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Backyard of the Week | October 18, 2021

The AstroBackyard Backyard of the Week highlights astrophotography setups from around the world. A “backyard” can be a balcony, driveway, garden, or wherever else you set up astrophotography equipment at home.

By taking a behind-the-scenes look at the equipment amateur astrophotographers use to take deep-sky images, you can get a better understanding of the process.

This week’s backyard astrophotography equipment profile comes to us from Prasun Agrawal in Australia.

Prasun Agrawal Setup

Location: Sydney Australia 

Prasun Agrawal

I think Prasun’s images of his astro-gear outside in the backyard are my favorite submitted thus far. Look at that beautiful unspoiled sky above!

The thought of seeing the Milky Way from my backyard has always been a dream of mine, and one that Prasun is living. Thankfully, he is making good use of his sublime conditions and capturing absolutely mesmerizing images of space from his backyard.

Carina Nebula by Prasun Agrawal

Carina Nebula by Prasun Agrawal

Prasun’s Equipment 

Primary Camera ZWO ASI183MC Pro
Primary Telescope Meade 70mm APO Refractor
Mount Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro
Filter Optolong L-eXtreme
Guide Scope SVBony 30mm
Guide Camera ZWO ASI120mm Mini
Camera Control ZWO ASIAir Pro

What does Prasun love most about his gear?

“It’s very easy to assemble setup, and allows me to begin imaging in less than 30 min, from the moment I open my garage door to start putting everything together!”

Prasun Agrawal Setup

The Camera

The ZWO ASI183MC Pro is a one-shot-color dedicated astronomy camera that is suitable for both planetary, and deep-sky imaging. The 1″ diagonal sensor has a resolution of 5496 x 3672 pixels at 2.6 microns/pixel. 

This camera can also be used for solar imaging with the proper filters. It can record full 20.2 mp videos at 19 frames per second.

ZWO_ASI183MC_Pro

ZWO ASI183MC Pro

With 1×1 binning, this camera is a great match for Prasun’s wide-field refractor telescope (350mm). For longer focal length telescopes (1000mm+) binning 2×2 is a better fit in terms of resolution.

Orion Nebula by Prasun Agrawal

The Orion Nebula by Prasun Agrawal

The Filter

When he’s not shooting unfiltered on a clear new moon night, Prashun uses an Optolong L-eXtreme filter to help isolate important wavelengths of light in the H-alpha and OIII bandpasses. 

I have found this filter to be an excellent choice for those shooting in city light pollution, especially if you like shooting planetary and emission nebulae projects. 

Optolong L-eXtreme Filter

Optolong L-eXtreme filter

The Telescope

Prasun uses a Meade 70mm Apochromatic Quadruplet refractor to capture detailed images of space from home. At 350mm, this refractor telescope has a massive field of view.

A telescope like this is best suited for large nebulae projects, not small galaxies or the planets. The optics of this refractor are top-notch, and I personally loved the Meade 70mm Quad APO when I tested it back in 2017.

Meade Series 6000 70mm APO

  • Type: Quadruplet Apochromatic Refractor 
  • Diameter: 70mm
  • Focal Length: 350mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/5
  • Weight: 4.5 lbs (2.0 kg) 

Meade 70mm APO refractor

Meade 70mm APO Quad

The Telescope Mount

I believe that 10 years from now, people will look back on the Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro and reflect on what a dramatic impact it had on the amateur astrophotography community.

A computerized equatorial telescope mount is essential for deep-sky imaging, and the EQ-6 Pro is one of the best options available in its category. 

Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro telescope mount

Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro

The Guide Scope

Prasun proves that you don’t need anything fancy to get the (autoguiding) job done. I’ve seen many SVBony astronomy products come up in my Amazon searches, and the SVBony 30mm has proven to be a valid option for those looking for a small guide scope to guide their wide-field telescope systems. 

SVBony 30mm Guide Scope

SVBony 30mm Guide Scope

The Guide Camera 

The ZWO ASI120mm Mini is an affordable guide camera that allows you to improve the tracking accuracy of your telescope mount. The tiny monochrome sensor inside has a resolution of 1280 x 960 pixels, which is suitable for locking on to a guide star or taking planetary images at high magnification.

ZWO ASI120mm Mini

ZWO ASI120mm Guide Camera.

Camera Control Software

The ZWO ASIAir Pro makes an appearance in this week’s feature. This raspberry-pi based mini PC allows Prasun to wirelessly run his imaging camera, autoguiding, and more. 

The device stores the images that come through on the memory card inside, and the files can be transferred to his computer for processing afterward. I have recently reviewed the latest edition of this WiFi controller, the ZWO ASIAIR Plus.

 

ASIAir Pro

ZWO ASIAir Pro

Thank you for sharing your backyard astrophotography set up with us, Prasun! You can view his astrophotography on Instagram.

Be sure to fill out the form to submit your backyard for a chance to be featured, and don’t forget to include your Instagram handle to help grow your following. 

View the Backyard of the Week Archives

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