Astronomy

Observing Log for

Session Details


Tillicoultry

56.1574, -3.74906

50m

Notes

A cold clear night. Gusting wind. Less transparent than the previous night.

Observations

The Pleiades

My main target for the evening was capturing an image of M45, the Pleiades star cluster. I polar aligned the mount shortly after sunset and once the cluster was visible had the scope trained on it so I could spend some time focusing. Rather than using Nebulosity I trialled AstroDSLR for camera control and capture. This seemed to work well although I missed having the fine focus feature of Nebulosity.

Capturing the Pleiades

Once I was happy with focus and framing I setup the software to take 50 captures and left it to do its thing. I came back every thirty minutes to check on progress. AstroDSLR suffered from a crash at one point but otherwise performed well. With the battery running low I used the final bar of power to capture some dark frames.

This was my first time using the Canon 6D rather than the 450D and I am very pleased with the improvement in capture - better colours and less noise. The image below is a total of 38.5 minutes of exposure (77x30s exposures at ISO1600) which have been aligned and stacked using SiriL. I ended up discarding around half the frames due to periodic error in my mount. Post-processing was completed in SiriL with final adjustments made in Pixelmator.

The Pleiades Star Cluster

I imaged until the camera ran out of batteries. At this point I switched out the Vixen ED80 for the 8" Newt and completed some visual observing before the Moon fully rose.

Uranus

I star-hopped from Mars across to Uranus. In the 25mm this appeared a steady, light blue non-stellar disc. Increasing the magnification using the 10mm did not make much difference to the image.

M42

With Orion risen over the neighbours roofs I spent a few minutes observing the Orion Nebula with the 25mm eyepiece. The seeing conditions weren't as good as the previous night but there was still good detail visible with the arms of the nebula extending out from the trapezium.

Images

M45 - The Pleiades Star Cluster

Image of M45 - The Pleiades Star Cluster

View full image details