Kaeouach Aziz is the winner of ZWO 2020 ASIWEEK #06 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 wins #ASIWEEK. Can you introduce yourself to us? 

My name is Kaeouach Aziz, I’m from Morocco and I’m 42 years old. I started astrophotography in 2016, I first have been interested in planetary astrophotography, then to astrophotography of the deep sky.

With the contribution and the commitment of my astrophotographer friends, we were able to achieve one of my ambitions, which was to create in 2019 the first particular Moroccan observatory controlled remotely.

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Me preparing an evening between astrophotographers

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IC1396 SHO, TS 102mm Astrographe + ASI1600MM Cool, 14.8 hours. QSM 20.1

Q2: Can you tell why do you like astronomy? What does astronomy mean to you?

Since childhood, I have been fascinated by the immensity of space and astronomical phenomena. At the time, I had 50×80 astronomical binoculars. Then I bought my first telescope (EQ3 150 / 750mm) in 2002 which allowed me to realize my first visual observations.

2016 was the year when I started doing planetary astrophotography through the C8 and the excellent camera ZWO ASI178MC that I still use.

In 2018, I switched to an APO Astropgraphe TS 102mm telescope combined with the excellent ASI071MC Pro, which was a total excitement, and since then I am always looking for cosmic objects and phenomena: stars, nebulas, galaxies, asteroids and comets…

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NGC 7000 SHO, TS Astrographe 102mm + ASI1600MM Cool, 8.8 hours

Q3: Do you still remember the first time you do astrophotography? How was your feeling then?

I remember perfectly my first astrophotographic image acquired in 2016 from my C8 and a ASI178MC. It was memorable as a session.

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The Copernicus crater, C8 Evolution + ASI178MC

 

Q4: What equipment do you use? Can you show us some images of your gear?

Currently I have 3 setups:

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– AZ-EQ6 GT mount

– TS 102mm Astrograph telescope

– ASI1600MM Cool

– ASI178MC guide camera

– Filter Wheel ZWO 7x36mm

– ZWO OAG

– ASCOM focuser Arduino homemade

– Polemaster

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2) Celestron 8 Evolution

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3) The new setup recently acquired :

– iOptron CEM60-EC

– Takahashi FSQ-85

– ASI071MC Pro

– ASI290MM

– USB focuser Pierro Astro

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Q5: What do you think is the most difficult part of astrophotography? Did that frustrate you?

Personally I find that the treatment is the most laborious part which takes us a lot of time and effort to complete it.

For me, astrophotography is a passion, so there is no stress, on the contrary, it is always a pleasure.

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IC 405 HOO, TS Astrographe 102mm + ASI1600MM Cool, 6.9 hours

 

Q6: Do you have a favorite target? Any pictures on it?

Frankly, I don’t have a favorite target. Everything is interesting both artistically and scientifically.

If we scrutinize objects whether planetary or deep sky, there are always interesting details to study.

 

Q7: We know astrophotographers often travel to dark places to take photos, have you ever done that, too?

Indeed, I was a nomadic astrophotographer for 2 years to benefit from a dark sky conducive to astrophotography. The average sky quality index is measured by the “sky quality meter” device is 19.9.

It is a good sky given its geographical location since it is only 80km from Casablanca.

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 This is our nomadic observation spot, the current location of our particular observatory (MAO)

 

Q8: What’s your most unforgettable experience in astrophotography(except the first one)?

Practically all my astrophotography sessions are memorable but the moment when I discovered an asteroid on one of my images was a very strong moment.

I started an investigation to know if it is listed in the MPC (Minor Planet Center) database and actually I found it. It is the asteroid Noguchi which I captured near the triplet of Lion.

It was an intense experience and which allowed me to approach the scientific aspect of astrophotography.

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The Lion Triplet, TS Astrographe 102mm + ASI071MC Pro, 1.5 hour

 

Q9: As to your winning image SH2- 308, would you please tell how did you capture it? Would you like to share with us some detailed camera settings?

The head of the dolphin nebula was a challenge for me especially that it remains very low on the horizon for us in Morocco with a maximum latitude at 32 ° in the meridian and also because I only have 3 hours 30 min per night to capture it.

It took me 3 nights to make the OIII with astronomical filter 6nm by exposures of 300s under Sharpcap with a gain of 200 and cooling sensor to -10 °. In total, 93 poses have been selected on 123, since 30 poses were affected by the atmospheric turbulence.

The RGB layers are made in 60s exposures and 27 exposures per layer on the fourth day with the ZWO 36mm filters.
I used the ZWO 7x36mm filter wheel and the ASI178MC attached to the ZWO OAG for guidance. I admit that our remote observatory made my task much easier since this nebulous requires several nights to capture it.

ASIWEEK

Q10: How do you like the ZWO camera that you used to take the winning image?

Having used the ASI071MC Pro for two years, I was a little skeptical about the capacities of the ASI1600MM Cool especially that it in 12bits. But from the first images, I realized its potential. With its 3.8 microns photosites, it is the ideal camera for large fields, and if the mount is of high range and we have excellent seeing, it can be formidable even for large focal lengths.

This is my 3rd ASI camera and frankly I am very satisfied.

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The Pleiades, TS Astrographe 102mm + ASI071MC Pro, 1.5 hour

Q11: Do you use any other ZWO products? What suggestions you may have for the newcomers to buy ZWO products?

I currently use several ZWO products:

– ASI071MC pro

– ASI1600MM Cool

– ASI178MC

– ASI120MM

– ZWO EAF

– Filter Wheel 7x36mm

I have never had a problem with these products which I highly recommend to my friends and astrophotographers on Facebook.

Practically, all my astrophotographer friends in Morocco have an ASI camera.

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M33 The Triangle Galaxy, TS Astrographe 102mm + ASI071MC Pro, 2.8 hours

 

Q12: One last question: what’s your impression of ZWO? Do you have any feedback and suggestions that want to speak to us?

I see that for 3 years, ZWO has not stopped progressing either in terms of the quantity of the offer or the quality of the products.

I must point out that even your after-sales service is very responsive and above all efficient.

I renew my suggestions concerning the new ASI GT to equip it with a filter wheel of 7 positions and the possibility of making the ASIAIR PRO compatible with our PCs.

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