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M45 (Pleiades) Imaging

Posted: 18 November 2014

Wasn't able to do any observing Sunday night, 16 November. Monday evening, 17 November I conducted a star party at a local ranch for a group of travel agents on behalf of the Oracle Dark Skies Committee. After returning home I opened the observatory.

Opened: Monday, 17 November 2014, 2120 MST
Temperature: 46°F
Session: 750
Conditions: Clear

Added the f/6.3 focal reducer and viewed M45 (Pleiades), 53X. Then began preparing for imaging M45. Mounted the D7000 DSLR to the 8" LX200-ACF using an off-axis guider (OAG). It then took several minutes to get an image orientation that captured all the stars (mostly). After framing the Pleiades, did a focus test on the star Aldebaran using a Bahtinov Mask. At 2159 MST, did a framing test exposure of M45 to verify that it was reasonably well framed using my selected guide star.

I then did four 5 minute, ISO 5000, guided exposures. This is one of the exposures:


This is a stack of the four exposures, for an effective exposure length of 20 minutes:


I then removed the focal reducer and OAG and mounted the 2" 2X PowerMate and DSLR. Did a focus test on the star Rigel. Slewed to IC 418 (Spirograph Nebula, planetary nebula) and did 30, 20, 10, and 5 second exposures at ISO 800. The images did not improve on the image that I captured on the previous session.

2315 MST: did some sky quality measurements. Some clouds had appeared in the southwestern sky.

2327 MST: quick look at M42 (Great Nebula in Orion), 83X.

Closed: Monday, 17 November 2014, 2337 MST
Temperature: 42°F

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