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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