ATK-1C Colour CCD Camera
And the ATK-2HS CCD
C.L.S FILTER REVIEW
On purchasing my Atik 1C Camera from Modern Astronomy, I soon found that the imaging of the planets had a marked improvement, maybe this was due to the air cooling the camera has on board for the long exposure facility.
Over the coming months I intend to pass on information to maybe help those of you that have difficulty in achieving acceptable results, as the process isn,t so easy as one would think, how ever when a good image is captured its well worth the time and hard work we put into the process.
ATK-1C Colour CCD
The ATK-1C Colour camera proved to give a a slightly better image of the planets, this in turn needed less work in Registax, but gave a better depth for bringing out those hidden details that I was seeking.
Moon images rendered a softer image smoother and bought out more detail, so with the planets and moon I have to say I was very happy with the results.
I managed a few DSOs , but at the time I was on a learning curve, as this was completly new to me , I soon found out that this was a different ball game , more time need and more patience required, but I soon got the hang of it , and was so excited about the possibilities I could achieve, that I purchased the ATK 2HS, purely to take things further, more sensitive and a larger area could be covered by the camera.
The bottom line is I have to rate all the cameras I have purchased from modern Astronomy, its opened up a whole new world, and I think looking back that I am improving day by day.
May 15th and my first try with the new Atik ATK-2HS.
This camera has a fast response, I used it with my Celestrom GPS 8 with a focal reducer to F 6.3.
with the camera itself I used another reducer purchased from Modern Astronomy 5x which bought the ratio down to about F3.5 or there abouts.
Once focused on a star or I prefer a planet if one is available, I slewed it around to M13. and carried out the procedures laid out in the instructions, the fist 9 secs started an image, once the image was in focus, I then started to cut back on the gain, this you have to do over a period of time in other words every 9 secs, I cut back until the image was satisfactory to me, meanwhile a tweak on the focus was carried out at certain intervals.
The image was then recorded for 20 frames at 9.5 secs, this time of 9secs is purely what I prefer as it gives a fast reponse, once an image looks good you can step to what ever time esposure you fancy to gain maybe more detail , it is trial and error, but so far I have to say, the camera works a treat.
As I move on with the ATK-2HS, I,m finding through ongoing success, should we say off the easier galaxies, nebula and star clusters, which under short exposures, work fantastic with this CCD, and the telscope set up I,m operating at the present.
But with the longer exposures I,m collecting rotation big time in some cases.
As I operate a telescope in Altazimuth, this is causing a problem, it is only due to the fast response with this camera, that I have had some wonderful results, so it looks like an upgrade to an Equatorial mount, and a larger telescope, this is purely my decision as far as the telscope goes, I,m positive that with any good Equatorial mount and telescope excellent images can be obtained, but until I have my upgrade I shall be progressing on with the ATK-2HS and giving further updates
We now move further through the summer months, and back on track slowly with the DSOs, Although one has to pick carefully the best time to image, I have started to obtain some images, the rotation problem I spoke about is still there , but it seems that by choosing particular parts of the sky, this can be avoided, and where some rotation occurs I can deal with this in Photoshop to some extent.
Also I tend to use my LPR Filter, this I find gives a much darker background and also gives more time to expose and bring out some forms of Nebula, and once again the hidden parts of the image can be bought out in Photoshop, also colour can be given in certain objects , this relies on a fairly good image though, else this wont work.
The Atik ATH 2-HS performs well and it has to be said, you have to bond with it to obtain good images, . I,m getting there, better each time.
C.L.S FILTER REVIEW
Imaging here in Basildon Essex,does present a major problem, light pollution is in most sections of the sky, except due South, this however has been overcome by using various filters in those areas with bad pollution.
LPR filters HA filters have all played a major part enabling me to grasp a lot of fairly good images, also using an IR filter as well.
But with the set up I have at the moment a Celestron G.PS. working in Alt-azimuth, I needed shorter exposures, but this in turn did not bring out the detail I was looking for,
without some very hard work in the processing.
Finally my prayers were answered, talking with Bernard at Modern Astronomy, he provided me with a new filter from Astronamick, its called the C.L.S Filter, I believe that means a City lights filter, this is an excellent filter not so harsh and amazingly my first imaging taken with it provided a huge amount of difference in the fact viewing it on the computer screen gave a much improved image, the Crab Nebula and the very difficult NGC 891 GALAXY could been seen easily, a marked improvement, and gathered in far less exposure time.
We move now into the winter months and back to work again with the DSOs, the CLS filter has been very good for me, enabling some good images, but the F ratio still needed to be faster, so with that in mind I have now purchased another GPS8 and converted that to the Fast Star System supplied by Celestron, this has proved to be an amazing bit of kit, even better images have been obtained with this set up, using the HA filter as well with the Fast Star has added a lot more difficult nebula to my album.
FINAL REVIEW OF IMAGES TAKEN WITH THE ATIK 2HS
Imaging with the Atik 2HS has been a great joy, taking me through the early stages of astro imaging, learning different techniques and processes. Finally now it seems I have taken this camera to maybe its limits and need to move on to a higher spec CCD Imager, this being the Atik 16HR.
To sum up with the Atik 2HS
This camera has been used with the Celestron GPS 8 GO-TO Telescope. Being used only in the ALT-AZ mode difficulty was found when using it at F6.3 Ratio, and F5. Nothing of course to do with the Camera, so with this in mind the purchase of the fastar system became the natural progression, acquiring faster exposures enabled me to eliminate the effects of star trails and rotation problems, by shortening the exposures a terrific amount of data could be achieved, and through the processing in the software used produced amazing results. The Camera however is still being used now mainly for Lunar work where I find the sensitivity of the Camera combined with certain filters deliver some outstanding images. Processing skills play a huge part as we know in the final result, I have used various methods, maxim being the main core software for DSOs and Registax for the planets and Moon, over the past few years I have learned a lot in this field, and have been fairly happy with the results. However in the past few months I have obtained a software package from Noel Caponie. The tools provided in this package have resulted in a huge difference in my final process. The results of this can now be seen in the sections here, Nebula, Galaxies, globular Clusters and Lunar. Now the Atik 16HR has been purchased, a new section has been opened, and this of course will display my new images. A review of this Camera will be constructed as soon as enough info is gathered.