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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The Horsehead Nebula In Hydrogen Alpha

I had an unexpected clear night recently. So I decided to take the Astronomik Ha 12nm Clip In Filter for a road sky space test. Pointing the telescope towards Orion, I decided to begin gathering data on The Horsehead Nebula.

The Horsehead Nebula

Otherwise known as Barnard 33, this dark nebula gets its name by the striking resemblance to that of a horse’s head. Often (almost always) photographed with it is the reflection nebula NGC 2023. The Horsehead Nebula is a popular winter time target and as such the perfect time to photograph it is late November to January.

Being partly an emission nebula, one popular trick is imaging this nebula in Hydrogen Alpha. Hydrogen Alpha is a narrowband wavelength of light that only allows light from that gas to pass through.The Astronomik Hydrogen Alpha Filter Is Used To Isolate The Hydrogen Alpha Wavelength.

I was able to capture this wavelength due to the generosity of The Widescreen Centre in loaning me the filter for review. The Astronomik 12nm Hydrogen Alpha Clip-In Filter is a heavy weight filter known for being really useful and good with DSLR cameras. So it was perfect for me and my modified Canon 600D.

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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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NGC 2244 – The Rosette Nebula

“I go back outside again and Orion, along with the Unicorn, seemingly were engaged in combat with the clouds”

The Rosette – A Blooming Flower In Space

“I go back outside again and Orion, along with the Unicorn, seemingly were engaged in combat with the clouds”

In the ever vast ocean of stars, galaxies, gaseous clouds and reflecting dust nebulae lies one target. An almost delicate flower of a nebulae. So fine its details that you could just blow it away with your own breath, like one would a dandeloin.

I am of course referring to the cluster of NGC 2244. Fondley referred to as The Rosette Nebula.

This particular form of gas lies about 5200 light years from our rock in space. It’s radius is placed at 65 light years. No, I haven’t measured it myself. I’ve got it from Wikipedia. Located in the easy to miss constellation of Monoceros – The Unicorn – it chases Orion through the winter nights in the northern hemisphere. With the Twins, Gemini, gleefully following along.

A shot from behind of my telescope imaging The Rosette Nebulae

 

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IC 405 – Flaming Star Nebula

“I’m sort of done with Orion at the moment”

 

It was a cold, bitter night in Britain,

But it was, at least, clear. Despite what the weather forecast said. Sometimes relying on a forecast only takes you so far. With the actual sky being clear, I decided I just had to set up.

I’m slowly getting really used to setting up my equipment, getting faster and faster at it. Though… I have to admit, and this will come as a surprise to you, the footage of me setting up in the video above… it’s sped up.

I know! Shocking.

IC 405- The Flaming Star Nebula

I don’t think “The” is part of its title, but it sounds better to me – so I’m rolling with that. This evening posed the question we all face: “What do I shoot?”. With so many targets and so precious few nights the right decision is important.

I really wanted to shoot some Horsehead Nebulae, since it’s so iconic. But I’m sort of done with Orion at the moment. No fault of its own, but its where I mainly have been shooting. So the Horsehead’s iconicity was kind of its downfall for this time. The Heart Nebulae is another I want to shoot – but it bearly fits in the FOV of my ED80 even with the 0.8x reducer/flattener.

So I decided on the Flaming Star. I hadn’t seen many people uploading pictures of it this season so I decided to give it a go. Plus its magnititude was quite forgiving at Magnititude 6.

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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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