Who’d have thought it!? I’ve actually been outside with my telescope and finally got some fresh images to share! Now, in my defence the wet and sodden Winter caused my garage door to seize shut with my telescope mount inside, making it impossible to use my scope for months (and my wife refused to stand outside in the cold for hours on end holding a 3 foot long telescope steady) but a week of dry weather finally allowed me to get back outdoors!
If you’re planning a night of observing I always find it beneficial to scan some astro software beforehand (our favourite is Stellarium) so you can pick out some specific targets. As I knew the Moon would be setting early morning I looked ahead to see what deep sky objects would be visible to the East after midnight, as that direction offers the darkest patch of sky visible from my garden.
My first port of call was M5 (also designated NGC 5904) which is a globular cluster in the constellation Serpens. Accurately aligning my telescope is pretty difficult due to Polaris not being visible from my garden (the house is in the way) but I can usually set it up well enough to avoid too much image drift.
Thankfully the sky was dark enough to locate the cluster through the finder scope, and once I had it centre of the camera frame it was fairly easy to keep it there!
I’d almost forgotten the tangible thrill you can experience when you first see the final result of the image stacking. There are far more stars visible in the image above than in the single photos alone.
With the morning wearing on it was time to locate my second target, another cluster this time located in the constellation Hercules.
I’ve wanted to image the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules (M13) for years now, so I’m pleased to finally have captured it. And given the above images were shot on an evening with slight haze I’m hoping another look on a completely clear evening may provide even better images!
Overall (considering how long it’s been since I had my scope set up and working properly) I’m very happy with the evening’s results. It’s re-ignited my desire to both ogle and photograph similar beautiful astronomical objects at every opportunity, and with big plans afoot for Sky-Watching.co.uk you can rest assured the posts and photos will start appearing again with increasing regularity.
There, I’ve written it down on the internet now, so now we have to do it!
Keep watching the skies friends 🙂
Images captured using:
Sky-Watcher Explorer 200P EQ5 PRO SynScan 200mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope
Unmodified Canon EOS 550D (with T-Ring)