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Rho Ophiuchi Region in RGB from Mauritius!


eshy76
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Hi everyone,

It's been a while from me, but the astrophotography flame is still burning brightly within me! A trip to Mauritius this month was an opportunity to catch up with family and friends after several years, and also a chance to put a travel rig together for some darker skies!

After flirting with bringing a modified DSLR and Skyguider Pro, polar alignment considerations (with no guarantee of visibility of the Southern pole at the 20° latitude) convinced me I needed a computer and NINA for its TPPA which works regardless of pole visibility.

Once I took that decision, there was no reason not to bring my 3.3kg Rainbow Astro RST-135 mount, apart from my own nervousness at carrying such expensive kit with me...once I got over that, the DSLR was replaced with the ASI2600MC Pro, to be paired with the Askar FMA180 lens to target Rho Ophiuchi.

Power was the next concern, which I solved by bringing two close to 100Wh (so hand baggage compliant) lithium ion batteries. Everything including guidescope and cam fit inside my hand luggage, weighing about 15kg.

Anyway, to cut to the end, I got lucky with the weather one night while staying at a hotel and spent a couple of hours on the beach...imaging on the sand was a new challenge, with my tripod almost certainly not level, but I got guiding consistently below 1" RMS, which was fine for my pixel scale.

I only got 84 minutes of data, but I hope that imaging at a Bortle 4 site Vs my usual Bortle 7 skies made up for that.

Here is the end product - I love this part of the sky and whereas it doesn't get above the rooftops at home, in Mauritius it passed through the Zenith!

I'll also post an image of the setup on site in the next post - thanks for looking!

Full details here

1148004377_RhoOphiuciRegion2022-08-16v2_copy_2295x1523.thumb.png.7e0acb9a10ed3f7f3d5888338e4f87ef.png

 

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Here is the kit on the beach! In hindsight I should have prepared all the cabling ahead of time instead of connecting everything up in situ, though that went smoothly albeit with cable spaghetti...I used a bog standard carbon fibre tripod which was okay...but I can see from the photo I left the central column extended which was not meant to happen, but hey I was in the dark!

The sea is about 5 metres away in the darkness. I saw several shooting stars during the evening which was amazing, while the chitter of fruit bats added something unique to the experience!

20220816_211242.thumb.jpg.4e1f6aae21c54cd94649a8e2717c5ada.jpg

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Nice colours! I also imaged this region during the holidays (albeit with a camera and tripod only, no tracking), it was nice to have a better view from lower latitudes. I'm just surprised that remote Mauritius has the same Bortle 4 as Camargue, sandwiched between Marseille and Montpellier! Too much population in a small island, I guess...

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1 hour ago, Felias said:

Nice colours! I also imaged this region during the holidays (albeit with a camera and tripod only, no tracking), it was nice to have a better view from lower latitudes. I'm just surprised that remote Mauritius has the same Bortle 4 as Camargue, sandwiched between Marseille and Montpellier! Too much population in a small island, I guess...

Hi - thank you! Mauritius is actually mostly Bortle 5 in the built up areas, but around the coast and the forest regions a bit better! But yes the population (including tourists) vs. land equation is the key factor.

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37 minutes ago, peter shah said:

It's my favourite part of the sky....super rendition

Thank you! I'm chuffed with the result...I could've maybe got a few more hours integration, but I couldn't keep dashing off from my family after dinner! (Night was from 7pm there and Rho went from Zenith to below the horizon by about 11.30pm)

 

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Well done for A: transporting all that equipment half way around the world in hand luggage without forgetting, breaking, or loosing anything! 
And B: Capturing a beautiful image from a beach with all that sand so close to all that sensitive equipment!! 
This is on my bucket list, and all I can say is your efforts were rewarded! 

Thanks for sharing 

Bryan 

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2 hours ago, assouptro said:

Well done for A: transporting all that equipment half way around the world in hand luggage without forgetting, breaking, or loosing anything! 
And B: Capturing a beautiful image from a beach with all that sand so close to all that sensitive equipment!! 
This is on my bucket list, and all I can say is your efforts were rewarded! 

Thanks for sharing 

Bryan 

Thank you very much Bryan! It is definitely great for all the planning to result in a nice image!

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6 hours ago, Dan_Paris said:

Excellent image ! I wish I could image this part of the sky from my place....

Thank you... it's one of those to target when you are in the Southern Hemisphere, though with a DEC of -24, this is probably very possible from anything around 20° N.

The focal length I used here is 180mm, but something like a Samyang 135mm lens would also be great for this, so a light travel setup with a modded DSLR and tracker could definitely work too! 

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11 minutes ago, eshy76 said:

Thank you... it's one of those to target when you are in the Southern Hemisphere, though with a DEC of -24, this is probably very possible from anything around 20° N.

 

Even at higher latitudes, it's doable. I got this from Camargue, at 43.5° N. And as you suggest, with a very light setup, just a DSRL with a 50 mm lens, and a tripod:

I bet it would even be doable from here in the SE, were it not for the massive light pollution. I'm always thinking in the summers of driving South, to the Romney marshes, and have a go, but it's not easy when you have to take care of a young child the next morning!

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19 hours ago, Felias said:

Even at higher latitudes, it's doable. I got this from Camargue, at 43.5° N. And as you suggest, with a very light setup, just a DSRL with a 50 mm lens, and a tripod:

I bet it would even be doable from here in the SE, were it not for the massive light pollution. I'm always thinking in the summers of driving South, to the Romney marshes, and have a go, but it's not easy when you have to take care of a young child the next morning!

Very nice image! Thanks for sharing! Yes it's always worth trying despite conventional wisdom being against it...I had another night's data on Rho on a full moon night, with the moon very close to Antares...I went for it anyway, partly to dry run the setup (which definitely helped on the beach a week later), but the subs were definitely washed out! In general, for me I notice that the quality of my images degrades sharply below 25 degrees at home in Sutton, Surrey. 

Hmm...maybe I'll pop my own image into that holiday challenge thread too!

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