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Frustrations with PHD Guiding

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M81 and M82 Update: I've learned a great deal about autoguiding with PHDGuiding (Now PHD2 Guiding) since this post was first published. For an updated perspective, please read: Autoguiding a Telescope for Deep-Sky Imaging (PHD2 Guiding) I had a heck of a night this Friday at my Astronomy Clubs observatory.  The skies were clear for the first time in weeks, and I was excited to shoot Orion before it gets too low in the sky until next year.  Everything seemed to be going great until it was time to calibrate PHD guiding.  Even though my mount was polar aligned perfectly (I did it seve…

M78 Project – Done!

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M78 - Reflection Nebula in Orion I am finally done my "winter project" of M78 in the constellation Orion. The winter weather in the Niagara Region doesn't bode to well for astrophotographers as the clear nights are slim to none. Last night, however, I was able to squeeze in another 1.5 hours of shooting on this beautiful subject. I am satisfied with my results, and look forward to moving on to my next project, The Orion Nebula:) Thanks for looking! 72 frames 4 and 4.5 minute exposures 5 hours 30 minutes total exposure Stacked with darks ES ED80 Triplet Apo ASCG-5 GT Orion M…

Astrophotography Processing Graphic

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Basic Processing of an Astro-Photo I created a graphic showing the basic steps needed to turn a raw stacked astrophoto into the final image. This was from data collected in July at the CCCA Observatory in Wellandport, Ontario. I wish I had framed the object better so I could have included M20, oh well, next year! Get Started: Beginner Astrophotography Guide

M78 – Reflection Nebula

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M78 - A Reflection Nebula in Orion The above image is a stack of 180, 210 and 270 Second Subs combined over three nights spanning 3 months.  The total time is just under 3 hours with 49 light frames total.  About 1.5 hours of this combined image was captured under dark skies at the CCCA.  Once I get some more time in there (hopefully this Friday;)  I will ditch the light polluted data from the backyard.  

Unmodded DSLR Test – California Nebula

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The following photo of the California Nebula was captured using my DSLR camera before it was modified for astrophotography. NGC 1499 in Perseus is perhaps the best example of the difference removing the stock IR cut filter from your DSLR camera can make. For an emission nebula like this, an image with a stock camera vs. modified is night and day. Some emission nebula are well suited for a stock camera, such as the Lagoon Nebula in Sagittarius. As you'll be able to tell from the photo below, the California Nebula is not one of them. NGC 1499 - The California Nebula. ES ED80 Canon Xsi…