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January 1st, 2019: Howdii's Farewell and a Happy New Year!

Walter used his new ZWO ASI294MC color CMOS camera to take and [OIII] narrow-band filtered images of NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula in his light-polluted backyard in Vienna, Austria. The camera's Bayer matrix reduces the available resolution when using narrow-band filters, but much of this could be restored using the 2x drizzle method. The resulting Hα and [OIII] images were combined to create a Near-Natural Color Image using tone mapping. The telescope used is a 9.5" f/4.9 Newtonian with a new TS-Optics 2" 3-element MaxField Newtonian coma corrector.

NGC 6888 in near-natural colors NGC 6888 in H-alpha NGC 6888 in [OIII]

A telelens photo taken by Walter last summer showing IC 1396, a huge emission nebula in southern Cepheus, and its surrounding area. Move your mouse over the image above to get a version with constellation lines, deep-sky objects and labels drawn.

IC 1396 and Surrounding Area

Walter's first image taken with the STC Astro Duo-Narrowband Filter, which enables astrophotographers to capture two narrowband emission lines (Hα and [OIII]) simultaneously. This makes emission nebula photography with a one-shot-colour cooled camera or DSLR possible even under the light-polluted sky of a city. My first impressions: It works quite well, but I needed a long exposure series spanning two nights to get enough signal at f/6.2 for a decent image. I capured both red and green colored parts of IC 1795, the Fishhead Nebula simultaneously with my color CMOS camera under the light-polluted sky of my backyard in Vienna/Austria. I used my TMB 105/650 APO refractor for taking the exposures.

STC Astro Duo-Narrowband Filter IC 1795 with Duo-Narrowband Filter

Walter's widefield DSLR photos taken with a Canon 350D and an astro-modified Canon 350D and a Nikon 135mm telephoto lens during his XVIth Astro-Expedition to the Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße:

M17 IC 5146 NGC 7023 M20 NGC6992/5 M24 Sh2-155

I took most of those images with the camera and lens attached to the end of the counterweight shaft of my mount. The camera was pointed parallel to the telescope which was taking the CCD/CMOS images you can see below. The Sagittarius photos - M17; Saturn, Trifid and Lagoon; and M24 - I count among my best DSLR widefield images. The others are OK, but to a varying degree degraded by thin clouds passing through during the exposure series. I used bias, dark and flat field calibration for all images.

Walter's astrophotos of the 3rd night of his stay at the Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße in September 2018, taken with his well-tried photoscope the JSO 4.9" f/3.8 Wright-Newtonian and the new ZWO AS294MC Pro color CMOS camera:

NGC 7129 and NGC 7142 Sh2-155

Telescope and camera produced deep, beautiful and colorful images. Occasional thin clouds passing through created the rather large halos around bright stars. Also, the camera does not seem to record the deep red Hα line as well as blue and green colors.

Ok, here are the processed astrophotos Walter has taken with Howdii's Alpha Tauri 8" f/5 Photo-Newtonian and the ZWO ASI294MC Pro camera during his XVIth Astro-Expedition to the Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße:

M17 IC 5146 NGC 7023 M20 NGC6992/5 M52 and NGC 7635

IC 5146 and NGC 7023 I count among my very best astrophotos. The others were to a varying degree degraded by bad seeing, wind, low altitude or thin clouds passing through during the exposure series, but came out not bad altogether. I had to fight elongated and bloated star images after image combination during post-processing, which may have been caused by the main mirror shifting and the simple coma corrector. Deconvolution using the Richardson-Lucy algorithm and a point spread function (PSF) derived from non-saturated stars within the images proved to be a powerful tool to counter such artifacts. Of course I used bias, dark and flat field calibration for all images.

Walter´s report of his XVIth Astro- Expedition to the Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße, featuring Howdii's newly-presented Alpha Tauri 8" f/5 Photo-Newtonian and a brand-new ZWO AS294MC Pro color CMOS camera, both of which he used during the expedition, not without some troubles. He had mostly clear skies, with occasional thin clouds passing through, during the 3 nights he stayed there. Read for yourself, in German, September 2018!

* Howdii has now written a comment on this report.

Alpha Tauri Foto-Newton in front of the Großglockner

Howdii observed Campbell's Hydrogen Star and Minkowski's Footprint Nebula using the C11 on the iOptron CEM60 mount. Some days later Howdii and Andi tried to image those tiny objects with the C11 at full focal length. No pretty pictures and not really more there than what could be seen visually, however, a good confirmation. Read Howdii's Report from September 8th and 12th, 2018, Niederleis, in German.

Footprint Nebula

During a warm and dry summer night in August 2018, Walter took Hα and single-shot color images of a large part of IC 1396, a huge, primarily photographic emission nebula in Cepheus. He used them to create a HαRGB composite. The scope was Walter's 4.9" f/3.8 Wright-Newtonian and the location Ebenwaldhöhe, Lower Austria.

IC1396 in Ha IC1396

Howdii got a Lunt LS60THa/B1200C H-Alpha Solar Telescope for a customer and tested it visually as well as photographycally. (July/August 2018). This is the most affordable model with the larger B1200 blocking filter. It features the Etalon tilt system to adjust to the HA line. The blocking filter is integrated within the star diagonal. The focuser provides a reduction gear knob for fine focusing. This 60mm Lunt HA scope is a nice toy for observing the sun in H-Alpha light. Who wants more HA performance should take the model with the Pressure-Tuner system for the Etalon - less half width, but more expensive. Read Howdii's Report about this Lunt Solar Telescope, in German.

