M13 in Hercules

It’s not an unusual target, I know, but globular clusters can be quite tough to get just right! This shot of the great Hercules cluster was captured using the Atik 460ex and 190MN, and was put together from 20 x 5min and 20 x 1min exposures, combined using PixInsight’s HDRComposition function to try and stop the core of the cluster from being too burnt out.


The Great Globular in Hercules, M13

Last night I got out my 8″ LX200, got the collimation and focus the best I could, and shot 8 x 5min frames of M13 with the Atik 460ex – no focal reducer. It was a bit murky, and the stars came out like big fat lumps, but I was able to shrink them down a bit in processing.


First light…

for an Atik 460ex OSC. I ‘ve tried LRGB imaging with the monochrome 314L+, but been generaly dissatisfied with the results; bloated star images through the blue filter, difficult to get good alignment of the different colour frames. So I’ve plumped for a one-shot colour camera. These images, taken last Friday (7 Sep) are my first attempts. The camera itself has worked very well, but I think I still have a lot to learn about theprocessing, particularly with regard to getting good colour saturation. All were taken through the MN190.

First up is M13, the great globular cluster in Hercules. This is a stack of 12 x 5min exposures.

Next is planetary nebula M27 in Vulpecula, also known as the Dumbbell nebula. This is comprised of 24 x 5 min exposures.

Then there was the Double Cluster, NGC 869 and NGC 884 in Perseus; a stack of 25 x 30sec frames.

Next up was NGC 891, an edge-on spiral galaxy in Andromeda; just 6 x 5min exposures.

And finally, the last quarter moon; 10 x 0.004s exposures:

Wide angle photography

A while ago now I acquired a Geoptik adapter to fit Canon lenses directly to the Atik, the beauty of this adapter being that 1.25″ filters can be used with it. I was able to connect my 200mm Canon and 105mm Sigma lenses to it OK, but wider angle 50mm and 28mm lenses couldn’t be brought to focus. In my lens collection are a couple of old Pentax K bayonet lenses  – a 28mm f/2.8 and a 50mm f/1.7; I got a cheap Pentax K to Canon adapter, and last night tried these lenses out on the Atik. The 28mm wouldn’t focus, but the 50mm was fine 🙂

These are two quick images that I took. The first is a region of central Hercules which includes M13, just right of centre; it’s a stack of 6 x 2min exposures at f/4 through an Astronomik CLS filter. The second is of the region aroun the North America and Pelican nebulae, and is a stack of 10 x 2min exposures, binned 2×2, through a hydrogen alpha filter. Accurate focusing is a lttle tricky, but the results are good enough to persuade my to try further with this lens.


M13 in Hercules

At last, a half-decent image!! This is a stack of 19 x 2 minute exposures at ISO800 through the Meade LX200R. Autoguiding was done using the Lodestar through the ED80. Images were acquired and processed in Images Plus.

Just for once, the autoguiding worked flawlessly, and the end result shows it was worth the effort. Admittedly it’s a relatively easy target, but it’s nice to get something worthwhile for a change!