July 25, 2012
In fact, that first night was fabulous. The air was as still as I've ever seen it for imaging, and the night was very dark. The Milky Way stretched from horizon to horizon. Wow. My boys had never seen it, but they won't forget it now.
The Iris Nebula is a reflection nebula, meaning that it reflects the light of the stars next to it. The stars are blue-white, so the nebula shines in blue-white. Reflection nebulae are much harder to see (or image) from the suburbs, so the Iris was a prime target from a dark sky site. The bright star in the middle of the nebula provides much of the illumination. It has just a number (SAO 19158), not a proper name, and is not a bright star to our eyes (just magnitude 6.8).
I obtained color data the second night. The night was somewhat cloudy, and eventually I had to stop imaging. The color data for this image is not the best, but it is just usable, and will suffice.
It would be hard to say enough good things about the 3RF campus. There are scopes aplenty and accommodations for volunteers and visiting amateurs. The folks in charge were welcoming and very helpful. I met several serious amateurs there who were friendly and knowledgeable. I hope to go back again soon.
Telescope: Orion 6" f/5 Imaging Newtonian and Astro-Tech Coma Corrector (eff. at f/5.5)
Camera and Exposure: SXVF-H9 (17x900'), SXVF-H9C (6x1200'), Alnitak Flat-man flats
Filter: Astronomik Lum
Guiding: SX Lodestar and SX OAG
Mount: Takahashi NJP
Software: Nebulosity, Maxim DL, Registar, Photoshop CS3
Location: 3RF's Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus, Crowell, TX