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rocketandroll

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Everything posted by rocketandroll

  1. I got a reasonable pic of the Rosette using a 340mm or so focal length scope (just about right to fit it all in) with about 2hrs of data in 5min guided subs.... it's a feint object (in comparison with M42 for example) and I doubt you'd get much even at high ISO at 30 sec exposures and at 300mm fl on a tripod you'd get star trails after a second or two.. As has also been said, an hour or two of data would be needed to see much at all... save it for when you have a motorised mount and, even better, when you have guiding. Ben
  2. Hmmm... that looks rather nifty :-) Waiting wise, I'm not buying till the end of this year at the earliest anyway, so that's not an issue.... it's a little shorter focal length than I was aiming for but could certainly be a good cheaper option. Thanks for the link :-)
  3. Cheers both.... James, I assume you mean that having to take multiple channels isn't necessarily going to take longer than capturing the same data with a OSC camera? Obviously I know mono CCD's are more sensitive... it'd be an interesting consideration if the extra sensitivity outweighed the time cost of having to take multiples of each shot for each channel. My biggest concern is having short windows of opportunity and having to accurately guess how long I have so I can get equal numbers of exposures for each channel. I liked the ability to just 'grab a bit more' when I was imaging with a DSLR if I found I had more time. Whereas an extra 20 minutes with the DSLR made a big difference... however with 4 channels and 10 min exposures that'd only get you an extra exposure on two channels. My problem was not having a permanent set up so it was near impossible, and took over an hour of set up to try and get the scope pointing in vaguely the same direction which made images gathered over multiple nights nigh-on-impossible. With a permanent obsy and the proper software it may be far easier this time round. Ben PS: Re; LP on the Veloce... I guess it will collect LP faster too but... S/N ratio will stay the same so that won't make any difference to the data will it? Or was that a joke? :-)
  4. Yeah, I am certainly tempted by the OSC/Ha option to bring out more in neblae before, as mentioned, maybe moving on to full narowband work later, so having a built in filter wheel sounds like a nice option to avoid getting to know a camera then having to change again after a year or two. Ideally I want something with quite a physically large sensor but with small pixels, sub 5nm ideally and at least 6-8mp. Gonna have to do some serious homework on what's out there and what suits my needs best :-)
  5. Actually, Swag... do you have any specific recomendations on CCD's? Or maybe Olly does? Having been 'out of the loop' for a year and a half it seems some new things have come along. I have been quite a big fan of Starlight Xpress cameras and their very good customer support but I'm happy to look at all makes for such a high cost purchase. I am keen to carefully match overall resolution with chip size and pixel size to get what I need for the targets I want to capture. Ben
  6. Cheers mate... Nope, not seen Olly's recent work, but not seen anything bad come from him ever so I certainly trust his opinion on equipment :-) Budget wise, the FSQ106 and Veloce are both about the same sort of price range, around the £4K mark so that is roughly what I was aiming at. Total budget for the rig is about £10K so, assuming a NEQ6 will do as a mount (never had any problems with my HEQ5 and I have no intention of mounting anything heavy enough to warrant a paramount or anything massive like that) and allowing a grand for guiding equipment that leaves about £4K for a CCD though if I could get it for less than that then great. My plan is still currently to go with one shot colour as the next obvious step from DSLR work but may look at going over to narrowband later. I have also considered an astro-modded Eos 5dmk2 but not sure if anyone will commercially astro-mod a higher-end DSLR? The Veloce appeals due to the sheer speed but with the reducer the Tak comes down to f3.9 which is not to be sniffed at and... I don't think I have ever seen a bad image come out of a Tak :-) Ultimately my plan is to add a second longer focal length scope to the rig with a smaller CCD and carefully align both to capture detailed and widefield data on the same subject similtaneously and/or have something more suited to galaxies etc... but that'll be a couple of years further down the line... so long as the mount will handle it we'll be fine. Ben
  7. Hi folks... Well, it's been a while since I've been on here! Having had to sell most of my equipment and not been living anywhere viable for imaging I'm now just a few months away from hopefully moving house and getting a permanent obsy set up. My plan is to get back into deep sky imaging but in a much more serious way. In terms of scope I was veering towards the fastest option I could go for as my imaging time (and innevitably the weather windows) will be short. My plan had been to get an Oficina Stellare Veloce RH200 at f3 but having been looking in more detail I've seen quite a few images from the scope that look a bit 'fuzzy', I am guessing that may be down to the difficulty of achieving focus on such a fast scope? The alternative option is maybe a Tak with a focal reducer as every image I've seen from one is sharp as a pin. That's obviously however not quite as fast. I'm just not sure which will give the best performance as ultimately I'm looking to make images I can hang on the wall at fairly large scale. Anyone got any 1st hand experience that may help make a decision? My other consideration that may affect the decision is that I want a low maintenance option I can leave set up and which needs minimal work to get set up each session. Thoughts? Thanks!! Ben
  8. Thanks all... and I am planning on powering everything off the mains and a 12V converter so it should be fine. I have been talking with Ian at Ian King and been recomended that the SX version of the same camera, although a teensy bit more pricey, may be a better bet as I can use their slimline OAG and my Lodestar directly with it with less hassle than the Atik. Will see but I certainly think that chip is the one for me. Just got to wait till next year when I can afford the OS Veloce it's gonna be attached to and start getting some serious results from it :-) A cooled CCD through a f3 scope should create some wonderful images very fast :-) Ben
  9. I think it's just a result of using a very wide-angle lens... anything below 20mm and it'll really show up the distortion around the edges..... cracking image though!!! I'd just crop it a teensy bit :-)
  10. rocketandroll

