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Photo of the Month for February, 2016

M42, the Orion Nebula, and NGC 1977, the Running Man nebula

© 2015 Kwang Lee

I had to devote several nights to getting the exposures to make this image. This was shot on the nights of Nov 24, 25, 30, then Dec 14 and 15. I used 31 x 15 min exposures, 46 x 5 min exposures, 35 x 2 min exposures, 35 x 15 seconds, and 35 x 5 seconds. That's about 13 hours of exposure. I actually shot about 17 hours of total exposure, but I only used the best 80% of the shots to process the image.

      Scope: Takahashi TSA102S w/Televue .8x focal reducer/flattener.

      Mount: Used AP1200.

      Misc: Guided w/Orion 50mm guidescope and QHY5II-L autoguider.

It's kind of a mandatory shot for any astrophotographer, but I wanted to do it because I knew I would get something worthwhile as it's so bright.

There are issues with the image. The darker dust structures around the edges of the brightest parts are noisy. I got those structures from those longer 15 min subexposures, but I think I need like 3-4 times the number of 15 minute exposure which means another 3+ nights of imaging this object. Getting extra 15 minute shots would increase the signal-to-noise ratio which translates into less noise and more structure.

I was sorta lazy with using layer masks (a technique in Photoshop) and some of the stars are not the right brightness (too large) relative to other stars.

Sharpness is an issue. Overall, I think the image is a little blurry - except near the core of the Orion nebula where the Trapezium is located (the tiny grouping of 4 stars near the center). And that Trapezium is weirdly detailed with respect to everything else.

The overall color is little garish to me. I know this object gets overly saturated by most people and I ended up doing the same thing.

Also, there is some curvature in all the corners, but most obviously in the upper right and left respectively. I've known about this for awhile, but I haven't bothered to address it. *I think* it's focuser tilt as the curvature seems to be different depending on the orientation of the camera. I also picked up some spacers to place between the flattener and the camera. If you look closely to the bottom edge, just to the right of the center you can see some artifacts from the constant parade of satellites I had to deal with. Actually the satellites aren't moving, there's a bunch of geostationary satellites that happen to be located in M42
Kwang Lee








Activities for February 2016



Club Observing

Saturday, February 6, 2016 - ( Sunset 6:02 pm )

Predicted weather for Williams, AZ for the night of February 6, 2016 :

      Mostly clear, with a low around 22. East northeast wind 5 to 7 mph.



Monthly Meeting

February 20, 2016

Title: "Speckle Interferometry of Close Double Stars With Amateur Equipment"

Speaker: Dr. Clif Ashcraft – Amateur Astronomer’s Inc., Sperry Observatory, NJ

Recent developments in CMOS sensor technology have made available for the first time low cost cameras that are both sensitive enough and low enough in dark noise to permit the amateur astronomer to do speckle interferometry of close double stars. Dr. Ashcraft will present his measurements of 10th magnitude and fainter double stars as close as 0.5 arc seconds separation using a $359 camera and an eleven-inch telescope, explain his methodology and show how you can do it too.

CAS Monthly Meetings and Astronomical Programs are held the Saturday closest to the First Quarter Moon at the Lowell Observatory Steele Visitor Center Auditorium (6:45 pm - 8:00 pm., unless otherwise noted) followed by refreshments, informal discussion, and observing. They are open free to the public.










Special News Item :

CAS VP Klaus Brasch

has a very nice article in the March 2016 issue of

Sky and Telescope Magazine

with the title

"Lowell's Great Refractor Made NEW"

Check it Out !










What's New in February, 2016



2016 : Jan || Feb || Mar || Apr || May || June || July || Aug || Sept || Oct || Nov || Dec





The Double Cluster (also known as Caldwell 14)
TMB 130mm
© 2015 Klaus Brasch





November 8, 2015

This is a multi image stack all taken with my TMB-130 apo refractor, the modified Canon 6D and an IDAS LPS-V4 filter. Images were stacked and calibrated in Registax and processed in Photoshop CS6. Cumulative exposure was about 15 minutes at ISO 3200-6400.

Klaus Brasch





Messier 45 - Pleiades
TMB 130mm
© 2016 Klaus Brasch





January, 2016

This is a multi image stack all taken with my TMB-130 apo refractor, the modified Canon 6D and an IDAS LPS-V4 filter. Images were stacked and calibrated in Registax and processed in Photoshop CS6. Cumulative exposure was about 15 minutes at ISO 3200-6400.

Klaus Brasch





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