Cone Nebula end Christmas Tree Cluster
One clear and cold night in the beginning of March I thought I was out for bad luck in regards of new interesting astrophotography projects.
The thing is, the view from my balcony is limited by walls to the side, a roof above and tall trees across the street – so I can observe only from South-West to North-West and only between 33º and 8º
That means all my projects are photographed through the densest (read: worst) part of the atmosphere and only when the objects are about to set.
Anyways, that night in March I didn’t know of any interesting objects in the limited direction which was large enough to photograph through my little 6″ telescope – but I was wrong!
I’d never hear about the Christmas Tree Cluster or the Cone Nebula and I hadn’t the faintest idea of how a potential photograph could turn out – however with a size of 10×7 arc-minutes and an apparent magnitude of 3,9 I thought I was definitely worth a try!
As I can’t see the North Star from my balcony I can’t polar align my telescope precisely but with a rough polar alignment and auto guiding I can get by with up to 5 minutes exposure – but only for so long at a time (before the autoguider looses the star and gives up and the I only get star trails until I restart it).
However many times I restarted the autoguider (over a three consecutive clear nights) I finally thought I’d gathered enough signal – and this is the result 🙂
My equipment consisting of a Canon DSLR camera with a 2x extender and a 650mm telescope with a 0,9 reducing coma corrector but by using Drizzle process this image corresponds to a focal length of 2321.59 mm
The total photograph (which has bee extensively cropped from it’s original) has a Field Of View of 1º 26′ 58.8″ x 52′ 11.3″ at 0,474 arcsec/pixel