Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New camera - and alignment issues

I finally received my new FLI camera: a Microline 16070 camera. My experience with the PL 16070 (which FLI gave me on loan to try it out) was awesome, so I couldn't wait to try it out.

I connected it using the new preciseparts adapter (without the OAG!) Checked drivers and everything - all worked well. Then I took my first image:

Looks good - lots of detail.

... but at closer inspection, on the left hand side:

Hmmm, this looks like misalignment or a collimation error.

I decided to check it out piece by piece:

1. Is it the scope or the imaging train?
The TOA-130 scope has a manual rotator in the back. By taking first an image with the elongated stars on the left and then rotating the entire imaging train by 180 degrees. If the elongated stars are still on the left, the issue is with the imaging train, if the elongated stars are now on the right, then the issue is with the telescope (collimation error most likely).

Both exposures show the elongation on the same side. Phew - I really don't want to mess with the optics of my scope!

2. Is it the camera?
I rotated the camera in the barrel of the filter wheel. And the elongated stars stayed on the same side. So, I know that it is the camera. Either the connection to the filter wheel or the camera / chip isn't properly aligned.

I took the camera out and tightened the barrel screws really slowly constantly rocking the camera back and forth to make sure that it goes in as tight as possible.

... and with that, the elongated stars are gone!!!