Start of the new season and a status update!
Well folks, it’s not getting dark around 11:30 at night so that gives a couple of hours of darkness before bed……
I have some new equipment for the season – Namely the Telescope Services Off Axis Guider and an SX Lodestar guide camer (This is one sensitive guide cam!). I was out a couple of night ago and managed 8, 10 min subs and after stacking I can see all the hot pixels are stacked slap bang on top of each other, confirming that I am getting sub-pixel guiding, just need to up the focal length and see if the same can be achieved with my 8″ SCT at it’s native 2m focal length – that will be a challenge! The advantage of the OAG over a ‘piggy-back’ guide cam setup is that differential flexture is removed and also the camera is working at the same focal length as the imaging scope and ‘seeing’ the same stars that the main imaging camera sees. The disadvantage is that somtimes due to the small field of view (The Off Axis Guider, has a small pick off prism that captures a small portion of the light and directs it to the guide camera) there may not be many stars to guide on – hence why I bought the sensitive SX Lodestar and this may be an issue when working the the SCT but time will tell.
Anyway, other news…… I think my first posting said I was an Moderator on Stargazerslounge, this is no longer the case and although I do sometimes visit, I now tend to post on UKAstroimaging.co.uk. I wont go into any details here (As I will likely have my account removed alltogether) but I do miss the place, it is certainly a popular forum and I dont want to put others off, I just thought I better update my status.
Other new equipment, I have a 2″ Ha (Hydrogen Alpha – the gas that gives astro images the red light) but have not used it yet and am actually wondering if it will be of any use – it will need to sit at the front of the image train, before the OAG and the Guidecam and this may mean that the guide camera does not get any suitably bright stars to guide on, again time will tell…. It was bought primarily so I could still image when the moon was around. I also have comepleted a control station that I made for my setup, it contains a laptop and has voltage, current and a temperature guage, and allows me to setup the imaging run then close the lid, keeping everything in the dark and dew free. It also makes taking my kit to astro parties and meets a bit easier as I have the case with the laptop and the dew controller, USB Hub and PSU for the QHY8 all velcro’d to the mount. So in theory, I uplift the case, battery and mount/scope and then I’m ready to so, no more jumble of cables and multiple boxes of stuff to go in the boot (as I invariably forget something!).
Anyway, thats enough of an update for now – the next post will show my first image of the new season M27