Thursday, September 27, 2012

My first photos on Messier objects!

The first two nights I got enough time and good enough weather I went out and just took a lot of photos on different objects. I really should plan these things ahead. Now I just take a look at a star chart, point the camera somewhere I might get something interesting on screen and shoot. I like to think this as practicing the finding of objects, but it's really not that. It's just me trying to do everything at once...

I took photos of several Messier objects. At least 20 photos on each object but some photos were off focus or off target.

M57 - The Ring Nebula

I started collecting photons on 9th September and continued on 15th. First I didn't think I could actually get anything and my intention was just to shoot some stars and practice stacking on Deepskystacker. I was surprised to see this:

The Ring Nebula is quite easy to find. It's in Lyra, between Lyra γ and Lyra β. Total exposure of this photo is about 8 minutes.

I also have an entry on this in Astrobin.

M13 - Hercules Globular Cluster

This one was easy to find. I took one test photo and already the cluster was on finder. 30 more photos and on to finding the next object. With exposure time of 15 seconds the whole stack comes to 7 min 30 s.


You can definitely see it's a globular cluster. That's about it. No Mercedes-sign, not many pixels, but still a beautiful globular cluster. Quite nice for my first, I think.

M51 - Whirlpool Galaxy

Well... I got it on camera. Kind of. You really can't recognize it if you didn't know it's M51. I took a lot of photos on this but got the galaxy only on a few. So there's light from about 30 seconds here.

In case you don't believe there's something in the upper photo, I dug it out more with Darktable:


Yeah... I got it on camera...

M31 - Andromeda Galaxy

...and of course M32 and M110.

After M51 I tried M29. It looked quite easy to find on a star chart, but I really can't see anything on my photos. The rest of the evening I had my camera pointed on Andromeda. I took perhaps 30minutes of photos but what I didn't notice was that I had dew on the lens. 20 minutes of photos spoiled. Also the first 10 minutes aren't that great except the very first ones. Next time I'll take a blow dryer with me so I can dry the dew...

Since 15th of September it has been cloudy and rainy. Soon I'll have two weeks of paternity leave and perhaps there will be couple of good nights. I'll probably start with Andromeda since my failure last time bugs me quite a lot.