Finally clear skies and I was at a bortle 2 location. I also had my new Canon EOS RP Camera.
M 42 – The Orion Nebula again
M 42 at a bortle 2 location was great! Last time I imaged the Orion Nebula I struggled with tracking. This time I had fine tracking (for my dobsonian anyway) and I finally got pretty round stars. I got 20 good 15 second exposures at 1600 ISO. After stacking in AstroPixelProcessor and post processing in Pixelmator Pro i got this result:
NGC 2024 – Flame Nebula
I have tried to observe the Flame Nebula visually many times, and I have failed every time. I was therefore planning to only do some testing photos of the region. I had trouble lining up the finder scope and camera, and I therefore did some visual observing. The nebula showed up surprisingly clear. Bortle 2 skies are really something.
Once back inside I regretted not observing more carefully visually as well as taking several image sequences. The Horsehead Nebula showed up quite clearly in my images, and with the bortle 2 skies, maybe it would have been visible visually as well.
M 33 – Triangulum galaxy
The galaxy showed up very clearly, and I got some images. Sadly the tracking worked badly in that region of the sky, and my focus was off. Looking forward to try this again some other time.
M 1 – Crab Nebula
I also got some images of the crab nebula. My focus work was not great, and I should use my Powermate next time, to get more nebula data.
NGC 281 – Pacman Nebula
I have tried and never even gotten close to observe this visually before. This night it was visible, and I got few images that were fine. I do not have enough data to stack, but my single ok light frame looks like this:
NGC 869/NGC 884 – Perseus double cluster
This cluster is easy to find, and with little battery left, and tracking that was not working, I decided to do 2 second shots. Stacking those resulted in this, which by far is my best open cluster image to date.
All in all this was a very rewarding session, and I finally got some deep sky data that was worth it to process. The Orion nebula image turned out way over my expectations.
I am thinking about getting an equatorial mount, and maybe a guide camera, so I can take longer exposures. It was also really great to finally see some of the more difficult nebulae visually.
Here’s to hoping I get a night in 2022 that beats this one.