FIRST LIGHT

Sky at Night Magazine - - FIRST LIGHT -

fo­cus, so we were pleased to see it well con­trolled. After a thrilling tour across the lu­nar land­scape with our 26mm eye­piece, we added our 2x Bar­low lens to view more de­tail. Dur­ing mo­ments when see­ing con­di­tions were good, the foor of the crater Plato was re­vealed as smooth, but with in­di­ca­tions of small craters pop­ping into view. Our Canon EOS 50D DSLR cap­tured a nice view of the Moon, but it was a lit­tle on the small side at f/7. Swap­ping to our Al­tair As­tro GPCAM2 290c colour cam­era, we cap­tured sev­eral videos of the south­ern and north­ern hemi­spheres of the lu­nar land­scape to pro­duce crisp de­tailed images of the area cov­er­ing Clav­ius and Ty­cho. The fo­cuser held our var­i­ous imag­ing cam­eras with no slip­page and we were able to test plenty of ac­ces­sories. Sadly, the best plan­ets – Jupiter and Saturn – were too low along the eclip­tic for us to view, but we did man­age to see Mars, de­spite its small disk, and there was a po­lar cap and some sub­tle sur­face mark­ings for us to en­joy.

We had to wait al­most to the end of our re­view pe­riod for a night with no Moon and one of the clear­est, dark­est skies we’ve had re­cently for a deep-sky ap­praisal. Again, we took a vis­ual tour of the night sky’s main de­lights, tak­ing in wide-feld views of the Sword of Orion, us­ing the Tele Vue Ethos 21mm eye­piece, with lots of neb­u­los­ity on show in the Orion Neb­ula. The Pleiades star clus­ter, M45, sparkled like di­a­monds on black vel­vet, with the Merope Neb­ula just view­able with averted vi­sion. The An­dromeda Galaxy, M31, was a lit­tle low down but we could see the faint disk stretch­ing across a large part of the al­most 3 ˚ wide feld of view and the com­pan­ion gal­ax­ies were prom­i­nent.

Adding the DSLR cam­era we took images of the Sword of Orion and the Leo Triplet of gal­ax­ies. They showed rea­son­able colour cor­rec­tion, since imag­ing is al­ways more de­mand­ing com­pared with vis­ual, although we did note a lit­tle blurry chro­matic aber­ra­tion. Over­all, how­ever, the As­cent 102ED f/ 7 per­formed well and would make an ex­cel­lent ad­di­tion to your equip­ment col­lec­tion.

A south­ern lu­nar land­scape cap­tured with the As­cent 102ED f/7 scope and a GPCAM2 290C cam­era. The stack has 2,000 frames The Leo Triplet of gal­ax­ies cap­tured with the As­cent, 102, f/7 scope and an 0.8x fo­cal re­ducer. The im­age is a stack of 21 frames, each 60-sec­ond ex­po­sures at ISO 800

A vivid view of the Sword of Orion cap­tured with the As­cent 102 f/7 scope and a 0.8x fo­cal re­ducer. The im­age is a stack of 13 frames, each 60-sec­ond ex­po­sures at ISO 400

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