First pictures with Orion 8″ Newtonian Astrograph

I recently acquired the 8″ orion Newtonian astrograph for a couple of reasons:

  • Fast focal ratio telescope to reduce exposure time
  • Great capabilities given the price – it  compares well with a SCT of same aperture but provide a faster optic
  • Large field of view compared to instruments of similar diameter
  • Lightweight and easy to set up (compared to larger focal length Newtonian)

I use the Astrograph with a Coma corrector (Baader MPCC – Multi purpose coma corrector) – this is a must be accessory for a Newtonian with such a high speed focal ratio.  The telescope needs to be thoroughly collimated – but when you get used to it this takes a couple of minutes (first cut with laser collimator and fine tuning on a star).

Look also at the Trifid nebula shot I recently took with the 8″ Newtonian and qhy8 …

Leo’s triplet – 3/19/2010 – 9 exp of 360sec with Qhy8 CCD

 

This instrument is  not meant to be a visual telescope (at least for Planetary observing). I can notice some spherical aberration on mine – but it is not a big deal for deep sky photography at focal plane (at least for the average conditions I have on my observation sites).

This telescope excels in Nebula and Galaxy clusters.  For planetary nebulas , or details in small galaxies, a larger focal  (e.g. the one you have with a C9.25″ at f6.3) performs better.

I used a couple of time CCD inspector from CCDWare with it to optimize the collimation. This is a fantastic product allowing you to collimate the telescope in real time while the CCD camera is attached to it. You do a rough collimation first – and then fine-tune the collimation with CCD inspector in real time.  It can be used with any telescope, but this program is particularly useful with fast telescope where collimation has to be done within high tolerances.

Ngc 4565 – Needle galaxy – 3/6/2010 – 19exp of 165 sec – Canon XTi

 

M86 – Part of Virgo Galaxy cluster – 5/6/2010 – 18exp of 360 sec with Qhy8 CCD
(collimation was far from  perfect there … stars become donuts on the egde..)

 

M1 – Crab Nebula – 9exp of 240sec with Qhy8 camera

 

I compared pictures of the same objects taken with my Orion 102ED refractor, and not only the images are much brighter, but they capture many more fine details with the 8″ astrograph.

The Full Width Half Maximum (FWHM) of stars is significantly better with the 8″ astrograph as well (even though not taken with the same Camera – Canon XTi with the 102ED, and Qhy8 with a larger pixel size  for the 8″ astrograph).

The comparison stops there – the Orion 102ED refractor is a very versatile instrument, that is very easy to use (no collimation, no significant cool down time for the optics), and the 8″ Astrograph is not so much for beginners and is dedicated to deep sky astrophotography. So far I am very satisfied with the 8″ astrograph – it is a telescope fun to use – and of great quality / price ratio.

  1. #1 by Lambert Gagnon on April 4, 2011 - 2:18 pm

    Hi,
    I bought this scope but I have difficulty of collating it using not only one tool but two: Hutech SCA and the one that you have Baader.
    I can’t get the beam to be in the center of the donut. Was it difficult for you? No matter how I tried the beam just got in about less 50%. I also used the Orion Centering device combined with the Baader because the Hutech has a self centering.
    Best regards,
    Lambert

  2. #2 by jmeriaux on April 4, 2011 - 3:22 pm

    Lambert,
    I am using the Orion laser collimator. I cannot really talk for HuTech collimator – I never used it [ and don’t use the baader one as well]. There is a collimating device delivered If I remember well with the telescope (but it is simply a piece of metal with the hole in the center) – and you have to check first if the secondary mirror is correctly aligned in the tube. I did not have to change that for mine it came aligned out of the box. Then you can use the laser collimator – and in my case I had no trouble to have the laser ray centered on the mirror spot (secondary alignment) and then use the primary knobs to finish the process with the laser collimator. Then I usually do a last pass (mirror knobs) on a 2nd magnitude star at x150 minimum
    I found this tutorial useful http://www.andysshotglass.com/Collimating.html
    Hope it helps…
    Jean-Christophe

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