Homemade Equatorial Mount

North American Nebula

posted in: Imaging | 0


My first attempt at the North American Nebula

This is my first attempt at capturing an image of the North American Nebula.  Coming on for a couple of weeks ago now, I spent a long weekend at the Kelling Heath Astro Camp in the far North reaches of Norfolk in the South East area of England.  Meeting up with my good friends from Castle Point Astronomy Club and the other usual familiar faces!  This was the first time over the many years I’ve been going to this annual event that we had 3 clear nights out of the 4 nights I always stay for.  The conditions were almost perfect!

Typically though, I initially had loads of issues with getting the guide camera and PHD2 working properly.  The first couple of nights were pretty much wasted!!  Eventually I managed to get the mount tracking ok’ish in the end but not how I wanted.  It wasn’t until the last night that I found the culprit was the guiding software PHD2!  It wasn’t working properly for some reason??  I ended up uninstalling it and re installing the earlier version of PHD.  Once I did this, everything worked miles better.  Unfortunately this was the last night which ended up being the cloudy one, so I didn’t end up making any use of the better tracking in the end…..

North American Nebula
Click image to enlarge

Oh well, I’m still pleased with the result of this image, the North American Nebula (NGC 7000) taken on the third night though, even though there’s a good amount of oval stars towards the corners of the image due to the lack of a field flattener still (I neeeed to get one of those).  The focal length of the scope limits the amount of the object I could squeeze in, having a field flattener will help here as it will reduce the focal length enough to fit most if not all the object in eventually…..

The image was a stacked collection of 12No 10 minute sub frames along with darks and flats (2 hours of data) using my unmoded Canon 40D with the Astronomik CLS light pollution filter EOS Clip fit
CLS light pollution filter, the Williams Optics 80mm scope and of course the homemade equatorial mount 😉

Looking forward to getting everything set up in the garden again once the rain stops!!  Hope you like it!  More to come.

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