After some disappointing weather over the last 12 months, I've taken my first proper deep sky image again in 2016. NGC 281, The Pac-Man Nebula is a nice easy target in Cassiopeia. This latest image is simply 2.5 hours of hydrogen alpha data, no darks, flats or bias frames. Naturally the image will be reprocessed when these calibration frames are available. I also want to add another evening's worth of data when the weather allows it.
NGC 281 will be my project focus over the nest few sessions. Firstly I will create a HaRGB image, then shoot O-III and S-II data to create a Hubble Palette image. The narrowband data will need to be several hours per filter to achieve a good image. I will be aiming for at least 5-6 hours per channel.
I am now using PHD2 autoguiding software with its added features. In order to improve guiding performance I have started using the polar align assistant which allows even greater polar alignment accuracy than the Takahashi EM-200 polar alignment scope does. Given the declination backlash which unfortunately plagues the EM-200, a very accurate polar alignment will reduce much of the declination drift and any necessary corrections. Guiding performance was very good last night despite the wind. Polar alignment was accurate and declination guiding corrections kept to a minimum. Sub-pixel guiding was still achieved with round stars in each of the subframes.