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Thursday, June 12th, 2008
First real clear night in weeks. Unfortunately, the moon is gibbous so the sky is pretty bright. However, it's was a good night to experiment a little with the new scope.So this is first light with the William Optics MegRez 90. My initial take when I was aligning the mount was that there is virtually zero chromatic aberration. A slight amount is picked up by the camera, but I was very pleased to not have to deal with it in the processing (woo hoo!).
I experimented with using:
1) Nothing in the train - camera t-ring to adapter to focuser. That places the focal length at 621mm f/6.9. This resulted with significant distortion on the edge of the field. Far more then I expected.

2) Using the William Optics FLAT-III 0.8 field flattener in the train. This setup produced far better results then without a field flattener. It drops the focal length to 496mm and f/5.51. The edge stars are still somewhat distorted, but they are further out to the edge and not nearly as elongated.

3) Using the Baader MPCC in the train. Even though this is a com corrector for reflectors, I has good success with it in my old refractor. The results were again better then without anything, but they were not as good as with the WO FLAT III.

So that experiment yielded a permanent solution that I will always use the WO FLAT III. Not exactly what I wanted to do with my clear sky, but it was worth it because it's better to do that on a gibbous night then on a new moon night.

Another thing that I was a tad surprised to see is that the stars were similarly bloated in the new Apo as they were in the Achromat. I was expecting to get significantly smaller stars. Perhaps this is me learning more about accurate tracking, exposure length or other things (or a combination of things). My focus procedure using Nebulosity yields pretty sharp stars, but after a 3 or 5 minute exposure, the stars are pretty bloated so I think it may be a tracking or saturation issue (or both).

I took 4 images, but only 2 came out because I was goofing around alot. And these only came out so well. I would have liked more acquisition time on both objects, but I gathered 20 minutes of M13 and 18 minutes of M31 before the sun came up. Sheesh, I deeply appreciate the clear sky, but the nights are so short right now there isn't much time to enjoy it.

M31
This had just crested the trees and was still in a bit of the glow of Battleground. It didn't rise too much more before the sky started to wash out due to the morning twilight. I'm shocked at how great the galaxy looks with only 18 minutes of acquisition time.
Scope: William Optics MegRez 90mm @ f/5.5 w/WO-FLAT-III 0.8x Focal Reducer
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 18 minutes - 6 @ 180 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image

M13
M13 is a staple image for me. I've imaged it several times always trying to improve on it. This one is a slight improvement for my images, but not as much as I was hoping. Still I am pleased with the image and the lack of CA is wonderful.
This had just crested the trees and was still in a bit of the glow of Battleground. It didn't rise too much more before the sky started to wash out due to the morning twilight.
Scope: William Optics MegRez 90mm @ f/5.5 w/WO-FLAT-III 0.8x Focal Reducer
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 20 minutes - 30 @ various exposure lengths from 10 seconds to 120 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image

So these images are not APOD material, but they aren't too shabby either for first light with a  new scope, a gibbous moon night, and a short June evening.


Image Gallery For This Session
M13 20m lg M31 18m lg
   

M13-20m-lg.jpg
Click picture above for larger version
If the picture seems too bright or too dark, try adjusting the brightness below.
Brightness:
|
  



Comments:
On 06/29/08 at 01:23am Neil Heacock wrote:
Thanks Barry.

And oh yeah... I'm think I'm going to order a Celestron NexImage (or some such planetary imager) so Jupiter is coming close to being in my [CCD] sights!

-Neil

On 06/26/08 at 12:24am Barry wrote:
Very, very nice, Neil!!

One of these days we have to get you out there with a webcam. I am sure you would excel at planetary imaging too. Jupiter is waiting...hint hint. LOL

On 06/18/08 at 12:09am Neil Heacock wrote:
Thanks Gene.

And that's correct, no filters.

The color in this new scope is definitely superior to the old one. It's subtle, but the yellow stars are more yellow, the blue stars are more blue, the orange stars are more orange, etc. The better I get at it I think will continue to result in superior images thanks to upgrading to this new Apo.

I tried filters once. It was a disaster. 2 hours and not one usable image. Using filters introduces yet another level of control, acquisition and processing. Perhaps I'll try it again one day, but for now I've got plenty of things to work on!

Thanks again.

-Neil

On 06/16/08 at 08:34pm Jeff wrote:
Man Neil, those are both great shots.

On 06/16/08 at 09:35am Gene 'The BigWingBoy' wrote:
Hi Neil,

'Damned straight they're 'not too shabby'! They're gorgeous! Nice work for on a 'scope you're unfamiliar with. Thank you for sharing!

You used no filters on these images except for the field flattener, right!

Gene



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