An unexpected clear evening (the weather forecasts are hopeless at present) meant a happy couple of hours testing the telescope drive for photography, with some success. The header image is the Orion nebula (M42), which can be compared with the previous version of this posted on 27 February.
I am pleased that this shows much more structure in the nebula than the cropped image from a 35mm lens photo in February. It will clearly benefit from an even longer exposure but that might have to wait until next winter as Orion is getting pretty far west now in the evenings.
Technical details: Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 zoom, set at 200mm f/5.6. Focussed on a brighter star using live view. This image is a total of 12 images stacked, total exposure 120s and taken in mostly nautical twilight.
I also tried another photo of the Pleiades:
Unfortunately this is not as well focussed as the M42 image. I had not realised just how much the focus can change as the evening gets colder; I will have to do many more focus checks in future. It’s also a bit of a nuisance to have to focus on a nearby brightish star; the lens is a bit slow to use live view on fainter stars.
Technical details: Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 zoom, set at 200mm f/5.6. Focus unchanged from the M42 images, but taken later. This image is a total of 9 images stacked, total exposure 90s.
I am still quite pleased with the improvements though, and have more idea of what to change for next time. I was also pleased that the “go to” drive was working perfectly. It really does take the effort out of pointing – providing that you have the right co-ordinates, if you can’t find the object in the database. I need more experience with the database on SynScan …