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Today at 3am (Australia) I woke up and I tried to observe the Orion nebula. It was pretty hard to image it since I don't have a camera adapter and a had 4 second exposures. But after 20 tries I finally got non-wobbly image. The camera could see more than my own eyes!
(I live in bortle 7) ☹️
I have been waiting for this telescope for almost five months. Since May, 19th, to be precise. The day I went to the TS Italia store and saw for the first time the SLD model, model now discontinued. I even missed the last available piece just for a few days, once I finally placed my order, June, 25th. It was to be replaced by a newer model, available at the end of the Summer.
Boy, am I glad I did miss it. The wait was definitely worth it. The new and improved model is simply beautiful. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it on the Tecnosky website a few weeks ago, when they posted the product sheet. But in person, it's even more beautiful.
So, the people from the store emailed me Friday, October the 2nd, telling me that it was finally available for pickup. I read the message only a whole hour later and it was soon going to be closing time. I started calling at 4:30 PM and I finally managed to get my phone call through at around 5:05 PM. The store closes at 6:00 PM and doesn't reopen until Monday. And it's 40 minutes away from where I live. I made it there in 35. There was no way I was going to have to wait till Monday, knowing my scope was only a few minutes away.
So, here's the pre-unboxing picture:
- top left, brown box, behind: Vixen clamp for guide-scope
- top right, white box: 60mm f/4 guide-scope
- top left, white boxes: T2 Nikon ring, 30mm spacer, adjustable spacer
- center, behind white boxes: Optolong L-Pro 2" filter
- right of filter: spacers mounted and already calibrated for 55mm backfocus, for eventual use of the ZWO ASI 224MC camera with the refractor
- top right, Bahtinov mask
- underneath the white boxes, top left: Losmandy bar to attach telescope to my NEQ6 Losmandy saddle
- big box underneath all of the above: Tecnosky 80mm f/6 FPL-53 OWL Triplet, with carrying case and 0.8x 4 elements flattener/reducer
- ZWO black case: ZWO ASI 224MC guide-camera / planetary camera
- front left: Talisker 57° North and two glasses (don't mind the shape of the glasses, they are the closest to Whisky suitable glasses that I currently own...) ready for me and my wife to celebrate the end of the wait
- front right: box for the aforementioned Whisky
I actually waited for yesterday (Saturday, the 3rd) for the unboxing, because I wanted my best friend Omar to be present and help me with filming and taking pictures. We have been friends since we went to kindergarten and we always have had astronomy as a common interest.
It just so happens, to my immense surprise, that my telescope is actually SN. 0001, so I own the first telescope ever produced of this new series. The certificate is also very promising, with a Strehl ratio of 0.974 and a Ronchi test that seems very well behaved. I like a little less the red edges on the lenses, but I guess only time and a proper visual - and astrophotographic - session will be able to tell.
Obviously the "new equipment curse" didn't help, but we got almost a whole hour with clear sky patches and obviously I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I quickly setup with the bare minimum necessities for a visual observation and me, my wife and my best friend Omar - who helped with the staging, recording and directing of the unboxing event - took a quick look at the Moon, Saturn, Mars, M31 and Perseus Double Cluster.
I can definitely understand now, even if the seeing wasn't perfect, and my eyepieces didn't offer enough magnification (25mm and 10mm give me 80x and 200x, with my C8, but with a native focal length of 480mm, even with a Barlow 2x, we could only achieve about 38x and 96x, respectively), what people mean when they say that an apochromatic refractor brings out the objects from the background sky. The contrast was stunning, the stars were absolute points, pinpoint, small and sharp (with my C8 they always have kind of a "blob" feeling), the contrast on the Moon was fantastic and I could see many details, despite it being almost full, and only at 48-96x. I think it passed the visual test with honors. I was also very happy to be able to see the Double Cluster all in the same field of view for the first time. Saturn was well defined, could clearly make out the rings - don't recall, in all the excitement, rush and cycling between me, my wife and my friend, if I saw the Cassini division, but I'll definitely try again next clear sky night. Mars was also beautiful, could clearly see its rusty red color, the polar cap and some darker, black features on the surface.
I really can say it's a beautiful telescope, very well made and machined. The attention to details is really of another level, the paint finish is very nice and matte. Also very lovely all the different red and black anodized surfaces, they really give it a nice finish and personality. The focuser is also the best I have ever had on a telescope. Very smooth, precise, with no backlash. Coming from a C8 where every touch of the focuser throws off the image all over the place and the backlash is quite significant, I really appreciated how easy it was to fine tune focusing with a proper focuser, especially with the 10:1 focusing knob.
I can't wait to be able to take the first pictures of some star field, to check if even photographically the telescope lives up to my expectations. I hope to get pinpoint stars corner to corner and that the backfocus won't be something too hard to make perfect.
Here's some accessories.