Lunt 60mm HA Refraktor

Howdii got a vintage second-hand Tasco Model 16T, 150/1310mm Cat-Newtonian to check it's optics. (July/August 2018). This telescope features a rack-and-pinion style focuser, originally fitted with an adapter for 0.965" eyepieces. Howdii retrofitted that focuser with an adapter to accomodate 1.25" eyepieces. He also made a base for a modern 8x50 finder scope. The optics of this telescope proved to be fine, it shows pinpoint stars across the field of view. However, the primary mirror needed cleaning (dust and traces of fungus) and collimation. Finally the Tasco 16T got in a showdown with Howdii's Ceravolo HD145 Maksutov-Newtonian. Read Howdii's Report about this telescope, in German.

Tasco 16T

Howdii used the 102/1100 Achromatic Refractor to go for a 16 mag star. When he started his observation, the sky was too bright. However, later the sky conditions got better, eventually he succeeded to see that faint star he'd aimed for. Read Howdii's Observation Report from August, 16th, 2018, Niederleis, in German.


Howdii presents here his Alpha Tauri 8" f/5 Photo-Newtonian. Following the First Light test, Andi and Howdii had another two nights to test this telescope in detail. Conditions weren't that great. Bad seeing, sometimes freshenig wind from varying directions. So still test images, no pretty pictures. Read Howdii's Report (August 2018, in German).

Alpha Tauri 8 Zoll f/5 Foto-Newton

Howdii visited a customer at Neunkirchen and used his customer's Celestron C9.25 SC telescope to observe CGCG 137-068 Supernova 2018cow. Read Howdii's Short Report from June, 19th, 2018, in German.

Walter, Andi and Howdii wanted to observe the total lunar eclipse near Niederleis. They had no luck, a thunderstorm went in unexpetedly. Later on, Howdii was lucky to see the total eclipsed Moon at his home location and tried to get some images in a hurry because of clouds hiding the moon frequently. At the end of the total phase Howdii had more luck to take a better image. Walter and Andi unfortunately could not see anything becaus of thunderstorms at their locations. Read Howdii's Observation Report from July, 27th, 2018, in German.


Howdii has constructed und built a 8" f/5 Photo-Newtonian. It took a while for finishing, however, now it's ready for use. This test showed no construction problem at all. Some minor fine-tuning and it'll be there. Read Howdii's First Light Report (July 2018, in German).

8 Zoll f/5 Foto-Newton

Howdii's first test of a ZW Optical ASI 120MC CMOS Camera: This is a mid-priced USB Camera for high-resolution Moon and Planets imaging, Autoguiding, and it comes with a 2.1mm 150° objectiv lens. Howdii and Andi imaged Jupiter with it on the C11 @ f/10 and tested also the quality of the 150° lens. Read Howdii's Report (July 2018, in German).


Howdii got a Geoptik Nadirus 16" Dob for a customer. He testet and tuned it. The structure is made of birch plywood with some beech wooden parts. It is compact sound and well dimensioned, and has an accectable weight for hauling it a few meters. The primary mirror is made of BK7 glass, and showed a quite fine visual performance. However, use of the vent on the backside of the mirrorbox is madatory to cool the primary mirror down. The movement was far too stiff, but Howdii's tuning attempts worked. Now it moves butterly smooth. Overall, despite some minor flaws it's worth the money. Read Howdii's Report (May 2018, in German).

Geoptik Nadirus 16

Howdii got a TS Photoline 125/975 ED APO for a customer and testet it visually as well as photographycally (April 2018). The optics proved colorfree imaging and showed pinpoint like stars. It's a fine lens for visual observing and also for astrophotography. The 2,5" RPA focuser is improved. Andi, who supported Howdii during the test was also impressed by the performance of that ED APO. Read Howdii's Report (in German).

125/975 ED APO

Howdii and Andi observed some springtime deep sky objects, mostly galaxies with the C11, near Niederleis. Read Howdii's Observation Report from April, 18th, in German.


Howdii and Andi watched and imaged NGC4151 Supernova2018aoq from April 6th up to April 18th 2018. They imaged this Supernova with a 125 ED Refractor. For observing Howdii used a C8 and for the re-observation with Andi a C11. Read Howdii's Report, in German.

NGC4151 SN2018aoq

Howdii watched (Mistelbach) and Andi photographed (Ladendorf) Venus and Mercury at dusk on March 8th and 21th 2018, respectively. Read Howdii's Observation Report, in German.

Venus and Mercury

Walter used the fine weather during the October 2017 new moon period to capture IC5070, the Pelican Nebula from his backyard in Vienna with narrow-band filters: Hα, [OIII] and [SII]. He used five nights to capture the individual exposures and created a near-natural-color image using the narrow-band composites. See also the Hα version in black-and-white. He used his 4.9" f/3.8 Wright-Newtonian and a monochrome CCD to take all exposures. The Hα image shows labels of LBN and LDN objects on mouse-over.

IC5070 IC5070 in Ha

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© 2015 Wolfgang "Howdii" Howurek & Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Walter Koprolin

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