Postcard from the Universe – Butterfly Cluster

Known as M6, NGC6405, or The Butterfly Cluster, this pretty open cluster lies just above the tail of Scorpius. Visible to the unaided eye under a dark sky, it is an easy photographic target.

I have been working on improving the color balance in my astrophotos. Color is an interesting and complex subject in photography, worse in astrophotography. I think the results are much better here that in my previous work. Hope to take a few more photos this week and will continue to experiment.

M6 The Butterfly Cluster
M6, the Butterfly Cluster, 9 x 1min Canon 60D and AT6RC

Postcard from the Universe – Galactic Center

The last time out I fitted a camera ball mount to the counterweight shaft of the Losmandy mount. This allowed me to shoot an additional camera at the same time, along with the camera attached to the telescope. The second camera can be aimed at a different target completely. With a relatively wide angle lens, tracking errors become insignificant.

With the center of the Milky Way high overhead it made an obvious first target to test this wide-field setup. The results are quite nice, a series of one minute exposures reveal the star clouds in fine detail. The camera for this run was the Canon 60D, as the 20Da was shooting the Lagoon at the time. I need to swap places and try the shot again with the 20Da to see what the Hα sensitivity reveals, capturing more of the nebulae that is mingled with the stars.

The lens was an older Nikon 50mm f/1.8 stopped down to f/2.8, nice round star images right into the corners of the frame. Yes, a Nikon lens mounted to a Canon camera, you can do that. A very nice lens, I will be using it again for this work.

Galactic Center
The galactic center region on the Sagittarius-Scorpius border