Optolong L-Pro 2" filter, Bahtinov mask, Losmandy dovetail to replace the Vixen one the telescope comes with, Nikon T2 ring and spacers to use the ASI 224MC with the correct backfocus directly on the telescope, instead of a guide-camera.
Here's the 60mm f/4 guide-scome, with Vixen clamp.
And the ZWO ASI 224MC guide-camera.
Here's the mandatory celebration beer, at Corte dell'Orso (the Bear's Courtyard).
It's a Belgian sour beer, lambic style. Oudbeitje by Hanssens Artisanaal, with added strawberries. A very nice beer, sour, tart and fruity. Could definitely taste the strawberries.
Here's a couple of pictures of the full setup, with everything mounted on my Sky-Watcher NEQ6 Pro.
The setup is in its astrophotographic configuration: mount, telescope, guide-scope, guide-camera, filter, flattener/reducer and at the end the Nikon D5300 astromodified. All controlled by Astroberry on my Raspberry Pi 4 4GB, conveniently mounted on a bar across the two telescope rings.
And finally a close up of the rig.
Taken on the night of 12 September.
NGC6826 - The Blinking Nebula.
This on Wiki:
NGC6826 is a planetary nebula located in the constellation Cygnus. It is commonly referred to as the "blinking planetary", although many other nebulae exhibit such "blinking". When viewed through a small telescope, the brightness of the central star overwhelms the eye when viewed directly, obscuring the surrounding nebula. However, it can be viewed well using averted vision, which causes it to "blink" in and out of view as the observer's eye wanders. A distinctive feature of this nebula are the two bright patches on either side, which are known as Fast Low-Ionization Emission Regions, or FLIERS. They appear to be relatively young, moving outwards at supersonic speeds.
Right ascension: 19 h 44 m 48.2 s
Declination: +50° 31′ 30.3″
Distance: ~2000 ly
Apparent magnitude (V): 8.8
Apparent dimensions (V): 27″ × 24″
Radius: 0.22 x 0.20 ly
Designations: HD 186924, SAO 31951, Caldwell 15
Imaging: C9.25; CGEM (diy hypertuned); ASI385MC; Baader neodymium filter; Astro Photography Tool
Guiding: Travelscope 70; SSAG; PHD2
Processing: DSS; Photoshop CS4 Extended
99 x 20" lights, of which 63 were stacked; 50 x darks; 50x bias; 50 x flats
Looks like I'm going to have to have another go at my collimation. Very happy with this even so, as it's the first serious imaging I've done for sooo long! A lot more data is required to bring out the detail in the nebula.
Been great to have a few nights of clear sky - I captured this last Wednesday/Thursday last week. I have only Just getting to grips with narrow band imaging/processing and I am sticking with tried and tested SHO Hubble palette for now, but very interested in the percentage combinations like the wide field recently posted by @Adreneline - Cave, Bubble and M52 - to name but a few. I'm assuming the colour palette combinations are implemented using PixelMath functions in PI - I will do some reading and jump into the processing threads to find out more I think.
But for now here's my latest SHO narrowband - I left in a hint of green on the inner lighter Ha nebulosity as I like the transition into the Blue of OIII signal
90mins each for Ha, OIII, SII , Optilong filters in 120s subs - 4.5hrs total
Captured using RPi4 /INDI/EKOS
Processed, APP,PI,PS CC
Pixel scale: 6.067 arcsec/pixel
I think I need help with my Photoshop settings. I've been processing my photos and been very unhappy/depressed with the results. I then realized that they looked a lot better on my phone than on my PC screen. I did some testing and I discovered that Photoshop (CS4 - both 32bit and 64bit) and the basic Windows viewer [the two things I've been using all this time to look at my images] are displaying poorer quality views of my images than other viewers or programs. (see attached images) I think I just noticed this because I just got a CMOS OSC camera and was expecting a lot better than it seemed I was getting.
Do I have something set wrong in Photoshop? I really don't want to spend the money to get Pixinsight just right now (and the time to learn it) but I need to be able to see what the image really looks like while I'm processing it.
At first I thought the problem was with my monitor, but since I do see the correct image with some programs I've concluded that the issue must be with Photoshop itself. However, I have no idea at all how to fix it.
I've uploaded two views of an early processing stage of an Andromeda photograph.
This one shows the image as seen in Gimp, Irfan View, Windows Paint, on-line, the new Windows "Photos" or on other laptops, phones, etc.
This one shows the image as seen in Photoshop or in the Windows Photo Viewer or Photo Gallery on my PC. (I used screen capture to get this but it is accurate for what I see).
As you can see above, the image I'm seeing in Photoshop has problems. The main problem I notice is that the gradients of color do not flow smoothly but are concentric areas of flat color. No depth or subtlety.
Can this be fixed and if so what do I need to adjust in Photoshop or my PC? I'm using Photoshop CS4 and this effect shows up in both the 32bit and 64 bit versions.
Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks and Clear Skies Everyone