April 25, 2014

M57 (April 2014)

How many images of the Ring Nebula does one need?  I figure at least one for each telescope available, and perhaps one for each camera with each telescope.

Actually, I was shooting something else which set behind the trees around 4 am.  Rather than shut down for the night, I slewed to M57 for a short session.

There is something delightful about shooting relatively bright objects.  It's so easy to get a good signal-to-noise ratio.  Besides, M57 is so colorful!  Why not shoot it often?

Telescope: Orion 254mm f/4.7 Newtonian and Baader MPCC
Camera and Exposure: SXVF-H9C (14x180"), Alnitak Flatman flats
Filter: Astronomik CLS
Guiding: SX Lodestar and SX SFW+OAG
Mount: Takahashi NJP
Software: Nebulosity, Photoshop CS3
Location: The Woodlands, TX

While waiting for clouds to go away in March of this year, I pulled some data from the Hubble Legacy archive.  Here's a much more detailed image of the Ring Nebula from the Hubble Space Telescope, thanks to those who maintain the archive and the creators of FITS Liberator, version 2.

April 15, 2014

Lunar Eclipse (April 15, 2014)

Wow!  What a beautiful night!  What a beautiful eclipse!  Our last several lunar eclipses here were clouded out, so we've been waiting a while for this show.  In the backyard, the air was still and cool.  During the eclipse, the sky was full of stars!  The picture was made more dramatic by the bright star Spica, seen in the images above, and by the planets Mars and Saturn, which framed the moon to the right and left.

Images taken with a Canon T3i through an AT65EDQ, aided by a Unistar Deluxe and a Takahashi EM-10.