Author Archives: Kenneth Crichton

M45

ts been a while now since i posted my preliminarily preview of the Esprit 120 mostly due to a combination of work/family/bad weather and Xmas parties. On Friday evening the forecast was clear until around 7ish so i was able to get a few shots of M45. I chose M45 as its a great star cluster which would be good to determine star shapes in the corner of my sensor.

I was able to get 26×2.5min before the clouds started to roll in. For this test the position of M45 wasn’t great so there is a light pollution gradient etc, which isn’t important to determining star shapes, optical errors.

Anyway looking at my RAW images id say the scope covers about 98% of the sensor. For the remaining 2% a very small amount of vignetting is visible with a strong histogram stretch and an ever so slight amount of coma on stars at the extremities of the image. If your using a 36mm sensor like me then a very slight crop is necessary, although most people would do this anyway. If your using a standard APS-C Dslr then your stars are pinpoints to the edge! Very impressive in my book. Zooming into a bright star i can see no signs of star bloating.

I don’t know how Skywatcher are able to achieve such high quality for such a low price (in comparison to high end competitors) but im delighted!

The image ive posted is about 75% crop, for your perusal if anyone wants a full uncropped image please let me know.

Flats light panel

Since I’m currently looking to change to a mono camera I thought it would be sensible to have a look at making the flats process easier.

I’ve seen a few posts over the years where people have produced a light panel and added A4 paper to the front giving a nice flat illuminated area.

I wanted to do something similar so I purchased a cheap LED panel on amazon and cut around the telescope circumference. I left the box around the panel and added Velcro to the inside to keep it flat against the outside. I also cut out the power inlet and on/off button.

Very pleased with the result ! I’ll keep it velcroed to the inside of the observatory.

M33 Pinwheel

Sunday night was clear so i decided to have a second go at M33. This is the second time Ive attempted this galaxy as the first from last year was slightly out of focus. It was a poor night seeing wise and my “clear outside app” was actually orange/red for most of it but Im pleased with the improvement from last year. I still feel i need to add more subs or would better seeing make that difference??? I actually tried to view the galaxy with a set of 70mm binos but it wasn’t visible. 100×2.5min plus darks, flats and bias. Processed in pixinsight.

Esprit 120

Esprit 120 Part 1

I decided to purchase this scope as it fits nicely in between the focal lengths of my other telescopes. I have read lots of reviews of the espirit range and quite honestly haven’t found any negativity at all. I purchased the scope from FLO and spent an extra little to have the scope optically bench tested. This will serve as an additional peace of mind and I’m really pleased I did so. 

On close inspection of the scope I can see this is a very high quality instrument with great attention to detail. 

It comes with all the connectors etc that you would require to start imaging right out of the box. I did purchase the field flattener at an additional cost as I plan to use it purely for imaging. If your doing visual astronomy the flattener isn’t required. I also received a m48 to canon adapter but not sure if this is normally included in uk sales or FLO just threw it in ? Either way very pleased ! 

The retractable dew shield is a great fit and works very well with the two screws to tighten over the tube. 

The focuser is of excellent quality and feels lovely to work it back and forth. The only other refractor I have is a takahashi Fsq 85 and I’d say this is of equal quality. The locking knob sits underneath the focuser. I wasn’t sure about the locking knob in the beginning as I’m used to using the screw type on the Fsq but this is growing on me and certainly locks things down tightly. 

I also like the camera orientation adjuster which enables you to quickly frame the object your imaging. Again slightly different to the Fsq but excellent. 

Visually the scope looks stunning with clean lines and I like the splash of green SkyWatcher have added to their scopes over recent months. 

The optics look awesome and I’m really looking forward to testing it out when the weather clears. I plan to use a full frame canon 6d to start with so this will be a real test of the scope/optics. Going by the look/feel of the scope I’m very confident it will pass with flying colours. 

Make no mistake this is a finely engineered scope, love it ! 

 

M31

M31 from the 30th Oct, 28×2.5min exposures plus flats, darks and bias frames. Stacked calibrated and processed in pixinsight. Unfortunately i messed up the flats as a piece of unfocused dust moved in between taking the lights and flats. I solved this by using  clone stamp in pixinsight. This is a lesson i guess- I should take the flats at exactly the same time as the lights and not leave it 24hrs at the same focus point.

IC 5070

With the moon so bright on Saturday evening i continued to image in Halpha. 10min exposures and a total of 4hrs stacked and calibrated in pixinsigth. A very cold night as i remember ! Pleased with the result but not sure the longer exposures have added any detail to the cygnus wall from my previous post on the north American nebula. You can definitely see why IC 5070 is called the pelican though.