September 2009 Blue Jay Campsite Astrophotos

Orion Nebula
58x30 @ ISO1600 f/5 400 mm

After spending 4 months with my initial setup, the C6N and CG-5 mount, I upgraded. The coma of the 6" newt and the weight limits and noise of the CG-5 were my primary gripes...certainly not too big of issues, but big enough to me. The old setup is for sale here, available for pickup in LA and Orange counties.

I upgraded to an Equinox 80 and a CGEM mount which I purchased from Scope City. I also ordered a 0.8x focal reducer/flattener to use with the EQ80 in order to ensure my images would come out coma/astigmatism free. The very next night after getting all the pieces together I drove out to Blue Jay Campground near Lake Elsinore, CA to try it all out. Mike, the manager at the local Scope City, had setup the night for customers of his to try stuff out under darker skies and potentially get tips from him. The site wasn't as dark as I'd hoped, so I ended up using my CLS filter for all the shots here except for Orion. Having said that, for just being an hour away from home it wasn't bad at all and could see myself using the location again.

This night yielded several images. I'd tried to pick targets that would be great for a larger field of view since 400mm is not all that much focal length. The downside to all the targets I picked, aside from Pleiades, was that they all would have come out much better if I had a modified DSLR (which I don't). Oh well, at least these shots will give me some before/after comparisons if I do ever remove that pesky filter from my camera.

This was the first time I'd ever seen the Orion Nebula with a proper telescope, and I was shocked at how bright it was. WOW. It is big, bright, and beautiful. It was so bright I actually was blowing out the core at ISO1600 with 30 second exposures at f/5...I don't think I've seen another target that does that. In the end, that made processing a bit more difficult, and I have to say my Orion shot came out neat looking, but different compared to most. Ah well, its 99% art and 1% science right?

Anyway, hope you like the shots!

Western Veil
34x120 @ ISO1600 f/5 400 mm
Crescent Nebula
32x120 @ ISO1600 f/5 400 mm
The Pleiades
20x120 @ ISO1600 f/5 400 mm


4 photos

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sky conditions


Lake Elsinore