Equipment and Processing

Scope and Mount

Most of the older images (1998 and 1999) on my site were taken with an Optical Guidance Systems 12.5 inch RC Cassegrain. The newer images (year 2000 and later) were taken with either the replacement for the Optical Guidance scope, an RC Optical Systems 12.5 inch RC Cassegrain or it's even newer replacement, a 14.5 inch RC Cassegrain (also made by RCOS). Other images may have been taken with with a Takahashi FS128 apochromatic refractor or it's replacement, an Astro-Physics AP155 refractor. I have also recently started using a Takahashi FSQ106. A few wide-field images were done with various camera lenses. The RC scope is mounted on an heavy duty AstroPhysics 1200GTO computer controlled mount. The Takahashi/AP155 were/are mounted on it's smaller brother, the AstroPhysics 900GTO. A picture of these systems can be found here.

Camera, Filter Wheel, and Computer

Many of my newer images use the SBIG ST10E camera or the large format SBIG 11000M. These cameras are "self-guiding" in that they send guiding corrections to the mount during an image exposure. These are connected to a desktop PC inside my imaging office where the images are collected using Cyanogen's MaxImCCD. I also used to have a Finger Lakes Instruments "Dream Machine" camera based on a Tektronics (similar to SITe) CCD chip. This was an incredibly sensitive camera, although not a self-guiding unit. I used the dream machine mainly for the color portions of images where it did very well owing to it's sensitivity. I recently sold the dream machine due to poor customer support. For a comparison of the efficiency of the imaging chips, I have prepared a QE comparsion.

Color Images

Each color image consists of Red, Green, and Blue color components and (usually) a greyscale luminosity component. This technique is called "LRGB" as described in my "Simple Guide to LRGB". Most images were also processed with "DDP" the "Digital Development Process" which was invented by Kunihiko Okano, the excellent Japansese imager.

As mentioned in the guide, processing was done with Adobe Photoshop as well as various astronomical image processing programs including Axiom Research's MIRA A/P, and Cyanogen's MaxImCCD. Many of the mosaics were registered using RegiStar from Auriga Software.

Use of Images for Science

Anyone considering use of my images for scientific purposes should be aware that the images seen here are not raw data and have been subjected to non-linear processing and esthetic editing. If you wish the raw data, I may be able to provide you with the raw frame(s), depending on the age of the image.

Observatory Site

Images were taken at our cooperative ARGO observatory in central Oregon's high desert and more recently at the nearby Raptor Ridge Observatory.

Advice for Beginners

Want to get into CCD imaging? See my advice for beginners page.


These pages created and maintained by William McLaughlin
All images copyright William McLaughlin

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