Now that the Milky Way is settling down for the winter, I decided to move on to other subjects on this very clear night. My last few outings have been increasingly plagued by dew forming on my lens. Actually, my entire camera has been dripping wet most nights. So I went to Walmart yesterday and grabbed a few sets of hand-warmers and taped a pair around my lens. They fit perfectly! No need to wipe every 90 seconds. I shot for hours without any dew at all, while my car made puddles around its perimeter.
Because my nifty-fifty gets nasty real quick on any stars that aren’t near dead-center, I had to re-frame the Pleiades every 5 minutes or less. That makes a pretty big difference. I also shot nearly 600 dew-free frames of Andromeda last night. Here’s that:
I used DeepSkyStacker to stack 238 images captured with my Canon 50mm f/1.8 set to f/2.2, 5-seconds, ISO 12800 on a Canon 60D body.
I stretched the output just a bit in Photoshop — only 1-1/2 Levels adjustments — any more brought all the noise back. I was pleased to get this much dust glow without having a background that looked like a rain-soaked end-of-semester sofa sitting at the curb. I tweaked the colors a bit to get some blue back, and then cropped and re-sampled the image 200 percent.
My computer, my drives and my long lens are conspiring to get a cheap tracker for me this Christmas. They’ve had just about enough of these shenanigans.
Tagged: , astrophotography , Pleiades , 50mm , astronomy , stars , dust , gas , cluster , hand , warmers , DeepSkyStacker , night