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30 minutes on M51


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Hi folks, it's been quite some time since I posted an image in here. It must be a couple of years, at least!

What with work and weather coupled with increasing setup/teardown time (and weight), along with some of life's knockbacks, I could never find the time to get any imaging done. I decided the only option was to build an observatory. It had been on the cards for some time but needs must and all that. So, late 2016 I finished building a small obsy and can now make the most of short windows in the weather.

I've had several imaging sessions already which ended up being sessions of discovering what was the next component that needed fixing/upgrading before any useful data could be gathered. So after upgrading the old netbook to a PC for the obs, dealing with differential flexure, reaplcing guidescope with OAG, etc, etc. I might at last be getting some useful images (he says tentatively).

The forecast of a 4 hr window through the clouds over the weekend turned out to be correct and, after getting some data on M1, the Crab Nebula (not yet processed), I swung around to have a go at M51, the Whirpool Galaxy. With only a short window of opportunity left before the clouds rolled in, not being able to find a guide star was very frustrating. I eventually found one though and will be able to hit the same spot time and time again with platesolving.

I only managed to get 3 subs at 600s on the target before the clouds came in but I was so happy with the subs that I couldn't resist processing them. I think the background noise calibrated out pretty well, but I need more subs to improve the SNR on the target and reduce the noise there. There's also an LP gradient left of M51, I think I'll need to rework the DBE in Pixinsight. Still, I'm more than pleased with the results so far.


M51 280117.png

Imaging telescope or lens: Celestron C10N
Imaging camera: Canon 450d
Mount: NEQ6 Pro
Guiding camera: ZWO ASI120MC
Filter: Skywatcher Light Pollution Filter 2"
Accessory: OVL Slim OAG, Baader MPCC Mark III
Software: PixInsight,  APT,  PHD Guiding

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18 hours ago, Dakaar said:

thats a stunning picture. would love to produce something like this myself

Thanks Dakaar. :)

18 hours ago, Star101 said:

That is a great image for only 3 x 600 subs. Well done and thanks for sharing.


Thanks Star101, I couldn't believe the results from only 3 subs. Looking forward to adding much more data to it.

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