Deep Sky Images

Rho Ophiuchi & The Blue Horse Nebulae

This 2 panel mosaic of The Rho Orphiuchi Cloud Complex is one of the most beautiful and active star forming regions in the night sky with so many types of objects such as open and globular clusters, dark, reflection and emission nebulae. This particular image was shot over two nights using the QHY367C Full Frame CMOS with the Rokinon 135mm F2.0 lens @ F4.0

Observatory director Terry Hancock had previously captured Rho Ophiuchi using the Takahashi FSQ130 and QHY367C, and that image can be seen here:  
https://www.flickr.com/photos/terryhancock/35667959596/in/dateposted/ 

This particular camera/lens combination will be added to our equipment rentals "Subscriptions" commencing the month of August. Contact us now using the online form, or send an email directly to terry@grandmesaobservatory.com for details and have a look at what we currently have available

Image capture details
Terry Hancock downunderobservatory.com
Location: GrandMesaObservatory.com Purdy Mesa, Colorado
Dates: June 12, 18th 2018
RGGB 149 x 2 min
Camera: QHY367C
Gain 2850, Offset 170, Calibrated with flat, Dark & Bias
Optics: Rokinon 135mm F2 Telephoto Lens @ F4
Focusing: David Lane's Reveal Focus Filter
Mount: Piggyback on 12" RC, Paramount ME
Image Acquisition software Maxim DL5
Pre Processed in Pixinsight
Post Processed in Photoshop

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Product Review - QHY 168M

This is a prototype version of the the very popular QHY168C, except this one has been factory debayered by QHY to produce a fully monochromatic camera. The camera is mounted on a 12" solid tube Ritchey-Chretien telescope made by AstroTech, which has itself been fitted with the Optec Gemini Rotating Focuser. The filter wheel is a QHYCFW2-M with a 7 position 36mm Carousel. We gave just received and fitted a new set of Optolong Narrowband Filters which have blackened edges that are meant to reduce the halo problems.

High Performance
The QHY168C uses an APS-C format, 16 Megapixel, 14-bit CMOS sensor, the Sony IMX071. This sensor is also used in the Nikon D5100 camera. It has 3.2e- read noise at lowest gain and 2.3e- read noise at unity gain (system gain = 1e/ADU). The QHY168C also has a nice dynamic range close to 14 stops.

True RAW Image Output
While the QHY168C has the same CMOS sensor as the D5100, unlike the consumer camera the QHY168C offers True RAW Image output. In the DSLR implementation there is a RAW image output, but typically it is not completely RAW. Some evidence of noise reduction and hot pixel removal is still visible on close inspection. However, the QHY168C offers TRUE RAW IMAGE OUTPUT and produces an image comprised of the original signal only, thereby maintaining the maximum flexibility for post-acquisition astronomical image processing programs.

Unique Thermal Noise Reduction Technology
In addition to efficient 2-stage thermoelectric cooling, QHYCCD employs a unique thermal noise control technology to reduce CMOS sensor noise to a very low value without affecting the integrity of the raw image. This proprietary technology can be found to improve noise performance across the whole 165/168/247/367 product line, producing much better noise reduction than any competing camera model.

Zero Amplifier Glow
QHY168C has zero amplifier glow no matter how long the exposure time.

Anti-Dew Technology
QHYCCD has more than 10 years of experience designing cooled cameras. The QHY168C receives the benefit of that decade of design work by featuring full anti-dew technology for both CCD sensor cover glass and the sensor chamber optical window. The QHY168C has an electric heating board for the chamber window to prevent the formation of dew and the sensor itself is kept dry with our silicon gel tube socket design for control of humidity within the sensor chamber.

AR+AR Optical Window
In order to avoid halos around bright stars the QHY168C has a AR+AR coated optical window rather than the common IR cut window for Single-Shot Color cameras. This permits full access to the red wavelength of H-alpha and SII without attenuation by the window coating. For RGB color balance, without passing the near IR wavelengths above 700nm, a separate removable 2-inch UV/IR filter with the desirable passband characteristics is placed in a custom filter holder in front of the camera.

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Galactic Maelstrom M81

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Messier 81 (M81), or as it is also called, Bode's Galaxy, is a bright, swirling spiral galaxy located in the constellation Ursa Major just up and to the right of the top of the Big Dipper asterism. This image was captured at Grand Mesa Observatory by Tom Masterson and Terry Hancock, and it beautifully highlights the interesting and delicate structures of the spiral arms.

First discovered by Johann Elert Bode in 1774, M81's relative brightness (apparent magnitude 6.94) and closeness (11.8 million light-years distant) makes it one of the most studied and photographed galaxies in the night sky. It contains an active galactic nucleus powered by a supermassive black hole at its center and was host to one of the brightest supernovae of the 20th century, SN 1993J. Also in this image, the blue blob above M81 is a satellite galaxy gravitationally locked to M81 called Holmberg IX, which is thought to have formed within the last 200 million years, making it the youngest nearby galaxy.

M81 wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_81

M81 in 60 seconds from NASA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39Sw0axqIBM

Holmberg IX: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holmberg_IX#cite_note-sabbi-2

 


Technical Info:

Grand Mesa Observatory System #2 https://grandmesaobservatory.com/equipment/

Telescope: AGO 12.5” Astrograph/Newtonian
Camera: QHY163M Monocrome CMOS
Guiding: OAG
Mount: Paramount ME

LUM 25x 300sec 1x
RGB 25x 300sec 1x1 (4h10min total)

Processing/Stacking: PixInsight, PhotoshopCC, Registar, Straton

Location: Grand Mesa Observatory, Purdy Mesa, CO

Another Featured Image for Valentine's Day

One of the latest images of The Heart Nebula captured at GMO was just featured in the European Blog "Universe Of Magic" as a commemoration of Valentines Day!

Terry Hancock was quoted as saying "It is a real honor to be featured on Universe Of Magic which features work by some of the world's finest astrophotographers. This selection in particular has a real significance to me for 5 years ago on Valentine's Day one of my Heart Nebula images was chosen for my first NASA APOD!" (That APOD can be seen here: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130304.html)

Juan Carlos of Universe Of Magic also allowed Terry to write a dedication to his fiance, Nancy McGuire, and included that in the official Universe of Magic post (which can be seen here: https://universomagicojuanca.blogspot.com)

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The Iris Nebula - Published in Astronomy Magazine

Observatory director Terry Hancock had yet another image published in Astronomy Magazine, this time in their November 2017 issue. The image can be found on page 73 in the Reader Gallery. Entitled "Blue on Black", it was photographed using Grand Mesa Observatory's Takahashi 130-FSQ and QHY367c One Shot Color CMOS camera with the Iris Nebula (NGC 7023) and the surrounding LBN 487 region being the featured targets.

Congratulations Terry! Great work as always!

 

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