First Light with the ASI183MM Pro camera & William Optics GT71 telescope.

Capturing M57 and M5 with the ASI183MM and William Optics GT71

Fourth floor balcony astrophotography from my inner city Brisbane abode means I am restricted to imaging only the norther parts of the sky. M5 and M57 were perfectly positioned at around 8PM and the William Optics GT71 telescope & ASI183 mono camera were put to work. Mount control and image capture were via the ASIair and Sky Safari Pro. Plug the ASI183MM Pro and electronic filter wheel (EFW) into the ASiair and the setup was good to go. No installation of software or configuring drivers, no searching obscure website for missing  DLL’s.
 
With only a rough polar alignment using a level and a compass, the captured exposures suffer from a degree of “walking noise” artifacts that were crushed into the blacks using Photoshop. Not necessarily a good strategy as the finer detail in feint objects gets lost. I am used to imaging with the ASI294MC Pro which has a much deeper well depth and hence dynamic range so learning the correct exposure time for different night sky objects is on the cards.

 

The ASI EFW was left empty as the filters are on back order so the captured images were pure mono.

 

The next step is the  delivery of the Antlia LRGB and narrownband filters and then learning how to process mono images using Astro Pixel Processor.

Balcony astrophotograhy gear

Imaging with a small, light weight and relatively fast refractor telescope is ideal for impromptu balcony astrophotography with a relatively short set up time involved The simplicity of use with the ASIair also helps.

To get the mount balanced correctly with the WO GT71 and other components  attached, I had to design and fabricated a number of brackets using a 3D printer. These act as offset counter weights. While not so attractive, they certainly do the job well.

First Light with the ASI183MC Pro & William Optics GT71

M57, the Ring Nebula captured with the ASI183MM Pro & William Optics GT71

  • Telescope: William Optics GT71 with  0.8 Field flattener 6A2
  • Camera: ASI183MM Pro
  • Mount: Ioptron CEM40
  • Alignment: none
  • Guiding: ASIair
  • Image: 10 * 120 sec subs
  • Gain: 111 (unity)
  • Temp: 0 Deg C
  • Processing: AstroPixel Processor: lights only
  • Bortle Class 7 site
  • Location: Brisbane Queensland
  • Date: 11/6/2020

The famous M57 Ring Nebula in the constellation Lyra, also going by the name NGC 6720. Discovered by Antoine de Darquier in 1779, it was the second planetary nebula to be found and documented. It is one of the most popular planetary nebula’s with a bright central ring 0.9 light years across and a much fainter outer halo with a diameter of 2.5 light years.  In 1997 it was measured at 2300 light years away.
 
Looking north and to the right, there is the small barred spiral galaxy IC 1296. (magnitude 14.8). Not readily visible in the image below, it can just be made out in the M57 photographed with the RASA8 and ASI294.

M57 The Ring Nebula captured with an ASI183MC Pro and William Optics GT71
The William Optics GT71 telescope with ASI183MM Pro camera
The William Optics GT71 telescope with ASI183MM Pro camera

M5, globular cluster in Serpens

  • Telescope: William Optics GT71 with  0.8 Field flattener 6A2
  • Camera: ASI183MM Pro
  • Mount: Ioptron CEM40
  • Alignment: none
  • Guiding: ASIair
  • Image: 30 * 60 sec subs
  • Gain: 111 (unity)
  • Temp: 0 Deg C
  • Processing: AstroPixel Processor: lights only
  • Bortle Class 7 site
  • Location: Brisbane Queensland
  • Date: 11/6/2020

M5 or NGC 5904 was first discovered in 1702 by a German astronomer called Gottfried Kirch. Charles Messier first observed M5 in 1764 and thought it was a nebula. However in 1791, William Herschel found that M5 was actually a star cluster. Located within our galaxy, it is over 26,000 light years away, has a diameter of 150 light years and is home to hundreds of thousands of stars bound together by their collective gravity. At 13 billion years of age, M5 is believed to be one of the oldest globular clusters in our galaxy, around twice the age of our Solar System. Globular clusters have a very high star density, and therefore close interactions and near-collisions of stars occur relatively often leading to some interesting outcomes.
 
