Monthly Archives: January 2013

Active Optics guiding with SXVR-H9 monochrome camera

As of January 2013 I am now using a Starlight Xpress SXVR-H9 monochrome camera for guiding in conjunction with my Starlight Xpress Active Optics (AO) unit.  The H9 camera uses the same SX Universal driver in MaxIm DL as the Lodestar which enables selection and control of an AO unit.

The H9 camera uses the sensitive Sony ICX285AL Exview HAD CCD with square 6.45um pixels and an image format of 1392 x 1040 pixels.  Operating at bin x2 the SXVR-H9 has a plate scale of 2.96 arc sec (compared to 3.85 arc sec for the Lodestar) with a field-of-view that is almost twice the area of the Lodestar.  Results so far suggest the increased resolution and larger field-of-view offer tangible benefits both to guiding precision and guide star selection.  I am now able to find guide stars more easily in the sparse star fields around galaxies.

Emission Nebula in Cassiopeia (Take 2) – IC1795

First published image from my remote telescope hosted with AstroCamp at Nerpio, S.E. Spain (aka iTelescope T18). It has taken me almost a year to prepare and get the system fully working for integration into the iTelescope.net global telescope network. Thanks to the AstroCamp and ITelescope teams for all your help. It is fantastic to see the system working hard every clear night. The clear dark skies at AstroCamp enable OIII and SII images with good signal-to-noise to be acquired in less than half the time it takes from my suburban observatory in Bristol.

Right ascension: 02h 27m 05.32s | Declination: +62° 02′ 07″ | Distance: 6,000 Light Years
Field of view: 37.4 x 24.9 arcmin

Camera: SBIG STL-6303E
Telescope: PlaneWave Instruments CDK 12.5 F/7.9
Guiding: External 80mm F/4 guidescope with an Atik 314L+ for guiding
Mount: Paramount PME
Filters: Astrodon Ha (5nm), OIII (5nm), SII (5nm)
Exposures: Ha 24 x 10 min; OIII 12 x 10 min; SII 12 x 10 min
Total exposure: 8 hours
Image composition: Colour Mapped Narrowband SII:Ha:OIII (Hubble Palette)
Scale: 0.73 arcsec/pixel
Image acquired: 4-6 January 2013 from AstroCamp, Nerpio, S.E. Spain

Image capture with MaxIm DL, FocusMax, ACP; Image processed with MaxIm DL (Fat Tail Deconvolution), Photoshop CS4