Archive for the “mini-WASP Array” Category

The creation and use of the New Forest Observatory mini-WASP array

On the evening of the 27th October 2014 I spent the first two hours of darkness aligning the 3 Sky 90s to look at the same region of sky, and then focus training Sky 90(2) and Sky 90(3).

After the initial set up (a little more still needs to be done to get the chips on cameras 2 & 3 nicely flat) I managed to get some imaging done.

Due to its position in the sky, the Tarazed region was looking pretty good so I grabbed 15 x 15-minute subs on Tarazed and Barnard’s “E”.  Below is the result.  75-minutes of real imaging time or 3 hours and 45-minutes of effective imaging time.

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The 3rd (and final) Sky 90 has been fitted to the mini-WASP array :)
I will now be able to get 12-hours of data at f#4.5 in a typical 4-hour imaging session.

Provided that I get 4-hours of clear Moonless skies of course.  Certainly won’t be tonight.

 

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There are 5 very nice Carbon stars in Andromeda that I would like to bag this month and this is the first I’ve caught – UY Andromedae with some nice faint fuzzies, and a couple of not so faint fuzzies.  Nice area of Andromeda, worth visiting with a decent telescope for a browse around.

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The mini-WASP array was again put into commission taking half hour subs of the Navi region of Cassiopeia – Navi is the central star in this image.  Nearby lies Gamma Cassiopeiae and its associated nebulosity.

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Several hour’s worth of half hour subs resulted in this deep view of the PacMan nebula and nearby bright star Schedar in Cassiopeia courtesy of the mini-WASP array.

The array is due for an upgrade at the end of this week with the addition of a 3rd Sky 90 refractor :)

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I recently discovered that Takahashi have discontinued making the Sky 90 – mad decision IMO.  And this comes at a time when I was looking to replace the TS80 with a Sky 90 giving me a mini-WASP array with 3 x Sky 90 refractors and a 200mm lens – all with M26C OSC CCD cameras.  By sheer coincidence an astronomer colleague found himself with a mint Sky 90 (collimatable version!!) for sale.  Needless to say I have bought this together with the camera angle adjuster and the f#4.5 reducer corrector.

So the new mini-WASP configuration will be 3 x Sky 90 refractors and a Canon 200mm lens for imaging, and a Megrez 80mm guide scope.

I have this terrible niggle to put a 4th Sky 90 in the frame and use off axis guiding on one of the Sky 9os, but I know that I will become severely cheesed off with the limitations that this sort of guiding will bring.  So at all costs I must resist!!

The new Sky 90 has come along just in time for the longer nights and all the Winter goodies – now all we need are the clear Moonless skies – something that was totally missing last Winter :(

 

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Managed to capture a few 5-minute subs of comet Jacques when it was close to Epsilon Cassiopeiae on the evening of 22nd August 2014.

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Second upgrade for the week that required the earlier upgrade to go ahead :)

This time the in-storage Sky 90 and filter-wheel have gone back on.  It was taken off over a year ago as I got terrible star shapes with the M26C camera and I put this down to collimation being way out.  Realised later that it was the camera flatness that was way out, but I left the (flattened) camera on the TS80 and worked with that.  Checked the Sky 90 collimation while it was off the array and it looked alright to me.  So now need to see if it is indeed alright next imaging session.  Problem is, the computer that drives this imager decided at this very instant to pop its clogs – there’s always something!!!

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A small upgrade was made to the mini-WASP array this week – can you spot it??

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I am getting all the bits together to be able to put another Canon 200mm prime lens on the mini-WASP top plate.  I will use an M26C camera from the top TS80 scope and will put an eyepiece (shock-horror) into the TS80.  I haven’t actually looked through an eyepiece in years.

Goods that have arrived so far:

1)  Canon 200mm f#2.8 prime lens.

2)  Set of beefy scope rings to hold the lens and camera.

3)  Several 72mm – 52mm step-down rings to hold a 52mm IDAS filter in front of the 200mm lens.

4)  A 52mm IDAS filter.

5)  A Geoptik adapter for fitting the 200mm lens to an M26C OSC.

I am making up a pair of Aluminium mounting blocks that go between the scope rings and the top plate.  I will put two mounting holes into the scope rings to prevent twist – they only come with one tapped hole.

I am awaiting delivery of a 4th Paramount counterweight as the 3 that are already on there are right at the bottom of the counterweight shaft, i.e. I can’t put any more weight on top until I get the extra counterweight.

I am also awaiting delivery of a whole bunch of Allen bolts for the scope ring mountings.

So it’s all slowly coming together.  I will also put the Robofocus from the TS80 onto the 200mm lens and see if I can get it autofocusing (I know this is a non-trivial exercise).

As it looks like it will be clear tonight, I have put the 72mm – 52mm step-down adapter on the original 200mm lens and fitted a 52mm IDAS filter.  I set the lens to f#2.8 (i.e. wide open) and I will check yo see if there are any diffraction spikes or not.  If there are still spikes I will put an aperture in the Geoptik to cover whatever part of the lens iris is showing.

Busy, busy :) :)

 

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