View Full Version here: : First Light. QHY9, Ha, Polluted Sydney.

Ross G
22-01-2012, 11:17 AM

Knowing nothing about monochrome ccd's and RGB imaging, I took the plunge before Christmas and bought a QHY9 camera with a Ha filter.

My aim was to increase my usual 4 times a year imaging sessions at dark sites by making my light polluted Sydney backyard a viable imaging location.

I have been pleasantly surprised at what I can capture.
Here a 3 of my first attempts.

What do you think?

Thanks for looking.



22-01-2012, 11:24 AM
Nice work Ross!

22-01-2012, 11:26 AM
Great images Ross! Looks like you've had instant success with the Ha filter. It does amazing things from light polluted locations. You've got a sizable field in these too. What's the focal length?

22-01-2012, 11:32 AM
Wow Ross!

The amount of details in the filaments of the Horse head are fantastic....

Keep at it, there is some slight coma on the ETA shot on the stars near the edge of the field, something I think a field flattener fixes if I am not mistaken...? EDIT: Hmmm, seems you have a FFII, was it used?

Otherwise, try Startool's repair module, and gently nudge those pesky stars back into shape ;)

SOOO much detail in Ha, you might have made me seriously consider an Ha filter to be added to my shopping list....my LP is horrid here in Kellyville Ridge.



22-01-2012, 11:37 AM
Looking ok to me ross. Horse is a little noisy down the bottom but more exposures would fix that.

22-01-2012, 11:47 AM
Nice first light images Ross with plenty of detail.

22-01-2012, 12:45 PM
Wonderful views from Sydney location, the contrast in the Horse Head almost makes me want a Mono CCD.

All the best.

22-01-2012, 03:49 PM
:eyepop: Superb shots Ross. Really cool. :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

allan gould
22-01-2012, 04:34 PM
Very, very nice set of Ha images. Well composed and processed.

22-01-2012, 09:16 PM
Magnificent. Seriously good images!

Ross G
22-01-2012, 09:53 PM
Hi Louie,

Glad you like it....."your seal of approval" means a lot.

Thanks for all your help and encouragement.


Ross G
22-01-2012, 09:58 PM
Thanks Graeme,

Yes, the Ha filter has turned my light polluted backyard into a "dark site".
The Rosette and Eta C were shot at the telescopes native focal length of 660mm. The Horse Head was shot with the focal reducer/flattener attached which reduces the focal length to about 500mm

Ross G
22-01-2012, 10:04 PM
Hi Chris,

Thanks for your kind and encouraging comments.

You do have a sharp eye. The Rosette and Eta C were shot without the focal reducer/flattener, therefore the coma. The Horse Head shot was with the reducer/flattener.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much detail the Ha filter produces. Your not too far from where I live at Cherrybrook so we have similar weather and pollution. A Ha filter would be a worthwile purchase.

Good luck.


Ross G
22-01-2012, 10:12 PM
Thanks Robin, glad you like the photos.
The Horse Head was 9 x 20min exposures so it could do with more exposures to improve the faint details.

Thanks Martin, glad you like them.


Hi Lester,

Thank you.
I was hesitant to buy the QHY9 as it has only been a year since I got my first ccd camera, an OSC QHY8L. However, it has far exceeded my expectations and I have no regrets. In fact, I wish I had bought it a year ago instead of the QHY8L.


Ross G
22-01-2012, 10:19 PM
Hi Paul,

Thank you. It means a lot that your impressed.


Glad you like them Allan.

Thank you.


Hi Marc,

Thank you.

I think it was your knowledge and research into the QHY9 that encouraged me to buy one.


22-01-2012, 10:29 PM
Nice images!!

I am wondering as to why you have reflections around the brighter stars. This is particularly evident in the horse image. I use a similar setup (ie WO FLT110 and QHY9) and I don't get the reflections.

Also you may need to play with your chip to flattener distance to get a flatter field.

Ross G
22-01-2012, 10:45 PM
Hi Rob,

Glad you like the photos.

Thanks for the advice. I haven't gotten around to experimenting with the chip to flattener distance. If there's a chance of improving the quality I'll certainly try.

The reflections could just my scope. Mine is the WO Megrez 110. It is my first telescope. It's only a doublet 110mm and being F5.95, I think the designers were really pushing things.

Thank you.


