We had four relatively clear nights in a row. Some didn’t start great but all four produced usable imaging time even if the nights aren’t much more than 4 hours of astronomical darkness this time of year.
A couple shots with the Canon 6D DSLR and a Rokinon 135mm wide open at f/2.
vdB 123 – Taken with FSQ-106ED and QHY268C OSC CMOS Camera on an AP900GTO Mount, 58 x 5min exposures totaling 4.8 Hours Exposure across two nights.
Sh2-136 Taken with FSQ-106ED and QHY268C OSC CMOS Camera on AP900GTO Mount, 79 x 5 minute exposures totaling ~6.6 Hours Exposure time across two nights.
M20 – The Trifid Nebula: ZWO 533C OSC CMOS Camera with AP92 Refractor on Atlas EQ-G Mount. 57 x 5min exposures for a total of 4.75 hours captured across two nights.
First light test of the QHY268C CMOS camera on the Tak FSQ-106ED. For a very short total exposure time and a low southern target results were better than expected.
This trip to Cherry Springs State Park promised an amazing clear stretch but was marred by dense smoke obscuring much of the sky from the wildfires raging in CA and other parts of the US.
After missing the BFSP at Cherry Springs State Park, PA last new moon we were anxious to get out for one last hurah for the year. Weather looked great initially from midweek into the weekend but rapidly went downhill as we got closer to the weekend. We did however have an amazingly clear Weds night and clear until 3:00am or so on Thursday.
Friday morning arrived with clouds and slightly warmer temps (no frost) than Thursday morning. The sunrise was spectacular.
I am not a galaxy imager. I’m at home with short refractors imaging large nebula in our own galaxy. Spring and Fall are more or less galaxy season though if you want to be able to image the same object the majority of these longer nights. So I picked out a decent size bright galaxy and dusted off the long f/ratio 5″ refractor and gave it a try. It’s not without it’s problems but nice to see a 28 year old refractor still collecting photons!
We had some great weather for the annual star party at Pickett State Park, TN last new moon. This star party is still young and looking to grow. The park rangers are doing a great job, it’s a great venue for presentations and a great field for observing / photography. I’m not sure why it still remains a hidden gem of sorts.
Overall sky quality, other than some early clouds, was excellent. With SQM measurements around 21.77 mag/arcsec^2 this was the darkest I’ve seen Pickett. I would note too that of the other dark sky sites I routinely visit, this quality of night is nothing to complain about.