The Veil Nebula

Staying out a night with thousands of stars shinning above, cool wind blowing my head, that is an awesome experience in the corn field of Indiana. On May 16th, I decided to stay out the whole night just to demonstrate to my friend some basic astrophotography on a tracking mount. And if lucky enough, get the Comet Lemmon in the early morning.

The summer milky way is rising gradually everyday, but the light pollution from Lafayette still blinds the galaxy center. See the lower right corner in the above image, taken by my friend with D90 and 14mm lens. This one hour exposure already reveals a lot of detail with summer triangle and the great rift – the dark band in the middle of the river.

Once he’s done, I brought out the 180mm lens to image the veil nebula – an arch of ionized gas left behind by a spectacular death of star in a supernova explosion some 10,000 years ago. But unfortunately the latter night get messy with heavy wind. All the turbines across the wind farms starts roaring. And with my not stiff enough Alt-Alz mount and a 4kg Astrotrac and camera, it’s a recipe for disaster. Almost every exposure the stars are smudged and elongated into 20 pixels, this left me with only one good frame to work with…

Veil Nebula

I think it’s time to get a more sturdy mount for Astrotrac, at least could tolerate this wind and recompose without the need to redo polar align. Finally, a LPS filter should be helpful to suppress the most great offender – light pollution.