Finally got back out under the stars

2 minute read

It’s been quite a while since I was able to get out to the observatory and actually manage to capture some photons.

Elephant's Trunk Nebula, ~7 hours
Elephant's Trunk Nebula, ~7 hours

Don’t get me wrong- I did try to take some pictures. I am a mac guy– very computer savvy, but windows is a PITA. When it comes to astrophotography, windows is really a necessity. I was experimenting at home with some automation software options (CCD Commander and CCD Autopilot), and couldn’t really get either of them to work, so I uninstalled them to try later.

Or so I thought. Late September I went out, got set up, and I was ready to go. Unfortunately, my control computer, the Primaluce Labs Eagle2pro, wasn’t ready to go. We tried and tried, but we could never get that second beep, signifying that it was ready. Scoured the observatory grounds, looking for a monitor and keyboard, to no avail. I had to pack it in and go home. Well, at least it was practice in setting up. Upon getting home, I hooked the Eagle2pro up to my KVM and powered it on. Sure enough, a windows problem from the software uninstall. Luckily, there was an automated restore point which quickly fixed the problem. It wasn’t worth making the fifty minute drive back.

Lesson learned? Always reboot windows before shutting down. When my observatory gets built I will have a monitor…

We did have another great night a couple of weeks later, but my wife had the van at the beach :cry:.

Getting Chilly at GHRO

I am getting better at the setup process. I didn’t time it, but I think that from pulling in to ready to align is about 20 minutes. The evening started out at about 60°, but dropped down quite a bit as the November night progressed…

Some of the equipment at GHRO

The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula (IC 1396)

This post isn’t about the troubles that I had, but rather the successes. Two great nights- November 3rd and October 27th. I still haven’t gotten guiding to work, so I was really capped at ten-minute subs. The first night I played around with Ha, mostly concentrating on the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula. It wasn’t a late night, so I only grabbed about ten images. I also wanted to see what Pleaides looked like with my setup, so I took a couple shots of that as well. I will, at some point, try to capture more data for this, but there are lots of things in the sky and, after all, this is all new :smile:.

IC 1396, The Elephant's Trunk Nebula.  ~Seventy frames, SHO+RGB for a total of 7.2 hours, unguided
IC 1396, The Elephant's Trunk Nebula. ~Seventy frames, SHO+RGB for a total of 7.2 hours, unguided [click it to see it on astrobin]