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Skywatch: CCD Nights with Günther Eder
in Mariazell at 1008m Sealevel

February 24th - 27th 2003

On February 24th my wife and i travelled to Mariazell to use the excellent weather conditions for a few days of skiing and Astronomy in the evening.The weather these 4 four days was the best i ever have experienced, we had 4 days without the smallest sign of a cloud. The astronomical observations happened in the observatory of the "Astroteam Mariazell".(see here the place http://ccdeder.freewebspace.com/index.htm). As the Seeing was perfect on Monday the 24th, Günther Eder decided to do the imaging this day with the 16 inch LX200 and his ST7 CCD camera.

First try was Comet RX14 which was good visible in the 16 inch but not in the 5 inch refractor. After a few pictures we changed the main target to M95.
Galaxy M95 captured by Günther Eder
with SBIG ST7 and AO7 on the LX200 16 inch
Comet RX14 captured by Günther Eder
with ST7 and AO7 on LX200 16 inch
On the 25th of February Karl Binder came to us this evening from Münchendorf to test with us the differences between the Starlight MC716 and the SBIG ST7 CCD cameras. We had a very clear sky the whole night, but there was very bad seeing - so, planets stayed out - and we tried to test the differences between the Starlight MC716 and the SBIG ST7 by using the Starfire 5 inch Refractor. We used NGC 2903 for comparisons but in short the SBIG showed much better image quality more sensibility and together with the AO7 much better handling.

Here is an image of NGC 2903 :

NGC2903 captured by Günther Eder with SBIG ST7 and AO7
on the 5 inch Starfire refractor

On February 26th the sky was still clear but Seeing started again very badly and became a little better after 11:30 PM. My target for this night was NGC 2146. We found ourselves the first time in trouble with the precision of the GOTO function of the LX200 or our handling. As this galaxy is very near to Polaris we underestimated the job to get the galaxy on the chip. The GOTO worked nicely to get the galaxy in the middle of the eyepiece but it took us a long time to be ready for imaging.

Here an image of the interesting galaxy NGC 2146:

NGC2146 5 minutes CCD image captured by Günther Eder
with SBIG St7 and AO7 on the 5 inch Starfire refractor

After 3 nights observations and nearly no sleep at all we found a reason to end these nights observations before 2PM. From my point of view i had 4 great days and nights in Mariazell.We enjoyed again very much this time with skiing during the day and astronomical activities during the night. Finally let me add a great "Thankyou" again to our hosts Günther Eder and his wife Angelika who showed again the real spirit of Mariazeller hospitality. We got all nights long perfect support by Günther in using and testing the CCD equipment, the scopes and enjoying Mariazell during daytime.