Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm OTA

First deep sky images with QHY10 camera

I know that the following photos are not very good but they do show real deep sky objects – M57 (Ring Nebula in Lyra) and M101 (spiral galaxy in Ursa Major). I took these photos tonight using my QHY10 camera on my Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm scope on HEQ5 Pro mount. I spend a long time polar aligning the scope and then did three star alignment. The sky was poor with a lot of moisture but I still managed to get my first successful deep sky photos after 4 weeks of hard work.

These images are certainly not works of art and I have long way to go on my astro-imaging journey but I am excited about the start I made today. I have already achieved my objective of being able to photograph a galaxy and show its spiral arms – my next objectives are now to show star formation regions in a galaxy in one of my photos and detail in the wall of a planetary nebula and to successfully image the North Americal Nebula and Horse Head Nebulae. My objectives are predomently observational rather than to create artistic renderings of the night sky. To me, the camera is a tool to help improve my observations of the night sky.


M57 240819@2247 60s.png – original image (single frame, 60 second exposure):

Applying some curves to above image in GIMP:

Cropping the above image and scaling up the image:

M101 240819@2340 300s.png (original image – single frame, 300 second exposure):

Applying curves in GIMP to above image brings out M101:

Greyscale and further curves and a little playing around with contrast and brightness and I was able to bring out the spiral arms in M101 – I felt this was quite an achievement!

I took 7 images of M101 tonight & the following post describes what happened when I stacked those images:

Stacking and processing image of M101 to remove light pollution in GIMP

Re-processing Moon image in Registax

Roger has very kindly reprocessed my recent Moon image in Registax for me.

He comments: “I actually usually find “wavelets” in Registax more useful for sharpening, at least initially.”

QHY10 camera, Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm OTA, TS OAG/flip mirror, Lichfield, August 2019, Andrew Thornett/extra processing by Roger Samworth.


This post follows on from my previous post:

Applying Lucy-Richardson sharpening in GIMP to my previous Moon image

My original Moon image:

Roger’s reprocessed image in Registax:

Settings Roger used on Registax:

Taking my first successful focused photo of a celestial object with QHY10 camera and Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm/TS OAG-flip mirror – photographing full moon 16/8/19

Having successfully obtained focus with the QHY10/Equinox 80/TS OAG-flip mirror, I was then able to also obtain my first “proper” image of a celestial object using the QHY10 camera.

Successfully achieving focus & noting the focal point on Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm OTA on Manfrotto mount with QHY10 camera and TS off axis guider/flip mirror 15/8/2019

The extensive cloud cover meant that the only object available was the full Moon which was able to penetrate the clouds. To photograph this, I had to use the lowest shutter speed setting possible of 1/10000 second and also using an aperture mask to reduce the aperture of the Equinox 80mm OTA by about 70% and the clouds further reduced the brightness of the Moon!! I don’t think the QHY10 was designed with the brightness of the Moon in mind. Settings on Nebulosity were also amp off on the QHY10, gain 0, offset 130.

Focus point = 15.5mm on the scale on the Equinox 80mm for the QHY10 with the TS OAG/Flip mirror also in place.

The following screenshot shows the focused Moon in Nebulosity 4 software, together with settings for the QHY10 on that software used tonight – note that there is colour dispersion due I suspect to low altitude of Moon and cloud present:

I found a process to address the colour dispersion using GIMP2 software using the decompose function which I have described in another post (click on link below) – please could readers let me know of any better process that you are aware of that I could have used tonight. I do have an atmospheric dispersion corrector but it is only 1.25″ fitting rather than the 2″ fitting required for the QHY10 camera.

Decomposing images in GIMP2

This resulted in my successful image of the Moon:


Moon 150819(VII) 15-5mm on Eq80 focus tube-RGB-blue layer after decompose:

Blue frame above with some processing in GIMP2 (single frame):

See following post for further processing of this image:

Re-processing Moon image in GIMP


Decomposing images in GIMP2

Tonight, I took my first image of the Moon with my QHY10 camera/Equinox 80mm telescope.

The image should colour dispersion. I do have a dispersion corrector but it is 1.25 inch fitting and the QHY10 camera is definitely 2 inch fitting.

I found that this problem can be addressed using GIMP2 software – in this software there is a function called decomposition – this splits a colour image into separate individual RGB images.

I have described the process I followed in GIMP2 to decompose images below.


Original image in GIM2 showing colour dispersion:

Selecting decompose in GIMP2:

Selecting RGB in decompose:

Decompose in GIMP2 results in 3 separate layers for each colour – each image is presented greyscale & can be saved:

Successfully achieving focus & noting the focal point on Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm OTA on Manfrotto mount with QHY10 camera and TS off axis guider/flip mirror 15/8/2019

Sky was poor again tonight – largely clouded out except for a bright full Moon which shone through the cloud and one or two visible stars – including one very bright one almost directly overhead which successfully provided a bright point for me to use to focus my Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm OTA/QHY10 camera/TS off axis guider/flip mirror 15/8/2019. Previously I had got sort of close to focus using a chimney on neighbour’s house but there is nothing like a star to do this properly. I tried a Bahtinov mask after getting closest focus by eye but for some reason I could not get that to show the spikes tonight….not sure why….something else to address on another day! Nevertheless, the focus I achieved tonight was sufficient to take a reasonable picture of the Moon – my first ever “proper” picture of a celestial object using a telescope with attached camera, apart from some photos taken with hand held smart phone at eyepiece in past.

With the TS OAG/Flip mirror between telescope and QHY10 camera, the focus point was noted to 15.5mm on the scale on the focuser of the Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm OTA.


Screenshot from Nebulosity 4 showing the star focused on the QHY10 camera sensor:     


Andrew’s new astro-imaging setup

Using my enforced time off work to start setting up my Astrophotography setup and hopefully soon I can take my first astrophoto. Sky Watcher equinox pro 80mm with QHY10 single shot camera, and Geoff Dryland’s William Optics 65mm refractor as guide scope and one of those cameras off eBay which Ed recommended as guiding camera. The adapter between camera and WO scope is an XY adapter sold second hand on ebay which should allow me to select guiding star. Hopefully all this will work but of course I don’t know what I am doing!