This morning was the first period clear after what seems like endless days of rain, sleet and snow. I planned to get some pictures of Mars and Saturn so had to get up at 4.30am. I was set up with the telescope and camera in the garden by 5.
Here's my picture of Mars, Saturn and the globular cluster M 22 through the telescope.
Mars (lower left) and Saturn (upper middle) are the brightest objects in the picture. The little dot to the right of Saturn is actually Titan, the biggest moon. The globular cluster M22 is at lower right in the picture. M 22 is a ball of stars (about 70,000 in all) about 35,000 light-years away.
The picture was a stack of 7 x 60 second images taken with the Nikon D90, ISO800, at prime focus of the 80mm refractor. This field was only 9 degrees above the horizon so I'm pretty happy with the detail I captured.
Here's a wide field shot of the sky taken with the camera mounted on a tripod. Mars and Saturn are about 2 degrees apart and among the stars of Sagittarius.
Here's a Stellarium rendition of that part of the sky.
This is one of the best times of the year for me to capture images of Sagittarius and the Galactic Centre. When the moon gets out of the way in about a week I'm going to try to get some pictures from this region again.
Dr Adrian Jannetta
Guitar strummin' explorer of the universe. Mild mannered maths teacher by day and astronomer by night.