On Monday, the same night I photographed Jupiter and Io, I also set up my tripod and new digital camera. I want to start taking wide-field pictures of the night sky.
As a test subject, I pointed at the Little Dipper. On the digital camera, everything has to be set to manual. The longest setup time was in getting the focus just right. For this, I used the brightest “star” available, Jupiter.
I took 17 images at ISO 3200, 18mm, and 10 second exposures. I then took eleven dark frames – same camera settings but with the lens cap on. This is to ascertain camera noise. Finally I took 14 bias frames. These are dark as well – lens cap on – but very fast shots. In reading up on this, it’s possible I did not need bias frames, but I used them anyway.
I put all these images into DeepSkyStacker, and the above is what I got. This is not a very interesting part of the sky, and my light pollution does not help. In Ursa Minor I can see Polaris and the two bright end stars, but the middle ones are more difficult. Something like Draco I cannot see at all. So it is remarkable what the camera can pull out!
I am pleased with the amount of stars I captured. Can you see Polaris and Ursa Minor? I also got all of Draco in this picture, which surprised me. Do you see it?
If you are having trouble (like so many of my co-workers did), please see this cheat image I created. I purposefully am not showing the image directly in the blog post, to give you time to first study the raw picture before looking at the “answers.”