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M42 and good polar alignment

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Had a good evening tonight. Start off with the downside of tonight.

The dew is BAD, and the cold really bit me tonight and by the time I packed up everything was all twiinkley :D

Spent nearly 2 hours polar aligning. Using WCS - once you work out whats going on it's great. Found out that it's really important to let it go the recommended 5 minutes or you end up going back and forward (the 5 minutes must allow for PE). So after making all the adjustments I thought that I'd go for an easy test.

2 minutes unguided on M45 - lovely nice round stars, had to use ISO100 as the dew was causing really bad LP. No point in posting the image as it wasn't very spectacular!

Moved over to M42 and took a few shots of this - added the Moon/Sky glow filter and upped the ISO to 1600 and took 6 1m 20s shots. Two of them I must have nudged the tripod as there were double stars a plenty, the other 4 where spot on.

Here is the end result - I'm quite happy. I've decided to leave the mount in the garden and see what happens... (see if the wife moans :D )


(click to enlarge)


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2 mins unguided, is pretty good going indeed. WCS obviously did the job, even if it took 2 hrs to do it :?

You really must convince your wife that a permanent mount is what you need, and how it would make you such a 'happy bunny'. :D

Nice M42 BTW, good colour and detail.


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You obviously got the polar alignment right as the star are spot on for an unguided image. Polar alignment is a pain but so worth the effort in the end (although after 2 hours, I might have sent WCS over the hedge).

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Cheers guys. Using the 300D and the ED80 the FOV is huge and quite forgiving.

I am going to go for M81 and M82 tonight and lets see if I can get something worth while...

I'm thinking 100 x 90s subs.


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I also just discovered that you need to give WCS the full 5 mins....It also took me about 2-3 hours of mesing about before realisation struck :D

Nice image BTW, play about with the sliders in the histogram box in Photoshop to get the black point a bit better.

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Cheers guys :D

I've really struggled in the past getting long ish exposures and whilst I'm still not there yet - I think that I'm 98% polar aligned.

Once I have the pier, I can get that last 2%. But I have to say that it's so easy to polar align - I won't be doing it any other way.

The proof of the pudding will be the M18/82 images that I took last night - 75 x 90seconds, hopefully worth looking at!

The only snag with the software is that it requires a resolution better than 800x600 (which is the maximum resolution of my laptop).

It does run on 800x600 but it displays the bottom graph and buttons below the edge of the screen (which means you cannot use the program).

BUT by setting the screen resolution to the next setting up I can. This, however, is like having a large monitor but your veiwing it through a smal window. You have to move the "small window" around, so when your looking at the bottom right part of the screen you cannot see the top or left and vice versa. I'm sure you understand what I mean.

Doable but a pain in the rear end.

But well worth the £15!


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Quite disappointed with M81 82 TBH - but I've just added some Bias and Darks and we'll see what happens.

WCS is great Martin :D

Moved the blumming mount by mistake today and it took about 15 minutes to get good polar alignment back!!!


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