The weather was beautiful last night - I hope you didn't miss out. By 9:00pm the wind had cut down and the sky was almost cloudless - I was still viewing from a light polluted area though. The temperature seemed rather warm - more so than expected, and I was out until 11:30pm imaging. After setting up my 10" Meade Schmidt Newtonian OTA on an LXD75 GoTo mount and letting it cool down I checked the collimation with my new laser collimator and found it to be accurate and unaffected by the car ride over (I had used the laser collimator to collimate the scope before heading out). A quick polar alignment and I was good to go. I planned on spending most of my time imaging so after a quick view of Orion through the eyepiece I removed the 1.25" focuser tube and replaced with my new T ring adapter for my camera - what a difference a collimated scope and imaging parfocal makes! I took some new shots of Orion that far exceeded anything I had taken previously - I don't mean to be over exposing the Orion Nebula (just kidding) but I'm using it as my baseline for learning astro-photography - and you should still check out these new images as they are that much superior to previous attempts. Then I turned my attention on a few star clusters - the Pleiades, M37, and M38. Saturn was sharp but small in the fast wide field optics of the SN - looks like a good 2" barlow is required for decent planetary pictures. I will be adding the images mentioned as I get them processed.
The first of many images to come are the Orion set:
Orion Nebula Feb. 25, 2006
Meade 10" Schmidt Newtonian
with Canon Digital Rebel XT mounted parfocal.
19 images x 15s @ ISO 1600, 4 images x 15s @ ISO 800
processed with Registax and Corel Photopaint 10
By Tim Harpur
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