Last night I successfully collimated the modified Hyperstar III lens assembly and took a “first light” image with the new setup. Full Moon (or close to) low down on the southern horizon, and a sky that doesn’t really get dark. Imaged from midnight until 1:00 a.m. once I had collimated the system using CCDInspector (this is a great program!). To remind you – the Hyperstar III modification was to take the whole lens assembly apart, then blacken all the lens edges using a matt black paint, and then to flock the internal lens spacer tube. First time I re-assembled the Hyperstar I managed to put the lenses back the wrong way round (what a twit!) – but thankfully Dean of Starizona came to the rescue YET AGAIN and second time around I got it right. So – lenses back in correctly, wires all fixed to the connector rods at 90 degrees to one another – final job, get the collimation sorted. Took me just over an hour to sort this out using CCDInspector – and the result? – errors of -0.0 in x and -0.1 in y – the best I’ve EVER seen to date using the Hyperstar III, so I now have a highly-collimated system to play with 🙂 Having completed the collimation I set up on the “Wall” region of NGC7000 for a quick practical test of the optics. Noel dropped everything and kindly processed this one in ultra double-quick time. WOW!! Those stars are nice and round across the whole FOV and the result is about the best I’ve seen in using the Hyperstar III for over a year – great! You can now expect a large quality-jump in the images coming out from the New Forest Observatory from today onwards.
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