First Night, First Light

First night of 2011 is crystal clear and cold (avg 12F) here at Clearfield Observatory. Not just the first night of the year, its also first light for a new QSI 583ws camera. So its frickin cold as hell while I’m trying new hardware and techniques. A challenge, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

The night went very well, thank you. Focusing with my homemade Bahtinov mask for the first time: amazingly easy. Testing shows the color filters (AstroDon TruBalance ) have a slight difference in focus among them, not unexpected. Finding and framing target without a camera viewfinder: not as bad as I thought. This is good since I don’t have a goto mount and finding/framing can be tedious.

After the initial test images I did one hour of exposures ( 21 x 3m) on Barnard 33, luminance only (click image for 100% zoom of horse head):

Combined in Maxim DL, just darks and lights, no flats. Minimal photoshop work, no noise reduction. Very pleased with these results!