Josh Carnovale's Lagoon and Trifid Nebulas

You might think this wide field shot of the Lagoon and Trifid together is pretty reasonable, but when you find out it was taken with a saxon 70mm travel scope, it raises it to a remarkable achievement.

Josh is a year 10 student at Charles Latrobe in Macleod, which has a STEM focus, including an astronomy club. Josh has been taking Milky Way photos with a 50mm lens, but decided to get into narrower field astrophotography.

His brother recently upgraded his 10" Dobsonian by attaching tube rings and putting it on an NEQ6 mount. Josh wanted to get to know the new mount before putting a large scope on it. The family happened to have the travel scope, so Josh attached a Canon 1200D and put it on the mount.

Using this, he found that he wasn’t able to track stars for more than 25 seconds before they started to turn into spaghetti. Josh realised he needed better polar alignment, so he came into the shop.

We talked about the polar alignment routine that I’d demonstrated on our YouTube channel.

Next time, Josh did a 3-star alignment followed by the polar alignment routine. This improved the alignment so he was able to get a 40 second exposure. I’ve attached one. You'll see that the chromatic aberration from the travel scope is pretty intrusive, but that's not what’s important here.

Josh took 60 of these images and stacked them using Deep Sky Stacker, along with 20 calibration shots. Some adjustment in Photoshop, and he got this final image.


It’s a fantastic shot, given the equipment.

Josh wants to keep improving his alignment, by repeating the alignment routine a couple of times. This should allow him even longer exposure times. Ultimately, he’s interested in deep sky objects like nebulas and galaxies, and wants an ED100DS refractor for the NEQ6. That'll give him a wider field of view than the Newtonian. Besides, who wouldn't want glass?

Keep an eye out for Josh, he's clearly got a good future in this hobby!