On christmas eve, I was able to capture both orion nebula and the pleiades cluster. This was great because I could recycle darks, flats and bias frames in processing both images.
I was still using the Nikon D300 at the time and quickly saw it was time to move on to a new imaging camera. The Nikon was limited to 30 seconds exposure in “bulb” mode and had the IR cut filters still in-place. Rather than spend the time and money to modify the Nikon, I redid the m45 pleiades images in January with the Canon t3i also known as the Canon 600d. While it still had the IR cut filters installed, I could take longer exposures.
See the comparison of a single sub and stacked images below: Nikon D300 on the left and Canon t3i on the right.
I completed some basic processing in PixInsight including histogram stretching, linear and non-linear noise reduction and boosting the color. The “pinched optics” issue is even more visible in this image.
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
|first try||take two|
|imaging camera||Nikon D300||full-spectrum mod Canon T3i|
|guide camera||ZWO ASI290mm mini||ZWO ASI290mm mini|
|mount||Skywatcher EQ6-R pro||Skywatcher EQ6-R pro|
|telescope||Explore Scientific ED102 APO||Explore Scientific ED102 APO|
flattener and 0.8x reducer
|filters||none||Optolong L-Pro 2″|