One of the challenges with new equipment (which I always seem to be getting more of) is learning how to use it well. I’m still working on getting my STL 11002 running smoothly. Sure, I tried a few of those real quick Ha shots and of course the Crab Nebula, but still these things take time. One of the things I hadn’t tried was running it on my Televue NP101is. Given the wonderful nebula this time of year, it seems like it might be a good idea to give it a try. The first few shots were dreary around the edges. Then I picked up the Large Field Corrector and tried again — on a larger target, the Horsehead Nebula.

Unfortunately, the adaptive optics module adds just a bit too much to the space and doesn’t seem to work with the LFC. So I decided to take it off and guide through my guidescope. Of course, given that this was gearing up for narrowband imaging, the internal guider would have issues anyway. And, the 9um pixel size paired with a 540mm focal length gives a heavily undersampled image; ~4 arcsec/pixel! Using the “drizzle” stacking mode helps compensate for this undersampling and really cleans up the image quite a bit. BTW, flats are also pretty important even with the LFC around the corners.

Since I’m new to the whole narrowband thing, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But as the subframes were coming in, it was apparent that narrowband is amazing! So, here’s 30 minutes of IC 434, the Horsehead Nebula, in Ha only! Be sure to check out the giant 11 megapixel version by clicking the image!

Horsehead Nebula, Hydrogen Alpha, IC434

I did pick up quite a few other images (all of which would benefit from more time), so there should be more coming in the next few days…

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