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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Astrophotography Nightmares

Sometimes nothing ever goes as planned. Last night was again one of those nights. The first clear night in the forecast for over 2 weeks. About 7:30 I could see the clouds were moving out, so I took the equipment to the back deck. After the typical 1 hour setup, I started imaging more frames for my ongoing Orion Mosaic project.
 I only got one 20 minute frame. The R.A. guiding started jumping around like seismograph in an earthquake. Check the cables and connections, all were ok. Came back in from the cold and started again. 15 minutes into the 20 minute frame, again R.A. guiding all over the place. Went back out, this time I found a small thumbscrew on the R.A. axis somehow tightened itself to the point I needed plyers to release it. This has happened before, so I thought it was fixed. Again 15 minutes in to 20 minute frame, the R.A. gremlins attacked. I thought it had something to do with the scope's balance so I got disgusted and moved to another target, Thor's Helmet. About 10 minute in...R.A. bouncing around like there was someone jumping rope on my deck. Again went back out. This time I found my R.A. lock was loose, retightened and started again. It's now past 11:00 pm. The mount guided flawlessly for the next 80 minutes. I got four 20 minute frames of Ha of Thor's Helmet until it went behind a tree.

I moved on to M65 & M66 in Leo. Decided to collect some luminance. I managed 10 minutes from one frame and clouds moved in. It's 1:00 am.
So in total I have 1 1/2 hours of captures from a 5 1/2 hour night. Oh yeah I had to process these pictures too, went to bed at 2:00.....why do I do this stuff!!!!

Added the one 20 minute panel to the Orion Mosaic