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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