Flintstone Stargazing

July 19, 2009

Testing out my new DSI peltier cooler

I have been working to attach a Peltier cooler to my DSI camera in order to cool it down when taking images, allowing it to be more sensitive. Tonight was the first real chance I’ve had to test it out.

I set everything up then started imaging M57 – the Ring Nebula. When I started taking images, the camera read 20°C, after turning on the cooler, it started dropping and in 10 minutes had dropped to 7°C. There was a lot less noise in the frames at 7°C than at 20. The image above is the result.

I next turned the scope toward M27, the Dumbell Nebula, which was nearby. I started capturing it, but it looked wrong. After a minute or two, I figured out what was wrong – the camera had dew on it. I had lowered the temperature too much. Here was the result:

You can see that the nebula doesn’t have a lot of definition and the brighter stars have foggy halos.

I need to figure out how to keep the camera cold, but not too cold.

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