Wow! What a great weekend at the ranch! I finally took the new TAK scope and mount out for an imaging session under great skies.
I did my first polar alignment, so I'm not a polar virgin anymore. It was actually pretty easy using the Takahashi mount's polar scope to dial-in Polaris and the requisite off-set. So I was good to go in no time.
Image specs: ISO 1600, 66 min (200 sec. subs)
Here is my first success -- the Trifid Nebula (upper left) next to the larger Lagoon Nebula (lower right). Actually, the Lagoon is too large for me to capture all of it with the Trifid. Part of it is cropped-off. I'll probably take a photo next time of just the Lagoon.
This area of the sky is looking directly towards the hub of our Milky Way galaxy -- lots of stars! In fact, the Lagoon Nebula is a big "star hatchery".
There are two main types of nebulae -- reflection and emission. The Trifid is a good example of both! The Blue areas are reflection and the Red are hydrogen emission. Actually, there is a lot more hydrogen emission nebulosity than my camera is able to capture (since commercial cameras have hydrogen blocking filters for terrestrial photography). Guess what my next upgrade will be?
Here is a wide-field image of the Whirlpool Galaxy. I tried imaging this before with my older set-up but could not get enough exposure. Here I have MUCH more light.
I like this wide view. As incredibly huge as this galaxy is, it appears almost petite in the vastness of space.
Space is freakin' HUGE....
Image specs: ISO 1600, 40 min. (60 sec. subs)
Finally, here is the open star cluster M7. It is also called "Ptolemy's Cluster" after the Greek philosopher. He used to look up at this cluster a lot and talk about it for some reason. Hey, he was a philosopher...
Anyway, the cluster is the loose bright star grouping in the center. The "clouds" in the background are actually millions of stars (I've counted).
Again, this is looking towards our galactic hub -- a VERY dense region!
Image specs: ISO 1600, 30 min. (60 sec. subs)
I was up all night 2 nights straight shooting and observing. It was awesome. I'm still looking at my data. I'll have my first image of Jupiter coming soon!