Discovery Astrophotography with ZWO ASTRO

Astrophotographer’s Story: Rodrigo Vera Castro

Rodrigo Vera Castro is the winner of ZWO 2020 ASIWEEK #12 and has brought us many extraordinary astronomy photos. To make our ZWOers know this excellent astrophotographer better, we make this interview. Let’s all take a look now.

Q1: At first, congratulation that your nice image won #ASIWEEK. Can you introduce yourself to us?

Thank you very much, my name is Rodrigo Vera Castro, I am 36 years old and I live in Copiapó Chile in the Atacama region, I am an instrumentalist and I work in mining.

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Q2: When do you start loving astrophotography and how?

Since 2018 I started to assemble my equipment for astrophotography, first I was only interested in planetarium but then I became interested in deep space so I decided to buy apochromatic telescopes and I began to take photos only with a reflex camera, in August 2019 I decided to buy my first ZWO ASI camera refrigerated astronomical camera like this and it was a radical change, my images began to be amazing.

 

Q3: If you have only one word to describe this hobby, which one will you pick?

Satisfaction.

 

Q4: What equipment do you use for AP? Why did you choose them?

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I have a Celestron AVX mount, for now, I have a Celestron c8, an Explore Scientific ED80 and ED102-FCD100. I have 3 ZWO cameras, ZWO ASI120MC, ZWO ASI290MM and ZWO ASI183MC Pro. I chose them for their optical quality, with the C8 I can make planetary, galaxies and with the apochromatic I can make deep space, lately, I am performing galaxies with the C8 plus a 0.63 reducer.

 

Q5: How did you take your winning image the Sombrero Galaxy? Is there a story behind it?

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Use an AVX mount and a c8, the astronomical camera I used was the ZWO ASI183MC Pro, the photo was taken in Cerro Venado Norte, a wonderful place to perform astrophotography. It is 30 minutes from my house, I decided to make the galaxy of the hat since I’ve always admired the photograph that Hubble took and I wanted to replicate it.

 

Q6: Pick five of your favorite astrophotos and share them with us here! ;D

1. Orión, M42

Telescope: Explore Scientific ED80-FCD100

Camera: ZWO ASI183MC Pro

Mount: AVX

Filter: Optolong UVIR

Reducer: Orion 0.8

Guide tube: 50 mm

Camera: ZWO ASI290MM

Light: 40×300

Light: 30×120

Light: 30×15

Stacked: DSS

Process: PixInsigh

Bortle 2, Cerro Venado Norte, Copiapó Chile.

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2. NGC 264

Telescope: Explore Scientific ED80-FCD100

Camera: ZWO ASI183MC Pro

Mount: AVX

Filter: Optolong UVIR

Reducer: Orion 0.8

Guide tube: 50 mm

Camera: ZWO ASI290MM

Light: 25X300

Dark: 15

Stacked: DSS

Process: PixInsigh

Bortle 2, Cerro Venado Norte, Copiapó Chile.

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3. Horsehead Nebula

Telescope: Explore Scientific ED80-FCD100

Camera: ZWO ASI183MC Pro

Mount: AVX

Filter: Optolong UVIR

Reducer: Orion 0.8

Guide tube: 50 mm

Camera: ZWO ASI290MM

Light: 30×300

Dark: 16

Stacked: DSS

Process: PixInsigh

Bortle 2, Cerro Venado Norte, Copiapó Chile.

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4. M45

Telescope: Explore Scientific ED80-FCD100

Camera: ZWO ASI183MC Pro

Mount: AVX

Filter: Optolong UVIR

Reducer: Orion 0.8

Guide tube: 50 mm

Camera: ZWO ASI290mm

Light: 30×180

Dark: 30

Stacked: DSS

Process: PixInsigh

Bortle 2, Cerro Venado Norte, Copiapó Chile.

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5. Centauro A

Telescope: Celestron c8

Camera: ZWO ASI183MC Pro

Mount: AVX

Filter: Optolong UVIR

Reducer: Orion 0.8

Guide tube: 50 mm

Camera: ZWO ASI290MM

Light: 36×300

Dark: 10

Stacked: DSS

Process: PixInsigh

Bortle 2, Cerro Venado Norte, Copiapó Chile.

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Q7: What basic rules do you think AP should come with? (like in the period of post-processing)

I usually make images of 3 to 5 hours of integration, then in processing I use DSS to stack and PixInsight to process, I almost always take 1 or 2 hours in processing trying to give the best contrast and color to the image.

 

Q8: Where do you normally take astrophotos, your backyard or somewhere else? Do you have heavy light pollution in your area?

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I take photos from my patio with a narrow-band filter such as the Optolong L-enhanced and I take my best photos outside the city where there is Bortle 2, in the Cerro Venado Norte belonging to the Astronomical Society Orion of Copiapó, in this place we make astronomical disclosure to the community and schools, we also do astrophotography. It is one of the best places on the planet to perform astrophotography because of its dark and pollution-free skies. It is located in the Atacama Region of Chile, and we are building an observatory that will soon be ready.

Q9: What’s your most unforgettable experience of astrophotography?

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The first time I made the planet Jupiter and Saturn in 2019, I was shocked by the result and how clear it was seen live through the computer screen, this was done in Cerro Venado Norte with a C8 catadrioptic and ZWO ASI290MM camera.

 

Q10: How many ASI cameras do you have? How did you know ZWO?

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I have 3, ZWO ASI120MC, ZWO ASI290MM, and ZWO ASI183MC Pro. I met them through forums on the web. They always spoke very well of the astronomical ZWO ASI cameras.

Q11: We are planning to make a new ASI camera in 2020, do you have any suggestions? What kind of camera do you want most?

I would like a camera with the size of the sensor of the ZWO ASI183 but with the new features of the cameras such as without amp glow, a 16 bit and OSC camera.

Q12: Have you ever heard of ASIAIR PRO? Are you interested in such a product?

Yes, I hope one day to buy an ASIAIR PRO as it makes life easier for the astrophotographer by integrating everything into a single device.

Q13: Would you like to reveal your next target?

I always decide on the same day the objective to photograph, at this moment I am interested in photographing the greatest amount of galaxies because this season we have the Virgo and Leo region.

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