Mark Nickols has his scope back from the shop and is getting back into the swing of things with this great catch of NGC 253, the Sculptor Galaxy, from his suburban back yard.
I collected my scope last Monday and duly paid the repair bill (there was play in the DEC drive) and it has been frustrating waiting to try it out, what with smoke and cloud, and last night was the first opportunity. I'm not entirely happy with this image of the Sculptor Galaxy (NGC 253) but in a recent post I think Steve Crouch said that "people seem to prefer it" or words to that effect but I couldn't recall anyone posting it recently so here 'tis.
The point of this little exercise was to check the tracking of the scope using guiding software (PHD). There are still issues to deal with but the scope tracked this little beasty from the first exposure at 1015 to the last at 0217 with virtually no movement in the image from frame to frame, so that's a big thumbs up for the repairs.
Now on to issues with tuning the guiding software (where I can now at least see that changes I make to parameters are having some [reproducable] effect).
Camera: SBIG STF8300c
16 x 5 min exposures, stacked
UPDATE 28/10/2013: Image replaced with reprocessed version.