Fastar Imaging

Messier M63
Fastar imaging on the driveway

Before July 2001 most of my Fastar imaging was done on the driveway at home. The telescope is sitting on a home made wooden cart with wheels and the computer is on a wheeled cart for quick setup on the driveway. The telescope cart is lifted a few inches and placed on concrete blocks. Aluminum plates are put between the cart and concrete blocks to level the telescope. On the driveway are three white lines that prvide very rought polar alignment.

The computer monitor is covered with red plastic to cut down the glare and at night a towel is placed on the top of the monitor to prevent dew damage. During the night it is easy to move the computer cart so that it is always behind the telescope reducing monitor glare that might affect the image.

It takes about 25 minutes from the time I get home from work to be ready to polar align using the drift method. For example, I get home from work at 7:00 pm and I can be ready to image by 8:00 providing it is dark enought (which is not the case in the summer). During the spring and fall I can image for about 3 hours on a work night until about 11:00 pm when I stop. Teardown is much quicker taking less than 10 minutes.

The next day I use a 10BaseT LAN cable to transfer the image and calibraion files from my outside Windows 98 SE computer to the Windows 2000 imaging processing computer inside the house. This is easly implemented with file sharing between the two computers. Keeping the camera control computer outside results in not subjecting it to temperature changes and mositure by bring it in the house. A weekend all night imaging session can easly generate over 700 files with over 400 MB of data.

The red trailer behind the telescope is used for imaging in darker eastern Oregon, USA during trips during the summer.

SBIG ST-237 CCD Camera mounted on a Celestron C8 telescope

SBIG ST-237 CCD Camera is mounted on a Celestron C8 telescope with Fastar lense assembly. The below equipment used in my setup.

At this time all my images are unguided and I do not use the G-11 PEC.

My Camas location is affect by the large sky glow of Portland, Oregon, USA to the south and West.

Messier M81 Image

Fastar image index and below are the images I like the best.


Fastar and ST-237 Links