After imaging for the past 2 years with a Celestron CG-5 Advanced GoTo Mount, I finally took the plunge and treated myself to a Losmandy G11/Gemini 2 mount that I happened upon on Astromart. I actually was not in the market to buy one but I was actively looking and one Sunday back in April, I saw a local listing pop up and I had to seize the opportunity. Luckily, the mount was located just 1/2 hour from my house so I met the seller and we closed the deal. He showed me how to set it up and use it and I took it home that same day.
Flash forward to September 2014. Realizing that the mount was going to be too heavy for me to simply haul out to the backyard, I needed to order a Scopebuggy. After finally receiving the buggy, I was ready to assemble the G11, get it wired up, and test it out for its first light.
My target for a test run was the Andromeda Galaxy and I remember the skies called for clouds so I quickly set up to test it out before the clouds rolled in. One great aspect about the Gemini 2 system is that you can connect to it via an Ethernet cord so I was able to use the Astrotortilla program to plate solve and center the object so I could start imaging. Initial tests of the mount via 10 minute sub exposures on the Andromeda Galaxy yielded very promising results.
It was not until xxx 2014 where I had a true first light on a complete imaging session. My target was the Heart Nebula (IC 1805) and I imaged the object in Narrowband (Ha, SII, and OIII) over 3 nights. This was by far the easiest imaging session I ever had in my astrophotography experience. The guiding on the Losmandy G11 was a smooth as silk, with little to no guiding error in the X and Y axis. Using 15 minute sub exposures, the results were outstanding and yielded nice round stars even out to the edges of the image. Here are the results:
Since then, I have dialed up the exposure time to 20 minutes with stellar results on the faint emission nebula known as the Soul: