NP127is: Imaging the Skies Over Denmark

NGC 1333 reflection nebula in Perseus from Brorfelde Observatory (Luminance) 7/8 January 2018 and Drøsselbjerg (RGB) 14 February 2018. (Cropped, click for full-image.) Equipment: TeleVue-NP127is, ZWO ASI 1600MM cooled mono camera, and Baader filters, on Track The Stars TTS 160 Panther mount. Luminance: 39x300” by Niels Haagh & Niels V. Christensen at Brorfelde. RGB each: 20x120” by Niels Haagh at Drøsselbjerg. NGC 1333 … by AstroBin user Niels V. Christensen. Copyright Niels V. Christensen. Used by permission.

We spotted some great Tele Vue-NP127is images on Instagram and AstroBin recently. They are the work of a collaboration between Niels Christensen and other amateurs from Denmark. We contacted Niels to learn more.

Caldwell 49 / Rosette Nebula from Brorfelde Observatory 22-23 Nov. 2017. Equipment: TeleVue-NP127is, ZWO ASI 1600MM cooled mono camera, 2” Pyxis Camera Field Rotator, and Baader filters, on Track The Stars TTS 160 Panther mount. Imaging raw data by Niels Haagh. L: 21x180s”. RGB each: 20x60”. Rosette Nebula … by AstroBin user Niels V. Christensen. Copyright Niels V. Christensen. Used by permission

Niels tells us he began his astrophotography hobby in 2005 when he “dug a hole” in his garden and constructed a backyard observatory. For the first 5-years he was on a learning-curve, honing his skills. He’s now been doing serious astrophotography for the last 8-years — and it shows! From his light-polluted yard — located within 10-km of the city center of Copenhagen — he has achieved exquisite image quality.

The portable NP127is imaging setup. Since the photo was taken, the guide camera was changed to a Lodestar II, A Pyxis main camera rotator was added, and dew heater straps put on both scopes. Portable Gear/Astro-Setup by AstroBin user Niels V. Christensen. Copyright Niels V. Christensen. Used by permission.

Niels created an easily transportable setup so he could image from his backyard or visit dark-sky locations. It includes the Tele Vue-NP127is telescope  (contributed by friend Morten la Cour) mounted on a TTS-160 Panther mount with the “Telescope rOTAtor” derotater, both contributed by Track The Stars owner Niels Haagh. The camera is a ZWO ASI1600MM. Christensen integrated the entire system together with his hardware and software.  Using this setup, he’s done imaging runs from his yard, at a dark-site at Brorfelde Observatory (about 45-minutes to the west), and at the Avnø Nature Preserve (over an hour away to the south).

Niels Haagh has also taken the setup to Drøsselbjerg, 1.5 hours west of Copenhagen, for imaging runs.

We asked Niels Christensen what he liked best about the Tele Vue-NP127is and gave us a list:

  • It’s an APO (for superb color correction)
  • It’s a f/5.2 scope.
  • No need for collimation.
  • Can often get small FWHM’s (measure of a star’s size on image sensor) on stars.
  • Can keep focus (without the need for re-focus) during the imaging run — even with slightly changing temperatures.
  • Big field of view with minimal vignetting.
IC443 / Jellyfish Nebula from Brorfelde Observatory 7/8 Jan-2018. Equipment: TeleVue-NP127is, ZWO ASI 1600MM cooled mono camera, 2” Pyxis Camera Field Rotator, and Baader filters, on Track The Stars TTS 160 Panther mount. Imaging raw data by Niels Haagh & Niels V. Christensen. L: Lum + Hα: 19x300” each. IC443… by AstroBin user Niels V. Christensen. Copyright Niels V. Christensen. Used by permission.
Luminescence and Hydrogen alpha exposures from above image were combined with SII filter images (17x300sec taken at Drøsselbjerg, DK, 14 Febr-2018 by Niels Haagh) to create this bi-color version. IC443 bi-color… by AstroBin user Niels V. Christensen. Copyright Niels V. Christensen. Used by permission.

Niels Haagh also gave us his thoughts on the benefits of using his TTS-160 Panther mount with the NP127is:

  • The combination of the NP127is and the TTS-160 Panther mount makes a perfect transportable set-up. It is easy to bring to real dark locations and get the best deep exposures.
  • The pinpoint stars of the NP127is really comes to their own right when guided on the Panther mount with Telescope rOTAtor option.
  • The NP127is is mechanically very stable. When guided with a piggybacked guide telescope every single sub-exposue shows perfect circular pinpoint stars. No kind of flex is visible.
  • The mount and telescope has been transported many times to dark sky sites. Every time the combo works perfectly with no tweaking needed.
M42 Orion Nebula – imaged low on the horizon − from Copenhagen area 18 Sept. 2017 . Equipment: TeleVue-NP127is, ZWO ASI 1600MM cooled mono camera, and Baader filters, on Track The Stars TTS 160 Panther mount. L: 6x60” & 9x30” & 20x10sec. No calibration frames were used. Seasons first M42 … by AstroBin user Niels V. Christensen. Copyright Niels V. Christensen. Used by permission.

Niels Christensen is a retired telecommunications engineer in Denmark with an electrical engineering degree from the Engineering College of Aarhus. He was a Beta tester on the Atik Horizon CMOS mono camera.

M33 / Triangulum Galaxy from Copenhagen area and Avnø Nature Preserve 17,18, & 22 Sept. 2017. Equipment: TeleVue-NP127is, ZWO ASI 1600MM cooled mono camera, 2” Pyxis Camera Field Rotator, and Baader filters, on Track The Stars TTS 160 Panther mount. L: 117x60” & 23x300”. Hα: 33x300”. RGB each: 20x60”. M33 … by AstroBin user Niels V. Christensen. Copyright Niels V. Christensen. Used by permission.
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