First light with the NexDome, and some EAA

After getting my new NexDome set up and mostly configured, I had to wait almost two weeks for a clear night. Isn’t that how it goes.

I first tried to use the ASCOM Dome Control program as the device hub, but it wouldn’t allow SharpCap to slew. The next choice was POTH, which seems like a better, more configurable program overall. I used my estimated measurements for the scope and dome dimensions, and all seemed to work pretty well. The scope and dome don’t perfectly line up in the west, so I’ll have to tweak the values and try to figure out how to accurately align the dome with the celestial pole. But, for the first night, I can’t complain.

After I got the scope polar aligned, I proceeded to just tour the sky and do a little Electronically Assisted Astronomy. I used SharpCap for this, and the live stack feature in it is very nice to get some decent views of targets after just a few minutes of data. It has nice controls for color balance and stretching. It uses Astrometry.net to do plate solving, which is quite handy as I move around to very different areas of the sky. The star registration works very well, and it makes it easy to quickly hop around to objects without having to worry about getting guiding going on every new target.

I streamed the session at twitch.tv. I may try this more often in the future between imaging projects and on nights that aren’t fully clear.

Here are captures from a few targets I looked at. Each picture is less than 10 minutes of total integration. Stretching and color was done in SharpCap. I subtracted background gradients and resized the images in GIMP.