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M16 The Eagle Nebula
Dustin’s Ready-To-Image Astrophotography Setup
When Land Sea & Sky ProStaffer Dustin shared this photo with us, we immediately asked, "what telescope did you use?" Below, Dustin shares with us the gear he used, and why:
The Celestron RASA is a modified Cassegrain with a focal ratio of F/2, allowing images to be taken with much shorter exposure lengths than many other typical imaging setups.
The Altair Astro 294 Pro is an affordable, high performance astronomy camera that offers the benefits of high sensitivity, being well suited to the focal length of the RASA for an ideal arc second per pixel value, and with a large format sensor to utilize the image circle offered by the RASA. As the RASA is such a fast optical instrument, in my experience TEC cooling wasn’t a necessity as the exposure times are quite short, but is an option with the 294 Pro TEC.
The iOptron CEM40EC mount is an exceptional mount with more than enough payload capacity for the RASA and the imaging accessories. With a periodic error of less than .25 arc seconds RMS and the RASA’s fast optics, guiding is not a necessity. The built-in iPolar camera makes polar alignment fast, simple, and the alignment can be monitored easily throughout an imaging session through the iPolar app.
This setup provides a telescope with a wide, flat field, exceptional color correction, and fast optics coupled with a camera that makes use of the available image circle, and a mount that is able to track the sky without the need for guiding. The results are images with crisp detail, sharp stars, and true color.