Some Astrophotography – March 22, 2014

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After a warm Spring Saturday, together with my wife and her brother, I’ve went to the Comana Woods in search of dark skies. Well, at least darker compared to my suburban location. And I did find just that:


The above image is a single 32 seconds exposure with my Canon 550D at ISO 3200 and the Canon kit lens 18-55mm at 18mm and 3.5 aperture.

The main goal for that night was to acquire some frames for a future RGB image of the center of M 42, the Orion Nebula.

The equipment for this session was the 115mm F/7 APO Refractor from TS and the ZWO ASI120MM CMOS camera fitted with a Baader Red filter (610nm longpass).

The equatorial mount, an NEQ 6, was aligned at first manually using Polaris and the illuminated aligning reticule in the RA axis, and afterwards using the mount’s GO-TO 3-Star alignment. It did a rather good job for my short exposures and 800mm focal length.

The B-W resulting image:

m 42 43

Searching through my old image collection, I’ve found a color image of the center of the nebula, acquired with the Canon DSLR onto the C11 telescope.

I’ve overlayed the two images:

m 42 center

The initial B-W image showed some fine details, and comparing with the Hubble Space Telescope image, I’ve found out that there are some proplyds in my image, barely discernible, but definitely there:

Proplyds in M 42

This is a rather surprising result, since my instrument has an aperture of just 4.5″.

The next deep-sky object that I’ve wanted to image on that night was the M 82 galaxy. The main reason for choosing this target was the presence of a “galactic event”, namely the recent star explosion (supernova) that came to be called SN 2014J. Again, there are some small structural details discernible in the galaxy’s dusty lanes. The supernova is marked with two perpendicular lines placed on the outside of the frame. I’ve measured the magnitude at around +12.9.

SN 2014J detail

A wider view:

Picture saved with settings embedded.

And the final target for the night, just before some cold wind started to blow: planet Jupiter with Ganymede (upper left) and Io (lower right):

Jupiter with Ganymede and Io

Now I’m waiting for the skies to clear, and the end of the week, to go again deep inside the Comana Woods, at my closest dark(er) skies observing place.


(March 27, 2014)


2 Replies to “Some Astrophotography – March 22, 2014”

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