M101 Pinwheel Galaxy & Virgo Cluster

A night of mixed results. The seeing was okay and there were scattered clouds. My target was the M101 Pinwheel Galaxy and to do it justice, I needed to get a higher magnification. The galaxy is faint to begin with and with the higher magnification of the 4x Barlow making it even fainter and significantly reducing the field of view, I just couldn’t place it in the viewfinder. I finally got it with my regular wide field of view, but it’s not a very good image.

Just after sunset, however, I did get a nice shot of the three-day-old moon and Venus with my digital Elph. Not bad for just pulling the camera out of the bag and snapping away (right-click to embiggen for the full effect):

I’m throwing in this shot as well. It’s a result of my trying to get near the proper focus setting with the 4x Barlow before it got dark. It has nothing to do with astronomy, other than it’s a shot through the telescope:

Here’s the shot of the M101 Pinwheel Galaxy. I couldn’t even find it with the wide field of view, so I just pointed the telescope where I thought it should be and and started taking pictures. Fortunately, the Televue NP127is has an incredibly wide FOV; this was at the very edge of the frame:

Shot 15 May 2010; Mt. Tamalpais State Park, California; ISO 800, Exp: 24 x 2.5 minutes (1 hour), f/5.2, Canon EOS 5D & Televue NP127is. Post-processing with ImagesPlus 3.0 and Photoshop CS4.

Finally at the end of the night, I pointed the scope at the Virgo cluster of galaxies and took some images. All the small fuzzy objects are galaxies, most some tens of millions of light-years away:

Shot 15 May 2010; Mt. Tamalpais State Park, California; ISO 800, Exp: 8 x 2.5 minutes (20 minutes), f/5.2, Canon EOS 5D & Televue NP127is. Post-processing with ImagesPlus 3.0 and Photoshop CS4. 

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