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My first deep sky image - Help please!

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Hi everyone, I'll travel to Huaraz city (Peru's andes) this weekend, which will have very dark skies!

Hopefully, this will be my 1st chance to take my first deep sky image, which will be M83. I've never done this before, so maybe you can give me some hints on how to do this!

I know my gear is not the best, but in theory I know this could be possible with this:

- Celestron Nexstar 6SE and a f6.5 focal reducer.

- ASI 174 MC camera.

- Firecapture software.

I read that I need to take 200 - 400 light frames. Then, with the same settings, cover the telescope's tube, and take 20 dark frames. Finally use deepsky stacker. (Am I right?)

My telescope's tracking mount is not precise, so I'll try my best to take centered shots.

Thanks for any tips!

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you can have good results with less light frames, but it depends on the lenght of the exposures... you can try less shots with longer exposures, or, ir your case (because of the tracking), lots of short frames. 

and you should train before going, dont miss you chance!

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Thanks aleborek, is there any rule to avoid star trails? I know this is relative to the mount, but would it be ok to take 100 light frames with 10 second exposures, and 20 darks?

That would be 16 minutes of total exposure... Being optimistic :D, on the best conditions, would this be enough?


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I would try a test run too see roughly what exposure time you can achieve before you get trails in the stars.

Then perhaps reduce that by 5 seconds to be safe.

After that take as many lights as possible before doing your darks.

You can always delete any bad frames before stacking

Once you have the data stored you can look at it at your leisure and decide what too keep. Nothing worse than spending an evening imaging and deleting the lot as it's unusable.


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