Saturday, August 25, 2012

Early morning binocular scan August 26th

I was out at 0040 GMT after a cloudy day. The sky was clear apart from a hazy patch near the western horizon. My plan was to take multiple pictures of Perseus, with the idea of stacking them, while checking out the sky with the binoculars.

I started off with Melotte 20 and noticed even more stars than usual. The Pleiades showed quite a few stars as well, as did the Hyades. I could also see the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) in all its glory, even picking up a hint of dust lanes. By contrast, the Pinwheel (M33) didn’t show much, with just a few hazy patches giving a hint of the spiral arms. M34 was about as clear as it gets.

Unfortunately, the session was curtailed early, as cloud moved in.

As for Perseus, I captured 9 frames. I stacked them using Registax 5 and aligned on Alpha Persei and a couple of surrounding stars. I found that the stars of Cassiopeia were trailing due to the Earth’s rotation, so I had to crop them out. Maybe I will need to think of aligning my shots properly using an equatorial mount but, amazingly, I am still finding that this digital camera photography has a lot more to discover about it.

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