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M17 Omega (Swan Nebula)


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'Twas a perfect night last night. I had a lovely family come to look at the heavens through the telescope, preceded by a lazer-guided tour of the sky, followed by a bit of a photographic slide show and explanation of the life of stars.

After they left, the moon set and the sky remained clear, crisp, cold and sharp. Upper atmospherics were pretty stable and there was not a cloud or even suggestion of dew point being reached for the entire night.

I set the camera for a few 15 minute darks and left to watch a companionable movie with my wife while my target got up above the horizon. The movie finished an I got straight into it. No sleep on a night like that! Many layers of clothing, a beanbag, blanket and settled in for the night.

As dawn broke, i switched to taking flats of the evenly lit pre-dawn sky and packed it all up.

I got 22 x 15-minute exposures all up on the nebula. That's 5.5 hours total. I'm pretty chuffed to get that much data in one night. Last time it took me a week to get that much between clouds...

I locked it up, cooked my lovely wife some brekky and a cuppa before waking her, then sat down and enjoyed the treat with her (no mad rushing around this time) and off we wandered to work. Who says astronomy is bad for family life?....



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