Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vixen SP

OK, remember a few posts back when I said that I was borrowing a Vixen Great Polaris mount to use until I could make it back out to the observatory? Well, the guy who lent me the mount found a great deal on a Vixen Super Polaris mount. I bought it, and had my first imaging session with it this past Friday.

The Super Polaris is the predecessor to the Great Polaris. The main difference that I can see between the two is that the SP does not have a dovetail mounting plate built into it. That's OK, as I can probably get one for it later. Other than that it looks almost identical to and seems to have all of the same features as the GP.

So, here is the first image that I have finished processing from Friday night:

Andromeda Galaxy (Messier 31), Messier 32 (left of center) and Messier 110 (below and right of center)
This is, by far, my best image of the Andromeda Galaxy. I'm very pleased with this little mount! In addition to being a good astroimaging platform, it is small and very easy to transport. I'm hoping to take it with me on trips when I go to places that have really dark skies.

2010-10-06:  I modified the image to reduce star bloat and improve the color and brightness.


  1. Congrats on the mount, Rory! Great M31! Nice, round stars and nicely done color! This is with the little 80mm, right? Three cheers for achromats! It's amazing what can be done with them. Color is nicely controlled! Nicely framed, too. I'm taking it all in for when I decide actually to shoot the big galaxy. I hope I get something like this!

  2. Thanks, Val! Yes, this was done with my little achromat. I've been experimenting with reducing the star bloat and halos in GIMP. More than half of the 2-minute subs were "keepers," but I might have gotten away with using a few more. I didn't even need to use the star rounding filter! (Some of the stars around the top and bottom edges are distorted by coma from the telescope lenses.) The mount tracked really well, even with the sort-of rough polar alignment that I did. I will try a drift alignment in the near future to get it closer to the mark.

  3. Well, it's a fantastic image. I wish I had taken it. I look forward to many more with the little scope and SP mount.