaging a galaxy, and luckily there was a clear night last week, so once the kids were asleep i set about trying my luck on the Whale Galaxy, as i knew it would definitely clear the tall trees at the back of the house. After spending far too long faffing about with an OAG and an old IDS-UI camera (which i now know isn't up to the job) i finally gave up on the OAG idea, but rather than just pack up, i decided to throw the finder-guider on there anyway and just see how things went. Time was against me, i only had a 2 hour window left, so could only dither every 3 frames. But at least the guiding held up well (under the circumstances) with the HEQ5-Pro. It went down as low as 0.67" at one point, never went over 1", and seemed to average at around 0.85", which was way better than i was expecting. I don't have an actual SCT FR, so to continue the bonkers theme i actually used my SW x0.85 one lol. Solving a frame in Astrometry gives an actual FL of 2,320mm (total insanity, i know) or F11.4 . I'm also just glad to have now finally got to use the Qhy163c that i bought off another SGL user in Spring of last year. So it only took me a year to get an image out of it! So this is: 40 x 180s (Gain 80, Offset 35), -15C C8, HEQ5-Pro Stacked in APP, and processed in PS. SGP was reporting HFR's from about 5.1-5.8. I've no idea if that's ok or terrible at this FL. I was just surprised that all 40 subs were keepers tbh, with none having trailed stars. It's a noisy beast i know, so apologies. And that's even with a generous dollop of NR and downsampling to 35% of the original size. It needs a tonne more exposure. Something i could have addressed the following night, which was also clear, but alas, i was way too tired to even consider it. But it was fun just to be out imaging again, even if it was just for this. I might even try it again, if the weather plays along that is! CS folks.
NGC4631 is a starburst galaxy that is viewed edge on from Earth and interacts tidally with the dwarf galaxy NGC4627, forming a "light bridge" between the two objects. It has also very vibrant star forming regions along its length. Due to its shape it is commonly known as the Whale and Companion. The image below is an LRGB image and represents about 7 hours integration and was taken with my Esprit 150.
NGC4631 is a starburst galaxy that is viewed edge on from Earth and interacts tidally with the dwarf galaxy NGC4627, forming a "light bridge" between the two objects. It has also very vibrant star forming regions along its length. Due to its shape it is commonly known as the Whale and Companion. The image below is an LRGB image and represents about 7 hours integration and was taken with my Esprit 150. Due to poor weather and my multi object acquisition strategy, the image capture ended slightly prematurely since it has now disappeared below my local horizon. ? Whilst I'd have liked to gather more data, particular on the Lum channel, I was reasonably pleased at the level of detail revealed. Alan LIGHTS: L:10, R:6, G:13, B:12 x 600s, DARKS:30, BIAS:100, FLATS:40 all at -20C.
Another night of clear and clouds -- ideal for short live captures! These two are 60s exposures on the usual kit under a half-moon. First, ngc4631 and its satellite dwarf galaxy ngc4627, known as the whale and pup. Then, being chased by the clouds the only window happened to be Canes Venatici so I took a first look at M51 with the Lodestar: Even in a big dob I haven't seen it like that. I dug out some notes from 2011 when M51 hosted a supernova just to check that the bright star at about 5 o'clock wasn't another one . I hate to think what the new monochrome Lodestar would do with this object under moonless skies at a fast f-ratio... Does anyone know what the almost vertical faint smear near bottom right is? Looks like a faint edge-on galaxy. I pushed up to 90s to get this noticeably less-noise image It's beginning to show some oval stars due to running in alt-az mode but nothing to distract from M51 (this isn't AP after all). Am I the only one getting decent-ish weather at the moment? Martin