PTC’s Starry Night: Equipment Testing

Yesterday was the day before the Typhoon. The sky was exceptionally clear in the afternoon and I decided to go to PTC for stargazing. I loaded my Sky-Watcher HEQ5Pro in the boot. Luckily that the sky was still clear after diner. So I worked as a coolie and carried all the equipments, Equinox 80ED, C5, Porta, notebook, eyepiece etc, from my apartment to the car park. Due to the power cord failure last time, I did not try the HEQ5Pro. For saving my night, I carried the Porta, which works securely without electricity! Luckily, everything work beautifully last night!
This was really the first time, I tried out the HEQ5Pro. It was a strange mount for most PTC people because most of them are using LXD75 and Vixen mounts. After some people asking me about the HEQ5Pro without getting a proper answer, they just worked on their own task. I was kind of new in using such monster. First of all I don’t know exactly all the screws were all about. I needed to experiment by myself. It turned out that it was not difficult to get them work. Second but the most important thing is how to do the polar alignment. The manual was too simple that I cannot get much from it. I don’t have enough time to study the polar alignment from the Internet. Time is treasure! I simply put the Polaris at a point on the circumference of the circle inside the polar scope. It was a fast fix. As long as I am not doing deep sky imaging, all other task should be ok! Well! I loaded the Equinox 80ED on the mount and turned on the power and started to enter date, time, location etc. I used the 3 stars alignment, which supposed to be the best. After the “Alignment successful” displaced, I found the accuracy of HEQ5Pro was quite good. All the targeted objects are within the field of view of 8-24mm zoom eyepiece at 24mm. The HEQ5Pro was quiet during skewing compared with LXD75. The motor ran smoothly. However, the skewing speed seemed slower than LXD75. I needed to confirm this next time by a fair test. Anyway, I need to explore more before I can make a fair report on HEQ5Pro.
The foci of the night were the unbranded ED110 and the Maxvision’s Maksutov Newtonian 152mm. It was sadly that the focuser of the Maksutov Newtonian 152mm was defective and the scope was not properly collimated. No comment can be made. The unbranded ED110 was once again in high optical quality. Mirror God, a locally well known experienced stargazer, said that the ED110 beats the William Optics and price performance is real good! I deliberately compared the ED110 and my Equinox 80ED. Both scopes were set to about 200X and the target object was Jupiter. I found that both scopes delivered high contrast and color saturated image. The ED110 delivered a sharper image. It seemed that Equinox 80ED delivered a little bit higher contrast images. This was my own opinion and may be biased. I will invite the owner of unbranded 110ED to do fair test if possible. (Equinox 80ED: f=500mm, OR 6mm eyepiece, TV2.5X, Mag.= 500/6*2.5 = 208) (Unbranded 110ED: f:770mm, Takahashi 3.5mm eyepiece, Mag.= 770/3.5 = 220)
After playing around with the Equinox 80ED for a while, I parked the HEQ5Pro and mounted the C5 on it. But I don’t know why the HEQ5Pro forgot some of the location data and I needed to re-enter them again. Ahhh… Maybe Lewis, a friend of mine, pressed wrong button. Mysterious thing happen again! I cannot get the right sky model afterward! I needed to fix it by entering the time zone to be -8, which was supposed to be +8. Anyway, time is treasure again! I didn’t deal into detail. As it works, just forget about the reason. On the way back home I though the problem was again by Lewis. Maybe he entered wrong latitude and attitude data into HEQ5Pro. The data was a bit subtle that one needs to care about the East and West definitions. Blindly entering the numbers will just get it wrong. Anyway, I will confirm this and will not give Lewis a bad name if he is really good! Ha! Ha!
The C5 gave larger focal length and the Jupiter image size was much better than that of Equinox 80ED. I used the TV 2.5X as well. With the Porta for the same setting, I could only record about 10s. With the HEQ5Pro, I could record more than one minute. I didn’t try the time in fact because the processing time would be very long. I tried one minute and the final number of frame was 1200. The result is…

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