Backyard Pleiades

As you may have been able to tell from the image below, this post is quite old! This was the first time I attempted to capture Messier 45 through a refractor telescope from the backyard. Since then, I photographed The Pleiades several times.

Looking back at this post, I realize how pivotal the books I ordered from Jerry Lodriguss were to my success. My current image processing workflow shadows many of the lessons learned from his tremendous videos.

backyard Pleiades

M45 – The Pleiades

Although 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 too much of the surrounding stars.

This image was collected from my backyard, well, my parent’s backyard. Yes, I still live at home. It’s rather light-polluted, a Class 6 on the Bortle Scale. I am satisfied with my early results, but 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 focus
  • Capture longer light frames at a dark sky site
  • Properly stack the image with dark, bias, and flat frames.

Then, of course, there is the image processing! This has been said to be the hardest part of astrophotography to overcome early on, and present the biggest steepest learning curve. Hopefully the new books I have just ordered will help me with this!

These guides were produced by Jerry Lodriguss, and I am very excited to get started!

Our members observing night at RASC is this Saturday. Currently, the weather does not look like it’s going to cooperate, but my fingers are crossed. Stay tuned for my next post!

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