So far I was only able to use the automated installation for astrophotography once very briefly. The weather from November to February in Cuxhaven is less than modest.

On Friday it was surprisingly cloudless for a few hours. So, equipment set up and tested. It was also more test than serious trying to take pictures, nevertheless the result is not too bad.

I drove the mount to several targets and tested the alignment settings and the autofocus – more or less satisfying. After some time I got the hang of it and it went quite nicely.

With the AZ mount, of course, you can’t do a single exposure of > x seconds, because of the field rotation, it will come down to more images at shorter exposure times. Of course, in addition, it also depends on in which cardinal direction and especially in which elevation angle the object is located (therefore x and no direct indication).

After Elephant’s Trunk and Andromeda, which were both quite high in the sky, I took 100 images, 10 seconds each, of M33.

M33 – Triangulum galaxy

Of the 99 usable images, the one shown above was taken. Not as good as my earlier shot of M33, but, due to the total exposure time of 990 seconds (vs. 3480 seconds for the first shot). 

Add to that relatively poor “seeing” and problems with autofocus (I had to manually intervene due to incorrect configuration and am not sure I found the optimal point). The “seeing” was not perfect due to high humidity, rather poor than moderate. At the end of the session water was dripping from the equipment.

M42 – Orion Nebula

At Orion even less exposures were used, because clouds joined at the end and further pictures were not to be thought. Here were 47 usable exposures at 10 seconds each, so 470 seconds total exposure time (less than 8!! minutes). But the result is quite respectable.

All in all quite successful and with the new camera and the small refractor telescope there must be still some practice hours to come to better results.

Recording data