November 22, 2013

Comet Lovejoy (a single, 2-minute sub), Nov. 20, 2013

Lovejoy was well-positioned for imaging through a break in the trees in my backyard.  Clouds were not due till 7 am.
So I set up an imaging rig: wide field, color camera, and guidescope so I could try guiding on the comet.
I took some test images late evening, got some sleep, then woke up at 2:45.  Everything looked great!
I slewed to Procyon to focus, then over to the comet's location.  The comet was bright in the "find and focus" camera mode!  I was excited!
Guide calibration took five minutes.  I punched up 35 2-minute sub-frames and hit "go!"
A few seconds later I checked the guiding program and saw ... what's that?  Trees?  Am I into the trees?  I dashed outside.
Clouds!  Not just a few puffy trailblazers.  The whole sky was full!  Aargh!
There was a small break just south of the comet.  The clouds were moving nearly straight north.  I dashed back in, re-started the 2-minute frames, then hoped the break would last long enough for one.  It did!
I have one cloudless sub-frame of Lovejoy.  That was it.  The clouds never broke after that.  Fifteen minutes later I broke down the rig and pulled everything inside.
Lots of work for a two-minute sub.
Would I do it again?  Of course.

Telescope: Astro-Tech AT65EDQ and TeleVue NPR-1073 (eff. at f/5.2)
Camera and Exposure: SXVF-H9C (1x120"), Alnitak Flat-man flats
Filter: IDAS LPS-P2
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and Hutech 50mm
Mount: Takahashi EM-10
Software: Nebulosity, Maxim DL, Photoshop CS3
Location: The Woodlands, TX 

November 9, 2013

Melotte 15 and IC 1805's Heart, Early Fall 2013

Here is a slightly modified Hubble palette version of the cluster Melotte 15 and the heart of IC 1805.  To the bi-color I've added Sulfur II emission.  Now SII = Red, Ha+NII = Green, and OIII = Blue, though the colors have been shifted somewhat to emphasize the contrasts between them.

Telescope: Astro-Tech AT111EDT and William Optics AFR-IV (eff. at f/5.6)
Camera and Exposure: SXVF-H9 (Ha+NII:23x1200"; OIII:17x1200"; SII:18x1200"), Alnitak Flat-man flats
Filter: Astronomik Ha+NII, OIII, SII
Guiding: SX Lodestar and SX OAG
Mount: Takahashi NJP
Software: Nebulosity, Maxim DL, Registar, Photoshop CS3
Location: The Woodlands, TX