Well, what a year 2020 has been. Aside from the state of the world, the year has been a bit up and down with astrophotography also. From a nice beginning with the 533mc Pro, a scorching summer and an abysmal winter. In this post I think I’ll take some time to recap, to look back over the year, and my images. So feel free to tag along for a trip down this year’s lane as we bid farewell to 2020, and welcome in another year of opportunities, targets, and incessant cloud cover.
2020 In Review
At the beginning of the year I was still using the ZWO ASI 533mc Pro that was on loan from First Light Optics. It was actually the first piece of equipment they had loaned me. I also had the Astronomik 12nm Hydrogen Alpha filter that was loaned to me from the Widescreen centre. It was certainly strange getting items sent to me, and definitely took some getting used to. The relationship with Widescreen Centre didn’t go anywhere, however I did get on board with First Light Optics as a reviewer and I couldn’t be more thankful for such an opportunity.
The key images I took early on in the year included the Rosette Nebula, Comet Atlas and M81 & M82. These were exclusively shot with the 533mc Pro and then I was able to make my review. Which was my first camera review. I think it came out well.
2020 also included a house move from one town in Northamptonshire to another. I also moved in with my partner so I actually missed a couple clear nights during that transition period. Trying to move house, sort internet out, unpack and image deep space was too much to do at the same time really.
The Optolong L-eNhance is a not-so-secret weapon in the war against light pollution. The enemy. The result of urbanization and un-optimal street lights. Every night when a lot of us try to view or take images of the night sky, we need to fight the pollution.
To that end narrowband filters are a great addition to the arsenal. The L-eNhance falls in more specifically as a multi-bandpass filter.
In this article I’ll be sharing my thoughts and feelings about this filter after having used it for several months. It was loaned to me from First Light Optics for review, and that’s exactly what I’m about to do.
But it was, at least, clear. Despite what the weather forecast said. Sometimes relying on a forecast only takes you so far. With the actual sky being clear, I decided I just had to set up.
I’m slowly getting really used to setting up my equipment, getting faster and faster at it. Though… I have to admit, and this will come as a surprise to you, the footage of me setting up in the video above… it’s sped up.
I know! Shocking.
IC 405- The Flaming Star Nebula
I don’t think “The” is part of its title, but it sounds better to me – so I’m rolling with that. This evening posed the question we all face: “What do I shoot?”. With so many targets and so precious few nights the right decision is important.
I really wanted to shoot some Horsehead Nebulae, since it’s so iconic. But I’m sort of done with Orion at the moment. No fault of its own, but its where I mainly have been shooting. So the Horsehead’s iconicity was kind of its downfall for this time. The Heart Nebulae is another I want to shoot – but it bearly fits in the FOV of my ED80 even with the 0.8x reducer/flattener.
So I decided on the Flaming Star. I hadn’t seen many people uploading pictures of it this season so I decided to give it a go. Plus its magnititude was quite forgiving at Magnititude 6.