Optolong L-eNhance Filter for Astrophotography

Optolong L-eNhance filterThe Optolong L-eNhance filter is fast becoming the talk of the astro town. It’s affordable for even the tightest astro budgets but also delivers exceptional performance for imaging emission nebula and super nova remnant from light polluted cities.

What is this filter though and how does it work? Why do you need it?

If you’re part of the growing number of astrophotographers that are imaging from their own astro backyard, then you’ll be dealing with city street lights and neighbour outdoor lights in addition to cloudy nights! So for those few clear nights we get, we want to make the most of it and the Optolong L-eNhance filter can help tremendously.

Veil super nova remnant captured by Ron Brecher using an Optolong L-eNhance filter
Veil super nova remnant captured by Ron Brecher (astrodoc.ca) using an Optolong L-eNhance filter

The Optolong L-eNhance filter is designed for use with one shot colour cameras (OSC) , such as a DSLR or cooled cmos camera dedicated for astrophotography. As example, I use a QHY168C.

This filter acts like an FM radio, tuning in specific channels. In this case specific light channels. It isolates the H-alpha, H-beta and OIII light transmission line while blocking the rest making it ideal for imaging with in light polluted areas.

optolong l-enhance filter light transmission curve graph
This graph shows the light transmission lines the Optlong L-eNhance fitler isolates.

Transmission lines the filter allows through:

  • H-alpha: 656nm
  • H-beta: 486.1nm
  • OIII: 501nm

By isolating these wavelengths of light, the filter can achieve some stunning results when imaging emission nebula and super nova remnants. It can also be used during nights of moonlight to image. There’s many great images of deep sky objects taken by astrophotographers using this filter during clear nights that the Moon was up. That’s definitely a bonus. Did I also mention it’s a very affordable!

If you’d like to know more about the Optlong L-eNhance filter, watch my video below. In it I talk with Dr. Ron Brecher (AstroDoc.ca) about this filter and look at what his results have been with it. 

 

A new city light pollution filter! Triad Quadband Ultra Filter.

The Triad Quadband Ultra Filter from OPT is both amazing and fun to use.

For many amateur astronomers and astrophotographers, light pollution makes things difficult and in some cases impossible when it comes to imaging the night sky. All is not lost though. 

For those astrophotographers using a one-shot-colour (OSC) DSLR or cooled cmos camera to image with, the new Triad Quadband Ultra Filter from OPTcorp.com is a must have.

This extraordinary filter not only cuts through light pollution but it also tunes in four specific wavelengths of light allowing you to capture H-beta, H-alpha, Oxygen III and Sulphur II all at the same time. If you’ve used monochrome cmos or CCD cameras with a filter wheel, you’ll know you have to have a separate filter to capture each light channel. So the Triad Quadband Ultra Filter is quite revolutionary and opens up a new world of astrophotography for those using OSC cameras.

I had the opportunity to test this filter and found it to be amazingly effective and a lot of fun!

Due to weather conditions I haven’t had many opportunities to image with the Triad Quadband Ultra Filter, but the few times I did, I was focused on the Elephant Trunk nebula (IC 1396). This is a good test target for the filter, given it’s low in Bortle 8 light pollution from my location starting just after dark and slowly rises over the coarse of the night.

50min-IC1396-triad_quadband_ultra-filter
50 min of data captured using the Triad Quadband Ultra Filter from OPT.

Since this filter blocks out a lot of light pollution, it easily captured some great details with even a small amount of data acquisition such as just 50min. 

I am using a QHY 168C cooled cmos camera (16mp, APS-C sensor) and a William Optics Zenithstar 71mm ED refractor operating at F4.7. The Triad Quadband Ultra Filter is a 2″ mounted design that threads on in front of the camera, in my case onto the field flattener/reducer. 

As you can see in this graphic the Triad Quadband Ultra Filter acts like an FM radio, tuning in specific channels. In this case wavelengths of light! Due to this, the filter is very capable of blocking out light pollution that can interfere and ruin your images when doing astrophotography from the city.

50min-IC1396-triad_quadband_ultra-filter transmission line graph

While the weather hasn’t been very cooperative I did manage to get more data on IC 1396 and collected 4.5 hours in total so far. I did the calibration and alignment of these light frames in Pixinsight. I then did some quick processing of the unstretched stacked image using Pixinsight again. The result of this 4.5 hours of data taken with the Triad Quadband Ultra Filter was jaw dropping! Considering the level of light pollution I contend with from the city and using a OSC camera for this test (the bayer matrix divides the colour channels making it not as sensitive as a monochrome camera would be) I was completely blown away by the image. I’ve had to image much longer than this using other equipment to obtain this level of detail and faint nebulosity. 

4.5 hours IC1396 using Triad Quadband Ultra filter
4.5 hours of data taken using the Triad Quadband Ultra filter in mostly bortle 8 sky light pollution and using a OSC camera.

QHY168C-cameraI must also say I’ve been really impressed with the QHY 168C cooled cmos camera. It’s been nothing but a joy to work with and seems to be very sensitive for capturing faint detail while providing low read noise. The 16 megapixel design with 4.8 micron pixels is a perfect match for a wide variety of telescopes and lenses. Making for a very versatile and affordable astro imaging camera. You can learn more about  the QHY168C here at the OPT website.

14 hours of data taken with the QHY168c, Triad Ultra Quadband Filter and a William Optics Zenithstar 71 ED refractor.

Watch my Youtube video below to see my update as to what I’ve been doing and talk about my imaging tests with this filter. If you’re doing city astrophotography, imaging from your backyard, and have a one shot colour like a DSLR camera or cooled cmos camera, then this filter is for you. So far I’m super impressed and I think you will be too!

My astro gear:

Skywatcher Esprit 100 F5.5 Triplet refractor telescope http://bit.ly/36w1F7Y

Moravian G3 16200EC CCD w/ 5 position FW http://bit.ly/2PL0qvK

William Optics Zenithstar APO refractor telescope http://bit.ly/2JRM1tR

QHY168C 16mp cooled cmos camera http://bit.ly/2NkkKTb

Optolong L-R-G-B 2″ filters http://bit.ly/32a9Gfu

Optolong L-eNhance filter http://bit.ly/32a9Gfu

Optolong L-pro filter http://bit.ly/32a9Gfu

Triad Quadband Ultra Filter http://bit.ly/2CbQXWh

Skywatcher EQ mount http://bit.ly/2C9lap1

Skywatcher Star Adventurer http://bit.ly/2C9Fwyi

Pegasus Astro Focus Cube http://bit.ly/2qonGow

Orion Starshoot Autoguider http://bit.ly/34z6pbh

Special Astro Guest and the Eagle 3 Pro!

a look at primaluca lab Eagle 3 Pro

Welcome to a special video with a special astro guest! Watch as we talk about the new Primaluce Lab Eagle 3 Pro as well as have a look at the Skywatcher Esprit 150 telescope, QHY CCD 16200 and Paramount equatorial mount. I make a visit to his observatory in Guelph, Ontario, Canada where as an astronomy buff, he does his astrophotography using various telescope equipment, imaging the night sky. Come along for a ride with me to his place and check out the new Eagle 3 Pro!