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Old 22-08-2019, 09:26 PM
skymuster (Mike)
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Altona, VIC
Posts: 7
My own Hubble repair mission (no spacewalks involved)

I had my own NASA moment this week. After purchasing my new dedicated mono astrophotography camera (ASI1600MM) I endured the obligatory cloudy nights for the next 3 weeks solid! I used this time to give my scope a spring clean, including the primary mirror. When the clouds finally broke I was excited to finally experience "first light" with my new camera. The results were, however, underwhelming. I just couldn't seem to achieve sharp focus and my guider was showing every star as a double star! I had the same feeling as the NASA scientists when the first blurry images from Hubble came back.

Here is the original image:

Click image for larger version

Name:	NGC6188_Ha_BAD_s.jpg
Views:	59
Size:	181.3 KB
ID:	248313
[single 300s exposure, unity gain, Ha filter]

After much head scratching, and a bit of buyer's regret about this expensive camera I'd just bought that didn't seem to work, I found a couple of posts online indicating it could be due to "pinched optics" when I reinstalled the primary mirror. This resonated with me (I recalled tightening the mirror clips) so I set about performing my own "Hubble repair mission". An evening of removing the primary mirror again, lossening off the retaining clips, reinstalling and recollimating and I was ready to attempt "second light". No spacewalks were involved.

When the clouds finally cleared again I was able to take a single test image. I really wasn't expecting much difference but as soon as the exposure was done and the image materialised in front of my eyes, I almost fell off my chair. The grin on my face was almost comical!

Here is the new image:

Click image for larger version

Name:	NGC6188_Ha_GOOD_s.jpg
Views:	62
Size:	210.8 KB
ID:	248314
[single 300s exposure, unity gain, Ha filter]

Like the intrepid NASA astronauts many years ago, my own Hubble repair mission was a resounding success. I had corrected the dodgy optics and now had a sharp image. This hobby definitely has its ups and downs but I am pleased to say this is definitely one of the highs!

I now can't wait to put this camera through its paces and put together my very first narrowband image. Lots of fun times ahead!
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Old 23-08-2019, 05:19 AM
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jwoody (Jeremy)
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Ormeau Hills, Australia
Posts: 327
Excellent, good result result Mike.
I find it very satisfying when you fix problems like these.
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mirror pinch, optics

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