First Images with Tzec Maun Telescope after Repairs

It's been a year or more since we could capture images with the telescope.

The Tzec Maun Foundation telescope has been undergoing repairs over the last year. Some of the supports for the primary mirror were damaged, and we have been dealing with the consequences in hour rather than calling in (expensive) consultants. So it’s been a slow process, but I think we have solved that particular issue.

The above image is of M51, and was one of the first images we attempted after tweaking the alignment of the optics (which in turn followed the process of re-bonding the supports).

I suppose you could say it is a half-hearted image; it lacks some elements that would make for a better image. We have not, for example, set up the compensations for changes in elevation—the stars are slightly somatic as a result. (They look like ovals with spikes shooting out to the right!)

But that work will follow in due course.

We also did not use the production camera; I stuck a used Canon 6D camera on the telescope (it’s great for live views of stars as we use them to tweak adjustments). We took a 3 minute image of M51, and I slightly edited the result in Affinity Photo (e.g., correcting white balance).

As usual, the image appears dark because Substack does that to my images, but the image is still indicative of the fact that we’ve made excellent progress. There’s a lot more to do, but this is a good star.

Here’s an image of the globular cluster M3, which does not have the coma in the above image, and thus it shows what the telescope is capable of.

When we have added the compensations for elevation, we expect all images to have nice tight and round stars like the M3 image has. (There is a hexapod on which M2 is mounted, and we will input offsets for elevation in yaw/pitch/roll and x/y/z translations.)