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First light with the Askar FMA135 and Uranus-C (IMX585)


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There were thick clouds into the evening yesterday and I’d taken delivery of an Askar FMA135 in the morning, but Clear Outside was insisting there would be clear skies by 10pm and so it was.

More in hope than anticipation, I’d set up for EAA, with the 72mm Apo and the new FMA135 riding piggyback. I fitted my usual camera, Uranus-C, and the filter wheel to the refractor, and a ‘spare’ Uranus-C to the FMA135, no filter wheel (I only have one) and the wrong back focus (the required adapters are on their way from FLO).

I’d tested that I could run two instances of SharpCap, one for each camera, and on the night the kit worked flawlessly. I could process live stacks from both scopes at the same time and flip between the images on the separate monitor.

B142 & B143: The view with the FMA135 was crystal clear and dead flat. Amazing for such a tiny scope. I could easily make out both dark nebulae. With the Apo I could only see B143 and everything seemed slightly fuzzy. The additional context provided by the FMA135 meant the nebulae were smaller, but somehow clearer.


IC4756, NGC6633: A couple of clusters, nice to be able to see both the detail and the wider context.

Cr399 Coathanger: This only just fitted into the FoV of the Apo. Like the dark nebulae, context added to the experience. There was a little less colour in the stars with the FMA135 but that was probably because the Uranus-C was operating with no filter.


NGC6960 & NGC6992: Finally I got to see the whole of the Veil Nebula with the FMA135. Conditions must have been good as the view of the East Veil with the Apo (and just the visible light filter) was one of the best I’ve seen.

NGC7000: Again, finally I got to see all of it and it was immediately obvious why it’s called the North American Nebula.


M31: Not the best I’ve seen it but a good contextual view with the FMA135 which still included some detail. M32 and M110 were well within the FoV and obvious.

NGC864 & NGC869 Double Cluster: This pair are small enough to see together with the Apo, and with the filters fitted, it gave a nice colour rendition. The FMA135 gave more context but less colour.

IC1805 Heart Nebula & NGC1499 California Nebula: These are too big to see with the Apo and close to the FoV for the FMA135, but much of the nebulosity was clearly visible.

Kemble’s Cascade: This always seems to be orientated unhelpfully, and so it was last night, but it still just fitted into the vertical FoV of the FMA135. Nice and crisp, but a bit too white for my liking.

M45: The Pleiades often seems a bit too big for the FoV, whether I’m doing EAA or visual. It fitted well within the FoV of the FMA135 and the context made the bright stars of the cluster really stand out.


For some objects it was really useful to be able to switch between two different fields of view, seeing the context and more detail of the object. The FMA135 is a marvel and I’m looking forward to seeing how it fares with the filter wheel and the correct back focus.


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Nice read Peter. Thanks.

It's not for me yet this EAA (technophobe outside of work hours :-)) but i do find it quite fascinating to read about your experiences and those of others.


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40 minutes ago, josefk said:

It's not for me yet this EAA (technophobe outside of work hours :-)) but i do find it quite fascinating to read about your experiences and those of others.

Despite spending my whole career developing electronics and software, technology regularly drives me round the bend. So when I do EAA I try to use as little kit as possible, no WiFi and minimum software, just USB cables and SharpCap. I get it working then don't touch anything!

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