The Sony is on its Way!
Yep, Mark from JTW Astronomy just confirmed that UPS has picked up the precious A7s package, should be fun to see how long it takes to transit from the Netherlands to Australia. My guess is a week.
Want to see yet another reason I’m so excited about this camera? Ok, then look at this image from Fritz:
Why do I get so worked up by such an image? Well besides its basic beauty, it’s the stats. It’s a 7nm Ha filtered shot. At 3200 ISO. Get this – 10 shots, of FORTY SECONDS. Revolution anyone?
Concerns about undersampling answered
There are a few telescope resolution calculators out there that I’ve been using, like this one. With the Sony’s large 8.4nm pixels and my 430mm focal length for the Takahashi E-130D, I calculate that my resolution will be a measly 4 arc secs/pixel.
The literature generally says to keep the resolution down to around 2, to avoid possible square looking small stars, so this puppy might get into trouble! But I have fortunately found a good example image that proves that the images should be well within tolerance and at least correctable using the ‘drizzle’ method of image integration.
Here is a Sony A7s image taken with a short focal length scope, an Astro Tech 65 EDQ with an even shorter focal length than my stumpy wombat. Thanks to Brian Allan for posting these early images.
See any square stars? Nope, not unless you zoom into the image at a very high level. Even then, it’s barely noticeable. And again, software such as Pixininsight can ‘drizzle’ your integrated frames and produce round stars.
For an excellent comparison of drizzled versus non-drizzled, with a setup that’s at 2 arc secs/pixel, click here. Thanks Rik!
Laffingstock Observatory Almost Operational
My good friend Chip has almost completed his epic construction project for his dream observatory in an even dreamier location of high-altitude Colorado, USA. Chip will no doubt start to post here one day, but in the meantime, due to various health and logistical issues, I’ll help out and enjoy his amazing facilities vicariously!
Chip has been very unwell, battling cancer and its numerous treatment side effects, so this milestone is so important for both of us. Even with his illness he seems to have unlimited energy, constructing the observatory base himself or with limited help, coordinating all the suppliers and planning the whole thing meticulously. It’s a facility to be truly proud of, and as soon as he sent me these pictures, I felt obligated to show the world. This project has been keeping him active and motivated for many months, it’s so nice to see the end result emerging.
The obs is located in a very high part of Colorado, so you can imagine what such pristine, dry air will do for his images. And check out the equipment! An FSQ-106, sitting on top of what is probably close to the best mount in the world, the Paramount MX+ . Like our site says, it’s true Astroporn! Not attached is the well-regarded SBIG STT8300M camera, OAG and filter wheel.
It should be an honour to be intricately involved in the first imaging sessions and processing, as I help Chip come to grips with the modern day tech. You see Chip is a film AP veteran, very accomplished but pretty new to CCDs and today’s programs. So keep an eye here as to his progress and more likely, calls for urgent help!
I keep forgetting to paste my latest images directly here. What’s the point of taking pics and learning, if you can’t share ’em! Go to my Flickr feed on the right if you want more details of the pics, or just post a question here. I’m really happy with my focusing right now, using Backyard EOS to do live, decent scale focusing. Still need to improve guiding and of course, am pretty happy with my EOS40D but am salivating at the prospect of the Sony coming into play. Always learning more with Pixinsight too, especially HDR techniques. Next stop will be Narrowband processing, or at least incorporating Ha filtered images into RGB.