I had a great frame on the Waterbug Galaxy and his neighbor, NGC 5005. These galaxies lay 64 and 81 million light years away, respectively. Photobombers include the galaxy smudges NGC 5002, near the top center, and NGC 5014, in the top right corner. These galaxies are markedly smaller and yet around the same distance. Three and a half hours of exposure gave great results that needed little manipulation.
NINA was the champ. This was my first time setting the targets beforehand and letting the program do everything on it’s own. It focused and imaged the first target, with a perfect meridian flip. After 4 hours on that target, it switched over to this target, plate solved, focused, and gave me great data until sunrise, including a meridian flip and refocus half way through. All while I was sleeping. NINA is easily my favorite astronomy program that I have tried yet.
I may have also solved my bad flats problem by putting an aperture mask on the mirror. I’ll go into more detail on that once it’s proven.