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It’s finally dark here in Scotland and the start of a new season. This is the first picture from my new CCD, the Atik 383L+ Mono. It’s also the first successful image with my new automated system. A miracle two clear nights over the weekend was enough to get over 4 hours on this target. I’ve not done any calibration on this yet. I’m having difficulty capturing both the darks and the flats. I have to wait till the ambient temperature drops to at least 12 degrees to get to the -25 degrees CCD temperature the light frames were taken at. I also have to figure out a way of getting dimmer flats as I have the same problem a lot of other people have with the 383, you need a good 3 secs to stop the shutter smearing but dim enough light that it doesn’t saturate the chip.

The Elephant Trunk Nebula is a concentration of interstellar gas and dust in the star cluster IC1396 and ionized gas region located in the constellation Cepheus about 2,400 light years away from Earth. It is commonly called the Elephant Trunk nebula because of its appearance at visible wavelengths, where it is a dark patch with a bright, sinuous rim. The bright rim is the surface of the dense cloud that is being illuminated and ionized by a very bright, massive star that is just to the west of IC1396a. The entire IC1396 region is ionized by the massive star, except for dense globules that can protect themselves from the star’s harsh ultraviolet rays.

Camera: Atik 383L+ Mono with Astronomik 1.25″ 6nm Hα Filter
Scope: Skywatcher Equinox 80 with Televue TRF-2008
Mount: EQ6 with EQMOD
Guiding: Orion ST80 with QHY5
Capture Software: CCD Commander, Maxim DL
Processing Software: Deep Sky Stacker, PixInsight
Exposures: 17 x 900 secs (4 hour 15 mins)
Calibration: 20 x Darks


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