First attempt at astrophotography…

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Well, tonight I decided to try out my new ScopeTronix variable projection adapter in my back yard of all places… Needless to say, living in Lowell, my back yard is filled with loads of light pollution ranging from street lights and houses that seem to *need* 20 flood lights.

    Deep Sky Objects attempted

  • NGC 6341 (haha, no pic for me…)
  • NGC 6205 (half decent pic)
  • M31 (half decent pic)

First I had to make a makeshift counter weight system out of 2 X 1.5 lb ankle weights, a lock and a rubber bungie cord to offset the extra 3.5 lbs the camera and adapter added. I then aligned the scope using Alkaid and Enif, then went to M31. I attached the camera and tried and tried to get it in focus. It was tough. One weird thing I noticed with the 10D was the exposure time was changing on me even though I was in manual mode. It was acting quite strange, I’ll need to investigate this further.

Those first attempts didn’t go so well. Next I tried NGC 6341, same problem. It seemed to be in focus, but it was hard to tell (after the fact I saw the rings). I then moved it to a bunch of stars and focused on them – or so I thought… I then went to NGC 6205 and got some images, but out of focus ones – lovely large rings. Alas, I wanted to try M31 again, so I went to that, refocused – this time slightly better and got some half decent shots of it.

As far as image processing goes, I mucked with them in Photoshop. I stacked a few images for M31 and subtracted a dark frame. Then I added a color mixer layer, converted to monochrome and increased some of the color channels. Last I added a brightness/contrast layer and tried to lower the noise. The same was done for 6205 but with only one image. I need some help in this department for sure. I need to look into applications that stack and de-noise images.