Meade ACF first light

After about a week from a moment my new tube was installed on the pier I had a chance for first light. I was not completely prepared for this – still there is no guider mounted and Crayford focuser was late one day, so I needed to focus telescope with the knob. But since next starry moment may happen not so soon, I decided to put camera into the telescope and try to estimate its abilities. I hoped to reach 20mag stars at 300s exposure, and the obstacles were: no guiding and first quarter Moon. So only lucky imaging with short exposures was available at my EQ6 mount.

This is very first light – one 3 seconds frame of M29 cluster. QHY163M camera at bin2, L filter, Meade 10″ f/10:

M29 open cluster – 3 seconds exposure

Stars down to 16mag at SNR=3 were recorded at this 3 seconds single frame. And below there is stack of 100 such frames, so kind-of 300s single frame. But single frame will contain less noise:

100×3 seconds stack of M29. Stretched, no further processing.
100×3 seconds stack of M15 cluster. Stretched, no further processing.

M15 globular cluster above has been also caught, but this one was already pretty close to Moon, so the background is more noisy, and also missing flat files are visible. I was able to identify stars down to 19.5mag at SNR=3, and this is good news. I hope that without Moon and with guiding I will reach 20mag at 300s exposures. 

Since Moon was already shining like crazy I quickly decided to capture it as well. I exchanged QHY163 camera with ASI290 plus IR pass filter and TV x2 barlow and at about 5 meters of focal length I recorded few short movies. Seeing was mediocre, some clouds already become to attack, but for given conditions the outcome is pretty good.

Vallis Alpes
Alphonsus and Arzachel

Clear skies! 

One thought on “Meade ACF first light

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *