Archive for July, 2010

Trifid Nebula with 8″ Orion Newtonian Astrograph

Date: 7/4/2010

Seeing 3/10 – Transparency 3/6

8″ Orion Newtonian Astrograph with Baader MPCC on Atlas mount

Autoguiding with Takahashi fs60-c and Orion auto-guider

Camera: Qhy8 with CLS CCD – 11 exposures of 360sec

Trifid is quite low on the horizon (about 30 degree) – and being right in the middle of the  city with the SFO airport not very far, the sky glow and turbulence makes imaging quite challenging.

Especially the blue of the reflection nebula is quite hard to isolate from the overall noise – that’s why it is necessary to stack many images to improve the signal to noise ratio.

But thanks to the CLS CCD astronomik filter, and processing with Photoshop CS4 and Noise Ninja, the final image looks acceptable.

Having tested the Coma Corrector from Baader with the Orion 8″ astrograph, I can now tell that once the collimation is perfect (at f/d 4 collimation tolerances are very small), the Baader coma corrector does a great job to obtain round stars across the image, at least for an APS-C size sensor like the one the Qhy8 has.

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Markarian’s Chain with Takahashi FS60-C and Qhy8 Camera

Date: 6/11/2010

Telescope: Takahashi fs60c with Astrotech Field Flattener – Guidescope orion 102ed

San Bruno, CA

12 exposures of 420sec with Qhy8 CCD and CLS CCD – Seeing 4/10 – Transparency 3/6

Processed with Maxim DL5, Photoshop CS4 and Neat image.


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Eagle Nebula with C9.25

Date: 6/12/2010

Location: San Bruno, CA – near the SFO airport…

Telescope: C9.25 at F/D 6.3 with Focal reducer / corrector

Mount: Atlas Mount with Orion Short tube 80mm and Star Shoot autoguider

Camera: QHY8 – with Astronomic CLS CCD Filter.

17 exposures of 420 seconds bin 2×2 (False color)  – processed with MaximDL5. Dark, Flat field, and biais images were used.

Post processing with Photoshop CS4, Noise Ninja, and Focus Magic.

I used layers and careful processing to make sure details in the center of the Nebula are not over-saturated / lost. It is one of the first picture I processed with Noise Ninja, and I like all the controls it provides compared to NeatImage (another noise reduction program).

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Trifid and Lagoon Nebulae in city light

This is my first try at Wide field imaging (comparing to the focal length I usually use) in San Bruno – on 7/4/2010!  Transparency was 3/6 (magnitude 3 stars seen at best) and M8 was quite low (below 30 deg.) so imaging was a challenge! But what can be done in a highly light polluted environment with a fast optical system, the CLS CCD anti pollution filter, and digital processing still surprises me…

Mount: Astrotrack travel system

Camera: Canon XTi with Canon 200mm prime lens  f/d 2.8 teleobjective open at f/d 3.5 – at Iso 400

30 exposure of 90 seconds with Astronomik CLS CCD clip filter

I am still experimenting with the Astrotrack – and can improve tracking accuracy. Also unfortunately the 200mm Lens is somewhat out of collimation (in the process of returning it). But given the conditions I am happy with the result. Hoping to use these gears on a trip in New Mexico in September…

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