23-01-2012, 03:00 PM
Hi Ross,
very nice set of images, smooth and detailed
great work


23-01-2012, 05:45 PM
Results to be proud of Ross. Very nicely framed and it seems like your scope and the QHY9 are a perfect match!

23-01-2012, 05:51 PM
I agree with Ivo, all great quickies from the middle of Sydney :thumbsup:


Paul Haese
23-01-2012, 06:20 PM
Nicely done on all the images. Ha produces really contrasty images and with the addition of a S and O filters and you will be producing narrowband images from Sydney.

Ross G
23-01-2012, 10:42 PM
Thanks Paul.

My next step was going to be RGB, but being stuck in Sydney it might be S and O first. Either way, I have a lot of learning to do.


Ross G
23-01-2012, 10:46 PM
Hi Mike,

I'm glad you like the photos.

Shooting Ha from Sydney will help ease the imaging obsession while waiting to get away to a dark site.



Ross G
23-01-2012, 10:50 PM
Thanks Ivo, glad you like them.

The QHY9 and my scope seem to be producing decent shots. I'm also experimenting at the moment with an old Nikon 180mm lens on the QHY9.
I've only had a chance to try it out once because of the weather, but it looks promising for some nice widefield shots.


Ross G
23-01-2012, 10:54 PM
Hi Richard,

Thanks for the kind comments.

"Cherrybrook Observatory 1" is up and running.

How is "Cherrybrook Observatory 2" progressing?;)

See you.


24-01-2012, 12:06 AM
Great images Ross , think I better come around and borrow that camera ;)

Ross G
24-01-2012, 07:02 PM
Hi Mark,

Good to hear from you. How are things?

Glad you like the photos.

Monochrome with Ha seems to be the best way to get a decent astrophoto in our area. Shame it can't see through these rain clouds!

The QHY9 would be a great combination with your telescope and mount.



24-01-2012, 07:25 PM
You've made a great start in narrowband, Ross. Look forward to seeing more!


Peter Ward
24-01-2012, 07:49 PM
Bad news first... the objective of your WO scope has a high frequency polishing error (evident by the banding and spikes on *really* bright stars in the HH image )

Good news.... Guiding and camera S/N are spot on and you can rest easy that your system will deliver very good results.

Things to do:

1) more data (if you live near Sydney... forget it for now :rolleyes: )
2) add colour
3) have fun!

Off to a great start :thumbsup:

24-01-2012, 08:40 PM
Congrats Ross - stunning mono CCD debut shots :thumbsup:
You'll have a ton of fun with the QHY9 I reckon - a great piece of kit (then again, I'm biased.....:))

24-01-2012, 10:01 PM
Hey Ross all good here - I am about to start on a ROR obs in the backyard
so even if its cloudy I can sit in there and at least think I am doing something :) Your Ha looks fantastic I hope to go a mono ccd sometime later in the year if I ever see the sky again !


Ross G
25-01-2012, 08:50 PM
Thanks Rob,

I am pleasantly surprised with the results, but I do realise I have a lot of intense learning to do before I can produce colour.
I will enjoy it.
I also have an 8 inch Newtonian, but I just cannot get round stars from it on the HEQ5Pro mount, no matter what I do.

The adapter ring arrived in the post this afternoon....thank you.

Take care.


Ross G
25-01-2012, 09:00 PM
Hi Peter,

Thank you for the good advice and your encouraging comments.
I certainly am going to have fun getting the most out of the QHY9 camera, including doing colour.

The WO scope is it for the next year or so, but I'll push it to it's limits and get the most out of it.

Thanks again.


25-01-2012, 09:02 PM
Glad the adaptor arrived intact. :thumbsup:
Yes, flexure can be a challenge for Newts. You certainly seem to be on to a good combo here Ross.

Ross G
25-01-2012, 09:03 PM
Hi Rick,

Thanks for your kind comments. Glad you like the photos.
I have managed to attach an old Nikon 180mm lens to the QHY9, so a few widefield shots are on the way.



25-01-2012, 09:17 PM
Those photos make me want to buy a H alpha filter for my DSLR camera & try it.

My Astronomic filter is better than nothing - see pic.

Ross G
25-01-2012, 09:29 PM
Hi Alpal,

I tried a Ha clip in filter in a modded Canon 350D last year and I got good results.
However, I don't think you will get much if your DSLR is not modded.



