So, after 3 weeks of waiting for a decent clear night, one finally arrived on the evening of January 2nd 2023. Unbelievable, only the second day of the month and an imaging window opens. Does this bode well for the coming year? Probably not, as it started to chuck it down just a couple of hours after I had finished. Still, we must be grateful for any time we manage to get. Just have to be prepared and watch for the signs, so we can attack the sky.
Well, I had read the signs and it was looking good about 5' ish. Got the gear set up, yes, 2 star alignment, check, polar alignment, ok. Replacing eyepiece with camera. What the hell is that coming in from the east? Looks like a heavy duty bank of cloud! Sure enough, 10 minutes later the sky is covered with cloud. Forecast wrong again.. Decided to go indoors as its looking hopeless again. I left the gear set up just in case..
In between having some tea and usual things, I kept having a look outside but still no joy. Around 9, I noticed the clouds were clearing. Quick dash outside to make sure. Yes, its now looking good. Got the laptop set-up and camera on. Focusing in now on Capella. Run a few test shots on M38 and everything is tracking well. So, my goal tonight was to try and capture the Rosette Nebula in the constellation of Monoceros. This is a huge emission nebula and one of my favourite objects.
Due to my location, I have to wait until Orion is really high in the South, which means Monoceros is slightly to the left of Orion. The Rosette Nebula is just east of the massive red giant star Betelgeuse. Another quick focus on Betelgeuse and then an easy slew to the Rosette. A 60 second exposure shows I am dead centre on the Rosette. Time for imaging!
Ok, so PHD2 which is autoguiding software, is showing a good line and its off doing the business, and for the next 90 minutes it does this perfectly. I am now of course indoors as I use Tight VNC remote viewing software so I can see what the telescope and laptop are doing. This stops me from freezing to death outside. Around 90 minutes, PHD2 reports a wild slewing for no apparent reason. Slipping outside reveals nothing obvious, though I suspect its a cat inspecting the gear and laying down some markers for future reference. A quick reset of the system and we are back in action. Another 90 minutes of capture and suddenly its all over as the clouds return with a nasty vengeance. Time to pack up anyway, as I am feeling the effects of a over indulging Christmas and New Year eat-a-thon and dare I say it, a drink or two.
In the end I managed to get 3 hours of exposure on the Rosette Nebula. Admittedly, this is probably not enough, but in the UK, well my area at least, this is a complete luxury! A couple of days processing the data and we get this image:
A great result as far as i am concerned, but then I am biased. Let me know what you think about this image and my blog in general. You should be able to leave any comments you want to on this blog, and I welcome them good or bad. If you cannot, please let me know. For more in depth details on this image please click on this link: https://www.astrocrescent.com/?pgid=kja8x7oa-62361441-c3b0-4bc3-a5d7-46d366316c91
Thanks for taking the time to read this issue of my blog. Hope you found it interesting. Keep looking up and question everything. You know it makes sense, unlike the lunatics and we know who you are. All the best...