Thursday, September 13, 2012

Nirvana, MoonLite and M27

It has been a while, too long in fact, since I have been under worthwhile dark skies. I had heard rumors of a place called Nirvana. Sounds like a nice place, and it was indeed.

Nirvana is a dark sky location, where "OAFs go when they have earned enough observing karma". It is also known as the Irvine Lake Airstrip. Near Bon Echo Provincial Park. The site is a tidy 2.5hr drive from Ottawa at 45° 1'47.64"N 77°15'50.53"W and is in a cozy little dark sky pocket dew west of the city.

The air strip is usually a peace full place, but I would suggest that if these folks beat you there, you might not get much sympathy asking for "red lights please?". @ Nirvana

The evening sky showed exactly the right number of clouds.

Blue Skies
When I left town I was unsure if I would have company so I brought my pal along with me.

My pal Kayleigh

I have had my scope for several years. The main scope is a Celestron C11, on a CGE mount with a William Optics Megres 90mm refractor piggybacked. Both scopes provide excellent visual as well as photographic performance. Either can be used for guiding while imaging with the other. It is a pleasure to have both together because the WO90's field of view is so generous compared to the higher magnification powers of the C11.

Celestron C11 w/ Willam Optics 90mm on CGE Mount.

The new toy, is the moonlite focuser with High Resolution Stepper Motor with MoonLite Mini Controller options. Software was changed up to 

Moonlite Focuser

The CCD camera is the QHY8, which I have described in another post.

I admit I had a devil of a time getting my goto's to be as good as they usually are and spent a good deal of the time wondering where my objects were!  After thinking it through the next day I'm convinced I must have not adjusted the balance well enough and it was the extra weight of the focuser throwing the slews off. I will be more carefull next time.

The end result of the evening was a single image of M27, an object I have done before. I was very pleased maxFocus, and MoonLite focuser was able to find focus better than I have ever done in the past by hand.

Image Info.

QHY8 at f/10 on C11 captured 15 x 200sec images for a total of 50min and were stacked in maximDL. 
Autoguided with Orion StarShoot AutoGuider on WO 90mm.

M27, Dumbell

Dark skies...


portable stair stepper said...

Nice pics! Loving your blog!

Vlad Dumitrescu said...

for a 15x200s you have a very dim image. i suppose the processing was to blame, as the raw shots i assume are awesome. if you gots pixinsight or even in maxim, you can pull a lot out of the orgina stack. clear skies! ps: i have the same camera and it can pull some shots even if it is quite old