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Capturing M81 and M82 with an 80mm Telescope

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This post was originally published in March 2012, when I was still learning how to use my astrophotography equipment. I was starting to see some promising results using the Explore Scientific ED80 refractor and my Celestron CG-5 GoTo mount. More importantly, the lessons I learned from Jerry Lodriguss were beginning to sink in and my image processing skills were improving. My workflow involving DeepSkyStacker and Adobe Photoshop has not changed, as I still use those 2 pieces of software to process my images today. My latest version of M81 and M82 We had a few clear nights during th…

Leo Triplet

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Over the past weekend, I again traveled to my dark sky observing site for some DSLR astrophotography. The nights of late January here in Ontario, Canada are long and cold. My deep sky target selection is a collection of 3 galaxies in the constellation Leo. The Leo Triplet of Galaxies This 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 li…

Backyard Pleiades

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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. M45 - The Pleiades Although M45 is an extremely popular open star cluster in the night sky, it is very difficult to image properly. T…

Show me the Crab

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This is an old post from my early adventures in deep sky astrophotography before I had a backyard to call my own. From 2011 through 2014, I spent a lot of time at my local astronomy clubs observatory. It took me about 45 minutes to drive there each way, and I set up all of my gear and tore it down each time. During those years, my future wife worked at a restaurant in the evenings and weekends. As hard is this was on our relationship, it provided the perfect opportunity to keep busy with my new hobby during those lonely nights. A fantastic night at a dark sky site I spent my second night…

Orion and Running Man Nebula

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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 refracto…