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Star Analyser 100 - Just arrived!

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Not sure the best place to post this...

Well I've just purchased the Paton-Hawksley Star Analyser 100 (SA100) transmission grating to add to my growing collection of astronomical spectroscopes.

This is a 100 line per mm, grating, blazed to increase the effeciency in the first order spectrum. Mounted in a standard 1.25" filter body and the grating is protected by non reflective glass slips.

Comes well packaged with a small 1.25" filter insert (to allow you to position the orientation of the grating in your adaptor - a nice touch!)

This screws into the nosepiece of a webcam/ CCD to give a bright spectrum. By varying the distance between the SA100 and the chip you can get better dispersion ( wider spectrum)

You also get an Instructional CD with .pdf files in English and French giving very clear illustrated instructions on how to set up the SA100 on your telescope, the types of objects it can be used on and examples of the spectra obtained. There's also a brief catalogue of the brightest Wolf Rayet stars( emission stars) and a listing of the the more prominent Hydrogen line positions in the spectra.

To analyse the resulting spectra from your webcam/ CCD you'll need some software. I'd recommend the freeware VSpec package; this combined with C. Buil's IRIS will quickly get you on the road to success.

It has been said that spectroscopy has lead to more that 75% of ALL discoveries made in Astronomy, and the SA100 allows the amateur to start along that road.

A nice piece of kit, and for the price a bargain.

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I have one of these on loan from my astronomy club (Castle Point AC), but intend to get my own. I will be very interested in seeing any of your results. I haven't yet had a chance to put it to use but have been looking at the software and browsing the Yahoo group where there is much useful input (especially from Martin Mobberley).

Just 3/4 weeks ago I went on the OU SXR208 course in Mallorca and one of the projects we did there was spectroscopy. MaxImDL was used to convert the CCD image to a graph. That was so straightforward but unfortunately MaximDL is so expensive.


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The SA100 is an ideal starting point for the amateur. The dispersion is such that you can still get the zero image ( the star) on the same frame as the spectra. Makes the set-up much easier. Looking at your sig. The SA100 should work well with both the webcam and the Canon on your scope.

I don't have MaximDL. If you can "translate" your CCD image files to FITS format ( Here the IRIS freeware from Buil comes in handy; it will read a .BMP file and output a .FITS file.... magic!)

Importing the FITS to VSpec will allow you to generate spectral graphs, do comparisons with standard stellar spectra ( it has a VERY extensive spectra library built-in) and comes with a series of Tutorials ( in English) which walks you through the process.

I've already started down the spectroscopy path, with the Baader 207lpm grating and a couple of "Classical" spectroscopes... but a long long way still to go..

As Richard said "the pinnacle of amateur astronomy evolution, spectroscopy."

This is what it's all about.......

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Thanks for those tips, I'll go and have a read of the tutorials. By the way I have a DMK21 on order mainly for lunar and planetary imaging but I'm hoping it will also serve well for spectroscopy.


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I use my DMK21 for Ha Solar imaging, but the guys in Oz, have had some good success with the SA100 and DMK.

There's a LOOOOONG thread over in IceInSpace....

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Thanks again for the info. I'm also hoping to do some Ha Solar imaging. My PST is an early model and I have been able to remove the spacer. It works with binoviewers but haven't had a proper go at imaging yet as there's nowt much to see at present.


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Yes, But easily done!!

When you get your first stellar spectra you can use this to "correct" and calibrate both your telescope and camera.

You may have to watch the focus towards the red end and re-focus if necessary to compensate.... other than that ...."Boldly go where no amateur has gone before...."

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dear Merlin66

Nice post about the star analyzer 100. It seems to be very very useful, and I have a really big interest in spectrography/spectroscopy.

I am planning to buy this ''filter'' and use it with the B/W DMK 21AF04.AS ccd/webcam. I have Astroart 4 and Iris. Are these software capable to convert the given spectrum into a graph? I also have the Meade LX90 scope for almost six years (what's the limits of an 8 inch in spectrography?).

My main interest is about deep sky.

Is this filter capable to give the spectrum of a galaxy, nebula (of any kind) and globular star clusters?

And do the Paton Hawksley company send their products to Greece?

Thanks in advance


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The LX90 and DMK combo would be good for the SA100. You'll probably need to consider a x0.63 reducer to get smaller star images.

Unfortunately, without adding a slit, the SA100 only gives you stellar spectra.

Have a look at the new Astronomical_Spectroscopy Yahoo forum for more details or Robin's forum at StarAnalyser

astronomical_spectroscopy : Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs

staranalyser : staranalyser

And yes, P-H will ship anywhere in the World.

It's a good investment and opens up a whole new world for amateurs!

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Thanks for your reply, Merlin66 (Spitfire Mk 9, hehe...... what a marvelous historical aircraft....)

Also, can you tell me please, where to find a slit? Because as I already said, my primary targets will be deep sky objects.

And at what prices? Is there any site who sells slits worldwide?

Thanks again, and excuse me if I caused some headache to you with my multiple questions ''combo'', heheh.

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