Observing Report – 2013-09-05 Iris Nebula Imaging

It was clear last night so i scrambled to setup the scope. The pier adaptor still needs some adjustments, but i decided it was good enough to use. That meant completely assemble the scope from the pier up.

I was using the AT106 for which i had mounting brackets and a plate for the CGE Pro (Losmandy style) already assembled. However, i had not used this with a piggyback guide scope. So i had to reconfigure the mounting brackets to allow for the guide scope.

The pier adaptor went on fine and the mount is nice and solid. I had previously done a rough polar alignment (PA) in situ with the top part of the pier plate only fastened at the centre. This allowed PA to be done by rotating the pier top plate rather than using the azimuth screws which have limited travel. Then it was dismantled again and the top part securely anchored to the bottom plate. So i was pretty sure the scope would be close to aligned. It was in fact almost perfectly polar aligned and on first try only required a little tweaking using the all-sky method.

Getting the wires and gadgets organized proved to be more time consuming than planned. I had not used the scope for 3 months and with it completely dismantled had to recreate the wiring from scratch. It took 4 trips to the basement to retrieve the forgotten components.

I started at 8pm and was up and running by 10pm – including alignment and the PA. Imaging run started around 11pm. I figured i had 4 or 5hrs of imaging time so set the image acquisition program for that amount of time. At 4:30am i went out and shut things down and started taking dark frames.

Unfortunately i forget the dew heater on the guide scope! There was a heavy due that night so i lost the guide star due to condensation on the guide scope after only 2hrs of the planned 5. Oh Well! Hoping for more time in a few days.

Here is the rough processing of the first iteration which includes all the calibration frames. The colour balance is on the green side due to the generic stacking process. (I have a custom set of tools that provides a better colour balance step. But its a time consuming process to run. The standard tools are 100% automated and therefore simple to execute.) This version is resampled to about 1/3 the full scale to account for the high noise. More subs will mean less noise.