12/14/2023 – EAA – A Galaxy, A Spider, and A Witch

Another clear and cold night, with no Moon. The last couple sessions I have been capturing data of the Drunken Dragon Nebula (LBN 762) for post-processing, for this session I decided to go back to doing some EAA. I uncovered the scope and connected everything up in the late afternoon. During my last session I had some issues with guiding, so I rebalanced the scope.

Once the Sun set I ran the Ekos Auto Focus routine and the steps were set to 10108. Plate solving calculated the focal length to 596.2 mm (F/5.6). I ran the Ekos Polar Alignment to both the West and East, the alignment was near perfect and did not require any adjustments. I am using the flats and darks I shot a couple days ago for the Drunken Dragon.

During the session I did make an adjustment to the RA Guiding Aggressiveness. The RA Aggressiveness was set to 1, I adjusted this down to .85. My total RMS was just under 1 for most of this session.

The EAA images in this post were capture with my ZWO ASI294MC Pro cooled to -10 C through my SVBONY SV503 102ED Scope with a 0.8x focal reducer. The SV503 is focused using a ZWO EAF and the Ekos Focus Module. Guiding is accomplished with an Orion Starshoot Autoguider (OSSAG) attached to a SV106 60mm guide scope. All gear is mounted on a Sky Watcher EQ6-R Pro. The mount and cameras are remotely controlled with KStars/Ekos via an INDI Server running on Raspberry Pi. The images were live stacked using SharpCap Pro. Images have been resized (80% of original) and/or cropped for file size but otherwise appear just as I observed them.

Messier 74 (M 74) a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Pisces. M 74 is a CloudyNights.com December 2023 EAA Challenge object. This is a live stack of 20 x 180 second exposures at 121 gain, 30 offset, and bin 2×2.
Messier 74, M 74, Spiral Galaxy in Pisces, EAA Captured 12/14/2023
This is a neat little face on spiral galaxy. Some nice color and detail especially for the size.

IC 417 is an emission nebula in the constellation of Auriga. This is a live stack of 20 x 180 second exposures at 121 gain, 30 offset, and bin 2×2.
IC 417, the Spider Nebula, EAA Captured 12/14/2023
Probably should have waited to have a look at this one with the duo-band filter. The nebula is visible but not really able to resolve any structures or details. Multiple airplanes buzzed through the live stack. I’ll revisit this one when I have the duo-band filter in. I might be able to get both the Spider and the Fly (NGC 1931) in the same field of view. The open cluster NGC 1907 is to the right in the field of view.

IC 2118, the Witch Head Nebula, is a faint reflection nebula in the constellation of Eridanus. This is a live stack of 40 x 180 second exposures at 121 gain, 30 offset, and bin 2×2.
IC 2118, the Witch Head Nebula, EAA Captured 12/14/2023
I centered the field of view on the bright yellow star, this gave me a bit better view of the whole nebula. Enjoyed seeing the details build in the live stack. I had originally only planned to capture for an hour, because of the results I decided to add another hour to the live stack. I will probably try add a bit more data to this in my next session for post-processing. This was my favorite of the night.

I parked and covered the scope just after 11 PM. The temperatures had dropped to the upper 20’s and there was a thin layer of frost on everything. The skies are suppose to be clear again tonight so hope to get a couple more hours on the Witch Head Nebula and then see what else we can see.

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