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Collimation, Focusing and Seeing
Written by Richie Jarvis   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 20:54

Over the last few years, I have been trying in vain to get good images of the planets.  I've blamed it on alot of different things, however, I think the real problem was insufficient attention to detail!

To try and correct my problems, I've been checking the collimation and focusing of my VC200L with my Skynyx 2-1c and Televue 3x barlow.

This first video shows the collimation of the setup.  To obtain this video, I pointed at Vega, and then racked the focus in and out.  It was a little cloudy as well, as you can see from the video!  I hope to run this past other astronomers as well to see if they think my setup is collimated 'enough' - because I really am not sure at this point!!!

Update: Damian Peach kindly looked over the videos - his opinion is that my collimation 'looks pretty good to me'

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Now for focusing.  I use a Bahtinov mask to achieve my focusing with Deep Sky objects, and so thought it might work here too.  This is a video shot with the Bahtinov in place - I am winding the focus knob in and out before finally achieving a 'good' focus.  Notice that the diffraction spikes jump around alot - I guess this is indication of bad seeing (and vibrations whilst I am touching the scope!)

Comments appreciated on this one also....

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Update: Damian also looked at this video, and commented 'the seeing looks a bit ropy in the video when focusing'

So to get a gauge on this, I shot this video, which shows the star Hamal in Aries both with and without the Bahtinov mask.  As you can see, the star dances around alot, which when compared to Damian's Pickering Scale videos seen here: http://www.damianpeach.com/pickering.htm - I reckon that is about a pickering scale 4...  Poor....  No wonder my Jupiter images are coming out pants!

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