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Well hello... again

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Last month, I dusted of my old gear (A Nexstar 4SE), and finally got started in astrophotography again (after about 10 years). And I discovered that I actually had an old account from 2009 here, but still a hello should be in order.

During the last month, I've studied a bunch of YouTube videos, and discovered that I made a lot of mistakes 10+ years ago - which of course meant that there were a lot of room for improvement. Yay!


So last night, I was unsure about the weather, so I decided not to drive 40 minutes for a darker spot. But simply to try out a bunch of new things from my backyard, surrounded by streetlamps, cars etc... The weather was even a bit hazy, and my red dot finder didn't work. So I did not expect much result anyway.

The Nexstar 4SE mount couldn't handle the telescope and my camera (Nikon D700), because it was simply too of balance. So I decided to use my 70-300mm Sigma lens on a dovetail.


Not having a finder made it quite hard to polar align. I used my telescope to get better accuracy. The 4SE mount is an AZ mount with a flimsy wedge, but I managed. Next I did a one-star alignment to Castor (finding the right stars was hard), and then replaced the telescope with my camera. And found M42.

I tried out a few settings, because I wanted to push the limits to how long exposures I could get, before the stars got elongated. Also I knew focusing would be an issue, because the Sigma lens really is horrible. So I ended to with an aperture of 11, 30s exposure, at 300mm (dx cropped - so that's about 480mm I think)


And let me say, YouTube paid off (Thank you Astro Biscuit, AstroBackYard, Cuiv the Lazy Geek, Nebula Photos and many more) - Despite this was far from ideal conditions, this is still by a long shot, my best M42 (and M43) to date. The stars are a bit elongated... but still good by my current standards.


Mount: Nexstar 4SE
Camera: Nikon D700 (not modded), 
ISO 1000, f/11

40 x 30s exposures
15 flats
13 darks
10 bias

Software: DeepSkyStacker + Affinity Photo




bedste m42.jpg

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