Oh boy… lets start with listing what went wrong on the first fully clear winter night of 2019/2020 which I was able to image. I had my EdgeHD 8 telescope set-up, a rareity but I decided the cold weather would help my uncooled cameras function better and at F/10 one needs to be able to bump up the ISO a bit… well I certainly regret that decision.
Things that went Wrong
- Entered in the wrong Scope/sensor combo in Stellarium so my field of view was larger by a factor of 2 (which made star identification and hopping a lot harder)
- Found out my EdgeHD is slightly out of colomation
- Forgot after focusing to lock down the mirror, so it flip-flopped during the night.
- My Orion Starshoot decided it didn’t want to find any stars so I lost tracking (which at 2023mm I still require!) so F/10 with OAG is too much for it.
- One Imaging Run I forgot to set to “loop” so got 5 minutes of images rather than an hour…
- Cold weather caused some cables to be less than flexible and unplug, particularity the guide cable doesn’t seem to want to give me south accession correction.
Things I did to work around the problem (short term solutions)
- Imaged at 20sec subs, the shortest period of time where my initial tests showed I could confidently get round stars without any upsets.
- Set the ISO to 8000 as to get a bit better SNR out of the camera at the -20C temperatures (I also tried ISO 51200 but the SNR didn’t change at all). I should note that at -15C or colder for the Z6 ISO800 stacked is nosier (especially in the green channel) than ISO8000… to be investigated why but such is life.
- Changed my plan from imaging 4 targets seriously to a marathon run of just grab and bag as many targets with reasonable success.
Okay, on to the images I was able to capture (each with multiple 20 sec subs). Arguably not my best work but at least I got something form a full night of effort, besides some critical lessons learned.
So there you have it, I have a few tasks to sort out before my next serious imaging session with the Celestron Edge HD 8″, so I may jump down to my William Optics Piggy back set-up as figure out things in the freezing cold isn’t as fun as advertised!