Jump to content

 

1825338873_SNRPN2021banner.jpg.68bf12c7791f26559c66cf7bce79fe3d.jpg

 

First Light Atik 314L+ and Summer Northern Nights


old_eyes
 Share

Recommended Posts

I came back from a business trip late on Thursday 2nd to find a nice package from FLO with a new Atik 314L+ in it.

Friday evening and it is beuatifully clear so I know I have to try the camera out. Unfortunately, in June in North Wales it never really gets dark and sunset and twilight are long extended events. Good for a glass of wine in the garden, rubbish for astro-imaging. But I just have to try the camera out.

So I install the software, overcoming the problems that Windows 7 does not like automatically installing these sorts of drivers. Fortunately there is a guide on the Atik site showing what to do. Check I can communicate with the camera and set the temperature etc. I don't have fil;ters sorted out yet, so I just shove a Baader Neodymium and IR cut filter on the front of the camera.

Set up the camera on my Equinox ED80 and CG5-GT and wait. 10:30 still pretty light. 11:30, plenty of glow on the horizon, but I can see enough stars to align the mount.

Start the alignment, and a nice thick band of cloud covers the sky. Looks like it might blow over so I am determined to get at least one frame to reassure myself everything is working.

Eventually the sky clears and by about 02:00 I am ready to start. Not much time until morning twilight, so I need something bright and easy to find. M13 is high and away from the horizon glow so that's it. To give an idea of how bright the sky was, I can easily see Arcturus, but not much of the rest of Bootes. The cross of Cygnus is clear, as is the Plough, but Vega is about all you can see of Lyra. I could not reliably pick out the keystone in Hercules, even knowing where I was supposed to be looking.

Anyway with the camera temp set to -10C, I aimed at M13 and found I could easily see it on a 1sec exposure. Great! I would not have had that sort of signal with my DSLR. Got the guiding going, focused and captured 10 frames of 120sec each.

Then I took another 10 x 120 of M51. Again impressed to discover that I can clearly see the two cores with just a 1sec exposure making framing easy. However, once we get past 02:30 the sky is rapidly lightening, and the signal is not that great. I also discover that a lighter sky and a sensitive detector is very good for seeing dust in the optical train.

Finished off with some darks and packed the gear away. By now it is 03:30, and the dawn chorus is kicking off. So I finished the night with a mug of cocoa and a sit in the garden listening to the birdies.

My M13 data is shown stacked in DSS and processed a bit in PixInsight. Focus was not sharp, and there is some dust (I didn't attempt any flats, although I should have done some sky flats if I had been thinking clearly), but everything works and I am very happy with this very first image. The M51 data shows the glaxy well, but fighting the sky was too difficult to make a worthwhile image.

So I am very pleased with my new acquisition. Next up filters and a filter wheel, flats, and some dust removal. But pleasant though the night was, I will wait until after the solstice. Too much of a rush and starting too late at night :).

old_eyes

post-17595-133877613755_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congrats on your new camera, it will bring you much joy :(

I have 3 words though.... cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Clean the scope, clean any filters, but you wont need to clean the camera being as its so new. If the ccd window is exposed to the open air for any longer than a few seconds I always give it a blow with the rocket blower before putting it back on the filter wheel. Use a bright headtorch to check for tiny specs too.

Dust is the enemy!

You ve got basically the same setup as me now, so I know youre in for a good time :)

Any thoughts on your next setp (filters, reducers)?

Edited by Uranium235
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the 314L+ club...! A very nice first light story (seemingly comparatively pain-free) and with a very nice result at the end of it - It took me a few weeks to get to grips with mine, but that was chiefly due to pressing the pre option without realising what it did to the quality (DOH - RTFM!).

I already have an OCD with regards to dust getting in the works, but I haven't yet quite sussed out the flats - There's a window permanently open on my laptop on the FLO Gerd Neumann EL Panel page and I've also noticed that Nebulosity 2 has a histogram (which I miss greatly from DSLR imaging!).

