Well, as discussed earlier, I've been waiting somewhat patiently for my new scope to arrive and the clouds, rain supplied in the packing slip.
These, I'm very happy to report, have been completed!
I had a chance to take the scope out twice. The first time was just because I couldn't stand it any longer and fought the vile clouds... No guiding, just 45 min of viewing and a total of 6 30 sec exposures.
This scope is sweet! 102mm, ED at f/6.
The FoV is about double that of the C6R, making it about 1.25° x ~3° as seen on the sensor of my Sony. This opens up a whole new world of imaging to me without the need to do mosaics...
I first set it up and, after a 2+2 alignment with no Polar Align, slew to M45.... Wow! What a nice view! Stars were pinpricks on a black velvet background... I did a star test to see what the diffraction rings looked like... Inside showed >90% in the first ring with nice round concentric rings further in, back focus showed slightly less, I'd say about 80-85% in the first ring but not quite symmetrical with the in focus side. Still all the rings were concentric and evenly spaced. I believe it means I'm either under or over corrected slightly, but I'm not sure which.
The focuser is a joy to use and since the tube is so much shorter, the vibration is next to nothing.
From the Seven Sisters, I tried for the target I've been imaging for the past 2 weeks off and on, M1... I've never had good luck spotting it from my light polluted back yard before but, using #4 on the hand controller, and slewing back and forth a few times... Bingo! It poped into view and I was able to see it head on, but better with averted vision. Cool!!!
After ogling the Crab for 15 mn or so, I tried for M42. It was still slightly in the trees but I immediately could see it fill the view using my 2", 26mm Meade Wide Angle EP. The Fan went from edge to edge
The Trapezium was clearly split into the 4 stars and the nebulosity was drifting off in all directions!... This is what we paid our money to see!!!!
Around this time I couldn't resist the urge to grab a shot of something!!! So, with no PA, I was going to be limited....
This is what I got, 6 30 sec exposures on M42/M43
First pic with just a bit of denoising... No flats Second one after PI's HDR routine... One click and the core is revealed... Sweet!
The second night, I was better prepared but still had issues...
Cable routing was a completely different affair with this short tube! Hmmm. Seem to have more wires and less scope!
Got that straightened out, attempted to get a good balance... Still working on that.
But, managed an hour's worth of 3 min subs on the Andromeda Galaxies.
Hopefully, I can double my time on this tonight....
I do notice some coma in the corners, but it really doesn't start until about 70-80% of the way out, and some of that may be rotation due to poor polar alignment.... I was in a hurry!!! So sue me! I don't see any, or nearly any CA in these images... These look better than my Achro. with the UHC filter!
Anyway, I can't believe the performance of this fine scope for the $675 I paid, (with free shipping!!!)
The carbon fiber looks very sophisticated and professional. The focuser is really nice, with rods inlaid into the outside of the inner draw tube where the bearings ride... No marks on the draw tube! Also there's a steel plate on the underside where the flat is located. This is a very rigid setup with no slop or shift. There's only one tension adjust ***** as opposed to the setups with a tension and a lockout. With the ***** tightened down good and snug, the tube was very hard to move without using the *****... The fine focus knob, however, seemed to work better when under high tension... Very smooth.
Two more points:
This scope is so short, it can't hit the tripod!!! Joy oh Joy!!! No more worries when imaging!!!
It's about half the weight of the C6R and the mount and motors are thanking me profusely for this... Very quiet and stable.
The only thing I've found I don't like, (and I've already taken care of), was there's nowhere to mount a finder or SSAG on the focus Assy. I had to go to Home Depot and get an 8mm x1.5 x 1" *****, drill out a bigger hole one of my finder bases, and ***** the shoe onto the first tube ring. It works... But I was used to having both the finder AND the SSAG mounted on the Beast!...
I've just gotten this, so the honeymoon isn't over yet but, I think I'll have this one a long, long time....