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Imaging telescope or lens:Astro-Tech AT115EDT f/7
Imaging camera:ZWO ASI 1600MM-Cool
Mount:Orion Sirius EQ-G (HEQ5)
Guiding telescope or lens:Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Guiding camera:QHY-5-L-II-M Planatary & Autoguider
Focal reducer:Astro-Tech 0.8x reducer/field flattener
Accessory:ZWO 8x 1.25" Filter Wheel (EFW)
ZWO B 1.25" optimized for ASI1600: 143x60" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1
ZWO G 1.25" optimized for ASI1600: 117x60" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1
ZWO L 1.25" optimized for ASI1600: 285x60" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1
ZWO R 1.25" optimized for ASI1600: 133x60" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1
Integration: 11.3 hours
Avg. Moon age: 26.17 days
Avg. Moon phase: 16.10%
Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 5.00
Astrometry.net job: 2512665
RA center: 5h 46' 51"
DEC center: +0° 10' 40"
Pixel scale: 1.207 arcsec/pixel
Orientation: 225.927 degrees
Field radius: 0.775
Locations: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, Connecticut, United States
Data source: Backyard
This is my first deep sky object using my new telescope, the AT115 EDT F/7 Triplet Refractor and could not be happier. This image of M78 blows my other image from two years ago out of the water. M78 , aka NGC 2068, is a reflection nebula in the constellation of Orion some 1600 light years from us. This nebula (magnitude 8.3) is not visible with the naked eye and certainly not under the light polluted sky of southern Connecticut. I choose not to crop it too much as I like the star field as well as the other nearby objects. M78 is the brightest nebula a group of nebula which include NGC 2064, NGC 2067, and NGC 2071. M78 is located in the top center of the image. Separated by a dark dust lane and to the left is NGC 2064. To the right of NGC 2064 is NGC 2067. Further to the right and on its own is NGC 2071. The gas and dust in this region of the Orion Molecular Cloud reflect blue from nearby stars.
One of my favorite parts is actually the dark dust lanes which separate the reflection nebulae. These dust lanes actually light up in the infrared spectrum and are know to be star forming. Other objects in this image include recently identified McNeil's Nebula which is very dim and just below a pair of stars to the left of M78. Further to the left of McNeil's Nebula are Herbig-Haro objects. Herbig-Haro (HH) objects are patches of nebulosity associated with newborn stars. Also, on the lower right there is another small nebula which I was unable to find find any information on. I like the look of it and wanted to keep it in the image which is why I did not crop this much.
On the first night of imaging M78 with this telescope I was quite impressed with the sharpness of the stars and nebulosity, however, the stars on the edges were oval shaped. I also purchased the Astro-Tech 0.8X Reducer/Field Flatterner for this telescope and was expecting much better results. This was my first experience with a flattener and after doing some research I discovered the edge of the flattener has to be 55 mm away from the camera sensor. I was nowhere near 55 mm, more like 33 mm. After adjusting the distance everything came into focus.
Lastly, after waiting several months for the telescope to arrive, the fan on my camera decides to not work so it can't hold the temperature after an hour. Fortunately this happened on the last couple of nights imaging this. I just sent back to OPT where it will then be sent to ZWO. It is only seven months old and is still under warranty. Long and short of it, I got this one image with my new complete set up but for the next couple of months I will be using my trusty rusty Canon T3i. Go figure...
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