Introducing the Cat

This post concerns: Gear
I’ve got some shiny new gear to stepp things up a notch! Come have a look :)

My story

I started my astrophotography journey with just a old DLSR and a 15-55 mm Kit Lens, which I mounted on a static tripod .. and I had a blast with this setup. Going outside in the middle of the night, finding focus just by looking at the screen of the DLSR, taking pictures, recentering the target and repeat - doing some stargazing in between. Then back to the computer, stacking the images and seeing whats hidden in the data ..

While it was fun, I already had (and still have) an upgrade plan in mind. First thing was a star tracker or small mount which I could carry around with me. Back then I used to take my bike and cycle a few kilometers to escape the light pollution. I knew I wanted a small scope to begin with so I opted for the Star Adventurer GTI.

Boy did it amaze me. It opend a whole new world for me. Now I was able to shoot for more than 15 Seconds or so and could image the north american nebula for the first time .

Introducing the RedCat 51

Next thing I was looking for was a proper scope. I wanted something with a focal length around 200 mm to 300 mm because I’m mainly interested in shooting pictures of nebula.

The RedCat 51 was a prime candidate: It is a small refractor with a focal length of 250 mm atf f4.9. It’s all loved around the web and the only downside is the helical focuser. So it was high on my “want to buy” list and I was looking forward to buying it late autumn.

While browsing an astronomy related forum I saw a used RedCat 51 in mint condition with a lot of accessories for a more than reasonable price. The guy looked trustworthy, I had a little chat with him and transferred the money. A few day later I was the proud owner of a RedCat 51 :)

First Light

The thing with new astrophotography gear is, that it’s always cloudy after you get it. So I had to wait a few days before I could try it.

For my first try I did select the andromeda galaxy, since I recently took a image of it with my kit lens.

Without any further ado, here it is:

Andromeda is a beauty isn’t she?

This is just an hour worth of data but it is quite a huge step up from my last attempt with my kit lens. I expected it to be huge but it blew me away.

I had one major issue though. I couldn’t expose for more than 60 seconds per image.

Auto guiding

Luckily the cat came with a guide scope, I just needed a suitable camera for it. After waiting for a few weeks one did pop up in the same forum I got the cat from and two days later I had a ZWO ASI 120MM Mini in my hand. After getting used to PHD2 I was ready for guiding and took on my next project .. which will probably my next post ;)