By ultrawide field I am talking about 24mm or less (lens f.l.). Unless you are in the Atacama desert there are challenging light pollution gradients to deal with. That and a whole host of other processing details I've been largely unsuccessful at dealing with - largely related to DSLR imaging.
So I decided to take a break and go "long". For me that is all the way back to 100mm f.l. Taking in mere degrees of sky feels like drinking from a teacup. But oh how much easier it is to process the images! I imaged Orion's belt and sword for much of the outing and then took just 30min of the M46, M47 region to finish off the night.
|M46 and M47 and a host of Open Clusters. Click for ginormous* or here for flickr.|
One of my observing pals, Dan, had M46 centered up in his 10" Meade outfitted with a binoviewer. A visual treat with the little planetary nebula floating inside the spray of open cluster stars. Been a while since I've actually done any visual observing and I'm glad I have friends to keep me honest.
So naturally, after he left, my dark imaging nature took over and I decided to try and take a picture of it. I figured there was little chance of capturing the planetary at the image scale I was working at but if you drill down, sure enough, there it is.
|Click image and look for the tiny green-blue dot in the upper cluster (M46). That's the planetary nebula. Cool.|
|click for full size or here for flickr|
Taken at Montebello Open Space Preserve, CA January 27, 2011
Canon T2i (stock), Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM @ f/4
Astrotrac Travel System Mount
15 120sec exposures @ ISO800
no flatfielding, vignetting and gradients removed in PixInsight
128 bias frames
calibration, registration and post-processed in PixInsight