Thursday, February 23, 2012

Autoguider To The Stars

This is my 3rd attempt to use a Celestron NexGuide Autoguider, which I got because it doesn't require a laptop. My first two attempts never made it to the camera stage. And as with most everything made today, the "instructions" were just a half-ass attempt. Even watching Celestron's slick YouTube video about the NexGuide didn't help me much. Now, the results:
                                                     .

This is M53, a globular cluster in the constellation Coma Berenices (Berenice's Hair). The autoguider isn't holding tight enough, so the stars are fuzzy because the scope wobbled. There are about 100 settings in the menu; I've just got to figger which one needs to be set tighter, and how to set it.
                                                      .

This is M64, a spiral galaxy in Coma Berenices. A bit better, but not to my liking. Both of these pictures were taken with a Nikon D3000 (Nikon's cheapest DSLR) using a Celestron C6R refractor (150mm, F/8) as a prime-focus lens. The guidescope is a Celestron 80mm. Both photos used an ISO of 1600 and shutter speed of about 70 seconds.

I'm an early-riser by nature, so I prefer early morning to evening. I had the scope set up this morning by 2 a.m. (takes about 15 minutes to assemble everything.)

Posted by Dave