New CCD camera for Taurus Hill Observatory

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Taurus Hill Observatory has acquired a new CCD camera. The purchase was confirmed in August 2021, when the observatorys project funding application was approved by the Mansikka ry. The observatory receives a 75% subsidy on the purchase price of the camera. The new camera is an ASI 2600MM Pro and comes with a ZWO EFW 7×50 mm filter wheel. The filters are Croma 50 mm filters, among them e.g. Croman Bessel VRI photometric filters. In addition, an ASI 290MM guider camera was acquired.

The equipment has arrived at Härkämäki Observatory and they have been installed to the telescope. The camera will be used for both photometric measurements and DS imaging on both the observatorys main telescopes, the Celestron SC 14 ”and the Meade ACF 16”.

ASI 2600MM Pro with a ZWO EFW 7×50 mm filter wheel

ASI 2600MM Pro with a ZWO EFW 7×50 mm filter wheel

First tests of the camera

The new ASI 2900 MM Pro camera was tested for the first time on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 7 p.m. The camera was attached to the Meade 16 “ACF telescope in the observatory.

The target was Jupiter, which was visible in the low south-southeast direction. A few dozen images of the Jupiter were taken with different filters. At the same time, the focus of the telescope was adjusted to suit the new camera. The collimation of the telescope still requires some correction based on the focusing. The camera turned out to be excellent, everything worked flawlessly. Quite good feature of the camera is the fast, almost immediate download of images to the computer. Of course, the size of the images is about 50 megabytes, but with new computers it is no longer a limiting factor in image processing.

The sharpness of the images was primarily affected by the fact that Jupiter was only about 8 degrees above the horizon. The atmosphere is about low very restless. However, some of the  images showed Jupiter’s gas belts and even their details well. The image below was taken through a photometric I-filter with an exposure of just 0.2 seconds.

Jupiter. Photographers: Veli-Pekka Hentunen and Keijo Ikonen.