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returning to astrophotography.


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Hi, this is my first post on this forum, so I'm sorry to start off asking for help.. I suppose that's how it goes though.

To begin with I'll explain my setup / experience.

I have three tube assemblies and two mounts, a Tal1M, a 5.5" newt photographic tube which I've got down to 16th mag on film.. but that was all 10 years ago.. and a big scope.... a fullerscope MKIV mount, referbished, with stepper motors, direct onto the worms, with a home brew driver system based on PICs and the Altera motor driver chips... very smoooth. The tube is a 12" newt with a 'hinds' grade A mirror and a bespoke window ground by david sinden. So image quality is as good as I could hope for, at least on axis. I also I have a half built CCD camera designed around the philips FT12 chip.

I've been out of the field for about 9 years due marriage and new family. Frankly I don't think it's worth resurrecting the FT12 camera project, and I'm looking at buying something off the shelf. I will definitely go for mono rather than colour as I'm a deep sky addict and want to focus on resolution.

Now as I see it I have three choices for imaging technique.

A: medium length shots taken unguided by programming in top notch PEC (tooth by tooth correction as well as normal PEC)

B: full Active Optics as the final goal, prob the starlight express route

C: deep sky lucky imaging. (see Lucky Imaging Web Site Home)

For A I can use any camera I like and just go through the pain of getting the PEC and tooth by tooth correction right

For B It's going to take cash and in my opinion I don't think it's going to be fast enough to improve on even relatively slow lucky imaging.

For C to get it working as well as the cambridge crowd I suspect I'm looking at a very expensive camera.. however I then don't need much in the way of guiding... and even if it doesn't work as well as they've got their systems working I still think I could do very well.. largely becasue of my very small aperature scope (by their standards)

So

Has anyone here tried deep sky lucky imaging.. if so what camera/aperature/success

I am looking at the QHY6 camera as my first CCD unit as it has reasonably decent readout noise and sensitivity. I've seen people seem to like the ATIK16ic more, but that looks less sensitive and seems to have higher readout noise.. which will dominate for lucky imaging.

So.. is there anything else.. am I barking mad attempting this!?..

Derek

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