25-01-2012, 10:00 PM
Yes - modded would be a lot better & would open up Ha.
I am dissapointed with my unmodded EOS 1000d camera -
it just doesn't give good results in summer.
I think the noise doubles for every 7 degrees rise in temperature.

Those cold nights in winter when I am out there with 4 jumpers on,
a scarf, a beanie, gloves & hot drinks at least give me some decent signal to noise ratio.

27-01-2012, 07:52 AM
Great Ha shots Ross. Adding to these with O111 and S11 so you can do narrowband images would be the go.

A slight amount of coma in the corners. Either spacing of your reducer is off or you need a flattener. Usually a reducer and flattener are 2 different things. Reducers sometimes will give elongated stars in the corners if their corrected circle is too small or the spacing is wrong and flatteners should give round stars to the corners with the correct spacing.


27-01-2012, 04:12 PM
Hi Ross,
Lovely contrasty images, I think the Rosette is a ripper. What bandpass is the Ha, 7, 12nm? Does a grat job. :thumbsup:


Ross G
27-01-2012, 09:49 PM
Hi Greg,

Thanks, I'm glad you like the photos.

I think I had better learn how to do RGB colour before I even attempt narrowband colour....a lot of reading to do over the next few rainy days!

The Eta C and Rosette photos were shot without the focal reducer/flattener. The Horse Head was shot with it, but I still have to get the spacing right with the QHY9.

Thanks again.


Ross G
27-01-2012, 09:54 PM
Hi Keith,

Thanks for your kind comments. I was pleasantly surprised at how much detail came out in the Rosette. It was 19 x 10min exposures

The filter is 12nm.



28-01-2012, 11:35 AM
Good to see you are very happy with your choice Ross. It's nice to be able to capture that detail from your location.

A lot of potential there as the finer detail in your 2nd image is definitely showing potential.

Good luck!!

28-01-2012, 11:59 AM
I am very interested in the QHY9.

It has a bit smaller sensor than my DSLR & it would be great to have a larger sensor:

Canon EOS 1000d = 22.8 x 14.8 mm.
QHY9 = Kodak Sensor Size: 19.7 x15.04mm

Does Sony make a larger sensor that is available as a mono ccd?
I have read that the Sony chips have less noise.

Choosing a mono CCD camera is a difficult task but the QHY9
seems to be excellent value for money.

Ross G
29-01-2012, 01:46 PM
Hi Darrin,

Yes, the QHY9 wirh Ha filter does show a lot of potential and as soon as we get any clear weather here in Sydney I will experiment further. I have attached an old Nikon 180mm lens to it which shows promise.



Ross G
29-01-2012, 01:50 PM
Hi Allan.

Thanks, I got your pm.

The Sony chip in the QHY8L is slighlty larger than the Canon chip, however, you cannot get these chips in mono cameras.
One of the advantages of the QHY9 is that it cools to -50c below ambient. This helps keep the noise down and is great for Sydney summers.


29-01-2012, 03:39 PM
KAF8300 chip is the current popular choice in mono and is a reasonably sized chip. It is sensitive, low noise, seems to be very defect free high resolution and is "inexpensive".

It suits many setups well as the small pixels match faster scopes and small aperture.

It will always outperform a DSLR as it is CCD and cooled and is 16bit and mono with no Bayer Matrix reducing the resolution (4 pixels to make one colour pixel).

To get larger than that in mono you'd have to go KAF6303 (APS sized)
KAI11002 (Canon 5D sized full frame 35mm) KAF16803. The price goes up a lot with each increase in size.


29-01-2012, 10:05 PM
Hi Greg,
Thanks for that advice.
I checked out the specs - of the cameras you mentioned -
in terms of price in dollars per mm of diagonal & area in mm2.
The QHY9 is good value.

