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December, 2011:

M42 Region

I used some data I have for an ongoing mosaic project to throw this together in Pixinsight. One thing I’m missing is reflectivity of the Orion Nebula against the galactic dust background, not sure what happened there.

2011 December Lunar Eclipse + Sunrise Panorama

2011 Lunar Eclipse

Went down to the Oceanside Pier this morning around 5:30, quite a few photographers down there!

Got this with my Canon 350Da + Tokina 70mm @f8. 4 second exposure @ ISO100

Orion Mosaic Test

Ever since I did a mosaic of M31 I want to do more more more. The high resolutions, vast swaths of sky and interstellar dust dancing around is very hard to resist once you get a taste. It’s also a lot more work but I figure if I’m going to get any better at this I need to push myself to do more and more difficult projects.

So here is a little test area I did. It’s a 2×2 of downtown Orion. I only went for an hour for each frame since it was near freezing with 20 mph winds and I wanted to go to bed. The top left frame only got about ten minutes of exposure since I screwed something up but that’s okay, this is only a test to see if it’s worth going after a much larger area of sky.

I used my trusty Tair-3 300mm Russian lens at f5.6. I’m not confident I hit focus spot on since I haven’t made a bahtinov mask for this guy, just set it at infinity and cross my fingers. Not a bad lens at all for $150 on ebay. Hooked up to my modded 350D and it can ride my Atlas all night long through +30mph wind gusts without a care in the world.

EQMOD and Cartes du Ciel are absolutely fantastic for mosaic work. EQMosaic is my new favorite tool. Only problem I had is that gotos were not quite perfect, especially after I did a meridian flip and had to go back to the same area to grab the last frame. Now that I think about it, I think the GPS coords in Cartes du Ciel and EQMod were set differently. Going to play with that tomorrow night to see if I can get it spot on.

Darks and flats are absolutely critical for this stuff. The 350D has a fair amount of amp glow on the edges so that has to be taken care of.

I did a minimal amount of work blending the frames together in Photoshop so some stitching is evident but certainly not impossible to overcome if I sink my teeth into it.

Image Location and Date: SDAA dark sky site at Tierra Del Sol on November 28th, 2011
Object: Downtown Orion
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Tair-3 300mm Lens
Imaging FL: 300mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5.6
Imaging camera: Modified Canon 350D
Lights: 6 x 600sec @ ISO 800 (1 hours) PER FRAME
Calibration: Darks
Guide scope: 50mm Finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, merged in Photoshop, processed in PixInsight and back to Photoshop for final color adjustment.