Wednesday, July 15, 2015

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

The clouds melted away last night with a northerly breeze and a clear, transparent sky opened up. As it does not get dark until around 10:30 pm here 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 consequent loss of my darks. I could not get the histogram to work on either the "live" images or those I saved. I could make changes to the histogram, but my pix did not change at all; I will have to do some digging to figure out what I'm doing wrong.  

One thing I would like to see in the software is a countdown for long exposures. My minute-long exposures seemed to take forever and sometimes they never completed due to the loss of contact with the camera. Documentation at some point would also be a plus :-)

Overall--I am delighted with this camera. I can't wait to try it on the 14 inch where the exposures will be much shorter!  Even without dark field processing, the images are surprisingly smooth and free of noise. The Sky Raider is truly a winner!