Back to the Sky!

I got out under the stars last night for the first time in two weeks! I screwed up the location of my mount by about a foot and M101 was on the edge of tree branches most of the night, wasting a couple hours. I wasn’t even upset about it. I was just happy to be out. Rather than move the mount and realign everything, I slewed over to M5 (The Rose Cluster) to grab some data before I went off to bed about 3 hours before I had to wake up.

I don’t really have experience with globular clusters. It shows here with the blown out bright star (actually a double-star) that I underestimated the results I could get from about a 30 minutes of integration time.

Picture saved with settings embedded.

I was reminded again last night, as I am every Spring, of what a horrible tree the Silver Maple is when you’re using a reflector. Early in Spring, before leaves are out, the tree “flowers”. In reality, they are super annoying red husks that clog gutters and inevitably find their way into your OTA. Two months later they release a barrage of helicopters that also clog gutters and find their way into your OTA. If you’re lucky enough to have a 50+ footer in your back yard like I do, fall is just great. All the leaves turn a dull, boring yellowish brown an drop everywhere, and in everything.

Tonight I’ll be watching the snow come in… on April 18th, but we’re supposed to warm up and clear up after tonight. I’m really hoping for some extended clear weather so I can finish up M51, move onto M101 and then add some data for M81 & M82. Then I’ll try my hand at some planetary imaging with Jupiter, hop around the sky and wait for the Summer objects.

It has been an exceptionally cloudy and cold Spring here, like it has in most of the US, but I’ve managed to learn a lot about imaging galaxies, fill my imaging time when I’ve had it, and manage to reach people all over the world with my stupid little writing.

Clear Skies, Bleary Eyes – KA

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