This is an old post from November 2011. At the time, deep sky astrophotography was still very new to me. Since then, I have photographed the Orion Nebula and Running Man Nebula several times, and it’s still one of my all-time favorite deep-sky targets.
Interestingly enough, this post talks about my first time using an apochromatic refractor, the Explore Scientific ED80. I went on to use and enjoy this telescope for the next 5 years!
My experiences with this refractor were critical to my success and enjoyment of the hobby. This is one of the many reasons I recommend a compact APO refractor as the best choice for a beginner.
The Orion and Running Man Nebula – December 2, 2011
It’s amazing how far one can progress in the field of astrophotography with a little time (and money). I have gone from an eyepiece projection image of the moon taken with a point-and-shoot Canon Powershot A720, to detailed Nebulae photos using a Canon 450D on a sophisticated tracking mount!
The above photo was taken at the CCCA Observatory on a chilly autumn December 2nd night.
This observatory is located near the North Shore of Lake Erie, in Ontario, Canada. The proximately to the lake means that the skies are much darker here than they are at home. For the image above, I did not use any filters in the camera.
Related Post: How Dark is Your Backyard?
Skywatcher NEQ6 Mount in the Observatory
On top of being the darkest sky site I have ever been to, I was generously granted permission to use the observatory’s Sky-Watcher NEQ6 mount. What a treat it was to spend the night capturing the stars with fellow die-hard astrophotographers.
Initially, I had some issues getting my autoguiding system going using the PHD guiding software. I spent at least an hour troubleshooting the issue before I realized that my ST4 cable was faulty. To make matters worse, I was underdressed for the occasion as the temperature dropped as the night progressed.
Needless to say, it was a learning experience.
Along with observing and chatting about the advanced astrophotography setups on the field, I was able to view Mars and the Orion Nebula through a 20″ Dobsonian Telescope! This was a view like nothing I had ever seen before.
The Beautiful Night Sky at the CCCA Observatory
For more information about the CCCA observatory and the Astronomy Club that owns it, please visit the RASC Niagara Centre website.