clear sky chart

Job 9:9

Job 9:9-10
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Orion Awesome Autoguider First Light

Received my Orion Awesome Autoguider a week ago, but last night was the first clear night to try it out.  I must say, the name lives up to its performance.  Although the mini guider probably would have been adequate for my small setup, for the small amount more money, I figured I would just get the full size scope, in case I would ever upgrade the imaging scope.

My first image taken using the guide scope was of M33.  The guider was able to lock on some pretty dim stars, I believe to be dimmer than 7th magnitude.I had 3 to pick from in the field of the guide scope.  I did not have to re-aim the guidescope whatsoever, on 4 different objects. 

This is an image of the complete setup in operation.  As you can see, the wiring setup has doubled, but the guidescope is permanently connected to the main scope, so the scope assembly is torn down and set up as one piece.  The only additional steps I have to do is hook up the usb to the camera and the cable going to the guide port on the mount.

Now for a couple images taken with the guidescope and 5 minute exposures.  The first thing I learned after the imaging session was over was that 5 minutes at iso 1600 was too much for the brightness of my sky.  The next set of images that I take will be at iso 800, but of the same duration, hopefully that will bring the background brightness down enough for the stacker to handle the images better.  Using some careful processing, and by also using a bicubic stacking method in deep sky stacker, I was able to generate this quite acceptable version of M33.

I'm not sure if this is my best yet image of this object, but it's got to be close.  I was able to resolve the major emission nebulosity in the galaxy.  This image consists of 19 frames.

The next object I chose to photograph was M77 in Cetus.  This is a composite of only 4 frames.

M77 is in the center. the galaxy at the top is NGC 1055.  NGC 1072 is also in the frame, but it is too small to resolve.  M77 is 7 arc seconds across.  M77 has a really bright core, but if you look closely there is darker nebulosity around the core.  The stars near this object are dim, and are tiny pinpoints which is showing that the guiding worked very nicely.

The next object I imaged was the Pacman Nebula, but I only shot 3 frames.  It does not measure up to the last Pacman I took, but it is an acceptable image.

I believe if I had taken 10 - 15 frames of this, it would have been a VERY good image.

The final image I took was of the Crab Nebula, M1.  This would have been a good image, but somehow, the camera focus got disturbed.  I must have bumped the focuser or something like that.  I was able to enhance it and I got some detail, but it could have been better.

The 2 bright stars in this image, especially the red one above and to the left has a tiny dark hole in the center, indicating the focus was out a bit.  This object might have been better had that star had been a pinpoint.

All of these images were shot using 5 minute subs.  I believe this guider will let me get much more detailed images, and will really shine the next time I get to darker sites.


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