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  • Writer's pictureTracey Snelus

Catching the Horsehead and Flame Nebula.

Finally a clear January night. Or so we thought. With both of Tracey’s WO scopes out of action we had a go at using my little imaging set up. Orion was high in the south so no excuses.

The setup consists of an EQ5 Pro, carrying an ED72 telescope with a ZWO filter wheel, and a ZWO 183pro mc camera. Guiding is through a 50mm guide scope with a ZWO 120mini. The reason for all the ZWO gear is that everything is controlled via a ZWO ASIAIR mk1. This means I can work everything remotely through my iPad. Here‘s a screen view of the main control panel on the app.

I will do another post about the ASIAIR in the future.

With the apps assistance we were polar aligned in a few minutes, guiding was sorted, we slewed to the Horsehead and it plate solved to centre the target. I set up an imaging run of x5-3min exposures and we had a cup of tea. The reason for the short run was the clouds on the horizon. The first run was successful so a second longer run was set - 30 exposures.

This is where I promptly fell asleep, only to have Tracey wake me up with the dreaded word........Cloud!

Instead of packing away I used the time to take dark frames. Once this run was complete it had miraculously cleared again so I did three more 5 sub runs until Orion was getting a little low, and the terrible light pollution we suffer here was starting to impact the subs with a gradient. So I packed away and went to bed.

The next morning Tracey stacked and edited the images only to find out that many of them were impacted by a haze that was bloating stars and washing out colour. Thankfully we had a few good ones so I let her do her magic in PS and Pixinsight, with a final push in Lightroom by me.

I’m really happy with the image considering the conditions and that there really wasn’t enough of them! It’s a bit grainy and lacks a little colour but as always we can add more data as time allows.


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