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Monday, October 6, 2014

A new imaging setup starts to build up.

At beginning of the last Spring season my old imaging setup blew up

During a mandatory Summer pause I have been building a new imaging set up little by little. It starts to be ready mechanically, I need to wait for a couple of clear nights to be able to finalize the setup procedure. 

Without a help from couple of great companies this could be a mission impossible for me.

I have got the most needed help from the beloved neighbour country, Sweden! The Astro Sweden is a largish company specialized to astronomical equipments. They have support my work by equipments and technical knowhow.

Starlight Xpress CCD

I have been using many years some very clever products from the UK based company, Starlight Xpress .
I now have a new Active Optics unit from them, it supports full frame CCD cameras. With the AO-unit I'm using an OAG with the ultra sensitive guider, Lodestar X2. I used to have a smaller version of the AO-unit and Lodestar guider for many years. They really turn any poorly tracking mount to a extremely stable imaging platform. Best of all, the AO-unit works with any third party imaging camera, like the Apogee in my case.

New Setup
click for a large image

Light path

The Active Optics Unit from Starlight Xpress CCD  is attached to a large custom made adapter ring at right.

List of new equipments
  • Mount, 10-micron 1000
  • Optics, Celestron Edge HD 1100
  • Camera, Apogee U16 D09 with KAF16803 chip, 4096x4096 9 microns pixels, 36,8x36,8mm 
  • Filter Wheel, Apogee, seven square slots 50x50mm 
  • Focuser, FeatherTouch with MicroTouch control unit 
  • Heater, Dew Buster 
  • Active Optics Unit, SXV AO LF from Starlight Xpress + OAG 
  • Guider, an ultra sensitive Lodestar X2, also from Starlight Xpress 
  • Focal Reducer, Celestron reducer 0.7 for Edge 1100 (Not yet arrived) 
  • Finder, Telrad 
  • Filters, Astrodon, H-alpha 5nm, O-III 3nm, S-II 3nm. R, G, B and L
I need to wait for a clear weather to be able to finalize the setup. Few things must be done before any imaging is possible. 

To do list

  1. Polar alignment, The axis of the telescope must be exactly parallel to Earth axis 
  2. Collimation, the optical axis must be perfectly concentric 
  3. Fine tune any possible tilt in CCD to have it perfectly perpendicular to light path. 
  4. FocusMax training, ~30 V-curves to have an accurate model of the optical behavior for auto focusing. 
  5. Temperature compensation training, so that temp expansion of the optics can be compensated.

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