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Everything posted by SteveKinder

  1. I am still struggling to 'master' (read have any positive effect at all) flat frames but then again I have struggled with every single step of astro imaging so far. You get there eventually don't you but it would be nice for something to be easy for a change. Earl, what are you using to stack / calibrate the flats? I am using Maxim DL. It ought to be easy at that price but isn't. Cheers, Steve.
  2. I think the three image 'rotated' mosaic looks really cool. A lot more interesting than if it were rectilinear. Steve.
  3. I bought a Lodestar recently and worked like a dream from the first night with Maxim DL. Little bit of messing to get it focussed first time but basically worked out of the box. Maxim is expensive but I suggest trying the 30 day free trial you can download. PM me if you are still struggling and I will try and help. Cheers, Steve.
  4. SteveKinder


    Welcome. You will be amazed at how willing to help the people on this forum are. I am only about 18 months into Astronomy but I very quickly realised I wanted to do Astrophotography (AP). Something I wished I had found out earlier is the importance of the mount and that you should spend more on the mount than the telescope. Rather than buy the very best scope I could for my budget I wished I had bought a cheaper scope so I had more to spend more quickly on a good mount. Early days but worth a bit of reading around this before you spend all that five hundred quid. Look at second hand too. Cheers, Steve.
  5. If it doesn't need to be expensive then I have gone very wrong somewhere along the way.... Beware! Steve.
  6. Keep a close eye on your bank balance. Enjoy! Steve.
  7. Yes welcome. You will be truly amazed at how patient, tolerant, knowledgeable and helpful people on this forum are. It has given me renewed faith in humanity. Don’t be scared to ask questions! Cheers, Steve.
  8. Yes welcome. You will be truly amazed at how patient, tolerant, knowledgeable and helpful people on this forum are. It has given me renewed faith in humanity. Don’t be scared to ask questions! Cheers, Steve.
  9. Yes but check out the Televue Powermates. The 5x would do great things with Jupiter on your scope (ok with excelllent seeing and tracking and stability too). Cheers, Steve.
  10. I don’t have any experience of Planetary work yet but based on what I have read Registax is the most appropriate tool. In fact I already have it downloaded in preparation for some Jupiter Webcam work I am going to experiment with in the coming weeks. However, the main driver for my post was to generally sing the praises of DeepSkyStacker (DSS). I am still relatively new to Astronomy, about 18 months in and DSS was one of the first tools I became at all familiar with. For a free piece of software for ‘non AVI’ image stacking it is brilliant. In fact I have recently started using Maxim DL (have you seen the price?!) because I ‘needed’ it to driver various bits of new kit BUT as far as stacking capabilities go I still think DSS is better. Much easier to colour balance for example. So Registax in this context yes but I wont have a bad word saiod about DSS. Cheers, Steve.
  11. I have got hold of a SPC900NC from ebay and modified it. I have a 5x Powermate. I am going to have a go at Jupiter and if I get anything like your shot I will be more than delighted. The webcam thing obvioulsy works but until I experience it for myself I will be sceptical as the visual observing through the 5x Powermate is blumming awful. Thanks for sharing your image. Steve.
  12. Lovely image. What equipment did you use if you don't mind me asking. Thanks, Steve.
  13. OMG you don't even get a mirror!? :-) Don't get me wrong. I do want to buy one as I feel you can't all be wrong. I am just a bit sceptical. Not helped by the fact that nobody seems capable of taking my money off me for one. Hopefully I will be singing the praises of Telrad in the near future. Steve.
  14. Really nice shot. I have recently made the move to autoguiding and while I know its the right move your shot reminds me that you can get good results with lots of (relatively) short exposures, particularly on the bright targets. How did you get youts Flats? Cheers, Steve.
  15. I am relatively new to astronomy and imaging, been into it for about 18 months, IT / Computing is my job but I resisted bringing a laptop into my viewing and imaging until very recently for a number of reasons including being sick of seeing computers all day and it adding yet another level of complexity. After struggling with an LVI Autoguider for a number of months (I know some people like them but based on painful experience I don’t) I bought a Lodestar guide camera, brought in the laptop and Maxim DL. It has been a revelation. It hasn’t complicated matters it has hugely simplified them. I feel in control for the first time. When I look back I should have known better. They are good computers are! Get hold of a 5 (or so) year old (Dell) laptop is my advice. They are very robust and you will get one dirt cheap. Check it has appropriate ports but I think generally you will find the slightly older models give you more choice port wise. Bite the bullet and introduce a computer. Good luck. Steve.
