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M42 area - QHY600M "first light"

astrophotography
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#1 Allaboutastro

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 02:21 PM

Friends:

 

I don't normally post images to CN, but because of the interest in this camera, I thought I'd show this...as well as give a few first impressions.

 

First of all, in earlier posts here, including the megathread, I'm on record as saying that I feel the Sony IMX-455 based cameras, in this case the QHY600, will signify the death of CCDs in our hobby.   I believe that very strongly now.   For a while, people looking for a bargain CCD camera will continue to buy those products, but in light of the results with such chips, especially for their value, I have to think there will be risks involved where support for those products is concerned.  

 

For those who don't know about this camera, you should...it's the first full-frame (35mm film size) grayscale camera available to astronomers. And because it's a 16-bit back-illuminated CMOS sensor with quantum effiiciency of over 90% (sensitivity), with barely any camera read-noise at all when compared with traditional CCDs, it's pretty much the perfect camera. Moreover, because the camera accomplishes this with really small 3.75 micron pixels (60 megapixels in total), it matches very well with smaller, high quality refractors like the FSQ-106, as shown here in this "first light" image with the camera.

 

This is a 4 arcdegree, single frame shot of the Orion Nebula region (M42/M43) taken with a 4.5nm Custom Scientific H-alpha filter (50mm unmounted) in the new QHYCFW3L filter wheel.   Exposure time is 390 minutes in total using 10 minutes subexposures, all unbinned.  Remarkably, only a small amount of the M42 core was blown out in the subexposure (it has massive full-well depth), so I had to mask only a small amount of the core with extra data...in this case with a stack of 50 exposures of 15 seconds each.

 

The camera is not setup optimally because I was not able to test the camera due to bad weather...and the remote observatory is 250 miles away.  Ugh!   I'm using the supplied 2" adapter directly into the FSQ-106's 2" focuser and wasn't able to verify the field flatness onsite.  Consequently, there is currently ~3% of camera tilt.  This is not permanent...I will be going with an all-threaded connection soon.  The camera comes with a camera tilt adapter, so even after the connection is threaded, I'll still be able to get the camera properly orthogonal.

 

For those evaluating the performance of the camera (which you would expect of CN users), you should know that this image had slight vignetting in the corners given this setup, something that will be non-existent with a threaded connection. 

 

Importantly, this "first light" image was taken with ZERO calibration frames...no darks, biases, or flat fields.  The 10-minute subexposures were taken at -12c, dithered.  Dark frames would have improved the image, but since the bias is very clean with no amp glow, all the thermal "signal" is removed with the dither.  

 

All pre-processing done in PixInsight 1.8.7, drizzle stacked (linear fit). The slight vignetting was controlled in processing with the excellent ProDigital "AstroFlat" plugin in Photoshop CC.

 

I know you guys are picky about star shapes and AR coatings and the like (which I haven't tested), but there's two initial impressions I need to make...  

 

First, this camera is better than any camera that preceeded it, including the FLI PL-16803 that I used to auto-guide this image (there's some delicious irony there).  You can purchase TWO QHY600 cameras for the camera price as that FLI CCD setup.  It's more versatile, more sensitive, more user configurable, and more manageable (though my "early-bird" addition is way too big...hence the camera tilt).

 

Second, this camera is very forgiving.   You really don't NEED to calibrate this camera.   You will, because you are YOU.    You'd be smart to at least shoot flat-fields, but darks can be considered optional, especially if you can get the sensor reasonably cool.  With the small pixels, I could have binned...in fact, my seeing for this image was about 5 arcsecond...so I should have binned the data.   No matter, this camera is powerful enough to overcome the oversampling.  I used a gain of 60, trading off some full-well for better read-noise performance.  

 

I could have shot this colder...I could have shot this with matched darks...I could have shot this properly configured without vignetting.  I could have even used this on another scope that doesn't cover the chip, where I would have just cropped the already massive field of view.   This chip will let us produce a variety of images with a variety of telescopes in ton of different contexts and applications.   I wish I had a OSC version to go with it.

 

The astrobin link is here if you want to see a full res shot...which is certainly more noisy at 100%.


It's truly a remarkable time to be an astrophotographer.

Enjoy!

