June 24, 2009

Another Eagle has landed (M16 Ha)

I`ve been after this one ever since I (stupidly) tried to bag it with an unmodified 350D a few years back… I learnt quickly after that episode!

Its really low in he sky, way down in the murk from the UK, but its probably the best time of the year to image it. I know the sky wasnt great last night, turned a bit murky as the mositure dropped out of the sky, and then a bit misty early this morning, but considering it is so low, and the sky wasnt truly “dark”, I am happy with this image.

This was also first light for the Alan Gee telecompressor. The C11 does not provide a very flat field for large chip CCDs (see the closeup version of my M13 a while back for reference), and I had tried the 6.3 focal reducer several times before, but in the 18+ months I have had the Alan Gee unit, I had never tried it. Looking at the image, it gives a better flat field, but nowhere near perfect. CCD Inspector gives some dodgy results on the FITs files, probably because of the nebula in the center affecting its calculations.

Last weekend I spent some time arranging the kit so the back focus is somewhere near correct for the Alan Gee unit when using the Celestrin Off Axis Guider, and at the same time, ensuring that the lodestar guide camera is also in focus at the same time. Last night, all the bits went back together again, and everything worked first time.

Mount: EQ6 via EQMOD, plus CCD Commander
OTA: C11 + Alan Gee Telecompressor (@f/5.9)
Guiding: ED80 + SX Lodestar + PHD
Imaging: M25C + MaximDL, 1×600s, Astronomik 13nm Ha (100 bias, 100 flats)
Stacked: DeepSkyStacker
Post Process: PSCS2

(Click on image for larger version)

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June 24, 2009

Cygnus Ha Widefield

Just a quick process on this widefield image. The camera was piggybacked on the back of the EQ6/C11 while I was imaging something else (yet to be processed!), so this is “bonus” data 🙂

Imaging: QHY8 + 28mm Nikon DSLR Lens, Nebulosity, 5×900s, Baader 35nm Ha
Stacked: DeepSkyStacker
Post Process: PSCS2

(Click on image for larger version)

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June 1, 2009

IC1396 two-pane mosaic

Why cant we have this run of clear skies in the winter, when the wide field objects are high in the sky and its dark? eh? Pah!

Had a few “issues” over the weekend while out…. nothing serious, just annoying little things.

Bad things:

Its nowhere near dark…. couldnt believe how bright the sky really was, and I believe my subs reflect that poor condition. The lack of time also didnt help, not enough subs to smooth out the noise. May have to look at GRAS for the summer months, and/or invest in a 6nm/7nm Ha filter.

PAM played silly buggers on me using the FLT98… took me nearly 2 hours on Friday night to work out that it needs to look for 1 pixel stars with widefield images, or it may not solve it.

Couldnt get Maxim to guide… it just refused to “see” a guide star until I was doing 5 second subs with the SX Lodestar. Meanwhile, PHD was finding stars all over the place at 0.5 seconds with the same camera in the same OTA. Go figure…

Had some flexure, couldnt work it out for a while. Both nights I had flex due to the FLT98 focuser (which can rotate) was a bit floppy. Saturday night I had some flex because I thought I had tightened the ADM dovetail into the puck after some lateral balance adjustments…. but apparently not as tight as I thought! When I stripped it down on Sunday, I could rock the ADM Side-By-Side plate backwards and forwards in the puck. That could have been horribly expensive!

Good things:

CCD Commander is fantastic, and would be near perfect if I could get Maxim to bloody guide! Two frame IC1396, one half per night, perfect alignment for both bits!

Registar made short work of aligning the two parts, I just had to fiddle the curves/levels on both segments (2 separate layers to start with) in CS2 to get it somewhere near usable.

It only takes me 20 minutes to set up if the mount and scopes are already out

The Televue flattener (TRF-2008) appears to be doing its job nicely.

More bad things:

Something I do when out with the kit really screws my back up. I have to be really careful to watch how I lift things. No wonder its been getting better recently, I havent been outside since Kelling(!!)

So, anyway, lets get to the image:

Mount: EQ6 via EQMOD, plus CCD Commander
OTA: WO FLT98CF + Televue 0.8x flattener (@ f/5)
Guiding: ED80 + SX Lodestar + PHD
Imaging: M25C + MaximDL, 8×600s + 16x600s, Astronomik 13nm Ha (100 bias, 100 flats)
Stacked: DeepSkyStacker
Post Process: ImagesPlus, Registar, PSCS2
Notes: Need far more time on this to be able to process it as far as I would like. I will return to this in August/Septmber.

(Click on image for larger version… sorry, its a bit noisy!)

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