Supernova remnants: Autoguiding & the SpaceCat 51

veil nebula redcat 51

First light with the new SpaceCat / RedCat 51 telescope was a tough choice. The wide 250mm field of view is perfect for capturing complete views of so many deep-sky objects. But with the Milky Way setting earlier now, the Veil nebula in Cygnus was the perfect choice.

After a few failed attempts I found the right settings to get the new ZWO ASI120MM-S guide camera connected to the AstroTrac TT320X-AG mount, to finally start autoguiding with PHD2 and N.I.N.A. The resulting 5 minute sub images with pinpoint stars and dithering enabled makes a world of difference. Capturing so many more photons with the faster scope and longer exposures made for an easy set of images to work with.

I absolutely love the near 3D look of the ionised gasses in the nebula. The intricate details in the Western Veil in particular are stunning see in detail.

I still have some tilt issues going on with the D5500 camera sensor which I’ll need to dial out (the left and right hand sides are out of focus). A quick 30 second exposure with the old D7000 confirmed it as an issue with the camera and not a fault of the telescope. The new scope itself is incredibly sharp and lives up to its reputation as a fantastic little quadruplet astrograph.

Image details: Modified Nikon D5500 and William Optics SpaceCat 51 250mm / f4.9. Total of 2 hours and 20 minutes of exposure time (28 x 300 seconds) at iso 100. Using Optolong L-eNhance filter. Tracked with AstroTrac TT320X-AG. Guided with ZWO ASI120MM-S guide camera and Orion 50mm guide scope. Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker with 12 dark / 30 flat / 30 bias frames. Sequenced with N.I.N.A.. Edited with Photoshop and Starnet++

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