NGC 663, the Lawnmower Man

For complete ridiculousness, I recently purchased a small Newtonian telescope to try to use as a guide scope. My hope is that the longer focal length will better match the imaging scope, and it will give more accurate guiding. With a finally decent, clear sky, I first picked an easy target to play around with guiding. I was able to properly polar align and find some guide stars, though there seemed to be fewer than with the smaller, faster refractor I was guiding with previously. The declination guiding was going very smooth, with gentle sub-arcsecond accuracy. Right ascension would go well periodically, but occasionally the guide star would fall behind by two or more arcseconds. Playing with settings would get it to catch back up pretty quickly, but there still seemed to be something going on with the tracking in the platform. Perhaps the rollers need touched up a bit.

NGC 663 is an easy-to-find cluster in Cassiopeia. It’s nicknamed the “Lawnmower cluster,” though I have no idea why. I guess I don’t have the imagination that some astronomers do. I took 38 images of one minute exposure. Bias and flats at the same ISO were taken, and I believe that my softbox and a new, bluer bulb gave me much better results.

Lawnmower Cluster