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Wadsworth Observatory's LX850 blog

Evaluating Meade's LX850 telescope mount

Just a few notes to show that I’m still here and still interested…

Still no images since September, but everything is set up for an imaging session the next clear weekend.

I have switched from the QSI683WSG-8 to an astro-modified Canon 450D DSLR. It’s been more than ten years since I shot with a DSLR so I don’t quite know what to expect. I know I’m losing the low noise of a cooled camera, and the sensitivity  of unfiltered luminance frames. This camera gets rid of the amp glow that plagued my original (300D) camera so that will help.

Made the trip to NEAF in Suffern, NY last weekend and had the usual great time. I enjoyed speaking to the usual folks and seeing the usual astro goodies. As in recent years, I failed to take photographs so I won’t be reporting on the show beyond that.

I have found something new to do on the cloudy and/or windy nights. I’m just getting set up for making homebrew beer. Got a couple of kegerators (keg refrigerators), along with some 5 gallon kegs. Also a boiling pot, fermentation buckets, and all the fiddly bits needed to make stuff to  go into the kegs. I even made the trip to the next county (the nearest homebrew store) and picked up fresh ingredients for my first 5 gallon batch.

Nothing really new here; no new images since September (and thus no new posts since September). It’s clear tonight but lots of Moon, pretty cold, and I don’t feel well so it’ll be another missed night. That said, I hate to permit the blog to stagnate for so long and decided to post something just to keep it alive. Going forward, I’ll try to come up with something worthwhile to post at least monthly. When the images are flowing, of course, it will be much more active than that. I am not claiming that this is the first such worthwhile post. It’s just an attempt to get things started.

It’s been a blast so far. From the anticipation of waiting for the new gear to arrive to the fun of setting it all up and grabbing the first images to the ongoing enjoyment of fairly steady use ever since, this project has provided plenty of fun for me. With any luck at all, it has also provided information to others.


Watch this space!



I guess I’m still in a bicolor rut, but at least I got away from the widefield stuff. Here’s M1 with eight ten minute exposures each Ha and OIII. Working at F/8 instead of F/5 is about one aperture stop decrease, so Ideally I’d be doubling exposure time.  I lack the patience so I’m still using 10 minute exposures. Click the thumbnail above for the larger version, or click here for less compressed.



I know – I promised no more bicolor widefields this season. It rained much of the weekend, though, and I can’t swap optical tubes with the roof closed! I decided to make the best of it and grabbed this one. Eight exposures ten minutes each, H-a and OIII. Same equipment lineup as the last several. Less compressed here.



This should be the last one with the Tak for the season. It looks like it will be a while before we have sky here again and I expect to be back on the Meade by then. Less compressed here .




Still trying to get the last widefield shots before Cygnus goes behind the house. This one is six ten minute exposures each, H-a and OIII. Same gear as the last several. Less compressed at




I’ll switch out the optical tubes this weekend, so here’s one last shot with the FSQ-106N. My last M33 was disappointing due to poor transparency so I gave it another try tonight. This one pleases me much more. Uncompressed at:






My refurbished Moonlight focuser is back already (Thanks for the GREAT service, Ron!) so I’ll be switching back to the 12″ Meade when weather permits. Here’s one last FSQ106N shot for now – an old favorite.




Another quick shot from the other night. Nine exposures of five minutes each RGB. FSQ-106N, QSI683WSG-8, LX850.





Grabbed a shot of our nearest spiral galaxy. Nine exposures of seven minutes each R,G,B. FSQ-106N, QSI683WSG-8, LX850 as usual. I lost control of the star colors in this same-night-before-I go-to bed processing session. I’ll clean it up later and stick that version on Astrobin.