Tuesday, November 29, 2016 2:04:50 PM UTC

Property Value
Subframes 55
Exposure Time 60
Exposure ISO 1600
Telescope Meade LX200 Classic 8" F/10 203mm f/10
Imager Canon EOS 1100D
Eyepiece Meade F/6.3 Focal Reducer 0.63x
Plate Solve Status Solve Requested
Original image dimensions 0 W 0 H
Solved image center point 0h0m0.00s 0°0'0.00"

Last week, my vintage Meade Field Tripod had a mechanical failure.  Fortunately I was able to get my filthy mits on what is effectively an upgrade - a replacement Meade Standard Field Tripod.  The difference is quite amazing - the whole assembly is clearly more robust, the legs significantly more substantial, and the tripod head larger and noticably more rigid.  So this image is first light using this new tripod.  I also added a tensioning bolt which uses the old leg spreader to lash the 'scope base to the wedge, and this too reduced vibration and guiding oscillation significantly.  Anyway, about this galaxy...

M51 is a target I've had a number of attempts at, but this is the first meduium-to-long session with both the focal reducer and using shorter exposure times for more images per hour, which gives us a better chance of high quality, low guide-error images with a sufficient data set to reduce composite image noise.  This is a stack of about 55 60-second full RGB images from a stock Canon EOS 1100D stacked and processed in AstroArt 6.  We're due another clear night tonight so I'm going to try to add more images to the data set.