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Wadsworth Observatory's LX850 blog

Evaluating Meade's LX850 telescope mount

I refer to the terrific website, the premier astronomy website with articles, reviews, classified ads, and a huge discussion board (about 77,000 members last time I checked!). Many folks will remember when we rolled out CN 2.0 to update the aging and difficult-to-maintain original software (in use on CN for over ten years). Thinking that folks wanted a new, modern look we didn’t make much effort to maintain the fit and feel of the original setup. There was a very substantial backlash and loads of complaints so it was rolled back to the original system while a more suitable replacement package was found, obtained, and configured. That’s been going on in the background ever since. Testers report a much more comfortable transition, with much of the original fit and feel maintained while still adding useful functionality.

It’s going to take time to transfer the huge databases (ten years worth of content) into the new structure – and, of course, any traffic added during the transition would just confuse things.


Here’s the plan. Some  inactive content is being converted right now while the old system continues to operate. The old system will go dark this weekend while the bulk of the conversion takes place.  Barring unforeseen complications, the new site should be up by Monday morning. Same URL, same usernames, same passwords. Just use your old account.



Finally – another RGB image. Narrowband filters won’t help with this one. It’s very dim. I just wanted to see what could be done with it from my urban location. It isn’t great, but it’s much better than I expected! Seven five minute exposures each R, G, B (no time for L on a work night). Usual gear; 12″ LX850, QSI683WSG-8.


Larger version:





I’m kind of locked into this bicolor narrowband mode – but at least I stumbled onto an appropriately sized target this time. It’s a nice, big planetary nebula. As usual, the sky didn’t cooperate during the weekend so this was another worknight (read “in a  hurry to get to bed”) shot. Grabbed an hour each Ha and OIII. Still using the 12″ Meade LX850 and the QSI683WSG-8.


Can be seen at and presumably that one will get updated as time is found to tune up the processing.



Not a great night fopr imaging; transparency was as bad as the Clear Sky Chart said it would be so even with 8 minute exposures it was noisy. Cleaned it up as best I could in a hurry so I can go to bed (work day tomorrow). I might be able to do a more gentle job later. 48 minutes each Ha and OIII, 12″ Meade LX850, QSI683WSG-8 – as usual. I’ll be switching to the FSQ-106N soon. This target makes much more sense at that scale!


Larger version at



I don’t remember the last time I was able to image two nights in a row! This is 8 exposure groups, each with 5 minute luminance and 100 second R, G, and B. Still with the 12″ LX850 and QSI683WSG-8. Larger version at .



I know it’s time to switch over to the FSQ for nebula season but I’m still having fun with the 12″ OTA so I’ll probably do a few more inappropriately large objects with it.  This is a bicolor image, using Ha and OIII filters. The OIII is mainly to give me some star color.



Got one more image tonight. Clouds rolled in and cut the session short but I got JUST enough data to put this one together. It’s the usual gear; 12″ LX850, QSI683WSG-8. 6 exposures of 5 minutes each R,G,B. Larger at



Here’s a quick middle-of-the-night process of some data I captured tonight. 5 exposures of 8 minutes Ha and OIII.


Larger version at





One last shot from last night. M92 with 12″ LX850, QSI683WSG-8


Larger at: CN



M56 captured remotely. The usual gear and the usual scheme (50 minutes L, 10 minutes each RGB, 12″ LX850).