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A very lazy night of astronomy


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I had a quick play with a vintage mono MX716 CCD camera last night, for the first time remotely controlling the scope from my office using Teamviewer (brilliant program), and snapping a few 5-20 sec exposures unguided here and there whilst I enjoyed a bot of Cab Sav.

It's only a tiny chip but even with a single short exposure, things like M57 and Saturn's moon Hyperion popped up in the screen immediately, and with a 1 minute exposure I managed to capture Comet Elenin and plutoid Haumea. The GOTO was spot on, even with the small chip, and I can see the dangerous attraction of 'lazy astronomy'. Just sitting in my chair picking objects in Carte du Ciel while the scope is out in the garden doing its stuff. Might be a good way of discovering supernovae, as a single short exposure can capture objects down to mag 16/17. Just hop from one galaxy to the next from the comfort of your armchair.

Must resist ....

Anyway. here are three very quick captures from the evening. No apologies for the poor quality. As I said it's only a small sensor, but pretty sensitive, and these are each 20 x 20 sec exposures. I know which one is which, but can you identify them? This is why I've never really bothered with globulars. They all look the same to me!


and here's M64


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...Any idea where i can find one of these babies??? ... :)

Which babies? The MX716? It's just an old cooled CCD made by Starlight Xpress which is now obsolete, with a 752 x 580 chip. The entry-level CCDs by, say Atik and Opticstar, are probably similar although I think they have slightly smaller sensors.

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