Another very successful SGP run of Elephant Trunk


I am finally imaging after more than three months of bad weather and smoke from California fire. I just bought SX newest autoguider called Ultrastar and it’s really nice and very sensitive as compared to Lodestar. I highly recommend Ultrastar despite the high price ($995). I can’t believe how well I captured it because this DSO is at one of the worst spot where Reno casino lights shine up the sky and I was worried that I wouldn’t get enough star colors. I reduced from my typical 10 minute subs to 7 minute subs but maintained 2 hours total times for each filter and seems to help reduce blue star bloats and not over expose the stars. Mono camera with Astrodon filters really work well under these conditions. I think I may have over saturated the stars a bit too much because blue stars appear a little too blue.

SGPro and PHD2 2.5.0dev4. Windows 10. Click on my avatar for my equipment list.

IC1396: Elephant Trunk Nebula. RGB + pseudo-Luminance. 0.96"/pixel image scale.

Astrodon Red filter, 17 x 7 minutes, 1x1. 9/18/2015.
Astrodon Green filter, 16 x 7 minutes, 1x1. 9/18/2015. Had to throw out one sub due to really bright airplane light streaks.
Astrodon Blue filter, 17 x 7 minutes, 1x1. 9/18/2015.

TEC 140 APO F/7 with Astro-Physics A-P1100GTO GEM. QSI660wsg. OAG and Ultrastar.

Captured and automated with SGP. Calibration (including Dark Subtraction) and Post-processed with PixInsight. PHD2 settings: RA Aggressiveness: 60, RA Hysteresis: 10, Max RA/Dec Duration: 2000, Min Motion: 0.45, Calibration Steps: 350msec, Auto/Resist Switching, Extreme dithering and Settled at < 1.0, 3 sec guiding exposure.


Very nice work Peter.

I have been considering this camera, but have never really had a problem with the Lodestar so I am having trouble justifying it. What made you pull the trigger?

I like the idea of having square pixels and progressive scan. Lodestar has too many hot pixels and I have to use dark subtraction. Ultrastar CCD is very clean and I didn’t need to use dark subtraction. Lodestar does not download full resolution (only even or odd rows) when using natively with PHD2 and can behave erratically from time to time. I’ve enjoyed using Lodestar for a long time and it’s a great autoguider but I think Ultrastar is better,

It appeared Ultrastar worked better than Lodestar because the guiding was very smooth. The size of CCD sensor is bigger than QSI OAG prism so vignetting is easily seen.

Most importantly is because “I CAN”. :grin: