June 26, 2008

EQ6/C11/ED80 first imaging light – M13

It seems like forever since I was last out in my own garden with my own astrokit (23rd April), but finally the skies cleared and allowed me out to play.

This was my first serious session with the “new” EQ6 Pro + C11 + ED80, and so it took a while to get everything organised, attached, cables routed, etc, but I got there eventually.

With the nights so short and light, I needed to choose a target that would be bright and easy to image. Yes, sadly its M13… another one! I do have a soft spot for M13, it was my very first DSO I ever imaged back in May 2007.

Things have changed a LOT for me since then, new kit, lots of experience, a lot of confidence… but all this counted for nothing with a completely new rig to get working last night.

Thankfully, I used EQMOD + GPS + wireless gamepad, which made life so much easier. I only touched the Synscan handset when i powered up and when i packed it away.

Anyway, here are the results of my first imaging light with the C11.

OTA: C11 @ f/10
Guiding: SW ED80 + DSI-C + PHD (via EQMOD)
RGB Imaging: QHY8 + MaximDL, 11×180s, IDAS
Stacked: DeepSkyStacker
Post Process: ImagesPlus + PSCS2 + Noel Carboni’s AstroTools
(It was supposed to be 30 x 180s but I didnt remember that the C11 will need more heat on the dew strips, so it dewed up after about 30 minutes and I didnt notice)

(Click on image to view larger version)

I learned a lot of things last night, useful things that will help me set up faster and get imaging sooner. Am already looking for the next clear night!

Posted by under Astro | Comments (1)

June 7, 2008

New addition to my equipment list

My NexStar 8 GPS continues to serve me well (when the UK skies actually co-operate), and with the Hyperstar attached, it supplies me with plenty of quality image to data to work on. What I do miss is actually looking through my telescope… yes, odd really! 🙂 I would love to look through my telescope more often, but gievn that clear skies here in the UK are in terribly short supply, if its a choice between imaging or observing, then imaging always wins.

I`ve been on the lookout for a suitable observing system for a while. I did toy with the idea of getting a Celestron 6SE, but I wanted something with more light grasp. I also toyed with the idea of a SkyWatcher FlexTube 12″ Dobsonian (which I was fortunate to use at Kelling star party in Spring 2008), but there is something to be said for the old saying “Being in the right place at the right time”. With my annual bonus arriving recently, I was offered two great (and complimenatry) deals by two friends at the same time, so I jumped at the chance to expand my equipment list, and it can be used for observing and imaging, depending on the seeing and sky quality.

So, here it is, my latest addition: EQ6 Pro, Celestron C11 XLT, ED80 Pro, all on an ADM Side-By-Side plate (the C11 OTA is not Fastar compatible, but probably best in the long run 🙂 )

It will take me a while to get used to this new system, as I have never used a GEM before. A bit of a learning curve ahead for me, learning to use the polar scope, having to do the real polar alignment the hard way (unlike the oh so easy Celestron Wedge Align routine!), plus the joys of EQASCOM look tempting but overwhelming. More news as it happens… thats if I ever get to see clear dark skies again!

Posted by under Astro | Comments (2)