The Starry Night, 158

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A nice "astronomers' comet"

Finally a crisp winter sky to greet Catalina.


12/20/2015. I sat up till 4:00, then went up to the cul de sac where I'd already set up the G11, attached the AT65EDQ and the Canon 6D, and then dodged pine trees while Comet Catalina rose into the morning sky. I got 15 good thirty-second exposures (and a ton of less useful twenty-second images deep in the glow of Hickory). No guiding, just a quick polar alignment and turn on the drive --significant virtues of a short-focus refractor and a sensitive camera. I set the 6D for 30s exposures at ISO 3200 and used a remote release to tell it to just keep going until I said, "Enough."

Really, click the image for a better look. The white page border here does this image no favors. And, yeah, I could've used better darks. Maybe next time we'll give the 10" Newtonian a chance to show off.


Comet Catalina

AT65EDQ, Canon 6D
15x30s unguided
Aligned, stacked etc in Pixinsight
Click the image for a better view.




Except where noted, deep-sky photos are made with an SBIG ST2000XM CCD behind a 10-inch Astro-Tech Ritchey-Chretien carried on an Astro-Physics Mach1GTO. The CCD is equipped with Baader wide- and narrow-band filters. The internal guide chip of the CCD most often keeps the OTA pointed in the right direction (I'll let you know when an OAG or guidescope takes its place). Camera control and guiding are handled by Maxim DL 5.12. The stock focuser on the AT10RC has been augmented with Robofocus 3.0.9 using adapters turned on the lathe downstairs. A Canon 6D and a modded 50D find themselves mounted on an Orion 10" F4 Newtonian or carrying widefield glass on an iOptron Skytracker. Beginning in May 2013, PixInsight has taken over more and more of the heavy lifting -- alignment, stacking, gradient removal, noise-reduction, transfer function modification, color calibration, and deconvolution. Photoshop CS4 et seq and the Focus Magic plugin get their licks in, too.


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                   © 2015, David Cortner