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  • Latest Posts

    • Hi Dave. You can create a mount model NINA, for which there is either a plug-in, or it’s now built-in to NINA, I’m not up to speed on that as I don’t use NINA myself but have read about it on the 10u forum. Other options for modelling the 10u include Model Creator, that is provided by 10u, or Mount Wizzard4 that is freeware and that I use. I would recommend joining the 10u and Software Bisque forums before committing to either mount and read some of the topics and questions that are current to give you a feel for the different way these products are managed and supported. I replaced a 10 yr old Paramount MX Classic with a 10 Micron 2000HPS Combi last year and so far I’m very impressed with the unguided performance of the 10u, something I could never achieve consistently with the Paramount. It’s true that the 10u operating software is very basic and end users have stepped in to fill the gap. Per Frejvall, who was a contributor here on SGL until his untimely and sudden death, wrote the Model Creator software many years ago while Michael (Michel) Worion is currently authoring and actively updating Mount Wizzard4. Mount Wizzard4 is a much more advanced modelling application than either Model Creator or the NINA 10u plug-in, but you’ll find users of all three on the 10u forum that are happy and comfortable using any of these. You’ll find some instruction videos on Michael’s Mount Wizzard4 YouTube channel, although they are a bit disjointed and really could do with a refresh, nevertheless if you watch all the videos for MW4 a few times before using it for real then you’ll be building your first model after just a couple of hours practice. Somebody once commented on one of the astronomy forums that if Software Bisque and 10 Micron built cars then a Paramount would be a NASCAR racer and 10u would be Porsche, I thought that was quite an apt analogy. Either product will do what it’s designed for but with quite a different approach. Software Bisque is a software house that decided to make a mount while 10 Micron is a division of an Italian precision engineering company. The user manual for TheSky is over 850 pages plus another 230 just for Paramount manual and a further 100 for T-Point. The user manual for the 10 Micron is just 100 pages. The Paramount can only be directly controlled and must always be connected to TheSky software, with third party applications such as NINA connecting to TheSky, which then relays mount commands to the Paramount. This means you always need to have TheSky loaded and running even when using NINA, or other observatory or sequencing software . The 10 Micron has it’s own software built into the control unit and is just a “black box” to the end user with control of the mount either via ASCOM, or the supplied hand controller, or via any third party software that has built their own plug-in, such as NINA. It’s worth pointing out that the Paramount price includes TheSky software plus the licence plugins for T-Point and Cameras, bought standalone that would cost ~$700. If you have a dome and require dome integration with TheSky that is another extra license to buy. The Paramounts use brass worms and aluminium gears, as a result of these material choices, and subsequent limited choice of brass-compatible greases, these need cleaning and re-greasing annually, as instructed by Software Bisque, and also because aluminium oxide accumulates in the grease continually and aluminium oxide is an abrasive. If you skimp on the regular maintenance then worm wear rate will be high and guide performance degraded. The Paramount has no clutches and if you knock the mount accidentally with the drives engaged when walking past you can deform the brass worm. At best this will require the PEC table to be rebuilt, at worst a new worm drive assembly. The Paramount is designed so that the end user can replace virtually all the major components themselves without having to ship the mount back to the factory. In contrast, the 10 Micron uses bronze gears and hardened steel worms and requires no servicing or re-greasing (according to them) for at least ten years, after which it can either be returned to the factory for an overhaul, or you can contact them for advice on re-greasing the drives yourself, although I would expect that after ten years of moderate use the worms might be worn out and require replacing anyway. The 10u mount has clutches so a gentle knock with the clutches engaged will normally just result in a slip but even If the worm was slightly deformed you might never even notice because the on-axis encoders and closed-loop control system are always re-positioning the axes accurately no matter how precisely the motor drives and worms are turning. Besides the separate control box, hand controller and saddle plate there are no major user replaceable parts on the 10u and should a drive or other mount internal fault occur you would need to ship the mount back to Italy (or possibly Baader in Germany) for repair. So far as mount modelling goes, either using T-Point with the Paramount or Mount Wizzard4 with the 10u, both are mostly automated and just need a few mouse clicks to initiate a model build and then apply it. Given the sophistication of TheSky and the total integration of Paramount within TheSky the complete package is quite a big learning curve and mount modelling is actually a very small part of that. With the 10u mount having a much simpler software environment the learning curve is much smaller since all the sequencing, plate solving, guiding, etc, is not a part of the 10u package and if you have been using some other application for that, such as NINA, SGP or ACP etc., then you’ll already know most of that. HTH.
    • The seeing was quite poor here tonight, but I got a nice view of the Beehive, first through binoculars and then at the lowest magnification that my Mak allows - 60x. The building in which I live gave me an assist and protected my view from the moonlight. I ended my (cold!!) evening with a binocular look at the feet of Gemini where I think I glimpsed a washed out M35, and then found the Cheshire Cat in Auriga, but couldn't see any of the clusters in there.
    • Thanks @Elp! Yet again you have set me on the right path. I raised the plate solving exposure for polar alignment and GoTo to 10 seconds and it is working smoothly now. 
    • Thanks for the reply, does the image quality depend on if I put the ADC before or after the barlow?
    • After Joe's inspiring sketch, I wanted to give a go to M44 myself. The Beehive (or Praesepe according to Romans) was my first "real" deep sky object after the easy Pleiades. I remember like it was yesterday when I tracked it down with binoculars, one week into the hobby. A year later, tonight, there it was showing its beauty in my Mak (at an excessive 60x - but I don't have longer eyepieces) and I picked up my trusted HB pencil to draw it. Lots of fainter stars needed averted vision to pop in my field of view - the Moon is behind my building but its effects could be felt.  Here's the inverted image. I find that I prefer sketching open clusters in pencil, while I will keep white-on-black techniques for more nebulous objects.
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