It’s been a few months since I’ve had clear skies during a dark sky imaging window. I’ve been itching to get out and get a good test of my new SkyWatcher Esprit 120 APO. Several members of the Halifax Centre of the RASC arrived at the St. Croix Observatory (SCO) and we all sat around until just past 11PM when the clouds parted revealing some of the most transparent sky I seen at the site. The Milky Way was visible right to the horizon.
After setting up and polar aligning I swung the scope around to M51 and started imaging. When the first image came off the camera I was very pleased to see that I didn’t give up much in terms of resolution compared to my eight inch Newtonian. The refractor produces a nice crisp image with a slightly wider field.
As an added surprise there is some of the IFN visible throughout the field, but I have to redo my flats to really bring it out as my current flat is causing a lighter strip across the bottom of the image.
Here is a version off the Newtonian for comparison. The image is a shorter exposure so it is not stretched as much, but as you can see the core resolution is no better then the Esprit.