M106 (ZWO ASI2600MM first light)

Okay, so technically this wasn’t first light for this camera, but it is the first image I’ve processed. The ASI2600MM arrived just as galaxy season was beginning, so M106 was an obvious target.

I had a string of clear, but windy, nights recently, so there’s a backlog of data to process. I took almost 15 hours of subs, but the wind ruined half of them. That still left me with 7 hours of data.

I have mixed feeling about the A-P CCDT67 as a reducer for the AT8RC. I feel like I’m losing some sharpness, and the combination makes for some very strange patterns in the flats. I think a dedicated reducer/flattener designed for RC scopes is in my future. I’m open to recommendations. I’ve settled on 180-second exposures at gain 0 for my standard LRGB approach, though this may be a little long for the L exposures.

The image below is down-sampled 50%, as the resolution of this camera is 26 megapixels. At about 1100 mm focal length, the field of view is still 1.1 x 0.8 degrees. Here, you can see M106 at upper left, NGC4248 to its right, and the really nice NGC4217 at bottom right. Of course, the background is also littered with distant galaxies.

  • Exposures (all at -10ºC, gain=0):
    • L: 3 x 180s
    • R: 64 x 180s
    • G: 25 x 180s
    • B: 50 x 180s
    • Total exposure time:  7 hours 6 minutes
    • Taken nights of Jan 10-15, 2021 from Doylestown, PA
  • Telescope: AstroTech AT8RC w/CCDT67 reducer (f/5.4)
  • Camera: ZWO ASI2600MM-Pro with Astrodon filters
  • Mount: Takahashi EM-200
  • Guiding: ZWO ASI120MM on SW EvoGuide 50ED
  • Processing: AstroPixelProcessor, PixInsight

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