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First Light- ST8300M-AT8RC

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#1 SGT500

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 08:37 AM

Ive had this camera since christmas and last night i finally got a chance to test it out! this was my first test with the 8300 and 8RC. i have to say im pretty pleased with the results. A large step up from my DSLR.
This image is just a quick test. i could have done better with longer subs, and more of them. Also Half my subframes were taken with the waning gibbous moon.
I had some problems calibrating the lights with the darks. My darks oversubtracted the lights and i wound up with black spots so im going to reprocess this whole image from scratch eventually.
Here is the image, please let me know what you think.
-Sal

M51
Astrotech 8RC
Orion Atlas Eq-G
SBIG St-8300M

16x300s @ -15C

This image is unfiltered. I dont have LRGB filters yet. im waiting for the Fw8-8300 which comes out later this year.

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#2 SGT500

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 08:37 AM

And a crop to show M51 a little closer

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#3 Dan G

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 09:50 AM

Sal -

Looks great. Are you focusing manually or do you have some sort of electronic focuser?

Dan in NY

#4 saadabbasi

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 10:15 AM

Sal, could you please post the full frame? (or is this it?)

Would highly appreciate it.

#5 SGT500

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 10:38 AM

Thanks Dan and Saadabbasi,

Dan- This was focused manually using CCDsoft's focus tools. It took about 5 minutes to get a perfect focus.

Saadabbasi- Full frame meaning full size? or Full FOV? the First image i posted is the Full FOV size with the 8RC. it is Uncropped. The second is a 67% center crop. If you would like me to post the full 3352x2532 pixel version let me know.

#6 DeanS

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 10:47 AM

Very nice Sal.

Your stars look very good, did you have any problems guiding? Your image scale is such that any guiding issue will show, and with 5 minute subs your mount had to be behaving.

Great first light.

#7 SGT500

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 10:55 AM

Hey Dean,
Thank you!
I had absolutely no problems guiding. I probably have close 40 pounds on the Orion Atlas and it is behaving beautifully. Guiding was so good last night i was upset i didnt use 10 minute subs :lol:
i use PHD to guide.

#8 bill w

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 11:22 AM

think it was worth the wait
mighty deep for "just a test"

#9 David Pavlich

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 11:42 AM

Terrific, Sal! You have a ton of detail there. Can't wait to see your results when you get the filter wheel.

David

#10 SGT500

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 12:18 PM

Thanks Bill and David!
I was impressed how deep it went with a relatively short exposure. I cant wait to put a couple of hours into a target and see how the camera does. I cant wait to get the filter wheel either. some color would be Nice :)

#11 Jeff in Austin

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 05:38 PM

Sal, that's a nice sharp image, and loads of detail. I have the same scope and mount, with the same camera on order. How did you manage to balance? Did you go with 3 counter weights?

#12 AlexN

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 10:40 PM

Fantastic work Sal! Happy to see you finally got your ST8300 out for a nights imaging.... You got yours about 2 weeks before me and mines been out 5 or 6 times already..


You've definitely made up for the wait well with this shot... The detail looks brilliant..

#13 SGT500

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 11:25 PM

Thanks Jeff and Alex!

Jeff- Balancing isnt too bad. I use 3 orion 11lb counterweights. ill post a pic of my setup a little later.

Alex- Thanks again! Im happy to be using the camera. It seems to be a really great performer so far. I am in the middle of my second light with the camera :). i got 3 hours and 30 minutes of M81 and im hoping to get another hour and a half of M51. hopefully it comes out good :)

#14 shurik

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 12:32 AM

Sal can you please 100% crop of a jsut the galaxy, and if possible processed and unstreched single frame. thank you, Alex

#15 Bob Brunck

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 02:05 AM

Congratulations Sal on a great first light image. I love M51 and you have captured a very nice deep image ... Can't wait to see more of your images when you get to add the RGB filters ... How do you like the AT8RC for visual astronomy?

Bob

#16 SGT500

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 07:28 PM

Hey Bob and Alex,

Alex- Here is a 100% crop of the new version. I added another hour last night in 10 minute subs.

Bob- THanks. I actually havent used the RC for visual yet :(. so i cant comment on that. :(

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#17 SGT500

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 07:29 PM

unprocessed

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#18 weatherandsky

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 08:42 PM

Congratualations Sal!!! The image looks fantastic and can't wait to see it in colour. A really great nice scope and camera combo. I'm looking into this camera for sure.

BTW what is your LP like.

#19 SGT500

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 09:27 PM

hey Kerry,
Thanks alot! Im really excited about this and i cant wait to get some color either! I will probably get it soon using a 16" RC.
So far this camera scope combo seems to work extremely well. Much better than my canon DSLR.
My light pollution is moderate. The limiting magnitude at the Zenith is around 5.5 with a pretty large light dome extending 30 degrees in the east. There are also a few other light domes in various locations. Its rated in the "orange zone"

Btw. here is the image with another hour added in 10 minute subs.

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#20 SGT500

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 09:32 PM

hey Kerry,
Thanks alot! Im really excited about this and i cant wait to get some color either! I will probably get it soon using a 16" RC.
So far this camera scope combo seems to work extremely well. Much better than my canon DSLR.
My light pollution is moderate. The limiting magnitude at the Zenith is around 5.5 with a pretty large light dome extending 30 degrees in the east. There are also a few other light domes in various locations. Its rated in the "orange zone"

#21 alpal

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 07:05 AM

Gee Wizz - you have some nice astro gear &
you know how to use it.
That's going to be magic when you do colour shots.

#22 SGT500

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 09:53 PM

Thanks Alot! I really cant wait to do color. I am hoping to add color to this one at my universities observatory this week using their color wheel and my camera. ever since i switched from DSLR i am committing more time to my images. Its paid off i think

#23 Ozy

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 11:20 PM

Did I mention that I love diffraction spikes? Looks great! Are you using a flattener? Can we see corner crops of the image too? Any images of the assembled image train?

#24 SGT500

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 12:21 AM

Chris,
Thanks Alot! I was really inspired by your image of this galaxy. I cant wait to get some color on this one. Im waiting for the FW8-8300 to come out in a few months. :( such a long wait.
I actually didnt use a flattener for this image. It was at F/8. I think the corners look good even without the flattener. Ill post a pic of the corners and the setup now.
But first...
here is my updated version. I stacked it using different parameters, and came out with a little smoother result i think. Hopefully when i get back from school ill add another 2 hours of luminance. Maybe ill also add another 2 or so hours with a 16" RC :).

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#25 SGT500

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 12:21 AM

Heres the setup

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