Last night it was incredibly clear so with a few friends I ventured out to my favourite dark-sky spot in rural Somerset.
The moon was below the horizon for most of the evening so it was sufficiently dark to see the Milky Way. We had a quick peek at Jupiter, as it’s easy to find, and then we turned our attention to examining some deep-sky objects (DSOs) from the Messier catalogue. For the uninitiated, the Messier catalogue is a list of DSOs compiled by Charles Messier in 1771. They’re easy for beginner astronomers to find – if they can be seen with a crude 1700s telescope, it should be easy to view them with a modern telescope!
We viewed several Messier objects including M110 and M42, the Orion Nebula. I’ve never really had the opportunity to observe DSOs before and have mainly examined the planets, so this was the first time I saw the Orion Nebula. It’s a nice, bright object so I decided to photograph it as an “easy” introduction into deep-sky astrophotography.
This image is a composite of 10 images, each shot at ISO 3200, 10-second exposure with a 5″ telescope – a Celestron NexStar SLT 127. The focus isn’t quite right but my technique seems to have worked 🙂