Saturday, April 9, 2016

April 8, 2016 Another clear night and M65 and M66

After getting home from helping at Celebrate Recovery I expected the skies to be mucky. But they were relatively clear! Three nights in a row! Woohoo! So it was back to the obs for a short session.
Tonights prey: Two galaxies at the base of the constellation Leo, the Lion.

Tonight I used my Canon XTI on the NexStar 8iSE attached to the LXD-75 GEM mount. This would be the first time I have used this camera for astrophotography. I have read that its pixels are larger and though it does not have as high an ISO than newer cameras (like my Canon T3i) those larger pixels can capture dimmer objects a little better, though at a loss of image size. Again, this evening I attached the Celestron focal reducer (f/6.3) to the scope and the camera to it.

Working with the Canon XTI is more difficult as it does not have a "live" feature to it that allows you to see on the display screen what the camera sees in real time. So I have to do a number of focus and centering tests before I was able to start imaging (a time consumer to a degree.)

Finally, focused properly (using the star Regulus and a Bahtinov mask) I set about to find and center on M65 and M66.

M65 (the galaxy in the upper right) is an intermediate spiral galaxy about 35 million light-years away in the constellation Leo. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1780. M65, M66, and NGC 3628 comprise the famous Leo Triplet, a small group of galaxies.
M65 (top) and M66 (bottom)
Given the dimness of these galaxies the total exposure time was 10 min 45 sec (48 subs at 15 sec each, ISO 1600). I was hoping for a little more detail, but that will come with more total time.

Well, it was a long day (two trips to the dump) and not feeling all that good, I shut-er-down and hit the sack.

1 comment:

  1. It looks like you're in for a "brilliant" summer.