Stephan's Quintet from light polluted Machesney Park

Roland Christen

Hello fellow Astronuts,

While testing equipment in our AP observatory I did some imaging last couple of days with my 2 setups. One is the Mach1 with a 130GTX and the 110GTX riding on top, using the 6200 CMOS camera. The second one is the 1600 mount with 17" Astrograph, using an older tech STL11K camera. I did an all-sky model with the 1600 - 17" scope and proceeded to let this setup take unguided images of Stephan's Quintet. Images came out reasonably well for our light polluted location.

After shooting M27 on the Mach2 with the 110 refractor, I had 30 minutes left at around 2am and switched the camera to the 130GTX. Wanted to see how well this new CMOS technology would do with a much smaller aperture against the mighty 17". Both in terms of light gathering and resolution. I managed only 3 images of 600 sec duration with this setup, after which the camera quit on me.

So here is the result of David versus Goliath:

David - 30 min total exposure (yes, there is camera tilt in upper left):
Full res:
If you look close, there are over 50 galaxies in this image, faintest one is mag 18.44

Goliath - 115 min total exposure:
Full res:
Faintest galaxy is around 19.5 mag


Roland Christen