Well, after nearly two months of
continuous cloudy skies, I've managed to take the scope out and try
the starshoot autoguider, among other things. Unfortunately, the
computer kept crashing every time I asked PHD to connect to the
autoguider. I ended up guiding through my webcam as usually because I
didn't want to waste precious time sorting out software issues in the
Also, I was desperate to try my new toy: a Skywatcher Evostar
ED80 DS Pro. I've found the scope very light but then I'm used to my
SW200P newtonian which makes my HEQ5 Pro work at its limit.
The ED 80 seems like a really nice
scope. I used it with the focal reducer/flattener recommended by
Skywatcher and I must say that I didn't have any problems with the
standard focuser. That had been a concern, particularly after reading
some reports on SGL. However, very early in the night, it became
clear that I'm going to need some sort of dew controller to take the
most out of this little scope.
My target was the Horsehead nebula but,
by the time the moon was out of the way, the horsey was very low in
the western horizon, washed away by the light pollution coming from
central London. Nevertheless, in the couple of six minute subs that I
managed to take, it is clear that the ED80 is very good at bringing
out all the colour of the stars. I haven't seen that kind of colour
in the pictures taken with my 200P.
As expected, the astromodified Canon
450D with the colour correction filter removed performed flawlessly.
The retained LP1 IR UV cut filtered out both the UV and IR ends of
the spectrum keeping star bloating under control.