Have you ever wanted to image for 8.5 days? I don't mean take a vacation and take a photo sometime throughout each day - I mean 8.5 days, 200+ hours, of cumulative exposure time for one photo. This is what I am currently in the midst of. I don't even want to add in set up, acquisition, focusing, tear down into the mix else I might faint from the amount of time I am working on this one shot.
The goal: a high resolution narrowband mosaic of the Pelican and North American Nebulas.
I am using my Atik 314L+ ccd camera and my Orion EON80ED scope to (hopefully) make a very high resolution large mosaic of the region. By my calculations and progress so far each filter will have 20 panels. I am currently half-way through the Ha, which I am shooting 10x1200s subs, binned 1x1 for each of those panels.
My thinking? Well, summers here in England have very short nights and I realized that combined with the infamous cloudy and rainy weather here I would be lucky to finish more than just a couple objects during the summer months. I was beginning the season with just a Ha shot of the main portion of the Pelican when I had this brilliant plan. Why not avoid frustration over having to drag out each image and plan that into the summer? Do a mosaic of the region, which with my small chip was the only way to image it anyways, and therefore when I do have clear nights, even though incredibly short on darkness, I already have all the planning done and just have to center on the next panel and off I go. Halfway through the first filter's panels I am wondering if I was completely insane when I set my mind out to do this! The 10 panels I currently have are roughly 77 inches square in size and so large I have to cut it down to 1/4 size just to load to Flickr and not hit their size maximums!!! No, I will not be printing a 10 foot poster of the final project, but the resolution for even a (what a normal person would consider) large print should be fantastic.
I still have the rest of the summer and beginning of fall until my targets rotate away for a few months so I am hoping that the remaining 167 hours are as promising as the first 33 were!