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M81 and M82

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We had a few clear nights during this past week, and I was able to set-up and image for a few hours. I used 4.5 minute subs for this picture, which is the longest exposures I have ever used. I think I could go to about 5 minutes on a moonless night, but that's probably it for my light polluted backyard. I desperatly need to invest in an IDAS clip-in filter for my Xsi!Here are the details of this photo: 22 x 270" ISO 1600 Stacked with dark, bias and flat ES ED80 Triplet                    …

Leo Triplet

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The Leo Triplet of GalaxiesThis Saturday January 21st was or members observing night at my local astronomy club.  Only myself and one other member attended because of cold weather and a lot of cloud cover.  After setting up my gear at sundown, it wasn't until 3:30am that the clouds finally parted!  I started out by capturing light on M80 and M81, but because of its difficult position in the sky, and some technical difficulties, my fellow club member recommended that I try imaging the Leo Triplet.  I was able to capturing over about 1.5 hours on this subject, and I am very h…

Backyard Pleiades

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M45 - The PleiadesAlthough M45 is an extremely popular open star cluster in the night sky, it is very difficult to image properly.  The toughest challenge is to get the entire formation framed nicely in one shot.  My 80mm Refractor has quite a large field of view, and I was just able to get the object centered without losing to much of the surrounding stars.As usual, there are a number of things I could do to improve this image:Use a field flattener/reducer for a wider field of view and flat edges Use a Bahtinov Mask to make sure I am in perfect focusCapture longer light frames at a…