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Posts Tagged ‘FSQ-106’

Testing out the Takahashi FSQ 0.73 focal reducer on the Virgo Cluster

May 31, 2014 3 comments

I recently purchased the 0.73 focal reducer “QE”for my Tak 106ED. It promises to turn it from a speedy f/5 to a ridiculous f/3.7 while still filling a full frame sensor. In fact, with the full frame sensor of the STL-11000M, we’re looking at a field of view of 5.3 x 3.5 degrees.

Of course any new purchase like this causes days of clouds and rain, but that’s been the case for about six months anyway. It gave me time to order the insanely priced adapter required to mate it with the STL camera. Once I had a clear night, I seized it, even though it was a full moon. Because of this, the image you’ll see below is far from optimal. Consider it a test image more than a aesthetic image (though the effect is still pretty cool). I fought a valiant battle with gradients in PixInsight, but for the most part they got the best of me.

Wide Field of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies

Wide Field of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies

Even after cropping a little, that’s a WIIIIDE field. Looking in detail at the extreme corners, the left side showed a little distortion, but that could potentially be due to some non-orthogonality in the connections.

Extreme corners of the image

Extreme corners of the image

Overall, the image is very sharp, and it’s a pleasure to capture a field that would normally require a mosaic. I look forward to the beginning of narrowband season to really give this new system a try.

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NGC 6888 Narrowband (plus some PixelMath)

September 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Finally, some color images!  (Or at least false color.)

This is one panel from my earlier Crescent Nebula 4-panel H-alpha mosaic, with OIII and SII data added.  The first version is in a slightly modified “Hubble” narrowband palette (R=70% SII+30% H-alpha, G=100% H-alpha, B=100% OIII).

NGC 6888 in Hubble Palette

NGC 6888 in Hubble Palette

Image data:
Exposures: 13 x 1200s Ha, 16 x 1200s SII, 18 x 1200s OIII (Total exposure time: 15 hours, 40 minutes)
Software: guiding by PHD, stacking in DeepSkyStacker
Processing: PixInsight 1.8
Telescope: Takahashi FSQ-106ED (530 mm f/5)
Camera: SBIG STL-11000M with Astrodon 6nm narrowband filters, 2×2 binned
Mount: CGEM
September 16, 17, and 28 2013

PixInsight allows you to easily blend and mix images or color channels to create alternate palettes, so let’s use this image as a simple example.  Consider the following simple PixelMath parameters.

PixelMath

PixelMath refers to the color channels in an RGB image as [0], [1], and [2] respectively.  So this tells PixInsight to create a new image with the:

  • red channel composed of the original green channel
  • green channel composed of 70% of the original red channel + 30% of the original green channel
  • blue channel unchanged

The result is a false color image with a different flavor.

NGC 6888 Red-Green Reversed

NGC 6888 Red-Green Reversed

Sh2-129, The Flying Bat Nebula

September 28, 2013 Leave a comment

This is another monochromatic image I captured while the moon was near full this month. Sh2-129 is a very dim, but very large H-alpha region at the bottom of Cepheus. It’s close to the far brighter and more famous IC1396, which explains why it is so often overlooked among the sea of emission nebulae in that area. I’ve seen it referred to as the Flying Bat Nebula, but it probably has more claim to be a “Tulip” nebula than Sh2-101. This is definitely a challenging object to capture.

Nicola Montecchiari recently captured a terrific image of this nebula with the OIII-emitting planetary nebula OU4 at its core.  Looks like I will have to go back and capture some OIII data here soon!

Sh2-129, The Flying Bat Nebula, H-alpha

Sh2-129, The Flying Bat Nebula, H-alpha

Image data:
Exposures: 19 x 1200s Ha exposures
Software: guiding by PHD, stacking in DeepSkyStacker
Processing: PixInsight
Telescope: Takahashi FSQ-106ED (530 mm f/5)
Camera: SBIG STL-11000M with Astrodon 6nm narrowband filters, 2×2 binned
Mount: CGEM
September 15, 2013

Lonely little NGC 6888 adrift in a sea of ionized Hydrogen.

September 21, 2013 Leave a comment

This is a portion of a larger H-alpha mosaic that I took while the full moon was out this past week. NGC 6888 is a terrific target for a close-up, but it’s also beautiful in context of the whole “neck” of the swan Cygnus.

NGC 6888 Widefield

NGC 6888 Widefield

Image data:
Exposures: Portion of a four-frame mosaic composed of 63 x 1200s Ha exposures
Software: guiding by PHD, stacking in DeepSkyStacker
Processing: PixInsight
Telescope: Takahashi FSQ-106ED (530 mm f/5)
Camera: SBIG STL-11000M with Astrodon 6nm narrowband filters, 2×2 binned
Mount: CGEM
September 16-20, 2013

The Moon and Venus

September 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Sometimes when you’re setting up to take pictures of incredibly dim things, the sky presents you with something incredibly bright and beautiful. The moon and Venus were in conjunction in this evening’s western sky. I used an H-alpha filter as a sort of 99% neutral gradient filter so they wouldn’t overwhelm the sensor.  This is a single 0.2 second exposure, through a 6 nm H-alpha filter, with the STL-11000M on the FSQ-106ED.

Moon and Venus
The Moon and Venus in Conjunction (9/8/13)

For perspective, tiny little Venus there is actually 3.5 times bigger than the moon, but 415 times further away. The light from the moon took about 1.3 seconds to get here; the light from Venus traveled for almost nine minutes.

M16 and NGC 6604 H-alpha widefield

September 7, 2013 Leave a comment

I don’t usually post monochromatic images, but this is a nice example of how wide the view is with the STL-11000M through the FSQ-106ED (530 mm focal length).  Not only does the Eagle Nebula, M16, fit in the field, but the entire area of nebulosity around NGC 6604 fits as well.  It makes me wish I lived further south so I could spend more time on the Sagittarius/Serpens area of the sky.  It was all I could do to capture 3h 20 min of exposure time from here in NJ.

M16 and NGC6604 H-alpha

M16 and NGC6604 H-alpha

Image data:
Exposures:  10 x 1200s Ha
Software:  guiding by PHD, stacking in DeepSkyStacker
Processing:  PixInsight, Photoshop CS3
Telescope:  Takahashi FSQ-106ED
Camera:  SBIG STL-11000M with Astrodon 6nm narrowband filters, 2×2 binned
Mount:  CGEM
September 3-5, 2013

 

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