M83, the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy

kiwiapple

Well-Known Member
So a few weeks ago, when I was out shooting those autumn photos that I recently shared, I got an email from one of a handful of New Zealand-based astronomy shops, advising me of a one-day sale and noting that they had the Celestron EdgeHD 8" SCT in stock. That telescope is never in stock, and whenever it is, it is also never on sale. This seemed like an opportunity that could not be passed up! But how to justify the acquisition of a new telescope, when I had a telescope in the closet that I never use? Easy--sell that one, and replace it with this one! So I quickly listed that scope for sale, contacted the shop to ask if they could issue me an invoice for the EdgeHD and let me pay for it later in the week, and proceeded to wait. Within a few hours, the old scope was sold and the new one was paid for! Great! But of course then I realised--I would need a focuser, a guide camera, an off-axis guider, a dew heater, a dew shield, and various other things, none of which the NZ store had available. So orders were placed with ZWO in China, an astronomy store in Australia, and with Amazon (grrrr) in the US to assemble all the bits and pieces I needed. All of those pieces started to arrive over the ensuing few weeks, and finally it was all here as of yesterday morning, which, in a shocking twist, was going to lead into several hours of clear night, perfect for giving the new rig a test run! This here is that test run, a quick (two-hour) session of the M83 Southern Pinwheel Galaxy. I had some initial trouble getting my guide camera to see stars, but those were overcome in due course. Definitely a steeper learning curve with something of this focal length as compared with my usual 443mm focal length 80mm refractor, but the potential is enormous!

Exif Data:
Celestron EdgeHD 8" SCT
Sky-Watcher HEQ5-Pro Mount
ZWO ASI533MC-Pro OSC camera
ZWO Dual-Band 2" filter
ZWO OAG
ZWO EAF
20 300-second subs
20 180-second subs
Processed in Pixinsight and Photoshop

M83 RGB PI.jpg
 

JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
Well James, you are going to make me double jealous!!!

1st the Southern Pinwheel always makes me envious.

2nd you got the Edge HD 8", and you got it on sale??? Oh man!!! I am red with jealousy and it's not a sun burn. :)

I have been looking at the Edge HD 8" for a bit now, as Bill got one a while ago, Mike got a 9.25", and so I have been looking and thinking.

One of the things I noticed is that there are a lot of bits to add to the Edge. You used the ZWO EAF. Did you also need an adapter plate to mount it?

I think I need to get one for Christmas!!!
 

kiwiapple

Well-Known Member
Well James, you are going to make me double jealous!!!

1st the Southern Pinwheel always makes me envious.

2nd you got the Edge HD 8", and you got it on sale??? Oh man!!! I am red with jealousy and it's not a sun burn. :)

I have been looking at the Edge HD 8" for a bit now, as Bill got one a while ago, Mike got a 9.25", and so I have been looking and thinking.

One of the things I noticed is that there are a lot of bits to add to the Edge. You used the ZWO EAF. Did you also need an adapter plate to mount it?

I think I need to get one for Christmas!!!
Don't be too envious--I wish I could photograph M101 and its supernova at the moment, but of course that just isn't possible from down here!

Re the bits and pieces, there sure are a few that one tends to need with a new scope. From memory, I ended up getting the following: Celestron dew heater, Celestron flexible dew shield, Celestron T-adapter (this is absolutely necessary, but no one mentions that when you buy the damned scope!), ZWO OAG (in hindsight, perhaps I should have bought the Celestron OAG, but it's 3x the price of the ZWO and I'm not sure that it's all that much better), ZWO EAF with C8 adapter, Geoptik Losmandy saddle for my HEQ5-Pro mount. And then of course I also needed a larger flat panel to use with this much-larger scope, so I ordered a 12" square luminescent panel from Glow Hut, which I have sandwiched between a sheet of white acrylic on one side, and black acrylic on the other.
 

Mike Lewis

Staff Member
James,

I predict you are going to LOVE that scope. The edge scopes when properly dialed in are capable of amazing things. There is a backfocus spec to always pay attention to, and I think being able to focus with the mirror fully locked down is very optimal for repeatability and to prevent any mirror flop but these scopes are the best bang for the buck on the cost versus quality scale when it comes to higher magnification OTAs.

You certainly have started off well, as that M83 looks exceptional. It just grazes the horizon where my gear is located in Southern Arizona - just not high enough to get much time on target or very many decent quality subs. You have some excellent detail in this shot. You do not mention any reducer, was this shot at native f/10?

ML
 
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