Tonight was nice and clear – so I went out to hunt for the dwarf planet, Ceres. I was inspired to look by Telescope Paul, who spotted it last week. I pretty much used the same star-hopping technique he did, but Ceres is moving, and sits a little higher, a little closer to Gemini than when he spotted it.
All these photos are made by stacking DSLR images (Nikon D3100). No telescope involved, and no motor to track stars either, so exposures are limited to about 4 seconds at this zoom level. I stack multiple 4-second exposures to yield an effective 1:30 or so.
While I was out, I shot a few frames of the Beehive Cluster (in Cancer). If I’d had my wits about me, I’d have combined these two and gotten both in the same frame. The bright star by itself at right in the Ceres picture is Asellus Borealis, the same star that is just to the left of the Beehive in the shot below:
I also found the Double Cluster, and a bunch of beautiful neighboring clusters (in Perseus):
and of course our good friend and favorite nebula, the Orion Nebula. For some reason the nice red color you can normally see here was coming out all green-shifted… but it looks great in black and white. That’s Rigel at lower right.
Get Out There!