Frustrations with PHD Guiding

M81 and M82 photo by Trevor Jones
M81 and M82
I had a heck of a night this Friday at my Astronomy Clubs observatory.  The skies were clear for the first time in weeks, and I was excited to shoot Orion before it gets too low in the sky until next year.  Everything seemed to be going great until it was time to calibrate PHD guiding.  Even though my mount was polar aligned perfectly (I did it several times), PHD would not calibrate (Star did not move enough) I spent almost 3 hours trying to get it to work with no luck. 

Since Orion was long gone by then, I decided to change direction and just shoot some unguided shots of M81 and M82. I can't stand shooting unguided shots because I know that I will just delete them once I get some good guided shots. Oh well, at least I didn't come home empty handed.

Celestron CG-5
Canon 450d unmodified

1 hour 30 minutes - (30) 3 minute suns (unguided)
ISO 1600
Stacked with 8 Darks

I also put about 45 minutes into M51.  Just a start...

M51 Whirlpool Galaxy