Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fall Astronomy

With the start of September I guess its fair to say that fall has begun. Ironically the weather is more like what should be expected in the middle of July. Warm, clear days with nights perfect for stargazing. Ironically I have to go back to work in a few days and my stargazing nights will be mostly limited to weekends. However this past weekend I did my best to get out and enjoy the wonderful fall sky; over two nights I spend more than 10 hours staring up at the stars. I've also decided that I really should replace my LVI autoguider. There are definitely better, more user friendly autoguiders out there. So that will be my next major purchase. This realization came while I was trying to image the Pelican nebula (below). Its a bit difficult to really make out. The nebula didn't turn out quite as well as I had hoped, particularly in comparison to the North America Nebula which is right next to it (and something I imaged when I was in Merritt). Despite the fact that this was nearly an hours worth of images I'm guessing that because the Pelican Nebula is mostly HAII my unmodified camera wasn't able to really gather all the light that it should have. That and because this was taken from Mount Seymour and not and dark sky site like Merritt.

In addition to this photo I also took some time to shoot the Eskimo Cluster (NGC 457) and another nearby small cluster. These ones aren't quite as well suited to a wide field scope like my TV85 but they still turned out reasonably well. Still they turned out alright. I guess if you use your imagination you can see why the cluster was given the nickname of the ET cluster.

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