Starizona Hyperstar is a device sold by Starizona to convert a slow f/10 Schmidt Cassegrain telescope into a super fast F/2 camera lens. The idea always seemed appealing to me since I have a Celestron EdgeHD 11 inch Schmidt Cassegrain to use it on. Some years ago I bought a Starizona Hyperstar device, but sadly it has been rarely used since I bought it. Several of the problems with it are that it is difficult to get into perfect focus, and collimating is difficult.
In the last year my interest in using this device has been enhanced by exposure to the fine results that others are getting with Hyperstar, particularly in the realm of narrowband imaging. Narrowband imaging requires hours and hours of long exposures since the light that reaches the camera just trickles in a photon at a time. With Hyperstar, that imaging time can be cut down substantially.
One of the weaknesses is that stars just seem to work better with refractors. If there was a way to combine the nebulosity of narrowband from the Hyperstar with RGB stars from a refractor, then the combined image could be acquired in a more efficient way. Today’s wonderful software allows you to do just that.
Below is the field of view of a Takahashi FSQ 106 refractor compared with a Celestron 11 inch Hyperstar equipped Schmidt Cassegrain. Both are equipped with a ZWO ASI 1600MM camera. The similar fields of view make it much easier to combine images. With this in mind, I have been upgrading my Hyperstar setup to engage in this type of imaging.
Below is a link to an image that was acquired and processed by a top imager at Astrobin using these techniques. It looks pretty magnificent to me, so I guess I will give it a try.
This is a mosaic of 18 separate panels taken through an H-Alpha filter with the Rokinon 135mm f2.0 lens piggy backed on the Celestron C11 telescope. Each panel was produced by stacking 20 images comprised of 5 and 10 minute exposures. The total exposure time was 45 hours. The picture includes the Veil Nebula, North American Nebula, Pelican Nebula, Tulip Nebula, Propeller Nebula and the Crescent Nebula in the Constellation Cygnus. Microsoft ICE was used to assemble the mosaic. Other software that was used included Adobe Photoshop, Pixinsight, and Maxim DL.
Some things look best when they are photographed with a 135mm lens.
“The Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex is a dark nebula of gas and dust that is located 1° south of the star ρ Ophiuchi of the constellation Ophiuchus. At an estimated distance of 131 ± 3 parsecs, this cloud is one of the closest star-forming regions to the Solar System.
This cloud covers an angular area of 4.5° × 6.5° on the celestial sphere. It consists of two major regions of dense gas and dust. The first contains a star-forming cloud (L1688) and two filaments (L1709 and L1755), while the second has a star-forming region (L1689) and a filament (L1712–L1729). These filaments extend up to 10–17.5 parsecs in length and can be as narrow as 0.24 parsecs in width. Some of the structures within the complex appear to be the result of a shock front passing through the clouds from the direction of the neighboring Sco OB2 association.
Temperatures of the clouds range from 13–22 K, and there is a total of about 3,000 times the mass of the Sun in material. Over half of the mass of the complex is concentrated around the L1688 cloud, and this is the most active star-forming region. There are embedded infrared sources within the complex. A total of 425 infrared sources have been detected near the L1688 cloud. These are presumed to be young stellar objects, including 16 classified as protostars, 123 T Tauri stars with dense circumstellar disks, and 77 weaker T Tauri stars with thinner disks. The last two categories of stars have estimated ages ranging from 100,000 to a million years.”
Below is a link to my Astrobin gallery. After about a year and a half of acquiring and processing images I finally made it to the Astrobin “leaderboard” which is reserved for the top 100 Astrophotographers out of 5000+ contributors from all over the world. Given that I am always dumbfounded by what those in the top 10 are able to accomplish, I am happy to at least be a placeholder in the top 100. The nice thing about Astrobin is that you can see what equipment and processes others are using to produce their images. Then you just learn by doing. Some Astrobin contributors are just getting started and have a few images taken with a modest telescope and a videocam or dslr. Others have sophisticated setups in dark sky areas. Some even use source material from the Hubble or large professional telescopes. I am amazed by what some people can accomplish with the smallest of setups in the most light polluted cities. It is an interesting place to browse and learn.