18:45 – 00:32
Holiday time! Well at least a week off work. It’s been a cold and cloudy Winter so far. So a night where I can get out the travel telescope and setup in the vegetable patch, the construction site of IMT3b is a good thing. The challenge I have is my ribs still hurt somewhat from being broken after an unfortunate accident 4 weeks ago. So I will go careful.
Earlier in the day I had Luke help me setup the equipment in the garden. First the binos to have a good look round.
Then we setup the Skywatcher Esprit 120 ED on the Paramount MyT.
Lastly we setup a “warm room” temporary in nature and fairly cold I would later find out 🥶 in the greenhouse.
So the night came and after Pizza with my wife I set off out to the garden to start imaging.
I connected the Polestar camera first to see what my alignment was like after placing the tripod down in a fashion I though condusive to being polar aligned.
I then set about measuring the difference in Polaris to determine how much I would need to move the scope to align it.
I then fiddled with the altitude and azimuth knobs to align the scope.
Next I slewed to the first object for the evening which was M45, the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters. I started EZCap and look at the focus which was not far off from the last time I was out a few weeks and it is good enough.
I then took an image of M45 to make sure it was in the field of view. I also setup the Planner in EZCap to with the sequence for capturing the data. I set the camera to Gain 7 and Offset 20 with a temperature of -30℃.
I set PHD running and that was when I hit a problem. To cut a long story short, I had forgotten to plug in the ST4 guider cable into the ZWOASI290 camera and then into the Versa plate of the Paramount MyT. Without this there is no successful calibration within PHD. It took me 1 hour to work out I needed a cable and a further 45mins to find it since the move of house. Your IQ really does drop when it is dark and cold!
Eventually the calibration completed once the cable was fitted and I could start to see the gusts of wind in the data. I set a sequence running for M45 and was impressed with the results. I took 10 x 90s and 10 x 180s.
I then switched targets and headed over to M42 and M43 along with the Running Man nebula, also known as SH2-279 and NGC 1977. I took 30 x 60s, 30 x 30s and 10 x 180s.
Next and what would be last on my list tonight was M35 along with NGC 2158. I took 10 x 90s and 10 x 60s starting around 23:45.
Now the clouds at a high level started to roll in. So I decided to take some Flats and then take the darks tomorrow morning.
So I packed up and had one last look up at the night sky.