It's probably just as easy to use ADU values but I spent a lot of the weekend trying to looking at how Maxim works and to see how that captures data (it certainly aligns and combines very easily). Even though Artemis is SO easy, my CCD workflow now has 4 or 5 different apps involved, and I'd really like to get it down to 2 or 3 if poss as I can't afford to buy all of them!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congrats on your new camera, it will bring you much joy :eek:

I have 3 words though.... cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Clean the scope, clean any filters, but you wont need to clean the camera being as its so new. If the ccd window is exposed to the open air for any longer than a few seconds I always give it a blow with the rocket blower before putting it back on the filter wheel. Use a bright headtorch to check for tiny specs too.

Dust is the enemy!

You ve got basically the same setup as me now, so I know youre in for a good time :(

Any thoughts on your next setp (filters, reducers)?

Yes - time for a good check throughout the system for dust and some new cleaning tools.

I know I now have a good system and good examples to learn from. So no hiding place :).

Next step I have in mind is a set of the nice Baader LRGB filters and a wheel. May also spring for an H-alpha to start the narrowband journey. I used one last year at Les Grange with Olly Penrice, and liked what you can do with them.

Haven't thought about a reducer yet. Stap voor stap as my Dutch friends say :(.

old_eyes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice start.

As said cleaning and making a flat panel is the next step in getting superb images!

Yes flats are deifintely needed and a key next step. How do you do yours? luminescent panel or a light box?

old_eyes

Edited by old_eyes
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the 314L+ club...! A very nice first light story (seemingly comparatively pain-free) and with a very nice result at the end of it - It took me a few weeks to get to grips with mine, but that was chiefly due to pressing the pre option without realising what it did to the quality (DOH - RTFM!).

Yes Andy, I had followed your (worrying) thread, and its resolution. FLO made sure to tell me when I bought to check the pre box everytime I used it.

I like the look of the Gerd Neumann panels (though not necessarily the price). I will need to find a solution from somewhere.

I haven't done anything with the software selection yet. Just replaced APT for the canon DSLR with Artemis Capture. But it is probably too complicated. Artemis Capture, PHD Guiding, DSS and PixInsight. But it seems to work and I don't trust myself to change everything at once :).

old_eyes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your description of the twilight sky sounds as if you were describing the sky where I used to live. Light pollution was so bad I could not see the square of Pegasus sometimes in mid-winter.

A good master flat is very important. Given that you have to take them for each filter and every time you move the camera/filters you could find yourself spending a lot of time on them. In that case I commend the Neumann ELP to you. I bought one, complete with the expensive power supply and have never looked back. Point the scope at the ceiling, rest the panel on the dew shield and refer to my exposure notes for each filter. Job done.

Regarding software, the only advice I can offer is to get MaxIm. It does everything you need at the telescope and from what I keep hearing from dedicated PHD and DSS users it does it a lot more efficiently. People say it is expensive but you only buy it once. There is no need to upgrade, I did but I wish I had saved my money.

Dennis

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

Congratulations on a great result. I second Dennis on the Neumann panels. Since your visit I have bought one following the untimely death of my no name panel. It makes life so easy and given the cost of a complete setup why spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar? Flats are absolutely essential, I now realise, and need to be right as well.

Olly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

Congratulations on a great result. I second Dennis on the Neumann panels. Since your visit I have bought one following the untimely death of my no name panel. It makes life so easy and given the cost of a complete setup why spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar? Flats are absolutely essential, I now realise, and need to be right as well.

Olly

OK - I'm convinced. Time to raid the piggy bank again. Is there any reason why I should not get one sized for a 6 inch OTA and use it on smaller telescopes?

old_eyes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe mine is classed as A4 and I use it on 152mm and 106mm refractors with an STL11000 and no problems. RGB or Narrowband.

Dennis

Excellent. I might as well go for the larger size then.

old_eyes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.