As the sun set, a layer of very high clouds approached from the West. It kept approaching, and kept approaching, until it covered up a big part of the sky, around 80% of it, to be quite honest. Unbelievable! That would be three times in a row now that this has happened to me...
I could see the brighter stars, so decided to try out a new iterative alignment procedure I had read on the internet a few months ago. It actually worked very well, reducing much of the drift alignment issues I had experienced before. Still, the clouds were hanging around and not going anywhere, so I trashed the idea of shooting M51 and looked at Saturn for a while.
Then I noticed a curious hole in the clouds around the area of M3. So, I mounted my Nikon D40 and shot away quickly. The hole in the clouds remained for about 30 minutes, and I managed to obtain about 15 minutes of data of the globular cluster. Below is the result...
- Distance from Earth: 33,900 light years
- Approx Number of Stars: 44,500
- Nikon D40
- Meade LX200 8" Classic, F6.3 mounted on Milburn wedge
- 20 * 30 second exposures @ ISO 1600
- 5 * 30 second dark frames
- Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker
- Mild sharpening and noise removal in Neat Image
Click on image for full size.