http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=11935 (http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=11935)
SBIG STX KAF-16803 CCD Mono Camera
4096 x 4096 pixel array at 9u = approx 38.9 x 38.9 mm = 52 mm diagonal $10,000
= $192 per diagonal mm. or $6.06 per mm2
http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=319-320-324-1386-11926 (http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=319-320-324-1386-11926)
SBIG STX KAF-6303 CCD Mono Camera
Array: 3060 X 2040 Pixel: 9u = 27.5 x 18.4 mm = 33.1 mm diagonal.
$8,000 = $242 per mm of diagonal. or $15.81 per mm2
http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=15110 (http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=15110)
ATIK 11000 Large Format CCD Camera - Kodak KAI-11002 Mono
Imager Size: 43.3mm diagonal $5800
= $134 per mm of diagonal $6.06 per mm2
Chip Size: 37.25mm (H) x 25.70mm (V)
http://www.modernastronomy.com/camerasQHY.htm (http://www.modernastronomy.com/camerasQHY.htm)
QHY9 - Kodak KAF-8300 8.6 mega pixel chip and available as a mono camera
(filter wheel/filter bundles available) or as a one shot colour camera.
18.13 x 13.7 mm (using actual active pixels )
22.7 mm diagonal. ,
$2215 = $98 per mm of diagonal. $8.90 per mm2
( $1920 for colour version, $2215 for mono version )
Here's a good example of where a cooled DSLR with sensor filter removed
still can't beat a QHY9.
http://philhart.com/content/qhy9-vs-astro40d (http://philhart.com/content/qhy9-vs-astro40d)
Anyway Ross's 3 pictures are magnificent - so much detail.
I almost must have one - it's only just over 2 grand & maybe even a colour one would suit me
now & it's still a big step up from an EOS 1000d.
On the other hand there are extra expenses: filter wheels etc for the Monos
& a suitable OAG arrangement.
I don't know if I could use my TS9 OAG.
Perhaps there is an adaptor?


29-01-2012, 11:15 PM
You can also pick up used SBIG ST8300's very cheaply on Astromart. There is one now for US$1500. Thats about AUD$1400. PLus shipping anf GST so about AUD$1850.


30-01-2012, 08:23 PM
Thanks Greg,
I think that camera must be sold - I can't find it.

One thing I find with the QHY colour cameras is that they quote
" Color method: RGB BAYER film on CCD "
see link:

Do they mean a Bayer Matrix - RGGB?
I googled RGB Bayer Film & it doesn't seem to exist.

Surely an astro colour camera would be just RGB?

Ross G
30-01-2012, 10:31 PM
Hi Greg, hi Alan

Greg, thanks for the info on the other monochrome ccd's available.
The advantage of the QHY9 is that it's light weight allows me to use it on my current setup. Also, it's smaller chip hides a lot of the edge defects in my telescope.
A larger chip would not only involve a more expensive camera for me, but I would certainly have to upgrade my telescope and also my mount...a huge expense!

So Alan, that is where you have to be careful when choosing a ccd...the domino effect could be severe!

As to the RGGB Bayer matrix. This is correct. Two pixels are assigned to green to help mimic the characteristics of the human eye and it is the standard used on most OSC cameras.

However, Greg has mentioned that Kodak has bought out a chip that does have an RGB bayer matrix. This might be of benefit to astrophotography.

Alan, the most important thing, however, is to get the most out of whatever camera you have at the moment. It's the best way to learn and the best way to understand what your future needs will be.



30-01-2012, 10:59 PM
Yes to upgrade to a larger chip than now I would possibly
need a larger secondary to get good flats.
There is also a domino effect if you go mono because you
need to change & refocus different filters -
a filter wheel & lots of mucking around with software.

Pure RGB would be better.
That way each colour would get equal light.

Yes - I hesitate to jump yet because there are still some
things I need to master.
I have just started using PHD guiding to speed up drift alignments.
I am trying to shorten the setup times as I lose too
much data wasting time to setup.
I also haven't loaded EQMOD yet which would save time
framing targets & help in pointing accuracy.

Another post here refers to
14% of focal plane tilt in CCDinspector.
That looks like a program I need too.

On the other hand - why bother setting everything up
& doing so much work to just get unmodded uncooled DSLR data?
Isn't that where you're coming from too?

Ross G
31-01-2012, 05:55 AM
Good morning Alan,

No, my point to you is the opposite.
Assume the camera/scope/mount/software you currently have is all that you will have for the foreseable future.
Use it as much as you can. Get the most out of it. Even push it beyond its limits. Appreciate every photo you get out of it.
This is how you will learn and improve.

If you are always waiting for something better that's "..just around the corner..", you'll end up with a garage of rarely used expensive equipment and little to show for it.

So just get out there, use your current equipment and be proud of every photo you produce.

So that we don't go too far off topic in this thread, pm me.

Good luck.