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Showing posts from July, 2015

Mallincam DSm, ST-80, and Smart EQ Pro

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My grab n'go combo pulled it off again last night, with the EQ Pro tracking brilliantly and allowing 1-minute, unguided exposures and spot on GOTOs. The ST-80 is light, has a low f-ratio and a very wide FOV (as you can see in these images). The usual suspects are here--the Ring, Dumbbell, and M13. But I also captured for the first time, M56, a small, compact and rather faint globular cluster. Like most of the objects in these images, it is very small in the wide FOV, but it took almost a 1 minute exposure to capture it. The DSm performed very well and did excellent on-the-fly dark field processing using the same set of 10 x 10-second darks for each exposure.



Moon- Venus Conjunction

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Thanks to today's amazing smartphone technology. You don't need a scope to capture astronomical events. I'm in Nashville, TN at the moment, and here are couple of shots I took of the Moon-Venus conjunction

First "Deep Sky" Light of Mallincam Sky Raider DSm camera!

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The clouds melted away last night with a northerly breeze and a clear, transparent sky opened up. As it does not get dark until around10:30 pmhere in Indiana, I did not make the trip to the observatory a couple of miles away, but mounted my trusty ETX 125 OTA (f/15) on my iOptron SmartEQ mount. I added my MFR 5 focal reducer (not ideal in this configuration, I know), Skyglow filter and the Sky Raider.
Here are some of the results for the Whirlpool Galaxy, the Ring Nebula, and M13. I have yet to figure out how to fully use the software as there is no documentation on the software installation disk I had some problems with occasional dropped camera connections which I eventually traced to the provided USB cable, but I muddled through. The pix here did not use dark frames as the exposures were long (the Whirlpool was 1 minute--not a bad image for an unguided exposure on an inexpensive mount) and the intermittent camera connections required restarting the software occasionally with the cons…

First Light SkyRaider DSm 7.12.2015

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Here are a couple of first light images I took yesterday with the Coronado DS. I was fighting a buggy USB connection with the camera, so it was hard to get optimal focus and exposure, but the results are pretty good. These are single images with unsharp masking and colorizing in Photoshop.

The sun is fairly quiet, but the images show long filaments and ARs 2381 & 2385.


New Camera!

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My new Mallincam Sky Raider DSm arrived on Saturday and it is a thing of beauty! The camera is hand-built (as are virtually all Malincams) by Rock Mallin in Ontario. Compact and very heavy, it is extremely sensitive and allows faint, deep sky objects to be imaged with very short exposures.

Here is a pic of the new camera:

The Sky Raider series offer a real revolution in astronomical imaging. Exposures that used to take many hours with a CCD imager can be achieved in seconds with this imager!  I can't wait to try it out when the night skies finally clear here!

First Light--New Grab n'Go Imaging Platform!

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I wanted a small, lightweight scope to add to my collection exclusively for quick grab n'go imaging. I'm very impressed with the performance of my ED 80, but it is mounted in the 14 for guiding and high-quality wide field imaging. For the grab n'go scope, I wanted something relatively inexpensive, compact, and with a good F-ratio. The Orion ST 80 fits the bill perfectly. I've had the scope for a while, but the recent Jupiter/Venus conjunction gave me the opportunity to use the scope for the first time (what a great first light subject!). Although the scope is only an achromat, it performed extremely well--as the pix of the conjunction earlier in this blog show. The moons of Jupiter are pin point sharp in the first image, and a couple of belts of Jupiter are resolved in the second. For simple, prime focus imaging, this is good performance.  The pic below shows the ST 80 on my iOpteron SmartEQ Pro. The ASI 120MM is mounted on the scope and you can see the images of Jupit…

Independence Day Prominence

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The sun is quieter now, but this lovely, complex prominence made getting the PST out worthwhile.