Sunday, October 05, 2008


Okay, below is my first attempt at M27, the "Dumbbell" planetary nebula. Prior to taking this shot, I utilized the "Smart mode" on the LX200 scope. This mode enables you to "teach" the telescope to correct itself of any declination and right ascension errors associated with polar drift and motor nuances. I used Vega as my guide star and "taught" the telescope for 200 seconds. Afterward, despite wind movement there was no drift at all, enabling me some longer exposures than normal.

The nebula was first discovered by Charles Messier in 1764, and lies 1,360 light years from Earth.

This isn't a brilliant image. The 10MPH wind gusts jolted my scope around while I was taking exposures, even though I had excellent polar alignment. Silly to have tried but oh well.

Image Details:
  • ISO1600
  • 8* 1.5 minute exposures
  • Meade LX200 8" F6.3
  • Nikon D40
  • Stacked and initial processing in Deep Sky Stacker
  • Mild Sharpening in Photoshop
  • Noise Reduction in NeatImage freeware trial version

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