Friday, 2 November 2012

A WINDY BUT CLEAR NIGHT !!! tonights challenge was to get my setup working using EQmod and Cartes de Ciel. EQmod is a way of connecting the telescope to my laptop and Cartes de Ciel is a piece of planetary software that can be used to guide the scope to my required targets.

I also attempted to use PHD Guiding for the first time. This involved using a webcam attached to a guidescope mounted on top of the main scope so that I could choose a star to act as a guide to ensure longer exposures. Unfortunately I struggled to gain focus so abandoned the attempt and reverted to imaging unguided.

Fortunately I did manage to get up to 180 seconds unguided without too much star trailing.

My first attempt was a single 180 second shot of M31 Andromeda Galaxy.

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The Andromeda Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 2,500,000 light years away in the constellation of Andromeda. It is the nearest spiral galaxy to our own, the Milky Way.

It is one of the farthest objects visible to the naked eye in a dark sky.

In the top left you can also just make out M32 which is a dwarf elliptical galaxy. 

Below is an extreme close up of M82 (The Cigar Galaxy) in the Constellation of Ursa Major. This galaxy is usually classified as irregular, though is probably a distorted disk galaxy. It is famous for its heavy star-forming activity.

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