May 19, 2009 Photographic Session
The night of May 18 to May 19 was a fantastic occasion to go up to La Azotea and continue with our astrophotography learning sessions.
In fact, we were almost using for the first time our new "observatory wardrobe" where we are storing the heaviest items of our equipment (counterweights and tripods) and from which we directly have a power point and an Internet cable, which is quite useful to watch weather predictions from Meteosat, to watch a film during the photo series or even to inform in real time about what we are doing there.
We began to mount at 9:30PM and after an initial alignment of the CG5 mount (with the SW ED80 scope), using the EQ-Align software, we had a visit from a neighbour. In a previous observation session she saw us when we were unmounting everything and she asks about our activities (two guys in La Azotea at nighttime is quite suspicious) and in the end we discovered that she is also interested in Astronomy.
We show her Saturn, which is currently very beautiful with its rings looking like a straight line and M13, which was very faint and dim due to the telescope that we were using and the high luminic conditions in which we were at that moment. She liked both of them a lot and in fact called two of her friends that came to look the ringed planet. By the way, they were accompanied with their cat and dog. There was a quite tense moment with the cat as it was doing some "tightrope walking" (and remember that La Azotea is in an 8th floor) and out neighbours got quite nervous. Finally, they captured the cat and nothing bad happened :-)
After the short observing session it was time to put to work the QHY6 camera to take photos. Focusing was not very difficult (seeing was acceptable) and we begun to take different expositions of M13. In fact we took:
- 90 lights of 60 s
- 10 lights of 120 s
- 5 lights of 180 s
- 10 darks of 60 s
- 5 darks of 120 s
- 2 darks of 180 s
We didn't take flats (this is something that we have to improve) neither bias, but in the next attempt we look forward to be able to take them.
After the photos we unmounted everything and at 4AM we were already sleeping (the next day we both had to wake up early).
We have prepared two different version with the same photos, processing them independently. The first one, was processed by Antonio with Imageplus 3.75, and only using the 60 second photos:
The second version (processed by Zerjillo with Iris 5.57 and Gimp) uses all light takes, including the 2 and 3 minutes ones:
Our main intention for the next astrophotography session is to improve this photo. We want to take many more light takes, with a higher range of exposition times, taking all dark bias and flats... Lets see what we can obtain.