Making the Most of it!
|Setting up my astrophotography gear at the CCCA Observatory using only red lights to preserve my night vision.|
|I had a long, eventful night at the CCCA Observatory this past Saturday. I wasn’t even planning on going, as a heart-breaking defeat of my Toronto Raptors at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets was fresh on my mind. I started packing up my astro-gear at 7:45pm. With the sun setting at 8:05pm, and a 45 minute drive ahead of me, I knew I would be breaking one of my own astronomy rules: Setting up in the dark.
By the time I arrived, it was pitch black, with only the stars and my red headlamp to light my way. I witnessed some amazing views of Mars and Saturn through my ED80 before setting my DSLR up for a night of astrophotography. I forgot a key element of any astrophotography imaging session, my guide scope. Forgetting something at home that is essential for imaging is always a frustrating experience. I knew my plans of taking 5 minute exposures of the Seagull Nebula were ruined.
Messier 3 – Globular Cluster
I decided to take some 30-second unguided exposures of the globular star cluster known as M3. I have seen this cluster through a 20″ Dobsonian telescope, and to this day, it is still my favorite sight through a large telescope.
Messier 64 – The Sunflower Galaxy
Next, I chose to image a galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici known as M63, or, the Sunflower Galaxy. In hindsight, it was not such a great choice, considering it’s size and my limited exposure time.
|The good news is that this was really a “bonus night” anyway, as the moon rose early at about 1:00am. By then, some friends had come to join me and were dazzled by views of Saturn. The next 2 weekends are when I really plan to get some good imaging done!|