View Full Version : Hi all! New member with a shot of M45

2008-Jan-27, 10:00 PM
Hello everyone, I'm a new joiner here and it looks a nice Forum. I'm just getting into astrophotography with a digital SLR and a home-made drive that enables me to get exposures up to 60s if I'm lucky. In this instance I was. It was a 60s single exposure, 200mm (though I've cropped it here), f/4, ISO 1600 (if I remember correctly). I used Photoshop CS2 to pull away the light pollution and was thrilled to see left behind quite clearly the Merope nebula, not to mention stars to mag 13-14.


I've still got lots to learn, which I hope to do here, but so far this is my best effort.

2008-Jan-27, 11:15 PM
Absolutely fantastic first post. What did you use to make your drive and mount because a 60s exposure is nothing to sniff at from such a drive. Congratulations, welcome and I hope to see much more.

Kind regards

2008-Jan-28, 01:32 AM
Very nice shot and a great first post.

You will learn a lot here, sometimes without ever participating in the conversation (although that's encouraged, of course). I've learned plenty in the short time I've been a member.

paul f. campbell
2008-Jan-28, 01:57 PM
Hi Madweasel.
Nice job on your first post. Do you have a program that lets you stack images like registax4. Your 60sec. single photo is very clear and focused, your home made mount tracks well. I cant wait to see a 30 min or even a 60 min image of M-45. Well done. Welcome to the forum. Clear skies to you. Paul

2008-Jan-28, 06:18 PM
...welcome onboard, Madweasel.
nice job there! looking for more (-:

2008-Jan-28, 06:46 PM
my hat off to you madweasel........welcome to BAUT...
and thanks for sharing

2008-Jan-28, 08:03 PM

A lot better than my first try at M45 some 55 years ago. Come to think of it, I never have gotten a really good shot of it since.


2008-Jan-28, 11:49 PM
Welcome Madweasel!, You have a very fine shot of m45 and your tracking is superb for being homebuilt simply amazing!. looking to see more from you also. Clear skies

2008-Jan-29, 08:29 PM
Thanks all for the very encouraging replies! I've been interested in astronomy almost all my life and have taken photos of the stars before on film, including a few shots through the university telescope many years ago, but digital opens up such a lot of new possibilities I'm really excited by it.

For those who were interested, here's a little about my home-made mount. It's based on an electric timer switch, of the type used to switch street lamps on and off. I took off all the switch gear as I only need it for a one-rev-per-24hrs shaft. I got a friend to make me a brass sleeve for the shaft with a thread on it for a ball-and-socket mount for the camera. Then I use a bigger ball-and-socket mount on a heavy tripod to point the whole assembly towards the pole (by eye). So you can guess it's a bit hit or miss, but can be surprisingly effective. Here are some pics to help make sense of my description:


I did do a sequence of 5 30s exposures, but so far, using Photoshop I've only combined them to improve noise. I haven't found a way of making them add up as if I had done a 150s exposure. I'm thinking of trying Deepsky Stacker, would that do it? I'm sure you've been asked these questions millions of times. Is there a good guide to the basic techniques anywhere? Thanks everyone.

2008-Jan-29, 09:05 PM
Boy does that "drive" bring back old memories. Back in the 50's I made double hinge barn door drive for my camera. It was powered by a 1930's era wind up alarm clock. One of those classics with the bells on top and the button between them to turn off the alarm. Probably would be worth a fortune if I hadn't of taken it apart and added a gear to make the minute turn the screw at the correct rate. It had a "speed" adjustment that I could speed up the drive and actually get darned close to true sidereal rate in the house. Problem was, in the cold night air it would slow down. Still it worked well in the field where no power was available. Only inverters in the 50's were vibrators that could run from 40 to 80 cycles per second (Hz was not the term back then). Worthless to power the synchronous ac motors of that era with any accuracy at all. Tubes were not yet replaced by transistors so building an electronic one would suck too much power.

What with the store bought mindset of today it's nice to see adapting strange things to make drives and mounts is still around.


2008-Jan-30, 01:44 PM
Love the mount. Where is the motor from as it appears from the photo to be straight 60 Hz ac.

Kind regards

2008-Jan-30, 06:43 PM
Love the mount. Where is the motor from as it appears from the photo to be straight 60 Hz ac.

Kind regards

Yes, well being UK it's 50Hz, but yes it's an ac motor. These switches are still made by Sangamo Weston I believe.