iOptron ZEQ25 astrophotography: Pleiades

On Tuesday night, the skies became very clear for the very first time in a long while at night. Hence I had to take the opportunity to try imaging with the iOptron ZEQ25 mount. Setting up was very easy, as was the polar alignment using the built-in polar scope. Once I had aligned the mount to Capella, it was accurately slewing to my chosen target. As Pleiades (M45) was high in the sky, this became the target for my imaging on that night.

Equipment used:

Scope: Skywatcher ED80 F7.5 refractor without field flattener

Camera: Olympus E-PL5(full spectrum)

Light pollution filter: 2″ Astronomik CLS-CCD

Settings: ISO 1600 1 minute subs

I decided on 1 minute subs as the stars are still reasonably round, whereas with 2 minute subs the stars become distinctly oblong. Hopefully I can improve the mount for longer unguided subs.

Total number of light frames: 18 (70% best stacked using Deep Sky Stacker with darks, flats and bias frames)

First is a single 1 minute sub without any processing. The stars are reasonably round, although I expect it to improve significantly after periodic error correction has been recorded and played back.

Single 1 minute sub @ ISO 1600
Single 1 minute sub @ ISO 1600

And the final image stacked together but only processed in Capture One Pro 8. I expect the result to be even better when processed with Pixinsight or perhaps Startools (a program I have installed and will be trying soon).

Pleiades stacked from best 70% of 18 frames
Pleiades stacked from best 70% of 18 frames

I have to say that I am very impressed with the iOptron mount as it is so easy to setup and take apart. The next tests to do would be to do periodic error correction to improve the tracking even further, and then with autoguider.