Sunday, March 13, 2016

M44, a.k.a. the Beehive Cluster or Praesepe

This cluster does not look much like a beehive to me, but it is pleasant to look at especially with binoculars.  It is an open cluster approximately 577 ly in the constellation Cancer and is visible to the naked eye in dark locations.  This represents the 22nd Messier object on my quest to image all 110 Messier Objects with the Orion ED80.  I was finally able to get PHD2 autoguiding to work by changing some of the settings such as the pixel size to match my QHY-5L-II-M guide camera.  I went through a tutorial PHD Basics Part #1 by Matthew Dixon on You Tube to get the settings which work for my setup.  I highly recommend this video for getting started with PHD2 autoguiding!  As a side note, I would have been able to get more images but the dithering function was on in PHD2.  I have never used dithering before and am sure what it does exactly so I will try to turn it of next time as it adds time between imaging.  Also, I learned that the Sirius EQ Mount tracks at least a half hour after crossing the meridian and on that same note, when it does the meridian flip, the camera must be rotated 180 degrees in order to keep the image in the same orientation as it was prior to the flip.

Image 1 - M44_Master_LR3

Image 2 - M44_Master_LR3_PS_crop_LR

Location: Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 3/11/16 10:17 pm
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i
Filter: none
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Focal Length: 600mm
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to and Orion Short Tube 80mm
Exposure: 40-90s(1 hr)
ISO: 800
Post Processing: Photoshop, Lightroom, DSS, Backyard EOS

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