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M42, Horsehead/flame nebula & M45 on a Chilly night

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Well, Sunday was a nice cold night but mostly clear apart from the occasional whispy nebulous cloud creeping in. I managed some shortish exposures of the horsehead nebula, orion nebula and pleaides cluster during the night, all the images were taken with WO66 with 0.8 reducer/flattener and a Starlight Xpress svxf M8C camera binned 2x2 with a broadband filter, all images are in monochrome. The scope was piggy backed on a C14 which is on a Paramount ME. All of the exposures are unguided and are as follows

Horsehead nebula 13 X 2 minutes

Orion nebula 26 X 1 minutes

Pliaedes cluster 60 X 1 minutes

All images were acquired, aligned and combined in Maxim DL and all processing which only consisted of levels,curves, brightness and contrast, touching up and noise reduction in Photoshop CS2

Next step is to see how far I can push the Paramount unguided before trying some autoguiding and longer exposures but in the meantime I am quite pleased with the results





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Pretty good going Gordon, especially the 'tracking' on the 2 mins unguided.

Now that I've got the PE down to just over 3 arc secs on my LX mount, 90 secs unguided is fine. I would think 2 mins unguided is not 'pushing' the paramount very much at all :D.


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Nice set of images Gordon, I really love these atmospheric mono images. They always seem deep space authentic to me. Not that I am against colour rendered imagery, that would be foolish when I see what the top guys are doing on SGL. but,as I said, mono suits me fine.

Ron. :D

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Thanks guys, I agree with the tracking of the Paramount - it is unbelievable, I haven't used any PEC so it is essentially Raw still, I will be trying some longer unguided shots next time out.

I really love these atmospheric mono images

I agree with you on the atmosphere that some of the monochrome images portray, I have got a Starlight Xpress H36 on the way and I think I am going to start with some Ha imaging without using other channels.

Thanks for the thoughts, much appreciated

Best wishes



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