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Autoguider upgrade

April 25, 2016

I installed the QHY5L-II autoguider camera over the weekend, replacing the old and tired Meade DSI Pro II. The camera provides the exact same field of view as the DSI, except it is far more sensitive and less noisy. It is also an excellent video camera for planetary/moon/asteroid imaging. It has a super fast readout of 30-60fps, which can tax the USB port, which is why I have it running on a dedicated hub. It is still on a USB 2 port, but I may move it to the USB 3. It took me hours to be able to find the correct focus distance and then the correct adapter combination to achieve it. The 0.5x focal reducer was used in this set up as well, to bring the effective pixel scale to 0.75 asp. This is still below desired minimum of 1 arc second resolution, but hopefully there will be a sensitivity gain over the DSI, so this shouldn't be an issue. I spent last night re-calibrating the autoguider, fine tuning parameters in Maxim DL. The mount lost its bearings at one point because I entered an accidental "-" in the DEC coordinates. I am close to the point now where I can do a fully automated imaging run. I now recall I maintained an autoguider dark library for the DSI, in order to minimize hot pixels. I may have to pick an overcast night again and do the same for the new camera. I will also post photos of the setup soon.

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