Driveway Astronomy

Over the weekend, the weather finally cleared up enough that I could haul the telescope outside and sample the new skies I live beneath. The new rural location is very dark and the lack of a moon in the sky meant that other than the distant light of a few mile or more distant farmhouses, only the stars' light was falling on my telescope. This really is a very nice location for astronomy. I decided to try out a new accessory that I purchased a while back and have yet to play with.

Meade held a sale on their entire inventory of DSI and DSI Pro astronomical cameras a while back. At $99 for what had been a $299 camera I had to drop the cash on one. I've had the Meade LPI (Lunar Planetary Imager) for some time now and have used it to produce the images of Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon that I've posted on this blog. The new camera allows me to take pictures of far fainter objects in the sky, but it also presents a much steeper learning curve.

I selected as my first victim, a favorite target of mine... The Great Orion Nebula:

This shot captures the trapezium, an asterism (small constellation) in the center of the nebula. As a first shot I must admit that the image is adequate, but I hope to soon have some far better ones that this. The Great Orion Nebula is located in the sword portion of the Orion Constellation. Here's a labeled image that I have previously posted:

I also hauled out the venerable LPI to snap an early image of Mars.

It was still pretty low on the horizon when I snapped this shot and it's still pretty far away so there isn't much detail to be seen yet. (Not to mention that my focus is a little soft).

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