m42 – orion nebula

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The orion nebula is a very bright object in the winter sky. This is a perfect target for my nikon d300 with short exposures. Setting up is still a bit of a pain with no automation in my process yet. I 3d printed a bahtinov mask and this greatly helps with initial focus. I do notice that focus gets worse as the night gets colder.

I’m very happy with this result. As i look closely at the bright stars I see a couple of issues. I suspect the explore scientific ed102 collimation is out of alignment. I also see diffraction spikes on the bright stars that are not supposed to be present with a refractor. I will look into that more.

Update: the collimation was ok, however, the shipping screws around the objective lens were too tight. This resulted in “pinched optics” that produce the diffraction spikes present in my photos. I attached instructions to correct this as provided by Explore Scientific customer service. Click HERE

imaging cameraNikon D300
guide cameraZWO ASI290mm Mini
mountSkywatcher EQ6-R pro
telescopeExplore Scientific ED102 APO
exposure settings30s
iso 800
stacking60 lights
50 darks
30 flats
20 bias/offset
processingPixInsight
imaging session detailed comparison.

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