Late on February 10th and in the early hours vof the 11th, I tried out my newly purchased QHY5-11 camera. Whilst awaiting the appearance of Jupiter over the hedge, I had my first go at 'guiding' using ther QHY5-11 as a guide camera and my Canon DSLR as an imaging camera. All went surprisingly smoothly. Orion was loitering in the south-east and although the light pollution was not good , I targetted Alnitak and all the usuaL culprits. I chose a guide star, locked on and started a series of 3 minute exposures. One was ruined by a passing satellite but after excluding this one, I managed thirty minutes worth of photons without mishap. Oh how my cup floweth over! Then disaster, the guide star broke up before my very eyes and everything went 'pixels- up' on my clockwork laptop. Trying not to panic, I saught reassurance by telling myself that the camera driver was probably playing up. So I followed the set course used by computer experts worldwide. I turned everything off. Then turned it all back on. As the camera booted up, I scanned the computer screen for stars. Completely black!!!!!!! At this point I imagined the next morning's conversation with my long suffering wife. " You only purchased the camera yesterday and you broke it on the same day"! "What are you like @*$££££"?
Then it dawned on me, the earth had been spinning and both Barnard 33 and my selected guide star had disappeared below the ridge tiles on the kitchen extension to our house. No wonder PHD Guiding had struggled! What a turnip? I have to say this act of genius was not a one off. The week before I had stayed up to four in the morning taking video clips of Jupiter using my old QHY5v planetary camera. The following day whilst eating my breakfast I realised that I had forgotten to use the infra-red filter. So if anyone wants several gigabytes of blurry videos of Jupiter, apply immediately to avoid disaapointment. I must be getting old!
Anyway, the image of Alnitak, the Flame and Horsehead nebulae turned out better than I thought and I did get some useable AVIs of Jupiter. The seeing was a bit poor so the Jupiter images are not that sharp, but all in all I'm quite pleased with the QHY5-11. I believe QHY are bringing out a new camera this year to replace the QHY5-11 so I purchased it at a very good knock-down price from Modern Astronomy.