 

m42-first-light-qhy600_2_orig.jpg

Location: Taken remotely from Grapevine, Texas
Observatory:  The Conley Observatory, Comanache Springs Astronomy Campus (3RF) near Crowell, Texas
Date: December 3 to 7, 2019 (h-alpha only)
Scopes: Takahashi FSQ-106
Mount: Software Bisque Paramount ME
Cameras:  QHY600 CMOS astronomy camera with QHY3 CFW
​Exposure Info:  Hydrogen-alpha with 4.5nm Custom Scientific filter (10 minutes subs).  39 x 10 minute subexposures for field.  50 x 15 second subexposures for core mask.  All unbinned.

Total Exposure Time:  6 hours and 42.5 minutes

Processing:  This image is uncalibrated.   Star alignment and drizzle integration in PixInsight 1.8.7 for both background and core exposures.  Multiscale Linear Transform, Dynamic Crop, Histogram Transform, and HDR Transform in PixInsight.   Noise reduction (various techniques) and local contrast enhancement (in select areas), and "AstroFlat" performed in Photoshop CC (using ProDigital Actions).  Slightly unsharp mask around bright part of M42.   Core data masking done in Photoshop CC.

 

Setup shown below...

 

aires-setup_orig.jpeg


Edited by Allaboutastro, 10 December 2019 - 02:34 PM.

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#2 ezwheels

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 02:31 PM

Wow, Sounds great! I can't wait to get mine.

 

Also, I can't find the astrobin link. 


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#3 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 04:24 PM

Amazing.  The full well depth and dynamic range is awesome!  Thanks for posting.


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#4 leviathan

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 11:09 PM

Impressive ! Thanks for detailed description.


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#5 prefetch

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 11:39 PM

wow!  cool.gif

 

curious where you ordered it from, and how long the wait was to receive it.


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#6 Moreflying

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 12:53 AM

I was looking at this camera wondering what images would look like. I’d like to see this trickledown to smaller sensors. Looks great! You even got the waterfall in the frame. 


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#7 justusliebig

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 01:05 AM

Wonderful. This sensor blows my mind every time samples of the early adopters come in. My dilemma is with this sensor around, every thing else now just feels like getting the second choice but camera, FW and a full filter set is a multiple of my current AP setup *grr*

Sent from my Mi A2 Lite using Tapatalk
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#8 bortle2

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 01:10 AM

When I was reading this:

 

First of all, in earlier posts here, including the megathread, I'm on record as saying that I feel the Sony IMX-455 based cameras, in this case the QHY600, will signify the death of CCDs in our hobby.

for a split second I worried it would follow with "... but I was wrong". But no, IMX455 delivered! <phew...>

 

Many thanks for the image, and especially for the detailed write-up.

 

P.S. Please be nice to your FLI PL-16803... We do owe it our collective respect :-)


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#9 v3ngence

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 02:14 AM

Spectacular! This is the kind of detail I was hoping for with this sensor, I can't wait to see all the pics with the new ASI6200mm too!


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#10 liqinyang-QHYCCD

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 03:21 AM

wow!  cool.gif

 

curious where you ordered it from, and how long the wait was to receive it.

You can ask the distributor of QHYCCD in Hong Kong.

 

https://www.cyclopsoptics.com/

 

yang


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#11 Allaboutastro

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 04:11 PM

wow!  cool.gif

 

curious where you ordered it from, and how long the wait was to receive it.

I ordered mine from AstroFactors...I ordered an "early-bird" a few weeks before I received it.  Right now, they don't stock the "early-bird" versions, so if you put in an order, it ships from China and then you receive it after a few weeks.   I'm not aware of the normal "photographic" version being ready for sale yet (I might be wrong about that).   

 

Regardless, the owner of AstroFactors, Bruce Morrell, is a local friend of mine, but that status didn't move me up any waitlist or anything.   I also got the QHYCFW3L filter wheel from him, but I ordered that very recently and he had it in my hands within two days...those are in stock (or at least it was when I ordered it).  

 

EDIT:  Nothing wrong with waiting for the smaller photographic version (either the QHY or the ZWO).   Mine is certainly bigger than I want it to be...though mine can be converted to the pro version by paying the price difference...and there's some thought that they could be user modified (re. free) to enable the gigabit fiber connectivity option. 


Edited by Allaboutastro, 11 December 2019 - 04:18 PM.

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#12 sunnyday

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 04:23 PM

hubble chot verry nice


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