Observatory Fever, Cabin Fever or Just Plain Bored.

Since the 24th February when I imaged the motion of Ceres, the weather here has just been appalling. Rain, snow, hail, high winds and near constant cloud cover with only a few relativly short spells of clearish /patchy sky. All I’ve been able to do is chase the spiders out of the observatory ( again ), checking the roof as I thought I had a leak, it turned out to be the wind blowing the rain through a small gap for the roof runners ( only happens with a strong westerly wind I will have to make a rubber flap kind of thing ), that’s it for over two weeks. In short I’m bored to tears, I have a project in progress though that involves changing from DSLR imaging to Mono imaging, due entirely to the light pollution caused by these cursed new LED street lights ( Cheaper to run and more destructive to the enviroment and wildlife, what a good idea ). I already purchased 2nd hand from ENS Optical a set of ( un-opened ) 2 inch Baader filters comprising Clear ( focusing ), Luminance (Uv/Ir Blocking ), Red, Green, Blue and Narrow band, Ha ( Hydrogen Alpha ) 7nm, OIII ( Oxygen ) 8.5nm and SII  ( Sulpher ) 8nm.

Baader Filters
Baader Planetarium 2 inch CCD Imaging Filters

Also two 2 inch Filter wheels ( each holds 5 x 2 inch filters ) and soon I’ll be getting the Mono imaging camera, I’ve chosen the ZWO asi 1600mm Pro camera which has setpoint cooling down to -40°C and a 16 MP 4/3 Monochrome Sensor that is far more sensitive than DSLR imaging.

zwo_asi1600mm-pro
ZWO asi1600mm Pro

This is a completely different way of astro imaging, as you use colour and narrow band filters to make a colour image with a monochrome ( Grey scale ) camera in much the same way as Planetary Tri colour imaging but instead of capturing movies individual still frames ( light frames ) are captured. the images are calibrated with Darks and Bias frames as for DSLR imaging, however each of the filter’s has to use its own set of Flat frames for calibration.

Sounds simple enough, and I’m looking forward to the results if the weather ever improves.

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