Sunday, January 17, 2010

M37 in Auriga

The local Skyclock for tonight showed decent skies for a couple of hours between 8 and 10 PM. The kids and I loaded up the car and headed out to the local observing sight. I packed my CGEM, 80mm ED and 66mm Petzval, and we took the kids' 6" Dob too. After setting up, we chilled out and watched the sun go down as high level clouds remained overhead. The kids grew bored and retreated to the car, deciding to play their Gameboys rather than hang out with the small number of folks who turned up with their scopes.

I decided to run the Periodic Error Correction routine on my CGEM. I picked out Betelguese through the clouds and ran the routine. It was much easier than my LX200 because there was very little drift in the mount. At that point it dawned upon me that I had not yet run through the Polar Alignment routine! I had done a good basic polar alignment, but not a drift alignment. Another CGEM owner was there (Jared) and he showed me how to polar align the scope properly. I ran a few test shots and they looked great - very little drift at all!

So, I decided to take some shots of one my favorite clusters - the M37 open cluster in Auriga. Below is the result. The stars look nice and round, and there is good color there. The image is pretty sharp - a testament to the ED80mm scope and the CGEM mount itself.

Image Details:
  • Imaged through an AstroTelescopes 80mm ED APO Refractor
  • Celestron CGEM Mount
  • Nikon D40 DSLR
  • 20*30 Second Exposures @ ISO800
  • Processed in Deep Sky Stacker
Click on image for full size

I am looking forward to sorting out autoguiding with this mount, and hope to do so next month out in the countryside....

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