February 24, 2010

Clouds and Old Data

Another cloudy night. Or, it seems, if it's clear, I'm working late. I'm starting to chew on old data. Here's a re-process of just seven minutes of M31 taken last summer as a test. Anxious to try this again when I hit dark skies in the Rocky Mountains again in August. Taken with the Canon XTi through the AT66ED. The image has been shrunken considerably to hide the poor signal to noise ratio. We can't expect too much out of just seven minutes.

February 17, 2010


Tonight I arrived home late. The sky was wonderfully clear. It was too late to set up for imaging. I took the 6" achromat out and wandered through Auriga and southern Gemini. Conclusion: It's hard to describe how beautiful M37 is. The other local clusters---M38, M36, M35---don't hold a candle to it. Yes, M38 has NGC 1907 nearby, and M35 has NGC 2158, but M37 doesn't need these crutches. It is stunning on its own in the 6" at 35x, where it fills the middle half of the view with sparkling gemstones on purple velvet. Whoa!

February 7, 2010

NGC 2362, the Tau Canis Majoris Cluster

I have been enamoured of this cluster ever since I spotted it through binoculars from a dry lake bed east of Reno, Nevada, many years ago. The striking thing about it, in a telescope, is the bright star in the center, Tau Canis Majoris, and the sparkling lights huddling around it. I've tried my best to capture the romance of it, but nothing is quite so striking as the real thing.

Imaging Scope: AT66ED (f/6)
Imager: Atik 16
Exposure: L: 21x1', R: 10x1', G: 11x1', B: 12x1'
Filter(s): Astrodon Gen II LRGB
Capture Software: Nebulosity 2
Mount: Takahashi EM-10, unguided
Date: February 6, 2010
Location: The Woodlands, TX
Processed with Nebulosity 2, Maxim DL, & PSCS3

Here is the luminance frame alone: