I have just returned from a business trip to Arizona, and Arizona can only mean one thing for astro-imagers – Starizona!! Whilst staying in Phoenix, Dean of Starizona shipped me the latest (adjustable!) Hyperstar for the C11 and an electonic microfocuser for the Feathertouch focuser (also supplied by Starizona). Thank you Dean! Sorry I didn’t have time to meet up, maybe next visit, hopefully not during one of your summers (I didn’t see a daytime temperature below 100F and it hit 118F on one day – unbelievable!).
Anyway – returning to business, this new Hyperstar looks absolutely superb, and it addresses two of the earlier problems I had that caused me to move to Sky 90/M25C imaging. The new Hyperstar is adjustable for both collimation and camera angle, and as I have CCDInspector, the collimation procedure should now be a doddle compared to what it was before! The second problem I had was the initial Hyperstar design could only accommodate a small chip like the SXV-H9C and I wanted to do “big chip” imaging. The newest model of Hyperstar is compatible with big chips like the SXV-M25C that I currently use.
Focusing is a very tough problem when your critical focus zone at f#2.0 is only 7 or 8 microns (millionths of a meter) – but Starizona have some hardware to ease that problem as well. They have a computer-controlled stepper motor unit that couples directly to their superb Feathertouch focuser. So not only do I have an “improved performance” Hyperstar unit, I also have a better means of guaranteeing good focus as well.
I am very excited about returning to “fast” CCD imaging once again, especially as I have learned a lot during the past 18 months working with the Sky 90 and SXV-M25C that can now be applied to Hyperstar imaging. Watch this space for a quantum leap in deep-sky imaging coming soon from the New Forest Observatory!