|the intent of testing a variety of setups for solar, DSO and wide-field astrophotography, I headed to this very dark location that I have been to 3 other times - but never in February. While I
thought I was prepared, 25 degree temperatures combined with gusts of 25+ mph wind eventually turned my cozy little field lab into a scene from the wizard of oz. Rain and clouds the
situation for even PHD and Lodestar to manage and having to image in the open and "sleep" in a running truck. Despite being equipped with some of the better duck hunting attire
one can find, using a computer in an open Georgia field in 20 degree temperatures with no indoor 'respite' for 4 days resulting in minor frostbite and real exhaustion. I did not want to
leave my equipment to the elements or wildlife and go to any one of a number of relatives houses some miles away - and I paid for it .
The 3rd and final night, however, provided the most amazing sky I have ever seen - even in the desert or at altitude. Greg and I stuck it out and tried to collect some of the data and turn it
into something useful. Hopefully that works out - but the wind and a possible bad polar align combined to make guiding very difficult.
Also, just before the trip I purchased and ended up testing the Vixen Polarie portable mount head in a variety of modes with promising results. Below are two of the 'Star Scape' single
frame captures I liked the most. They will lead what will be, I hope, decent results to be posted here from the rest of the trip.
FINAL RESULTS = Other than for the pics below - a WASHOUT. Due to wind and a crap polar align that should have been checked twice if it wasn't too cold to stay out with the mount.
CLICK ALL IMAGES BELOW FOR LARGE VERSION (anywhere from 1-10 MB)
|Dark Sky Session - Middle Georgia - Various optical systems and tests
Imaging: Michael DeMita and Greg Myers
Processing: Michael DeMita
|"The Wizard and his Dog". That's what 3 nights with little sleep and staring at
the same landscape in a dark, cold field will make you name two trees.
Above: Tests using the Vixen Polarie portable guide head on a simple tripod with
a ball tilted to align with Polaris through a small peephole in the Polarie. Single
(albeit cleaned up) 20 second exposure in 'Star Scape' mode. Canon EOS 5D, 800
iso, f5.6, 24mm focal length.
|Losmandy G-11 with G2 mount, Tak FSQ-106EDXiii imaging
Above: Imaging with the scopes back to an almost full moon. with
a SXVR-H18 mono camera and filterwheel. Side-by-side had been
mounted with an SXVR-M25C and a Canon EOS 24-105mm
zoom - but was removed prior to photo. Canon EOS 5D, 800 iso,
f5.6, 24mm focal length.
|The setup prior to it blowing away
with Greg, my equipment and me
|We thought you said "STEER
PARTY", not "STAR PARTY"!
|He would not leave us alone. I
named him Hub-Bull.
|Narrow Band Imaging:
Wide-field Bubble Nebula, Tadpole Nebula, Crab Nebula - Hubble Palettes
SXVR-H18 Camera, Tak 106 EDXiii @ Prime, Astrodon filters, G-11 mount, Lodestar/PHD guide. Note I had a bad polar align the entire trip making
processing very difficult and hurting quality. Too cold to re-check it I guess.
|Planetary and Solar Imaging:
PGR Grasshopper and Flea3 Camera. Best 20% of 4000 frames @ 120 fps.
Solar - Lunt double and triple stack 80mm, Planetary - Celestron C11 Edge HD @ 2x Barlow, Satellite - Tak 106@prime with Flea3 (overexposed).
Baader filters, CGEM mount, Color Lodestar/PHD guide.
|ISS - Manual capture (negative)
with Flea 3 in Tak 106 @ prime
- no barlow. Hey, it sucks but I
get it on film through a scope!
|NGC 2403 - HaRGB - 1 h 12 m
- H18, Tak 106 @ Prime
|Camera (from field day at my office with
Stephen Ramsden - processed by me)
|Sun - Lunt 80mm 2x
etalon - M25C Camera -
|Sun - Lunt 80mm 2x etalon - Flea3 Camera
|Venus - Tak FSQ-106EDXiii @
Prime - Flea 3 camera. Lum
image taken as test for ISS
|LRGB & Ha Imaging:
LRGB with Ha Luminence and/or HaRGB Imaging.
SXVR-H18 Camera, Tak 106 EDXiii @ Prime, Astrodon filters, G-11 mount, Lodestar/PHD guide. Note that between 25 mph wind and a poor polar
alignment these images are not of the best quality.
|Simultaneous Wide-Field Imaging:
SBS with the M25C and a Canon EOS 24-105mm zoom @ 75mm and f4.0.
SXVR-M25C Camera, Tak 106 EDXiii @ Prime, IDAS-LP filter, G-11 mount, Lodestar/PHD guide. These images were taken at the same time in a
side-by-side setup on the G-11 mount as the main H18 camera images were taken.
|M101 - LRGB & Ha - 1 h 55 m of poorly guided
subs- H18, Tak 106 @ Prime - PixInsight First
|Crab Nebula centered in Taurus -
M25C with IDAS-LP - 1 h 15 m
|Antares in Scorpius - Only 25
|M42 & IC 434 in Orion - M25C w/
IDAS-LP - 1 h 15 m - Add 1h20m Ha
to the right from H18 camera
|M101 in Ursa Major - M25C
w/ IDAS-LP Filter. 1 h 15 m
|Tadpole Nebula in Auriga - M25C
with IDAS-LP - 1 h 15 m
|Bubble Nebula in Cassiopeia -
M25C with IDAS-LP - 1 h 15 m
|M33 - M25C Camera - 2 h 15
|15 m - H18, Tak 106 @ Prime