LX850 optical tube



SUMM97RGB-2-1000I’ve been very gradually working toward a fully remote capability. I don’t need it here; the observatory is only a few steps from the house. The ultimate goal is to get something set up and debugged so that if a remote location becomes available I’ll have the right stuff to make use of it. The only things not yet implemented are the roof control and euipment power. I was going to a local star party so I powered up and pushed the “open” button – then left for the party.


After dark, I grabbed the laptop and connected to my observatory via TeamViewer (great software!) . I decided on M97, set it all up, and started exposing. When I came back to the laptop it was complete so I selected another target (M56) and started that one. Before leaving for home I started another (M92) and powered down and closed up when I got home.


This M97 isn’t great; dim objects need much more exposure time when shooting narrowband. It was fun, though.


Usual gear; 12″ LX850, QSI683WSG-8, 80 minutes each Ha and OIII.


Larger at: http://www.cloudynights.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=29865&size=big&password=&sort=1&thecat=







One more from last night – M106. I never shot it before so at least it’s a new target for me. Lots of skyglow; must have been junk in the air. I even had to shoot some “drywall flats” to tame a gradient. I usually skip flats and rely on Gradient Exterminator but although I JUST cleaned the filters there’s still something on the L filter and GX has trouble with dust bunnies!


Usual gear and exposure sequence.


Larger version at http://www.cloudynights.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=29835&size=big


As usual, if I get ambitious and clean the image up I’ll update that version.



Managed to grab another quick image. Still using the QSI683WSG-8 on the 12″ F/8 Meade LX850 combo. 40 minutes L, 8 minutes each R,G,B.


I’m still liking the Meade OTA, though I do notice that with the dewshield attached it makes quite a wind catcher.


Larger image at http://www.cloudynights.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=29831&size=big



I know it’s been too quiet around here. I’ve been fiddling with planet imaging (’tis the season, after all!) but my downtown location has never permitted me to do well and things haven’t changed. Lots of wasted sessions. Now Jupiter is behind the house and Mars is in the trees so it’s just Saturn and I don’t feel much like beating that dead horse so I’m done for the season. Last night I pulled the Neximage5 and stuck the QSI back on the Meade. I spent some time dealing with various issues that had crept in during the inactive period. FocusMax hasn’t worked for a long time and I dug around and found the settings that had gotten corrupted so that works now (this is probably the first decently focused image this year). Goofed around with the focuser tilt and got that a little better, too. Opened the camera up and removed some dust from the L filter.


By then it was getting late so I decided to grab an easy target. I have to say that I’m glad, as this is the best M13 I’ve shot. Like many of us, I’ve gone for it dozens of times because it’s such a good test target; doesn’t require all that much exposure time and has stars everywhere. The image posted here is the result of a very quick processing session performed before I went to bed. I’ll tune up the larger version in the following link later so that one should improve.

40 minutes L unbinned, 10 minutes each R,G,B binned 2X2

L exposures were eight of 5 minutes each, RGB were each five 2 minute exposures. All were Starlock guided. Image scale unbinned is about .4 arcseconds/pixel.

QSI683WSG-8 on Meade 12″ F/8 ACF/LX850 mount



I picked up a NexImage 5 last year, figuring that the unusually small (2.2 micron pixels) would deliver a decent image scale for planets without having to Barlow up so much. With no Barlow, it would be comparable to 3X with cameras I’ve used in the past (WAY in the past). I’ve never had much luck on planets; urban seeing conditions aren’t favorable to high resolution work.

I finally had a chance to play with it the other night and it was VERY encouraging. In the 12″ Meade with no Barlow, it delivered a decent image scale – even at the shorter F/8 focal length compared to the F/10 and F/11 SCTs I’ve used previously. About the same (as expected) as in unsuccessful efforts with 3X Barlows, but with a significantly better result. Pretty sorry compared to what the big guns do, but the best I’ve managed. Next time I’ll try 2X; that will give me greater resolution than I have ever attempted from here. That’s IO at the limb, by the way.

The attached image is the best 800 frames from a 30 second 1000 frame capture, processed in Registax and Photoshop. If I had realized that the result of this quick test would be so favorable, I’d have waited for dark (and better cooldown) and shot longer, making a real run at it.