Saturday, October 15, 2011

The New Tripod

I finally got my equatorial mount and am dipping my toes in to the possibilities it presents. Even though I can't align with Polaris from the back yard, there was a nearly full moon and I'm only using a 3" telescope, I was extremely happy with what I was able to capture.

The Andromeda Galaxy - M31, plus M32 and M110
Updated photo to a visual sky orientation from an earlier version:

I was finally able to get this shot late at night after Cassiopeia and Andromeda made their way clear from my rooftop. There was some serious haze from the moon washing out this shot. I can't wait for a clear night in a week or two when the moon is down and I should be able to get a much better exposure. The smaller galaxies M32 and M110, which actually orbit the larger galaxy, can be seen as well. M32 is up and to the left of Andromeda and looks like a large hazy star, while M110 is down and to the right and looks like a small, faint version of Andromeda.

The tripod doesn't directly help me get a better looking picture of Jupiter, but it does make it a whole lot easier that I no longer have to manually chase the big guy as he zooms across the eyepiece.

Check out how Jupiter looks through the viewfinder as I'm waiting for the ripples in the atmosphere to smooth out and give me a crisp, defined shot.

And then I also got a chance to check back in on Comet Garradd, who looks a whole lot more like a comet now that I can filter out some of the camera noise.

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