The Harvest of Taiwan Star Hunting Trip

After a week back from Taiwan, I have just finished processing all the raw deep sky objects’ images. As a novice in DSI and an illiterate in processing DSI, I spent extra time to refine the images. Perhaps the quality of the images are average, I learned a lot and received positive feedbacks from other stargazers. The sky in Hehuan Mountain (合歡山) was not as dark as expected. It was much better than the sky of Hong Kong already. There were too many stars in the sky and made me difficult to identify the constellations. Gorgeous! The spectacular Milky Way was engraved in my mind and it was the second time I saw it. I was told that the sky in Australia is extremely dark. The Milky Way is able to cast you a shadow. I have put Tasmania in my vacation list. Hope to visit Tasmania in near future. Anyway, these are my harvest:
M31 Andromeda Galaxy 仙女座大星系: APM-TMB 80/480, AstroTech zero power flattener, Baader LPS-P2, ISO 800, 4x10mins, No flat field, No dark frame

North America Nebula 北美星雲: APM-TMB 80/480, AstroTech zero power flattener, Baader LPS-P2, ISO 800, 6x4mins, No flat field, No dark frame

M13: APM-TMB 80/480, AstroTech zero power flattener, Baader LPS-P2, ISO 800, 9x6mins, No flat field, No dark frame

Double Cluster (NGC884 & NGC869) 雙星團: APM-TMB 80/480, TV 0.8X Reducer/Flattener, Baader LPS-P2, ISO 800, 2x3mins, No flat field, No dark frame

Rho Ophiuchi Nebula 星空調色盤: Canon 135mm f/2.0 @f/2.8, Astronomic CLS clip-filter (CCD version), ISO 800, 10x3mins, No flat field, No dark frame

Sagittarius M8 M20 人馬座天區的 礁湖星雲、三裂星雲: Canon 135mm f/2.0 @f/2.8, Astronomic CLS clip-filter (CCD version), ISO 800, 8x3mins, No flat field, No dark frame

Scorpius M6 M7 天蠍座天區的 M6 M7: Canon 135mm f/2.0 @f/2.8, Astronomic CLS clip-filter (CCD version), ISO 800, 10x3mins, No flat field, No dark frame

Summer Triangle 夏天大三角: Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 @16mm & f/4, Astronomic CLS clip-filter (CCD version), ISO 800, 8x3mins, No flat field, No dark frame

Polaris, M31 and Double Cluster 北極星、仙女座大星系、雙星團: Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 @16mm & f/3.5, Astronomic CLS clip-filter (CCD version), ISO 800, 7x3mins, No flat field, No dark frame

Milky Way 銀河: Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 @11mm & f/4, ISO 1600, 30s, No flat field, No dark frame

Equipment list:
APM-TMB 80/480
TV 0.8X Reducer/Flattener
AstroTech Flattener (zero power)
Guide scope (modified Takahashi finder scope)
Canon 40D (Baader modified)
Canon 135mm f/2.0
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
Baader LPS-P2
Astronomic CLS clip-filter (CCD version)


Unexpected weather of Hehuan mountain

Totally unexpected! The weather last night was so dramatic!!! It started with rain, lightning & thunder. After the rain stopped, the sky was clear! We ran up to a site called 武嶺 at once. In the middle of setting up the equipment, terrible fog came. Savio & I were punished to stand & wait! In the midnight, the sky was clear again. We started the setting again. There were terrible people around & they used torches!!! Anyway, the sky was unstable until 3:00am. I was on the point of giving up, but finally I got everything work!!!! These are my M31 & Double Cluster! I found that when I use the auto Noise reduction in D40, there is a dark band in the lower part of the images!!! In addition, dews were formed in both the main scope & the guide scope. I don’t have any heater to avoid it. So I can just use an air pump to rectify the problem. It couldn’t be fixed completely anyway! The lucky thing is that it didn’t cross my DSO. Otherwise, it wasted my time. Sometimes we really need some luck to take good photos. When the sky is OK, no people & car making any forms of light pollution, there was a satellite crossing my 10 mins M31 photo. Good grief! Well, I posted both cropped & un-cropped versions here. I will not use the noise reduction function in the coming night, unless I fixed the problem.

APM-TMB 80/480
TV 0.8X
M31: ISO 800, 600s, single frame, No flat frame, No dark frame (There was a satellite crossed my photo!!! I will make it again!!!)
Double Cluster: ISO 800, 300s, single frame, No flat frame, No dark frame

Double Cluster: The dark band due to 40D's noise reduction

Double Cluster: Centre Crop


LVI guided stably

Our Equipment


The daybreak of Hehuan mountain


Taiwan Hehuan Mountain Star Hunting Trip

Savio and I arrived Hehuan Mountain (合歡山) yesterday. We must express our heartfelt thank to Henry that he helped us to do the transportation and accommodation. In addition, he lent us two HEQ5Pros to us. This is crucial important to us, as the weight we need to ship to Taiwan is much lower. One more point I would like to mention is that we found a Taxi driver to drive us around this week. Originally I want to hire a car and drive by myself, which is always the way I do when I go aboard. However, Savio’s suggest is right! The road in the mountain area is very rugged and difficult to ask for help when needed. So, found a tour guide Taxi driver can save money & convenient. Our base is around the Chingjing Farm (清境農場). Since there are much visitor recently, we stated in 觀星園 http://starry.nantou.com.tw/. The altitude of觀星園is about 2000m. The view of 觀星園is good and leisure. The Birdseye view of 觀星園is great. As the altitude is quite high, we are above the top of low altitude clouds. However, there are still high level clouds above me. Anyway, it should be much better than sea level. Hopefully I can shot some nice photos this trip. It was a long day! Both Savio & I slept for only 2 to 3 hours before we went to Taiwan. So we took a bit more rest before we went to 小風口 and it’s altitude is about 2800m. We don’t have thermometer, but I guess the temperature is below 10 degree. Both Savio and I wore down. As the weather yesterday in the daytime was foggy & haze. We don’t expect too much last night. It turned out that we have occasionally clear skies after 2:00am. It was on and off anyway! Time is limited! When Savio was taking a rest in the Taxi, I took a few Milky Way shot. At about 3:00am, the clear sky suddenly came out & we started to work! Poor me! The sky became bright at about 4:00am and we were running out of time. I am too inexperience & sucked finally!
The photographic detail of the Milky Way is following: Modified Canon 40D Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 @ 11mm f4 ISO1600 30s
Highest altitude Convenient store
On top of low altitude clouds

APM-TMB 80/480, HEQ5Pro

Savio & I at about 2800m and below 10 degree

Milky Way


My first DSI: M8 & M20

Last week the sky was exceptionally clear. I’ve been waited for clear skies for more than a half year. This was the first time I did DSI. This image was jointly taken with my friend. In fact he did most of the setting and the APM 80/600 and the 5DII were owned by him. The seeing was so so that night and the clouds were just running around and made us lost guiding star several times! We only shot one M8 & M20 before the moonrise. Although we have taken a few M8 & M20, I don’t know how to use DSS. I just use the PS to tune the Level & Curve. Here is the photographic detail:

APM-TMB 80/600
TS flattener (Zero Power)
350mm guide scope (A modified 9x50 finder scope)
ISO 1600
Single frame (180s)
No flat field and no dark frame
100% crop and 25% resize