Vernal Equinox

Today is the Vernal Equinox and I have four fresh inches of snow on the ground. One week ago today I setup at Monument Rocks under clear skies. Wild weather.

New image: Markarian’s Chain. Click thumbnail on the right for larger version.

Last trip was not only a new location but the first using different pieces, parts and techniques in the field: ST80 guidescope w/SSAG and a new perl script to control PHD dithering and camera exposures. In addition, this week I used DeepSkyStacker (DSS) to stack the exposures. Highly recommended.

2 becomes 3

Monument Rocks Kansas: an interesting trip this last Saturday. I’ve been considering this dark sky location for months and the weather appeared good for the 13th. Things worked out pretty well, weather was acceptable and I managed to image a few things. I’ll post something soon.

Update 03.17.2010: Picture of the Zodiacal light taken about an hour after sunset Saturday evening. Click for larger version.

The Zodiacal light was a big reason I wanted to go somewhere dark. Somewhere free from light pollution in the west. This time of year, from about February to April, the evening Zodiacal light is at its best. The view last Saturday was nice, very nice. An even better view will be the week of April 5th: the planets Mercury and Venus will be highest in the cone of light.

Daylight savings time kicked in while I was out under the stars, 2am became 3am right before my eyes.