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Two month ago I start checking for some new equipment to upgrade my telescope. And today I finally got everything and could install it. I bought a Hyperstar setup, a CCD astronomy cameras, and some filters and accessories. Took a long time but now everything is here.

A Hyperstar setup or a Schmidt camera is basically introduce your camera on the place of the secondary mirror. This have the advantage to gather 23 times more light (for my Celestron 8″). It transforms the f/10 system to a f/2. So a 30 seconds exposure will have a similar result to a 11 minutes exposure in the normal system. The downside is that you lose a lot on magnification, so if you have a very tiny object, it might not be a good idea to use the Hyperstar.

The CCD camera, is another very important component. It is basically a digital camera made for astronomy, so there is no shutter, no lens, no nothing. All controlled via computer and with a amazing cooling system. The Atik 450 camera that I got can go to -20C decreasing greatly the amount of noise generated by the camera. The “downside” of this camera is that it is mono… there are CCD color cameras, but they have less quality and less light gathering power. So to deal with this problem, it is necessary filters. I got the conventional LRGB (Luminance, Red, Green, Blue), and I got the narrow band Hα (Hydrogen Alpha), OIII (Doubly Ionized Oxygen), SII (Ionized Sulfur).

2015-04-25 13.29.34

So, for my first light, I did a very bad job at aligning the mount, didn’t use any autoguiding, and took some pretty short exposure pictures. Just to see what I could get. Tried to find something big and easy to photograph, only as a first test. Weather was not very good so I would not be able to have a nice night of pictures.

2015-04-25-M81_LRGB_L20x10s_RGB10x10s

Bode’s Galaxy, Cigar Galaxy (M81, M82)
Celestron AVX 8″ SCT
Hyperstar 3
Filter: Baader LRGB
Focal Length: 425 mm
Aperture: f/2.1
Shutter: 10s
Stacking: L20 / RGB10
Total exposure: 500 sec
Aquisition: Astemis Capture
Post processing: PixInsight
Taken Apr 25, 2015 around 22:27 CEST

Only 500 seconds total (less than 10 minutes) and the session was finished with 50 shots. Had to change filters 4 times, one for each LRGB. It took me almost the same time to prepare the next filter than to take the pictures with the previous filter. It is unbelievable fast system. And even in one only sub, I already see a lot of details of the galaxies.

I didnt use any calibration frames (which is bad) but i just wanted to see what the new equipment was capable of doing. It took me several days and a lot of long exposures and hard job to get those in the past. And it was super easy to use it with the Hyperstar. I never had such a easy picture like that. And the stars are very round shaped all across the picture. Very nice…

Next time I will do the proper guiding, proper alignment and try some pictures a bit longer. And see what will be possible to get. I am very happy with the new acquisition, and looking forward to may pictures in the near future.

Vote in me for astrophotography award:

STAR OF EUROPE ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2015

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