Thursday, July 9, 2015

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

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 Jupiter and Venus on the computer.  The second image is the "safety" image I took of the conjunction with my smartphone, just in case it clouded over before I could get the ST 80 set up!

ST 80 Imaging the Jupiter/Venus Conjunction

Venus/Jupiter Conjunction Imaged With Smartphone