||July 2010: This
is my first Hydrogen Alpha image. It's also my first photo taken with a cooled
Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) astro camera. The camera is an SBIG ST2000XM (1600x1200
pixel monochromatic) which has kindly been lent to me by Brian Clements who lives
nearby. The high signal-to-noise ratio of a seriously cooled, and seriously serious
CCD is awesome. Check out the "What's New" web
page periodically to see all of my latest images.
||July 2010: I've been very fortunate that Brian Clements has
generously lent me his Santa Barbara Instruments Group (SBIG) ST2000XM CCD
camera, replete with filterwheel, LRGB and H-alpha filters set. So, it looks like
Digital SLR imaging will go on hold, while I make the most of this opportunity, and while
I get down to work learning how this beauty works. An SBIG is
big! How on Earth do I fit it securely to the Schmidt Newtonian's focuser?
|Published In the News 27th June 2010
picture of the partial lunar eclipse made it onto the ABC news website. It is a
composite image consisting of two separate images: one exposure short, the other long.
||June 2010: A Nice Image With The New Telescope - M20 The
The rebuilt SN-8 telescope is working very well.
See these images of the
Trifid Nebula (Messier Object M20) taken with the new rig scope and the H-alpha modified
January 2010 New Schmidt Newtonian.
I've bought a new 8" Schmidt Newtonian. I moved its mirror and
the corrector plate to the old Optical Tube Assembly (OTA). This is because the old
OTA has the GSO low-height Crayford focuser installed which is much, much better than
Meade's standard focuser. It was a bit tricky and I had to shim the focuser to get
it perpindicular, but the result is very good. So after all this time I'm back to
where I was - and with a better DSLR camera now.
First light for the new rig was 21Jan2010 and I am very pleased
with the result. See
an image of Eta Carina here. This is one of my sharpest images. The new
rig can fit an off-axis guider which I used for the latest image.
September 2009 New Camera
I bought a second-hand Infra-red modified Canon 350D. Works a
August 2009 Telescope is broken
The Schmidt Newtonian's corrector plate was smashed when the scope fell to the
ground during an imaging session.
||The cause was traced to the base of the LXD-75 mount
bar being unsuitable for the new EQ-6's mount head. The ring mount bar that comes
with Meade's Schmidt Newtonian telescope is designed for the Meade LXD-75 mount
head. The bar is not a good fit for the EQ-6 mount head.
LXD-75 mount has a single retaining bolt centrally located, and it fits into a single
slanted groove on the side of the mount bar. The EQ-6 on the other hand has two
retaining bolts, that are located on either side of centre. These do not line up
with the single slanted goove in the side of the LXD-75 mount bar. Also, the recess
on the underside of the LXD-75 mount bar is not long enough to fit the bigger mount head
of the EQ-6, so it has to ride on top.
Long story short: while at the end of a long imaging run when the scope was near
maximum western rotation (in RA) the two bolts stripped some metal from the mount bar and
the bar, with its telescope and rings attached, fell to the ground.
Cameras, MPCC, and other equipment were miraculously undamaged but unfortunately
the corrector plate on the telescope was smashed.
July 2009 Malin Awards - Two Awards !
I am very pleased that two of my pictures received honourable mentions at this year's Malin Awards.
November 2008 Camera Equipment
New hardware has been acquired. This equipment is modestly priced but it
will add significantly to current imaging capability:
a) DMK 21AU04.AS
planetary imaging camera; and
b) Canon EF 200mm f2.8 L
USM II lens for the Canon 350D camera;
I can't wait to test drive them, but Murphy's Law rulez: cloudy weather is
rolling on in...
I bought a GSO 2" (M-MLP) low-profile focuser for the Schmidt-Newt
for $109 from Andrews
Communications. Originally I wanted a high-end ($500) JMI, but I decided to go
with the low-cost option. I was worried about this, and even more worried about cutting
and drilling the tube. I am now very, very pleased I did it. The GSO focuser is a
quality piece of kit. It's sturdy, simple, well crafted, and was easy to install. Compared
to the shocking rack and pinion focuser that came standard from Meade in my Schmidt
Newtonian telescope the new focuser from GSO is absolutely fantastic to use for imaging on
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