Well I finally found the courage to attempt to image with my Celestron Edge-HD 8 and Hyper-Star. Ok truth be told I only attempted to take an image with the Hyper-Star after trying for over an hour get my guiding under control in the persistent wind. Not being a patient man opted for plan B. Here's how I remember it in, reality may differ a little : ).
Last week during a relatively clear night, Charlie Hien, Bennett Burbank and I went to Harold Campbell for a night of imaging and everything was just right and my set up routine was going as planned.
Level tripod...check, mount camera...check, balance scope...check, polar align...check and so on. I won't go thru the whole procedure that could take too long and I would most certainly leave something out, but let’s just say everything was as it should be...except one tiny detail...THE WIND!
Try as I may I was not able to get the scope and mount to settle down enough take anything longer than a 30 second exposure without having star trails in the image. It was disappointing because I was really hoping to test my new scope in a dark sky but Mother Nature wasn’t having it. I continued to take test exposures for over an hour but each one was looking like someone had been kicking my mount during the exposure. It was time to move on.
I was ready to give up and drop in an eyepiece when Bennett said "did you bring the Hyper-Star”? It just so happened that I did and against my better judgment I began putting in on. This procedure involves removing the secondary mirror (the main reason I gave up using this thing in the first place) and replacing it with the Hyper-Star lens assembly and then the camera. By doing so it transforms my slow f/10 into a fast f/2 light bucket! However this procedure is not for the feint of heart. The last time I did this I wasn't able to get my scope back in collimation and was forced to send it back to Celestron for service and that’s the last thing I wanted at this point heading into the best part of the year for imaging in Florida. But as I stated early I’m not patient and really wanted to get something on my chip so I went for it.
It was getting late and after assembling the Hyper-Star system and collimating to the best of my ability I was ready to give it a go. I slewed my scope to M45 and set the imaging run in Maxim for 20 exposures at 300 seconds. The resulting stacked image was so packed with data that I could hardly believe it. It’s
going to take some time and possibly some modifications to the way the collimations screws work on the Hyper-Star but I think once that is worked out I will be very happy with this set up. Here are the last to images I’ve taken with this set and as you can see...not perfect but wow!