A few nights back we had some nice weather. A friend came over, we set up a super quick mini-star party and were off to the races. We had both scopes set up and did a lot of visual viewing on the CPC1100. Obvious targets – M13, M17, M27, M81, M82 were all offering brilliant views in the 21mm Ethos and 31mm Nagler. We fiddles around with some of the “super sale Meade 5k 20mm’s” in binoviewers as well. After viewing, lasering, drinking and all those other good things that go with astronomy, my friend headed home for the night and I began imaging on the Televue NP101is on CGEM. I am still amazed how incredibly awesome that telescope is, especially on the CGEM. It is such a pleasure to use!

NGC 5981, 5982, 5985, 5976, 5989

NGC 5981, 5982, 5985, 5976, 5989


I really enjoy challenging the Televue NP101is on super dark “feint fuzzies” — and it works so well that every time I see the subs I am amazed how well it seems to be collecting up the light. In this image, we have a nice arc of three galaxies – not quite as large as Markarian’s Chain, but a little more dynamic: an ‘on edge’ spiral, an elliptical, and a spiral ‘on face’. As an added bonus, a few others pop into this image, although the real focus are the three of 5981, 5982 and 5985. This image was processed in MaximDL, 20x 30s exposures using the Orion StarShoot Pro v2.0 camera. As an added adventure, this was my first time using the Orion ‘SkyGlow’ imaging filter.

The first time I tried using this filter was a bit of a problem because the addition of the filter on the nosepiece of the camera added to the focal length also made it more challenging to attach to the NP101is. However, this time I used the new extension tubes and this made it extremely easy since I could just use the compression ring to clamp things down instead of screwing everything together. For some reason, I really like the compression rings much more than screwing thing in (where threading and sizes become issues), and really dislike the screws (which mar equipment and always feel a bit wobbly, especially as equipment moves around.)

The second fun target of the night was NGC 6946. This beautiful spiral galaxy has the added bonus of also being near NGC 6939, a nice globular cluster. I didn’t see this cluster in Stellarium when I first decided to make this a target for the night, so you can imagine my delight when it popped into view!

NGC 6939, NGC 6946

NGC 6939, NGC 6946

Both these images were taken simply at prime focus and probably would benefit from either a 2x barlow or simple imaged off the larger CPC 1100, and I’m definitely going to make a few more, longer exposure attempts at them both.

As usual, processing was done in MaximDL. I really had to work these a bit in order to get the contrast to show enough detail; fiddling with the screen stretch and gamma scaling was pretty intense guess work! I’ll have a few more images to come in the next few days!

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