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M42 & 43 – The Great Nebula in Orion – Comet Tracker First Light

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#1 jgraham

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 08:40 PM

Telescope: Meade SN6 Comet Tracker at f/3.6, Orion Atlas EQ-G
Camera: ZWO ASI294MC Pro, -10C; Gain: 200
Filter: Orion Imaging Skyglow Filter
Guide scope: Astro-Tech 60mm, Meade DSI Pro II, PHD
Exposure: 74x20sec, saved as FITS
Darks: None
Flats: 32x0.02sec, Tee shirt flats taken at dusk
Average Light Pollution: Red zone, Bortle 8, poor transparency
Lensed Sky Quality Meter: 18.4 mag/arc-sec^2
Stacking: Mean with a 2-sigma clip.
White Balance: Nebulosity Automatic
Software: Nebulosity, Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop

 

M42 (2-21-2020)-1j.jpg

 

This is the first-light image taken with my 1985 vintage Meade Model 622 6” f/3.6 Comet Tracker. This is going to be a fun scope to work with!

 


  • John Miele, mikewayne3, eros312 and 8 others like this

#2 John Miele

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 09:32 PM

Nice image John! Looks pretty darn good in the corners. I have never even heard of this scope until now. Where did you find it?

 

Just from this image, I think this is correcting better than a comet catcher across the field. How good is the focuser to work with? Could you post a picture of the scope too?

 

Thanks!

 

John



#3 jgraham

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 10:36 PM

This is the scope after its first all-nighter...

 

Comter Tracker (2-22-2020)-1.jpg

 

It's a bit rough, but I didn't want to put too much into it until I had a chance to check it out. I have quite a bit of experience with the Comet Catcher (5.5" f/3.6) and I was concerned about what the field would look like with this scope. I was shocked! The scope is clearly designed for imaging with a large 3.1" secondary and a 2" focuser, from a time when 2" focusers were not very common. The build quality is excellent and all-metal. The fit an finish of the focuser is excellent for a rack and pinion. I'm tempted to swap it out for a Moonlite, but it gave outstanding performance for the back-to-back all-nighters that served as its first-light. I was really surpised by the field with relatively little coma. I may still try a Baader Mk III MPCC, but I'm going to havee to work with the focuser a bit to get it to mount and focus correctly. I couldn't find a set of rings for the tube (O.D. looks to be a bit over 7.2", my 7.2" rings didn't fit it) and I couldn't find a dew shield that would fit it either (I wrapped a 8" dew shield on it for this test). Sooo, I bolted the tube directly yo a Celestron Losmandy rail and I've built a nice dew shield for it. The last mod will be an improved Vixen mount for the guide scope (which is hiding on the other side of the tube in this picture). I first heard about the Comet Tracker last year when one showed upm in the Classifieds. I missed out on that one, but hopped on this one when it became available. They seem to be fairly rare. It looks like they were only produced for about a year (1985-1986) and I've only seen two others online.

 

It has been quite a pleasant surprise! I can't wait to try it out with a larger APS-c camera and my Triad Ultra for narrowband imaging.

 

Fun stuff.

 




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