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There have been about a month and a half without any good skies. And in all this time, my view from the balcony changed quite a bit. I am lucky that my balcony faces North, so I can point the tracker to Polaris to make the polar alignment. But I have quite a limited view of the sky. It covers partially West-North-East and the buildings makes me not see anything below 20°, or above 60°. But this weekend the sky was perfect, and I decided to keep it going the pictures for as long as I could. I believe it was about 5 hours of pictures each night.

At certain point in the night, I noticed that Vega (from Lyra) was quite low and easy to catch. And I always try to find the Ring Nebula in there with my binoculars, without success. So I aimed the camera to it and took a fast 30s sub without much preparing, and not expecting much, since 30 sec are not usually enough for much. And for my surprise, M57 is quite a bright beauty.

So I took some more subs, and tried some longer exposures, but noticed that the long exposures seemed actually worse than the sort ones. Because the short exposures show the outer ring and inside a bit fainter, and the long exposures makes it all very bright. But i tried anyway long exposures to see what I could get. And that is the result:

201309-ring-nebula-1Ring Nebula (M57), Sulafat and Sheliak from Lyra
Focal Length: 300 mm
Aperture: f/5.6
ISO: 800
Filter: Astronomik CLS-CCD
Shutter: 15s / 30s / 180s / 300s
Tracker: Astrotrac
Stacking: 31 / 42 / 4 / 4
Total exposure: 3645s
Post processing: Pixinsight
Taken Sep 28th and 29th, 2013 around 00:30-02:00 CEST

I am trying to stack now just the short 15s and 30s exposures to see if there is a better detail of the structure. It seems to bright in there. But it was my first Planetary Nebula =D

I have a lot more of subs to process, so I will be updating the blog with the new pictures as they come.

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