Oak Ridge Observatory Trip

Jan 12, 2008

This was the absolute last night possible for reasonably dark skies in this lunation, and I needed new shots of fading Comets 47P Holmes and 8PTuttle. Chris Kitting was doing an all-nighter at Oak Ridge Observatory so even though it was not my first choice for a dark sky, I joined him for the good company. And the AC power - it was incredibly soggy and dewy and OR's AC power would be necessary for the full strength hair dryer needed in this situation for LXD75 corrector plate.

Comet Tuttle 10:30pm. 10x3min stack (Registax4 on nucleus; Registax3 did poorly) through the 8" f/4 LXD75. For the first time, I got good results by applying the Astronomy Tools 'light pollution removal'. The real problem was very low altitude (14 degrees) in the darkest direction of a light polluted site (compared to Santa Cruz area sites). Then 'space noise reduction', 'enhance DSO/reduce stars', levels, crop.

The Horsehead Nebula - 6x5min Registax4 stack on 8" f/4 LXD75. Full set of Photoshop tricks applied, and cropped.

Comet Holmes ~1:45am. I discovered the SBIG IR/UV filter would screw into more than just the nosepiece; it'll screw into the recessed chip coverplate, allowing me to use it on any setup. I got just a 2 x 2min grab shots before the comet set over the SF-light polluted northwest between two trees. Most stars are now quite tight, but the brighter ones (like Algol) show imperfect UV and/or IR blocking it would seem.