What a Weekend!

The Trifid Nebula - I used my Explore Scientific ED80 Telescope on a Celestron CG-5 mount
M20 - The Trifid Nebula

It all started on Friday, April 27th when I was lucky enough to spend another night at the RASC Niagara Observatory in Wellandport, Ontario.  The clouds hung around until about 1:30am, just as the moon was setting.  Now that the summer constellations are beginning to appear again, I wanted to take a crack at the beautiful Trifid Nebula.  The above shot was taken with the following details:

22 x 180" ISO 1600

Stacked with 12 dark frames

ES 80ed Apo Triplet
Orion Mini Guidescope
Meade DSI II
Canon 450d unmodded
Stacked in DSS
Processed in PS CS5

2 days later, I was finally able to take my first photo of the sun using my homemade filter (with safe Baader solar film) fitted to my 4.5" Orion Skyquest XT. The photo below was taken at 3pm on Sunday, April 29th with a Canon Powershot Digital Camera through a 26mm Orion Eyepiece.

The Sun
Later that night, the weather gods blessed me with clear skies after the moon set, again!  I was able to capture an hour of data on another exciting DSO that I have never tried before.  M17 - The Swan Nebula.  I was very surprised at how well this turned out despite the  fact that it was so low in my light-polluted backyard's sky.

M17 - The Swan Nebula