Last night was first light for my new home made webcam based autoguider. I originally had plans to photograph the moon, but I had just been able to get the autoguider to lock in on a bright star and track. I just couldnt resist, but I wanted to photograph something that I could try out the guider. Trouble is, the moon was in the way.
I attempted M51. I set the guider to track Alkaid in Ursa Major. I was only able to shoot 2 min exposures at iso 800 before the moonlight ruined the frames. The image is not eye popping, but you will see, the guider worked perfect. The stars are tiny pinpoints and theyre round!
I used my Quickcam Pro 4000, unmodified. The guidescope was made from a binocular objective mounted in a PVC pipe. The focuser also was made from plumbing parts, the "nut" that tightens around a drain pipe you would get for a kitchen sink. Ideal size, as it grips a 1 1/4" barrel perfectly.
The FOV is reasonably wide, but narrow enough to allow the guide star to move enough to calibrate. Guiding software - PHD guiding.