Friday, January 29, 2016

#20 - Friday, January 29, 2016 - I Can Only Image the Orion Nebula

I did honestly try to image other things!  But it didn’t quite work out.  My focus wasn’t perfect, so it took some real tweaking of DSS’s settings to get the Orion pictures to even stack.  It was kind of weird.  It was quite dark at the state park that night, so I got a rather fantastic image.
[It was a while before I started reliably recording the capture and processing information for my images.]
M42 Orion Nebula, Nikon D3100 on my C8, ISO-3200, N<34x20s

I tried the Crab Nebula, which wound up being a dim splotch.  I can’t remember what else I tried (I’m writing this a few weeks after the fact).  While this image of Orion is great, it’s still not quite what I want for getting printed on canvas.  That will have to come later, when I get fancier equipment, I think.  Or get better at this.  It’s still kind of grainy, which I’m trying to figure out the cause of.
Some other interesting phenomena occurred, however – in two of my Orion frames, there is a streak of light that moves across the lower right-hand corner of the frame (they weren’t good enough to keep in the stack, so they’re located in the "UFOs" folder).  

It moved far too slow to be a satellite [I thought at the time] – the images are 20s long, with a 5s pause in between to write to disk, so it took 45s to cross the corner of the frame.  Too slow to be a meteor too, and too small and dim to be an airplane.  Aliens!  Haha.  One of my college astronomy professors gave an explanation, however – there are some satellites that orbit at highly elliptical orbits (mainly communications), which allows satellite constellations to cover much larger portions of the Earth.  At the farthest-out parts of their orbits, they are moving rather slowly, much more slowly than the ones you usually see.  So, that’s what it is.  

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