Imaging M31 from near Orton, Cumbria

I thought I’d try my ‘new’ dark sky imaging site above Orton on the Appleby road last night. The seeing was poor but only a light breeze and no Moon – I put my Williams Optics 66mm scope on a polar-aligned driven mount and took this image of The Great Andromeda Nebula, M31.

M31

M31

The image was taken with my Canon EOS 400D [deep sky modded] without any light pollution filter – which I wouldn’t dream of leaving off at Helsington. It’s not great with some star elongation due to imperfect polar alignment – I’m not Simon and I didn’t try too hard… Total exposure 1170 seconds [4*180, 1*90, 1*120, 1*240 seconds] at ISO 1600. Also some star distortion [coma] towards the edges which is not unexpected. A higher resolution version is in the image gallery together with one of the M57 area in Lyra – another experiment. It wasn’t all plain sailing… I forgot a key piece of kit – my camera timer/control – so I spent a lot of time with a cable release in my hands!

All in all a pleasing result and certainly proof that the site has potential and is [for round here] very dark. The 30 minute drive to get there [and more importantly to get back!] isn’t too bad from Kendal either.

2 thoughts on “Imaging M31 from near Orton, Cumbria

  1. Nice one Ian! I’ll not rise to the bait…

    There are a couple of lay-bys on the Orton B-road to the west of junction 39 which I always thought might hold promise of dark skies to the south.

    Now the nights are drawing in, we could be back in the pub before last orders!

  2. It isn’t a competition… it just was there and an obvious target for the WO scope with its wide field of view. As for the pub, thinking of observing double stars now?

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