Winters in Ohio are a tradeoff. You get a lot more telescope time in the evening, but it's not clear out very often. Tonight was actually mediocre, I guess the correct term would have been 'mostly clear'. We had a little bit of decently transparent skies, but most of the time, there were thin high clouds overhead. Fortunately they weren't so thin that it prevented me from imaging.
The first object was something I had imaged before with the Canon T3 a year ago. The Canon really did a good job with this object, and I dont think this image is really any better, but it served as a warmup to better things to come later in the evening.
NGC891 which has been called 'The Outer Limits Galaxy', due to it being part of the opening credits in the TV show, The Outer Limits. It is a galaxy that is located about 30 million light years away in the constellation Andromeda. It is a spiral galaxy viewed edge-on, and is thought to resemble the Milky Way if viewed from this angle. The size and brightness is about the same, and the Milky Way has a dust lane similar to this galaxy.
When NGC891 was finished, I slewed the scope towards Jupiter and came inside to process the above image. I happened to look up at the VPN screen of the laptop, and I could see Jupiter on the edge of the autoguider, saturating the screen. I centered the object, threw in the barlows and the webcam and shot a couple series of Jupiter. Trouble is, I shot them too dark, so they were a bit noisy. I did get some decent stacks, this one being the best:
When I finished up taking Jupiter, I noticed that Orion was clearing the trees. I threw in my hydrogen alpha filter in the CCD and skewed over to the Horsehead, IC434. IC434 is much dimmer than I thought. I've imaged this a number of times, wide field with the DSLR, but never imaged it in Hα. What a treat this turned out to be! I framed it using a 2X drizzle at 60 sec exposure, rotated the camera to get more of the nebula in the frame and went ahead and shot 5 - 10 minute exposures and 1 15 minute exposure. 10 minutes really isn't enough exposure time for this object - it really is pretty dim. 15 minutes is better, and even longer exposures wouldnt be a bad idea either. I honestly can not figure out how people have been able to see this through an eyepiece! It really is a dim object.
I was so impressed with this image, that I thought I would go with a 2nd processed picture, not quite so bright, and add star spikes to the brighter stars in the field. I did the spikes in a separate layer and changed the opacity so as to not overdo the spikes. I think this image is really pretty. This might be one I may just have printed. Trouble is, I didnt drizzle this image, but perhaps a bicubic resize will look good.
Well, there you have it, a good night of imaging. I wish we had more of these, but it might be clear again tonight, and if it is, you might see another post tomorrow. Until next time.... Clear Skies, all!