M45 – The Pleiades

Publication: This picture was published on Futura-Sciences on October 30th 2011.

Publication: This picture was published on UniverseToday on October 26th 2011.

I went back to the OCA’s observing site on Sept. 30. I had family with me and they really wanted to spend a night watching the night sky. There was some clouds here and there but I still was able to image for most of the night.

The new Gemini-II firmware was a great addition compared to last time. Modeling was accurate after only 3 stars on each side of the Meridian. Flips and limits were also working well. I initially spent about 1 hour on M8+M20 before they were too low on the horizon, but I found that it was already too low to make a quality image. I gathered some 120 s subs and made add more in the future, but at this time of the year they are already too low and too close to the San Diego light pollution. Maybe next year I’ll just drive to the Mexican border a little further South East of Anza, CA to image M8 + M20 which is a frame I enjoy particularly.

I spent about 2 hours on M45 – The Pleiades and then moved onto M42. I really wanted to capture as much faint nebulosity as possible and made 10 minutes subs and combined them with 5 minutes. I found that it helped adding contrast to the nebulosity.

  • Date: September 30th 2011
  • Camera: Canon 500D Baader Modified and CP30T-EOS Cooled (Sensor maintained at 15 C – Exif temperature: 15 C)
  • ISO: 1600
  • Exposures: 2 hours total, 1 hour of 300 s subs, 1 hour of 600 s subs
  • Mount: Losmandy G11 Gemini 2
  • Imaging Telescope: AT65EDQ
  • Guiding Telescope: ST80 w/ SSAG
  • Calibration: Darks, Flats
  • Stacking: DSS
  • Final blending/processing: Adobe Photoshop CS5
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