And yes, the obligatory M42 photo - it's just too lovely not to expose when working in that area of the sky. This was shot February 14, 2013 from Port Orchard, Washington using a Meade 8' LX200R on a Milburn wedge 15x30 sec, ISO 1600, Lepus .62 telescompressor at prime focus using a Canon T3i - with an Astronomik CLS-CCD clip fliter.
Meade 8' LX200, 1296x1/15 sec subs, ISO 1600, Canon T3i, Eyepiece projection, 15mm ocular, Astronomik CLS CCD. Clear skies, fair seeing. Port Orchard, Washington.
What a great night with clear skies in the Seattle area! This is Messier 27, the Dumbbell Nebula. For those who are interested, I am abandoning DSLR astrophotography and moving into CCD astrophotography. This is my first attempt with basically a low-end beginner's camera. (Meade 8" LX200, Orion Starshoot G3 CCD, 25x180 second subs, Orion ST-80 autoguide scope, PHD, MaximDL.)
I rarely ever photograph the moon anymore, as I am more fond of chasing down very dim comets and remote galaxies. But the moon was particularly beautiful tonight, so I grabbed a quickie photo.
Tonight, purely by accident, I happened to capture a spectacular feature on the moon that I've never been able to get before, and it got it tonight by accident. Do you see the Lunar X??
About the Lunar X.
Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy is still out there - it's just not in the news anymore. At magnitude 6, it's easily visible with binoculars or even the naked eye in very dark skies. Currently, the comet is in the constellation Andromeda. Here's a shot of it I got tonight.
Jupiter was pretty low on the eastern horizon, caught in the Seattle skyglow and I had to get up at 3:30 the next morning, so I couldn't wait long for the planet to climb out of the muck and higher into the sky. But I did get this image, stacked from individual frames in an .avi clip. Not spectacular but good practice in trying to make something out of a night of bad seeing.
Here is an image of the 9.6 magnitude "Fireworks Galaxy" - known as NGC-6946 or Caldwell 12. The galaxy is 18 million light-years distant, and can be found between Cepheus and Cygnus. This galaxy is about a third as large as our own Milky Way galaxy. Photographed under amazing skies in Port Orchard, Washington. (Meade LX200R, Canon 60D, Lepus .62 telescompressor, ISO 1600, 29x2 min subs, Maxim DL - guided with PHD and Orion ST80.)