Thursday, May 25, 2017

#86 - Thursday, May 25, 2017 - Texas Star Party Night 5

I finally gave up on guiding with the C8, and I took it off and packed it away.  I attached the Borg directly, and just didn’t guide.  The AVX mount had good enough tracking and the telescope a low enough f-ratio (f/5) to get some awesome stuff.  After re-aligning and re-polar aligning (it was off a little each night – probably got moved around a tiny bit during the day with take the tarps on and off, the wind, etc), I set it on M81 & M82, but there were several clouds that rolled through, and there was a *ton* of noise, like the chip was hot or something.  It didn’t come out very well at all.  Partway through, I took off the camera and put it on Bob’s refractor to image Omega Centauri (again, behind the tree for me…), and that one came out great!  I didn’t have any flats, but refractors are already a lot flatter than my SCTs because of their smaller aperture, lack of central obstruction, etc.  I just grabbed like 10 1-minute frames; I didn’t want to take up too much of the scope time, so I didn’t do a test to see how long his mount could track for well enough for imaging.  
Date: 25 May 2017
Location: Prude Ranch, TX - Texas Star Party
Object: Omega Centauri
Camera: Nikon D3200
Telescope: Bob's William Optics FLT110
Accessories: N/A
Mount: Bob's Atlas EQ6 controlled by EQMOD
Guide scope: N/A
Guide camera: N/A
Subframes: 10x60s, ISO-1600
Darks: 15
Biases: 20
Flats: None
Temperature: 63F

It’s huge, nearly twice the size of a full moon!  And may contain as many as 10 million stars!  This FOV is what I’m used to for globular clusters in my C11, but this was in a 110mm refractor!  I got a nice comment on AstroBin about it, from user RonAdams: “Beautiful image.  Nice color and sooooooo many stars resolved.  The imaging and processing of the core is very impressive.  Everything you could want in a globular cluster image.”
Due to the clouds, I didn’t get anything on the C11 either, although I did take some videos of Jupiter.  I haven’t processed them because I already know they’re not going to be as good as the ZWO one.  I mean, the video looks terrible, no clear frames at all. 
Melody and I took the opportunity of a clouded night to get some sleep, even though it probably cleared up later.

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