clear sky chart

Job 9:9

Job 9:9-10
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Leo & Saturn

First light with the Canon Rebel T3.  Ordered a T ring and adapter, but until it arrives, I cant get anything close up, so I photographed the constellation Leo this morning.  Was cloudy all night, and it appeared to somewhat clear up between 3 and 4AM local (EST).  These images were shot between 0800 and 1000 UTC.  The first image was of Leo, which i used 10 frames each 90 seconds in duration, and stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, which by the way, does a really nice job stacking these images.  I used the camera control software that came with the camera to snap the frames.

It appears this camera is going to produce some interesting results.  The dimmest stars are about 11.5 magnitude.  I used the 50mm stock camera lens stopped down to f/6.5 at iso 1600.    The camera was riding piggyback on the dobsonian, which was not perfectly polar aligned, hence the slight elongation of the fainter stars (which you may not notice much in this image)

The next image was taken using the above image.  On a whim, I wanted to see if I could see the "Leo Trio" of galaxies.  The quality is not great.  Keep in mind, I used the 50mm lens, so there wasnt much magnification.  I cropped the area in photoshop, then resized what was left about 3X.  I did a little contrast enhancement, and also got rid of some of the background noise, and was able to discern 3 fuzzies in the image which I have labelled..

 They are quite small, but as far as I can tell, they are indeed the 3 galaxies.

I finished up the evening taking a 2200 frame webcam shot of Saturn at 32 degrees to the South.  The rings are definitely tilted more favorably this year than last, but the planet appears lower in the sky this year.  I used the dob and 2X barlow (f/l 2400mm).  There appears to be a wide, dark band in the northern hemisphere.  The Cassini division is pretty well resolved.

This image consists of about 2200 useable frames.  Camera was the Quickcam Pro 4000 webcam.

This was an image I had taken while I was setting up, which consists of about 600 frames.  Both show the Cassini division as well as the dark northern hemisphere.

Tonights conditions:  Seeing appeared about average to good, Transparency was not so good, as I was watching the histogram changing as I was photographing Saturn.  I did not use  the light meter while photographing Leo.  I let the bright stars saturate.


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