Tuesday, October 29, 2019

2019 DSSG, Day 2

After the frustrations of the first night of the DSSG I was ready for a good night on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019.   I had figured out the causes of my issues, they were mostly of my own making, and was ready to go as the sun set.   After aligning the Rigel finder scope with an eyepiece,  I installed the camera.  For some unknown reason on Tuesday night the camera focus was at 12 mm versus the typical 17 mm.  On this night the focus point was back near 17 mm.  Perhaps last night I didn't have the camera fully seated into the focuser.  I spent some time tweaking the focus as it looked a bit soft,  but finally I stopped on the best I could achieve.

After aligning the mount with the polar scope, I fired up SharpCap and started capturing images to refine the polar alignment of the mount.   For some reason SharpCap couldn't solve the images.  I haven't had this happen previously.  After several tries, I gave up and just relied on the polar scope alignment.  Building the pointing model went smoothly as all the gotos were very close.

I started off the evening with an old friend, The Owl Cluster, also known as the E.T. cluster in Cassiopeia.   
(NGC 457) 4 x 60 sec frames, no darks or flats  Gain = 300

I then continued my project to image both Herschel 400 observing lists.   Most of these are very small (< 2 arcmin in diameter) so I'll not include all the images here, but I captured; H 79-1 (NGC 3147), H 288-1 (NGC 2655), H 78-1 (NGC 2985), H2 578-3 (NGC 1207), H2 607-2 (NGC 1175),  H2 43-8 (NGC 1750),  H2 8-2 (NGC 1587), & H2 34-5 (NGC 1990).  

H2 578-3 (NGC 1207)  6 x 3 min exposures @ gain = 300, no darks or flats

H2 43-8 (NGC 1750)  8 x 60 sec exposures @ gain = 300, no darks or flats

H 288-1 (NGC 2655)  8 x 3 min exposures @ gain = 300, no darks or flats

H2 8-2 (NGC 1587)  9  x 3 min exposures @ gain = 300, no darks or flats

At 1217 am I measured the sky brightness as 21.12 = 6.18 NELM.   A nice clear humid night.  The dew while bad, was not as bad as last night.  

With Orion rising in the east, I decided to try and capture the Flame and Horsehead Nebulas.  The focus is a little off and the guiding wasn't great, but a nice image of a beautiful portion of the night sky.

The Flame Nebula (NGC 2024) and The Horsehead Nebula (B 33)
27 x 120 second exposures @ gain = 300, no darks or flats

With the forecast for rain late Thursday through Saturday, I got up Thursday morning, packed up my gear and headed home.   As always, I had a great time at this star gaze.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

2019 DSSG

The 2019 Deep South Star Gaze is held at the White Horse Christian Camp in Sandy Hook, Mississippi.  Tuesday, Oct. 22, was a beautiful day for setting up although a bit windy.  There were about 20 scopes setup for Tuesday night.

Westward look at the observing field

My setup - Explore Scientific ED127CF riding on a Losmandy G8-11.

As darkness fell the temperature fell into the 50s and the sky was nice and clear however the humidity was a high.  By midnight the temperature dipped to  46 and everything was wet with dew.  

Having not viewed for many months, I was quite rusty and fought focus, guiding, and dew problems most of the night.  I was cold and tired but I managed to get a half-way decent image of the great Orion Nebula (M-42), its companion nebula (M-43) and also the running man nebula (NGC-1977).   The stars are a bit elongated owing to the poor guiding, but AstroToaster stacked the images well.

19 x 30 seconds exposure ED 127 mm triplet at F 7.5.  

Hopefully the weather will be good again tonight and I can remedy my issues and get some imaging done.