Look up And Wonder
15th Jan. 2012 :: Another Attempt at Andromeda (M31)

Beautiful night, it was clear, still, cold and moonless. Somewhat typically however I struggled with alignment, so I only managed maximum 105 second exposures. Even then there was a little star trailing, so I definitely didn't make the most of the great conditions. Shame. Alignment really does seem to be the limiting factor at the moment - I need to find a setup routine that works for me. Still, given that I'm fairly happy with this result.

About 1hr 25mn of exposure data. Plus a limited amount of darks, flats and bias.


Full Size


Image Field of View




Comments (2)

Newest first Oldest first

  1. vonevilstein

    Another amazing pic fella. Whats' the deal with alignment?

    #1 – 17 January, 2012 at 9:53 am

  2. James

    Well, such a good question! I could write a book on the trials and tribulations of accurate alignment. I know a lot more about that than I do about actually taking the images themselves.

    The basic issue is that accuracy is key, and there are a lot of steps involved, so a mistake or a moment of laziness in any one step will destroy the alignment.

    Problems are:

    1) Setting up in the cold and dark.

    2) Heavy cumbersome equipment.

    3) Locating Polaris through the Polarscope - it's easy enough by eye, not so much in the polarscope as there are some stars of similar brightness close by, and it's easy to lose orientation and exactly which star is Polaris.

    4) Locating alignment stars (This is easier with a red dot finder instead of a finder scope because - as with the polarscope - it's easy to lose orientation; however, my red dot finder only fits one of my scopes, so I need to make an adapter for the other scope).

    5) Alignment stars obscured by trees, or other obstructions. (Sometimes - as with this image of Andromeda - I end up using alignment stars all on one side of the Meridian, I'm not sure exactly what affect this has, but I'd guess that using both sides - hence a wider variation in alignment star location - may be beneficial.)

    6) Centering alignment stars (I have started a process of using progressively more powerful eyepieces for this to increase accuracy. I have tried using an illuminated reticle eyepiece but that introduces it's own problems).

    7) Readjustments to the polar alignment then require repetition of previous steps.

    8) Mistakes, wrong buttons or accidently moving the telescope can result in resetting, returning the entire setup to the "home" position, turning the mount on and off, and starting the whole process again.

    And finally, what I find to be the big overall issue:

    9) Understanding, and keeping a mental picture in your head of how adjustments in Altitude and Azimuth will affect the progress of the telescope that is moving through various degrees and combinations of Right Ascension and Declination.

    It's just one of those things that takes practice and patience. After every session I end up with a plan of what to do differently next time. One day I'll reach a plan that works consistently well. When I discover that process I'll write all about it, so hopefully others can learn from my traumas... :)

    #2 – 17 January, 2012 at 12:39 pm

(Optional)
  • Allowed markup: <a> <i> <b> <em> <u> <s> <strong> <code> <pre> <p>
  • All other tags will be stripped, unless they are in a <pre> (use this for blocks of code)
  • External links will have the rel="nofollow" attribute applied
Astronomy Tools and Information

Glossary
Solar System Planets
Messier Objects
New General Catalogue (NGC) Objects
Constellations

Most Recent Posts

Epic Ceres Flyover
James Webb Space Telescope has a Dozen Mirrors
Europe planning for humans on the moon by 2030
Solar System 360 Degree Tour
Long Overdue - NASA receives a Budget Boost from Congress
New Horizons Finally Arrives at Pluto
Next Steps to the Moon
One Million SETI Credits
The Transit of Venus June 2012
Solar System Planets
Mars and Venus
The Amazing Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
New Rosette Attempt
Short Timelapse Sunset
New Attempt at Processing NGC2246 with PixInsight
A Cold Night
Another Attempt at M1 and NGC2246
Busy Timelapse Skies
Reprocessed Andromeda Galaxy
Its a Steep Learning Curve ~ M1 and NGC2246
Current Exoplanet Count
Known Planets Multi Planet Systems Candidate Planets
1,930 481 4,696

Currently Popular Astronomy Links

A group I work with is raising money to restore the 6th largest refractor in the US and make it available for public use
The spiralling signatures of planet formation
534 days and counting: Astronaut Peggy Whitson breaks U.S. space record
You Cannot Be Sirius? 69 Years To Visit A Stellar neighbor
Apr 24th: Dogs, Monkeys and More
In the early ninth millennium AD there will be no north pole star. I found a way to find north despite that.
Newly discovered asteroid 2017 HV2 to flyby Earth at 0.33 LD
Apr 23rd: Starlight Walking and Biggest Rocket
Cosmic Lens Provides Unique View of Supernova
NGC 5033 with a 8" SCT Canon 60D
Happy Earth Day!
Apr 22nd: Seeing the Sun in a New Light
Happy Earth Day!
Cosmic Speck: See Earth Through Saturn's Rings in Amazing Cassini Photo
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is about to plunge between Saturn and its rings — before spiraling into the planet
What Earth looks like from other planets
M51 whirlpool galaxy
Lyrids to Put on a Weekend Light Show
2017 Total Solar Eclipse Simulation by City
Apr 21st: Brad Peterson of LUVOIR
Trail From Early Morning Rocket Ship Launch Cape Canaveral


Get relevant, popular links for your website from Here's A Link
Older Posts

Sky Trails
Another Attempt at Andromeda (M31)
The ExoPlanet Count is Likely to Reach Trillions
Venus
Tycho Crater
Moon Mosaic
The Andromeda Galaxy (M31)
The Pleiades (M45)
The Nebulas in Orion
Hints ot the Higgs
Earth HiRes Animation from Nasa
The World Would Be A Better Place If Everyone Watched This Video At Least Once!
Carl Sagan
The Journey Home. More stunning HD Footage from Nasa...
Amazing High Def Video of Jupiter
Sun Mosaic
November Sun
Full Funding Secured for James Webb Space Telescope!
Photographing Jupiter
Save The James Webb Space Telescope Petition
The Nature of Reality ~ Do We Live in Eight Dimensional Phase Space
Juno Launch Update
More Water Evidence Adds to Intrigue Surrounding Mars
Hubble Continues to Amaze with new Pluto Moon Discovery
Is the James Webb Space Telescope Worth It
JWST Program Status July 2011
Dawn Enters Vesta Orbit
Hail to the King ~ Juno, Jupiter and origins of the Solar System
Free NASA Android App
Happy Birthday Neptune
M51 Supernova SN2011dh
M51 And UFOs
NASA Human Space Flight Strategy
Last Flight of the Space Shuttle
Proposed Cancellation of JWST
A Universe Not Made For Us
Saturn
The Moon
M31 The Andromeda Galaxy
Total Solar Eclipse, Hao Atoll, South Pacific
M42 The Great Nebula in Orion
Jupiter (IO, Ganymede, Europa, Callisto)
M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy
M13 The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules
Sir Patrick Moore
About Me

I am an amateur astronomer; I am interested in science, innovation, astronomy and general musing about philosophies of life, the universe and our place in it.

I love to look up and wonder, and this blog is mostly what results from that wondering.

I also enjoy Paragliding.

All images are copyrighted and owned by me, except where stated, please do not copy or use them unless with permission.

Please feel free to contact me for any reason, the best method is to use this contact form.