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01-05-2013, 01:47 PM - 7 Likes   #1
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First Astrophotograph with K5IIs

I was originally going to post this in the K5 section of the forums, but considering this is more about the setup and such rather then the camera I added it here. The K5/II/IIs, K30 and such all have basically the same sensor anyhow. This is my first Astro image with the K5IIs outside of the city.

So let's start, often the most common question I get is what kinda camera/lens I'm using. So I'll include my setup as best as I can.

Imaging

Camera: Pentax K5IIs (previously used K5)

Telescope: Orion 8" Astrograph 8" F3.9 Newtonian.
8" f/3.9 Newtonian Astrograph Reflector Telescope | Orion Telescopes

Guiding / Tracking

Mount: Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro. I had this mount with my old telescope before I did much imaging and incorporated into my imaging setup. When I bought a new scope I was tempted to get the 10" Newt, but because of weight issues I decided to aim under and save myself the $ on purchasing a new mount.
TELESCOPE SUPPLIERS - SKY-WATCHER TELESCOPE

Auto guider: I use Orion's "Magnificent Mini AutoGuider Package". I honestly not sure how such a small scope and the software can keep the stars so clean on a 800mm-1500mm scope but it works and that's the main part. The software used is PHD Guiding. It's free which is always nice. I believe it also came with the Autoguider package as well.
Auto Guider: Orion Magnificent Mini AutoGuider Package | Orion Telescopes
PHD Guiding: PHD Guiding

Stacking Software

DeepSkyStacker is my primary image stacking software as it is free and it works well. However for this particular image I used PixInsight as I'm using the one month free trial and I have to say I quite like the program. the below image is without flats, and it removed the vignetting in basically a 2 step process. Either or are great programs. There are many more out there thou, and one of those may work for you as well.
DeepSkyStacker: DeepSkyStacker - Free
PixInsight: PixInsight — Pleiades Astrophoto

Other

While I've yet to get into narrow band filter setups there are a couple accessories I do like to use.

Laser Collimator: I use Hotech 2"/1.25" SCA Laser Collimator, any will do to start tho. No matter how much I adjust the mirrors indoors, once I ride out of the city and its sitting in -15C or colder, it always needs readjustments due to contraction.
Hotech 2"/1.25" SCA Laser Collimator

Coma Corrector: Baader RCC1 Coma Corrector.
Baader Planetarium Rowe Coma Corrector - OPT Telescopes

Intervalometer: I've ordered this one but have yet to get it due to Christmas backorder. However this will help a bit as I won't have to stand outside in said -15C to -25C weather with the basic pentax wireless remote for each frame.
Don's Photo | Product no longer available[name]=H%C3%A4hnel-Giga-T-Pro-II-Wireless-Timer-Remote-Control-for-Canon-remote&catalog[product_guids][0]=823995

Here's a picture of the setup after a hour and a half before I took it apart due to clouds.






And the final result...well I'll probably tinker with the raw data for some time and see what I can push out of it.

Exposure Data:

4 x 480s Exposures
9 x 300s Exposures

Total 77 Minutes

No Flats/Darks/Bias



01-05-2013, 01:52 PM   #2
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Fantastic shot! And one hell of a setup!
01-05-2013, 01:55 PM   #3
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One hell of an image, I am envious of your clear sky's.
01-05-2013, 04:00 PM   #4
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Very cool!!

01-05-2013, 04:18 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by apisto Quote
Very cool!!
+ 1 My sentiments exactly !!!!!
01-05-2013, 04:25 PM   #6
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Looks like your getting decent Ha response from an unmodded K-5IIS. This is in line with my tests with the K-01 with a similar sensor. That's the best Horsehead nebula image from a Pentax digital I've seen.
01-05-2013, 04:44 PM   #7
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Out of this world.
01-05-2013, 06:47 PM   #8
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extremely impressive,I have been using my K5IIs for some IR band imaging and have so far been quite impressed with the results - the K5IIs is less sensitive to reds than the K-7, but the images from the K-7 fall apart because of the high read noise. The K5IIs produces superb images with the Hoya R72 and RM90 filters. So if you have a Hydrogen Alpha filter - with the K5IIs you should get some decent results.

01-05-2013, 07:06 PM   #9
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That is awesome! Why is it not possible to use the intervalometer built into the K5? I'm impressed that it all continued to work for so long in such cold conditions. The results were worth it!
01-05-2013, 07:20 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
That is awesome! Why is it not possible to use the intervalometer built into the K5? I'm impressed that it all continued to work for so long in such cold conditions. The results were worth it!
The built in one is not able to do anything longer then 30s in manual mode. It does not even show up as a option under bulb mode.
01-05-2013, 07:53 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dr_who Quote
The built in one is not able to do anything longer then 30s in manual mode. It does not even show up as a option under bulb mode.
Ah, ok, so it's the length of the exposure not the number of frames which is the issue. I had read that it was better to stack larger numbers of short exposures than small number of long exposures to avoid noise from the sensor heating up - but under the conditions where you took this, I doubt that the sensor would get hot!
01-05-2013, 07:59 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
I had read that it was better to stack larger numbers of short exposures than small number of long exposures to avoid noise from the sensor heating up
well considering the ambient temperature of -15C and the impressive noise performance of the K5 sensor, and the advanced noise reduction features of the software he used noise isn't going to be much of an issue.
01-05-2013, 08:05 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
Ah, ok, so it's the length of the exposure not the number of frames which is the issue. I had read that it was better to stack larger numbers of short exposures than small number of long exposures to avoid noise from the sensor heating up - but under the conditions where you took this, I doubt that the sensor would get hot!
Advantages for shorter exposures is less chance of tracking errors and such. I've only done a hand full of images so very much in the trial and error stage. I haven't even gotten to using flats, or darks. On the plus side Pentax has really good noise levels. But your right being below -15C probably does help with the heat. I certainly wouldn't mind some heat thou!
01-05-2013, 11:02 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dr_who Quote
Advantages for shorter exposures is less chance of tracking errors and such. I've only done a hand full of images so very much in the trial and error stage. I haven't even gotten to using flats, or darks. On the plus side Pentax has really good noise levels. But your right being below -15C probably does help with the heat. I certainly wouldn't mind some heat thou!
It's over 30C here in Australia! It looks like the system you are using doesn't have issues with tracking. I've had problems in the past with my K7 sensor overheating, but that wasn't while trying to do astrophotography - it was while shooting video at an ambient over 30C and high humidity. It would be awesome to be able to take photos like this one - but I'd have to justify about $2000 worth of gear to do it.
01-05-2013, 11:07 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
well considering the ambient temperature of -15C and the impressive noise performance of the K5 sensor, and the advanced noise reduction features of the software he used noise isn't going to be much of an issue.
Fair enough - I was wondering about the cumulative effect of a 3 minute exposure, but the ambient temperature should help to minimise noise. I took a pic of the milky way here in Canberra during winter with my K200D (no tracking, just a tripod) with an exposure over 3 minutes and the noise was significant but still allowed me to get a picture I was very happy with. I wouldn't try the same with the K7 but I will try it with the K5iis. If I can get a GPS unit, I might try stacking shorter exposures.

The southern sky photographed near Canberra,... - RobG's Album: General - PentaxForums.com
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