Shooting the Milky Way

I hadn’t tried to shoot the Milky Way yet, so after Calin went to bed last night, I snuck down to the park to avail of some reasonably dark (no street lights right in my southern view) and open skies. I was down there about an hour and a half, snapping away like a nut. But when I got home, I was really not happy with the results. That disappointment continued to this morning and this afternoon, until I found a new stacker program, Sequator.

I started the night with my trusty 50mm lens, but I knew I would need to go wider to have a shot at the Milky Way, so I switched to the 35mm. It did the job, but it is not the best lens. It leaves black blobs, which I haven’t quite figured out how to remove in The GIMP yet.

Sequator does a damn fine job not just stacking images, but removing light pollution and a few other key tweaks that make the work needed to be done in The GIMP pretty much trivial. Jupiter is that bright “dash” at mid-left. You can see one of the black blobs from the lens. And you can also see the remains of the light pollution coming from the neighborhood on the other side of those trees.

Milky Way with Jupiter, stacked with Sequator

Here’s a slightly more elevated snap. You can see Jupiter in there.

Here’s Saturn chasing Jupiter into the Milky Way.

While looking around, I spied the Big Dipper hanging out there in a dark northwest part of the sky. It had, seriously, not this many stars visible around it. It really looked like it was mainly alone.

Arcturus was looking nice, too. The two green UFO/galaxy looking things are artifacts from some flat files. I need to get that sorted. They might, actually, be in the lens, which is not making me happy.

And this last one I am not really sure what I was going for, but I like this one. It makes me think of the view screen on the bridge of the Enterprise. There is more than likely a Messier object in there, but it is so tiny with a 35mm lens that it got washed out in the post-processing.

Clouds are threatening to block out the sky tonight, but if I get a chance, I am going to bring down a 55-200mm telephoto lens and see if I can grab Andromeda. I think I had it in the field, but it was, again, so tiny in a 35mm field of view, that I am not sure if it was a galaxy or a lens blob!

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