  16. Apologies if I am being thick here but I am just starting to try to include flats in my processing. Why not just keep taking shots is Av mode? Why go to manual and use the same settings? Not the first time I have heard this and I don't get it. What am I missing? Help much appreciated. Steve,
  17. Maybe save you some time and frustration – I have been trying to but a new Telrad for over a week now and you can’t get one for love nor money. Well not quite true, a very helpful chap called Bern at Modern Astronomy offered to get me one from Germany but to his everlasting credit he recommended against it based on the inflated price. I have been told that both there is a problem with production and a problem with the UK importer. If you can get a second hand one for the sort of price indicated then bite their hand off. I am looking for one based on a recommendation from a very respected and experienced astronomer and it’s is clear that some people really like Telrad’s. However, they don’t seem to do much. No magnification, just a mirror and a bit of glass with a red circle on it as far as I can tell. If you go for something like a 9 * 50 finder scope you can also potentially use it as a guide scope. Cheers, Steve.
  18. John, I have had an LVI II for about 6 months now and have only had the patience to get it woking a couple of times I have had an LVI II for about 6 months now and have only had the patience to get it working a couple of times. In fact I am just about to give up on it and buy a Lodestar. I never expected autoguiding to be easy but I am having similar problems to you, centring and focussing a guide start using the supplied lens I find a nightmare. Have you had any breakthroughs? Has anyone answered your question directly? In theory the LVI will work with the diagonal in place and it is certainly physically easier to set it up with the diagonal in place but I can never get it to calibrate with the diagonal in place. I have achieved focus with an extension tube and the parafocal lens and marked the focus point on the focuser to try and make it easier subsequently but I usually give up cursing the thing after a (long) while and go back to 60 second exposures. I have got it working a couple of times so I know it can work but it all seems far too hit and miss. Hopefully you are having more success than me. Advice from anyone much appreciated. Cheers, Steve.
  19. Mo, I am well impressed by your image. 1 min 45 sec is much better than I am getting unguided with my CGEM. What mount are you using? Thanks, Steve.
  20. On a serious note (still chuckling); as you can see from my kit I understand the advantages of refractors but what are the best imaging scopes with big apertures and long focal lengths? I have “The 100 best Astrophotography Targets” by Ruben Kier and a third of the images in the book are taken through a 12’’ Meade LX200R at f/7. There isn’t a refractor that can compete in that space (pun not intended), is there? If I am going to buy a ‘big boy’ for imaging what do you experienced people recommend? Thanks, Steve.
  21. Mo, Excellent! Congratulations mate and thanks for the guidance (pun not intended). I can’t imagine it being that simple for me but your news is comforting. You didn’t have to make any adjustments to mount settings like aggressiveness or min/max move? Cheers, Steve.
  22. Anna, They are tremendous, thank you very much. It helps enormously to know what can be achieved when setting my own expectations. Skies permitting in Ibiza next weekend I hope to start guiding and also intend making myself concentrate on a single target rather than impatiently jumping around. So much to see though! Next 'problem' is deciding on that target. Nice problem to have though. I really fancy a galaxy but don't think I have the focal length (resist it...) for the galaxies in prime position at the moment. Thanks again. Peace & love, Steve.
  23. Alfred, Thanks for your input. Yes let's stay in touch and share our experiences. Wishing you all the best for some clear skies. Steve.
  24. I will be delighted to share my experiences but fell at the first fence on my last attempt at guiding. It was also the first time I tried to use a side by side (tandem) mounting bar and I couldn't get my mount to align. I would go for a 3 star align as usual but when the mount skewed to the second star it pointed down to somewhere in the southern hemisphere. I had done some background reading and re read the manual for my CGEM mount and it said that you had to set the "OTA Alignment" either east west or west east dependent on which way the scopes were pointing when the mount 'markers' were lined up. I did this and then my troubles started. Next day I called the shop I bought the mount from. As an aside I can highly recommend Green Witch as a retailer. I have only ever bought off them via the web but there is a very knowledgeable gut called Lee who works there who has given me excellent help and support via email and the phone whenever I have needed it. Thanks for your continued patience Lee! Anyway Lee told me and I quote "ignore the manual", leave the OTA setting as normal, ignore the markers and start with the scopes pointing north as usual and then align as usual. I haven't had chance to try it yet but I am confident it will work as he has always been right so far. What chance to you stand with "ignore the manual" though?! Just further shows that there is no substitute for getting help from people more experienced than you. I am back in Ibiza where all my kit is weekend after next and skies willing I will try auto guiding again then. The previous night wasn't a complete waste as I gave in eventually and went back to my normal single scope unguided set-up and got the pictures that are the subject of my most recent threads. I can’t remember the title of the threads but if you do an advanced search on my name SteveKinder then you will see them. Well worth a look as some people who really know what they are doing with post processing have had a go at some of my unguided shots and I have been amazed at the results. Very inspiring. Good luck with you attempts and please let me know how you get on. Cheers, Steve.
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