2015-05-20 Astrophotography: M101 Galaxy

20150521001-Edit (Gradient - Edits)-2Last night we had unexpected clear skies.  The forecast called for partly cloudy skies, but as the sun began to set the remaining wisps of clouds in the upper atmosphere dispersed and much to my delight it was clear from horizon to horizon.  I kept glancing out the window as Venus and Jupiter began to emerge as twighlight took over.  Slowly, the brighter stars began to appear and as the sun’s glow to the west faded the fainter stars began to emerge… and still, no clouds in the sky.  At around 10:30pm as Astronomical Twilight ended (the time of night when it becomes truly dark) I set up my tripod and equatorial tracking mount in the back yard and sighted in on a target that I had not previously photographed. (more…)

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