M1 – The Crab Nebula in Taurus

Telescope: Meade LX50 Mak 7 at f/15, Orion Atlas EQ-G
Camera: ZWO ASI071MC, Orion Imaging Skyglow Filter
Sensor Temperature: -10C, Gain: 300, Offset: 50
Guide scope: Astro-Tech 60mm, Meade DSI Pro II, PHD
Exposure: 56x240sec saved as FITS
Darks: 32x240sec saved as FITS
Flats: 32x30sec, LED tracing tablet
Average Light Pollution: Red zone, fair transparency, waning gibbous moon
Lensed Sky Quality Meter: 18.3 mag/arc-sec^2
Stacking: Mean with a 2-sigma clip.
White Balance: Nebulosity Automatic
Software: Nebulosity, Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop

This is M1, the Crab Nebula in Taurus (the Bull). M1 is a supernova remnant; the remains of a star that ended its life in one of the most violent events in nature. This particular supernova erupted in 1054 and the star became so bright that it was visible in broad daylight for 23 days. The resulting nebula is expanding so fast that it can be detected in images taken a few years apart. At the heart of the nebula is a pulsar; a neutron star spinning at over 30 revolutions per second.

This is one of a series of test images that I am taking with my LX50 Meade Mak 7. The scope is clearly going to be very well suited for high resolution lunar and planetary imaging, but I was so impressed with its sharp images and flat, coma-free field that I was also curious how it would perform as a deep sky imaging platform. Imaging at f/15 is fairly challenging, but the initial results are quite encouraging. To get the most out of a telescope like this I’ll need good transparency and seeing, so once I am finished testing it will probably be used for special targets that can take advantage of its capabilities. Until then, it’ll be a lot of fun seeing what it can do.

-John

M1 (11-8-2017)-2j.jpg