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Great evening, 12th November 2012

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This is part an imaging report, but in the format of an observation report, so here goes:

After quite a few days of clouds I was itching to get some first images taken with my DSLR hooked up to my scope. I had been watching the forecast all day, and it seemed favorable, so at 5 o clock I packed the car and went out to the golf course a few km outside of town. I brought my newest astronomy purchase, a pair of warm Meindl boots:


The first thing I learned this evening was that even if warm boots keep you going for longer, they are NOT easy to drive in. My toes were a bit cold after a while but I think I need to walk around more and maybe think about different socks.

When I arrived at the site I immediately was awestruck by the darkness of the sky, sure still close to town, still some LP, but it was the darkest sky I've seen in ages, and the milky way just sparkled.

After struggling a bit with polar alignment (maybe I should extend the legs more so I dont have to crawl so much) I balanced for my DSLR and starting taking subs of the andromeda galaxy, got a handful of lights and darks. After that I just grabbed a few quick pictures of various objects. Very happy with the results even though they were just one sub:

M31 Andromeda Galaxy

M33 triangulum

M27 dumbbell nebula

M15  globular cluster

C13 Owl Cluster

After that I was starting to freeze and I feel stupid for not bringing my heavy duty winter jacket. It's easy to fool oneself when it's above freezing but you get cold really quick in spite of that.

I disconnected my DSLR and rebalanced to have a quick look at the Dumbbell Nebula. Last but not least I snapped of a few wide fields of my observation spot:

DSC 0282

DSC 0281

DSC 0278

All in all it turned out to be an amazing evening.

Lessons learned: Bring driving shoes. I have a winter jacket, USE IT. Need new gloves, and hand warmers. Need to figure out why my toes still get cold in spite of having expensive winter boots. Snacks and something to drink would have been nice.

Now I am still tearing my hair out over the subs I took of M31, no matter what I do the result is all jumbled up. I can't make heads or tails of it. I've posted a thread about it in the imaging help section to see if anyone can give me a hint of what's wrong.

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these are well thick and warm. worth the money.

some great pics, i only traveled out from my home once so far and like you it was only to the outskirts of town but it really did make a difference just being away from direct lights.

thanks for the report carl.

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Thanks for the kind words. Yes, the site is pretty good, and it's not on the golf course proper but rather at a hill near the parking lot. I don't want to make myself too comfortable though. Even if there there are laws allowing you to cross open property as long as your respectful, I feel I shouldn't assume I'll be welcome when the golf season picks up. Still the hunt for locations goes on. I have atleast two sites that are even darker, about an hour away by car, where I know I'm most welcome. When I start getting more serious I guess I'll pick my nights more carefully, and have the session a bit longer. Still, the search goes on for a really good spot close to home.

Regarding socks, I have some super warm hunters socks I could try, but initially I dont want to pack the boots too tight to gauge how warm they are on their own.

This is my final process for now of the 40 odd 20 sec subs I took:

Reprocessed first DSO M31

Thanks for for the feedback!

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I can suffer a bit from cold feet, even though I wear winter walking boots. As stated, perhaps keep the laces a bit slack and ensure your feet have a bit of wriggle room. Winter socks and good insoles help, when observing from home, I also plonk my feet onto an off-cut piece of carpet to insulate from the concrete floor, this seems to work well.

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