NGC 6164

NGC 6164 – is a bi-polar emission nebulae in the constellation Norma. It is about 4200 light years away and its about 4 light years across. It has some fairly enthusiastic stellar winds – around 8 million km per hour.

NGC 6164 - 2

This image is taken in narrowband – 3nm HA, OIII. Ha is mapped to Red, OIII is mapped to Green and Blue. This is 70 subframes, 1200 s each @ -20C, 2×2 Bin.

The Gear is here

M17 – Swan Nebulae

M17 – the Swan Nebulae is about 5000 light years away and its about 15 light years across.
M17 Final

This image is taken in narrowband – 3nm HA, OIII, SII. Ha is mapped to Red, OIII is mapped to Green and SII is mapped to Blue. This is 66 subframes, 900 s each @ -20C, 2×2 Bin.

The Gear is here

M16 – The Eagle Nebulae

Final M16 - 2

Final M16 - 2 -  Zoom

This is the Eagle Nebulae – M16. Ive taken a few liberties with the colours, its taken with narrowband (Ha, SII, OIII) filters anyway. The first photo is of the entire area – so you can attempt to imagine the eagle – and the second is more focused on the area called the “pillars or creation” from the famous Hubble shot. You can see how the pillars actually look “deeper, 3D(?)” that the rest of the surrounding material.

It is 13 subs of HA, SII, OIII – 1200 sec each @ -20 2×2 Bin

The Gear is found here.

The Moon

So while the moon is near full and destroying all my photos I thought Id take a pic of it.

This one is with the usual Planewave, FLI, 1×1 bin, -20 C, but the subs are each 0.5 seconds with Ha, SII and OIII 3nm filters combined (only 1 per filter) to give RGB, weird I know but I was playing. Note that some of the subs are still so bright the max’ed out the sensor, check out the very bright white spots for this effect.

Moon in Narrowband

Milky Way and Neighbour

The Milky way from the Blue Mountains April 15th.
DSC02464 - Final

This was taken from Govetts Leap, Prince George Lookout, it was so windy the tripod kept wanting to blow over. It is a 20 second, ISO 6400 shot, taken with a Sony a7s 24mm F4 lens, using an iOptron SkyTracker. That’s the LMC down the bottom in the trees.

Post playing in lightroom

Final  (1 of 1)-2

Final  (1 of 1)

New scope!

So I finally gave up and brought a new scope, a Planewave CDK20 with a fused Silca mirror and an IRF 90 Focsuer/Rotator. I put the same old FLI Proline 16803 but it failed with a chip error within a month of operation, a new one is on the way. Below is the scope installed.


It’s installed at iTelescope.Net at Siding Springs, Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia where the 3.9m AAT is. The guys have been unbelievably helpful, not just with the install but with all the new things that can take a little while to sort. There are a thousand thing that happen slightly differently when you are doing remote hosting of your scope. These guys have it all down pat. Setup of new filters, flat frames, etc.

My first image was M46 and friends. Isnt it a cute planetary? I finally have round stars. No more Rila Fast problems, yeah!


I cant wait to take additional images. I was doing 1 hour subs of Sharpless 308 when my FLI Proline failed (attempting to copy one of the masters Mike Berthon-Jones). Another month to wait until the new camera turns up.


My ATC-02 had a problem. The red light was on but it would talk to the PC. The baffles would open and close using the buttons on the scope but nothing else. The Officina Stellare crew where great, and after awhile its repaired and operational. Temperature controlled mirrors, fans, baffle control all at the touch of a button again. First light was last night after only getting it back the day before (not sure what happened to the usual astronomy curse). Its a pleasure to use.

RILA Collimation part 2

Its been a while, a very frustrating while. So much so that I had almost given up ever getting the collimation complete. Persistence is apparently the key.

I learnt two things.

1) the secondary mirror has 4 small hex bolts that adjust the shape of the stars. They can be set to distort the image. Moving these a small amount can bring the star into round. The problem with this is that if the primary mirror is not adjusted correctly as well its a move this, check, move that check back and forward. All of this on a defocused star (both sides of focus) smack in the middle of the image. Do no deviate even a little from the center, plus or minus 10 pixels in my case was enough to distort it.

What the central out of focus stars look like (finally) image

2) Move the tip tilt plate out about 0.5mm all round and confirm the spacing with a feeler gauge. Make sure you know how the screws line up with the image, put your hand in front of the telescope so that its in the same relative position as the screw but at the front of the scope, take a picture and document where each screw lines up. Move the rotator so that the screws are aligned to with the image so that the triangle they form has one side lined up with a rectangle of the CCD image. When the stars look like horse shoes on the edges do up the screw, when they look like diamonds or triangles undo the screws. Movements are very small, 1/4 turns at a time. Start with the most out of shape stars.

Alignment of the tip tilt screws and the image. image
The tricky bit is knowing when the primary mirror alignment stops and tip tilt should start. On my Proline 16803 image the horseshoe stars where only about (note the ABOUT) two/three times as long they where wide. 1/4 – 1/2 turn made these very close to round in the corners. Just refocus after each adjustment.

These are the horseshoe stars. image

These are the diamond stars.image

This is of course after the distortion correction above.

These scopes are a bugger to collimate and I will not be buying another one. Longer exposures will have to do.

Still the tech support form the Officina Stellare guys was very good and the final result is actually quite pleasing. Not perfect but close.

Final image, combined, stretched.