I am in the middle of an astrophotographic trip to Western Australia. A month before the trip, I decided to get a RedCat from WO. For a guy used to various scopes from TAK, I had my doubt on this tiny scope. But this purchase turns out to be a brilliant decision. Although the number of clear nights is exceptionally high in Western Australia in this season, it can be windy. For about half of my nights here thus far, my main scope had to stop imaging for a substantial fraction of the nights because of the wind. On the other hand, the RedCat can continue to image thanks to its smaller cross-section and shorter focal length. In those windy nights, the RedCat was my workhorse scope. Not only that, its quality did not disappoint me.
Here I would like to share with you an image from its first night, the Great Carina Nebula:
Or you may use this link to download the 100% image (40MB):
The camera is Nikon D800. This is a stack of 14 5-minute exposures. Usually I would apply some star size reduction so I can further bring out the faint nebulas. In this case, I did not do it, because I want a picture that can accurately reflect the performance of the scope. It goes without saying that there is no noise reduction nor sharpening. There is some trailing of stars caused by tracking issues. This is corrected in the image. I knew the trailing was caused by the tracking after I examined every single exposure and compared them with the guide graph of PHD2. Since the trailing is not caused by the optics, I feel comfortable correcting it in post processing.
The stars in the corners are quite good, better than my Sigma 180mm/F2.8. However, unfortunately, not all pictures I took so far are as good as this one. In some of the exposures I took on other targets, stars in one or two of the FF corners can show some distortion, and this behavior changes with the direction of pointing. Nevertheless, even in those no-so-good ones, it's far from being bad. For its price, I am actually quite happy with what I saw.
All the other images taken with this scope are tricky to process. I won't be able to present them until probably March.