Saturday, January 28, 2012


I know I have been complaining about the cold and how its hard for me to get out and observe... Well it was a beautiful night and although it ended when it got down to -12.222° C (10° F), everything seamed to fall into place for taking the scope out for a good run.
I set everything up in my driveway around 4:30 pm, leveled the mount and tripod, attached the 8" SC, did a quick balance and went in to fix dinner and hang with the family.  After sunset, we had some friends come over and visit for a small star party.

I first did a quick polar alignment with the CGEM's Polar Finder Scope.  Then I did a quick two star alignment with the Orion 12.5mm Plossl illuminated retical eyepiece. After the alignment was satisfactory, I attached the 32mm eyepiece.

Venus was about to set so I slewed over for a quick view,  wow it was bright and not very interesting.  We could tell it was working it way through its gibbous phase.

Next, over to the Sister Moon in her Waxing Crescent Phase... The kids where in AWE!!!  I love looking at the Moon because it always gets people going and it's a great place to make sure your focused in.

Over to Jupiter and it's moons... I could tell the atmosphere was turbulent because things where moving around real good. I switched over to the 13mm eyepiece, did a quick focus test with my Bahtinov focus mask (must have tool), and was able to pick out the bands of clouds. Io was getting close to it's transit.

The next logical object was M42 and The Great Orion Nebula...  Defiantly the highlight of the evening.  Seeing the gas clouds back-lit with the stellar nursery leaves one speechless.

After everyone went in, I decided to stay out & take some photos.  I first removed the visual back and attached the Celestron Reducer / Corrector & SC T-Adapter  with T-Ring and hooked up the Nikon D7000.  After using the Bahtinov focus mask, I set the camera to the following:
ISO = 1000, White Balance = K @ 4760k, Shutter = BULB
Conditions:  -12.222° C (10° F) and 75% humidity (things where getting frosty to say the least)

I took a single 30 second image with my Vello Shutterboss to avoid any shaking.
This is the resulting image, defiantly my best yet... Click to see the bigger version.
M42 - The Orion Nebula on January 27, 2012  From Liberty, Utah

I'm glad I was able to overcome the cold and get out of the cabin fever... Defiantly worth it!

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Clear Skies from EyeSkies!

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