NGC 869 and NGC 884
Date Photographed: February 1, 2016
Total Exposure Time: 30 Minutes (60 x 30″ frames @ ISO 800)
Mount: Skywatcher HEQ-5 Pro Synscan
Camera: Canon EOS 7D (stock)
Camera Lens: Canon EF 300mm F/4L
Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker
Processed in Adobe Photoshop CC
The clear sky chart for my area stated that the skies were to be clear for approximately 2 hours on Monday night. That was all the inspiration I needed to head out to the backyard and do some experimenting. Nights like this are perfect for trying out new techniques and equipment. Anything I get is a bonus.
I’ve tried imaging using my Canon EF 300mm F/4 L once before, but it was prime-time milky way season, and I just couldn’t do any more testing on that short July night. When time and opportunities are in limited supply, I always go with the tried-and-true system (Explore Scientific ED80 and Canon Xsi)
However, Monday night I gave my bird photography camera (Canon EOS 7D) a go at the night sky, with the 300mm lens in place of a telescope. But what target requires a nice wide field of view, short exposures, and is something I’ve never given any serious thought to? NGC 869 and NGC 884: Open star clusters in the constellation Perseus.
These pretty star clusters are now almost directly overhead around 8:00 pm.
Since I do not own an intervalometer for this DSLR, I was limited to 30″ exposures. Fortunately, star clusters tend to come out very nice using stacks of shorter exposure lengths. The photos above are a stack of 60 x 30″ frames at ISO 800. The second image is cropped to frame the double cluster in the center of the image.
I might have to try this setup for a full night of imaging on an area with interesting deep-sky treasures. A few of the obvious drawbacks of this system are the short exposure times, lack of light-pollution filter, and a non-modified DSLR. Not to mention, I am not automating the imaging session with BackyardEOS. For my laptop is in use, watching a Blu-ray in the garage;) (Wonders of the Universe)
Astrophotography with a Canon 7D
After capturing a respectable amount of photons on the double cluster in Perseus, I couldn’t resist trying this lens on the Orion Nebula. There it was, just taunting me in the distance. I snapped some 30-second exposures off with the 7D and the telephoto lens. It was fun to see the colorful images of the nebula appear on the LCD display, every 30 seconds. The photo below is the result of my quick trial.