Another clear night was forecast so I was set with my targets: a couple of hours each on M104 (the Sombrero Galaxy) and M64 (the Black Eye Galaxy). In the end, there were clear spells and lots of cloud. Rather than a couple of hours I got half an hour on each object!
These were taken with my usual setup: Nikon D90 at prime focus of the 8 inch (200mm) Meade LX10. ISO800 with 4 minute subs. Images stacked in Deepsky Stacker and tweaked in Photoshop.
Both galaxies have prominent dust lanes.
Before packing up I noticed Cygnus was pretty high in the eastern sky so I grabbed some subs of Albireo, the famous double star.
Albireo is a fantastic sight through any telescope: a bright golden primary with a fainter bluish secondary separated by around 35 arcseconds. The above picture was taken on the same setup as the earlier galaxy pictures. I decided to expose for a rich starfield which meant overexposing Albireo. The colour still present well so I'm happy with the image!
I was mostly facing south while taking my pictures. At around 1am I glanced towards the north and saw faint rays of light reaching 20 or 30 degrees above the horizon: an unexpected aurora! I went for my other camera and tripod but the activity had died down substantially. I took a 30 second exposure at ISO1600 and this is what I got:
The colours were not particularly visible to the eye; the overall impression was that the sky was bright in the north. Got to bed (after image processing!) at around 4am.
Dr Adrian Jannetta
Guitar strummin' explorer of the universe. Mild mannered maths teacher by day and astronomer by night.