I decided to image M5 as it reached the highest point in the sky at 55° above my northern horizon, well above the haze. After the sequence of sub exposures were captured using the ASIair, it was a simple matter to connect it to my router via a CAT-5 cable and transfer the images to my main work station for processing with AstroPixel Processor. This consisted of just aligning and stacking the frames, as no darks or flats were taken.

M5 globular cluster in Serpens with ASI183MM Pro and William Optics GT71

Virgo galaxy region wide field, Canon FD 50mm f1.4 & ASI183MM Pro

All you need is some time and patience, a cloudless night, a $50 vintage lens, a simple tracking mount and a camera. Sounds simple enough but not always achievable. The biggest variable, the weather finally played ball last night so I had the change to try out some...

Markarian’s Chain William Optics GT71 & ASI183MM Pro

Markarian's Chain: William Optics GT71 and ASI183MM Pro Telescope: William Optics GT71 with  0.8 Field flattener 6A2 Camera: ASI183MM Pro Mount: Ioptron CEM40 Alignment: rough polar alignment using compass and level Guiding: ASIair (poor) Image: 102 * 60 sec subs...

First Light with the ASI183MM Pro & William Optics GT71 telescope

Fourth floor balcony astrophotography from my inner city Brisbane abode means I am restricted to imaging only the norther parts of the sky. M5 and M57 were perfectly positioned at around 8PM and the William Optics GT71 telescope & ASI183 mono camera were put to...

ASIair 12v-5v DC converter 3D printed adapter bracket

The ASIair is a small  Rapsperry Pi based mini computer with the computing power of an 1990's Pentium 3. Used in conjunction with Sky Safari Pro on an Ipad, its an ideal way to image and control a portable astrophotography setup such as my CEM40 mount and William...

Widefield astrophotography with the ASI294 MC Pro and Olympus 50mm OM lens

Lens: Olympus Om 50mm Camera: ASI294MC Pro Mount: SkyWatcher Alignment: none Guiding: none Image: 13 * 180 sec subs Gain: 300 Temp: 10 Deg C Processing: AstroPixel Processor - lights, only Bortle Class 1 site Location: Arckarula, South Australia Date: 17/5/2018...

PHD2 Guiding with Star Adventurer Mount

PHD2 Guiding a Star Adventurer Portable EQ Mount The SkyWatcher Star Adventurer is an excellent tracking mount when used for wide field astrophotography of the night sky allowing relatively long exposure image sequences without star trails. For those that want to...

William Optics GT71 with WO Field Flattener 6A2

Configuring a lightweight portable astrophotography imaging systemI use an assortment of telescopes, micro four thirds cameras as well as dedicated astrophotography CMOS cameras not to mention tracking mounts. With many different possible camera / telescope...

Planetary nebula astrophotography with William Optics GFT102 & ASI294MC Pro

My first serious attempt at imaging M57, the famous “Ring Nebula” with the Williams Optics GTF102mm f6.9 flat filed telescope, a  2X  Televue Powermate and a “one shot colour” astrophotography CCD camera in the imaging train.The planetary nebula was imaged from...

Astrophotography with the ASI294MC Pro one shot colour camera

NGC 253 "The Sculpture Galaxy " astrophotography with WO GT 71 Telescope William Optics GT 71 with Field Flattener 6A2 (effective focal ratio f4.7, FL = 336mm) Camera: ZWO ASI 294 MC Pro, Gain 400, Temp -10Deg. C Mount: Ioptron IEQ30 Alignment: PoleMaster Image:...

Octanslab – The Beginning

OctansLab - The beginningDiscover the treasures of the night sky and learn how to capture and process lunar, planetary, wide field and deep sky objects. OctansLab is based in  South East Queensland, Australia and images with a range of telescopes including a William...