Sunday, March 29, 2015

Messier 51 and Omega Centauri

The sky has been clear for the past few nights, and last night I finally got some observatory time! Most of the night was spent helping another amateur astronomer with his scope and making adjustments to the Epsilon-200, but I did get a little bit of time for imaging. The first, an image of the Whirlpool Galaxy, was created from a series of test shots. The focus is a little off, and some of the fainter detail didn't show up because of a bright moon (68% illumination). Despite the problems this image is actually better than my previous attempts. I did not shoot dark, flat, or bias frames.

Messier 51, the Whirlpool Galaxy; Epsilon-200 on NJP; Canon EOS Rebel T3; 8x180 @ ISO-1600
Globular cluster Omega Centauri is a monstrous cluster that appears very low on the horizon (about 11 degrees at most) from my latitude. I've seen it visually once, and have wanted to image it for years.

The problem is that it is only visible for a few minutes from where the Epsilon-200 is located at the SHSU observatory. I imaged it as it passed between a couple of trees at the the south end of the observatory. Seeing is bad that low down, and it is within the light domes of several cities.

Omega Centauri; Epsilon-200 on NJP; Canon EOS Rebel T3; 33x30 @ ISO-1600

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