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Sunday, August 30th, 2009
Playing with CCD imaging.
 
Yes, it's come to that time when I think I want to go to a dedicated cooled CCD camera for my astro imaging. I'm borrowing a friend's QHY8 to see how it works out.
 
First light results were a mixed bag. The noise level of the camera is excellent compared to my 20D and the response to signal is fantastic. But in the end I only came away with one decent shot... 2 screwed up ones. I have severe color banding rings in the light frames that don't calibrate out with calibration frames and there is a frosting/dew issue that may or may not have a work around. Here's a link to the issue: http://tinyurl.com/lcxedv

My flats were screwed up the way I normally take them with my DSLR, and when I went to take flats with the QHY8 during the night with a lightbox, the camera dewed over. Hmmm... I'm not exactly batting 1000 here, but I'm not thowing in the towel just yet!

Then I learned about calculating for Offset and the second night was better. I'll try again tonight with some new information and we'll see if there are any different results. I'll append to this post with future test nights.

The two shots that actually worked out (kindof) are posted here.

NGC 7635 The Bubble Nebula Image
My main objective here was to check out the red sensitivity of the camera compared to my DSLR.  Though I don't have a direct comparison shot, I can tell it is much more sensitive based on what I normally see - particularly on a night wen the moon is 75% full.

Scope: Vixen R200SS 200mm @ f/4 w/Vixen R200SS Coma Corrector
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: William Optics ZenithStar 66 SD
Camera: QHY8
Gain/Offset: 1/130
Exposure: 40 minutes - (8 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image



M31 the Andromeda Galaxy Image
My main objective here was to check out the deeper wells of the CCD versus the DSLR. 5 minute exposures proved to not saturate the core. That was very surprising. I ended up needing to ditch the color channels on this image because of severe color banding rings.

Scope: Vixen R200SS 200mm @ f/4 w/Vixen R200SS Coma Corrector
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding:  Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: William Optics ZenithStar 66 SD
Camera: QHY8
Gain/Offset: 1/130
Exposure: 60 minutes - (12 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels and Curves in Photoshop
See Gallery below for image





Image Gallery For This Session
01 Bubble 40m 02 M31 1h
   

01-Bubble-40m.jpg
Click picture above for larger version
If the picture seems too bright or too dark, try adjusting the brightness below.
Brightness:
|
  



Comments:
On 11/27/09 at 03:27pm Quantumac wrote:
Interesting. I've been experiencing similar color banding issues with my QHY8, but with different equipment (i.e. I have a 10" Meade LX200R). I've been working under the hypothesis that my focal reducer was causing the problem, because the distance from the imager to the reducer lens is 110 mm, and that's the upper limit. Optimal spacing is 87 mm.

It didn't occur to me that this might simply be the camera itself, perhaps the glass cover of the QHY8.

Email "quantumac" at the site "hotmail.com" if you wish to discuss the issue further.


On 09/01/09 at 10:08pm Barry wrote:
Sorry to hear about the problems......maybe it's trying to save you $1,200.

Strange you were imaging the Bubble at the same time I was. Great minds think alike. LOL Or maybe dummies think alike......trying to image this fairly faint nebula with a bright moon. You certainly got better focus that I did. I also picked up a bunch of blotchy purplish light in the background. Not sure if it was there, or it's just light gradient. I had some high, thin cloudlets drifting by at times.



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