Astronomik 12nm Hydrogen Alpha Clip In Filter Review

If you’re looking for a way to really add some bang to your emission nebula, then hydrogen alpha data is probably the way to go. To that end we have this offering from Astronomik. A 12nm hydrogen alpha filter that can clip into a DSLR camera body. Isolating a singular wavelength of light – 656nm – and then letting the sensor capture that can really make a difference in your astrophotography. Taking your images all the way up to 11.

There are several reasons why to invest in a hydrogen alpha filter, there are also a lot of filters out there to choose from at different wavelengths. But for now, in this article, I’m going to talk about my findings having used the Astronomik 12nm Ha filter which was on loan from The Widescreen Centre.

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Canon EOS Ra – Full Frame Mirrorless Astrophotography Camera

The Canon EOS Ra has just been announced! What is the EOS Ra? It’s a mirrorless camera aimed directly at the astrophotography niche. So you bet your jiffy that I’m going to be all over that and seeing what I can see about it. so let’s get focused in on the Canon EOS Ra.

This release was so quiet that I’m struggling whether to find if it was announced on the 5th or 6th November…

I’m about to scrape together what small morsels I can find about this new Mirrorless camera – and do my best to not refer to it as a DSLR. There’s a few images that have been released and an announcement video: which I shall share in due course.

One disclaimer: I don’t own any of the images I’m about to feature. They’re all published from Canon about the EOS Ra.

Canon EOS Ra

Building from the framework that is the Canon EOS R – a full frame mirrorless camera – Canon decided to re-enter the astrophotography camera scene again and have announced the Canon EOS Ra. This is a camera that has a modified IR pass filter already. The IR Pass filter is what we would traditionally open our cameras up to remove. But Canon now has decided to offer one with a pass filter that already has the sensitivity in place.

How much more sensitive? 4 times more sensitive. This means that the reds in your images will be more deeper and lush as Hydrogen Alpha sits in the red end of the spectrum over at about 656nm. The effect is similar to that of what we try to do anyway when we modify our cameras by removing the IR filters and either leaving them ‘naked’ or inserting a modified bandpass IR cut filter usually from Baader or Astronomik.

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Mono Camera: My Initial Feelings

Mono Camera or Colour Camera?

There is a big choice to be made during your astrophotography journey: colour camera or mono camera?

A colour camera uses a sensor with a bayer matrix over it. Light passes through tiny coloured filters and is then read by the sensor. A mono camera has no such filter – the light is read as gray scale. In order to use a mono camera to construct a colour image we have to add filters in front of the sensor ourselves.

Recently I sold my Altair Astro Hypercam 183c colour camera to buy the mono version. Then I bought a filter wheel and a full set of narrowband filters. Since I particularly like the look of narrowband, and whilst it’s possible with a colour camera, a mono camera is more suited to narrowband imaging. I enjoyed the 183 sensor so much that when I saw the mono for sale – I took the plunge.

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Belting The Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro

“If you own a HEQ5 then you know exactly the noise I’m on about. It’s horrible, it sounds nasty and doesn’t sound healthy at. all.”

Getting A Grip With Belts

The HEQ5 Pro is a fine mount. A fine mount indeed. It’s such a gateway Go-To tracking mount for astrophotographers. It came to me, highly recommended, second hand from a bloke in Birmingham. What a fun drive that was! I upgraded my EQ5 to a HEQ5 Pro SynScan Go-To Tracking Mount and boy was that a monumental day for me.

One issue is apparent with these mounts originally: graunchy gears.

The thing about spur gears (straight edge cut gears that interlink with one another) is that they’re noisy. It’s the same sort of gear in a car’s reverse, and we all know how loud reverse gears squeal.

But aside from the noise another, more insidious issue permits gear based systems.

Backlash.

You may have heard of this, it’s what your Periodic Error endevours to mitigate. Backlash is the tiniest of play inbetween gear teeth. Even with grease, over time these gears will wear themselves down and it seemed that was possibly the case with mine. My right ascension axis had loads of play between the idler gear and worm gear – you’ll see it in the video! It was crazy.

Clat. Clat. Clat.

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