m45 – pleiades cluster

Posted on

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 trytake two
imaging cameraNikon D300full-spectrum mod Canon T3i
guide cameraZWO ASI290mm miniZWO ASI290mm mini
mountSkywatcher EQ6-R proSkywatcher EQ6-R pro
telescopeExplore Scientific ED102 APOExplore Scientific ED102 APO
flattener/reducernoneStellarvue SFFR102-2
flattener and 0.8x reducer
filtersnoneOptolong L-Pro 2″
exposure settings30s
iso 800
iso 800
stacking18 lights
50 darks
30 flats
20 bias/offset
28 lights
15 darks
30 flats
30 bias/offset
imaging session detailed comparison.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *