Monday, September 06, 2010

M27 Dumbell Nebula

Not a bad night, tonight! Very clear, but it was a bit hazy. Still, I decided to go out and shoot some nebulas. M27 was actually a last minute decision as a mate of mine was observing it through his LX200 and it looked pretty bright, as well as being close to the zenith. Anyway, not a bad result and it's better than what I shot two years ago! I'll keep working on the post-processing and see if I can get a better result.

It's very cool that I can now shoot 5 minute light frames with guiding. Excellent stuff! Need to get out to a real dark sky site to get some better photons...

Image Details

* Imaging Scope: Astrotelescopes 80mm ED Refractor
* Imaging Camera: Nikon D40
* Guiding Scope: William Optics 66mm Petzval Refractor
* Guiding Camera: Meade DSI-C
* Exposures: 4 * 5 minute lights, 4 * 5 minute darks
* ISO 800
* Aligned and Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker
* Post-Processing in GIMP (contrast, saturation and unsharp mask)

Cropped @ 100%:


Daniel said...

I am impressed at the images you are capturing with the D40. Deep sky astrophotography is something I have been dreaming of doing but my Hardin telescope is too big to attach a mount to (for less than a few thousand anyway).

I can use my D90 and get some decent images of Andromeda and Orion's nebula, but beyond that I need a scope and a mount, and that is going to have to wait until I hit the lottery I guess :)

Phil said...

Thanks a lot, Daniel!

I must admit, the mount and tripod system is really the critical path to good image taking. Sure, optics and camera are important, but without a stable, strong and well guided mount, it's all game over. I have imaged with a couple of mounts but a recently designed, German equatorial like the Celestron CGEM hands-down makes things dramatically easier. And yes, you pay a pretty penny for it (CGEMs and ATLAS mounts run around $1500) but SO worth the expense if you're going to take imaging seriously.

Keep in touch and good luck with your astro travels!