    Astrophotography-2012

    My astro-images from 2012
  11. From the album: Astrophotography-2012

    This is my image of the Rosette nebula imaged from Christchurch park in Ipswich town centre in January 2012. The image was actually taken during a live event organised by Orwell Astronomical Society to tie in with the BBC's Stargazing Live event. Despite some unpleasant light polution and 100+ people milling about and asking questions whilst the image was being shot, it has come out really quite well. The image was a total of 32 X 6 minute exposures, 3hrs 12 minutes total + matching darks and flats imaged with my Eos 500D, WO Megrez72 and HEQ5 guided with PHD/EQmod with the SX Lodestar and ST80 guide scope. The image was taken on the Monday night, processed on the Tuesday morning, submitted to the BBC the Tuesday afternoon and was featured on the final Stargazing Live show on the Wednesday.
  12. Thanks all for the thoughts.... the physics of CCD operation are not my strong point so it's good to get some extra info. Again, to be honest... I am aware that ultimately better results can be obtained with a mono camera and filters, however, I am also aware there is a lot more work involved in getting that right and there is always the risk of not having enough data for one chanel if an imaging session is cut short. I've been really happy with the results I've got from DSLR imaging the last couple of years and have progressed in my processing of colour deep sky images... and what I am looking for is a SIMPLER rig with a bit more sensitivity so that I can capture images which I feel happy with in a limited amount of time and just expand on my existing knowledge rather than have to start over. It may well be that one day I decide to progress on to mono and filters, but for now, it's not the route I want to go down. I am hoping to get hold of a very fast scope (Officina Stellare Veloce RH200 @F3) next year and that will form the core of a super-fast OSC imaging rig which, coupled with a camera like the Atik 460 should be able to produce some really lovely results in a few hours of imaging on one target. I guess if there wasn't a niche for people who want/need to use OSC cameras then they wouldn't sell them :-) I consider myself to be one of those people. Ben
  13. See above reasons for NOT going mono :-) Without a filter I guess the mono camera is way more sensitive... the moment you put a filter in it though it's throwing away most of the photons so isn't as sensitive any more... isn't it? Tell me... which would produce a better result: 4 X 15 minute exposures on a one-shot colour CCD 1 X 15 minute exposure each of LRGB on a mono CCD I'd be genuinely interested.... I assumed the former? My concern is, given the time I have and our intermittent weather, plus this being one of several time consuming hobbies I have... I don't want to HAVE to comit to capturing four sets of data on one subject just to get an image. If I get 20 10 minute subs on a colour CCD but had planned to get 30 I just get a slightly lower quality copy of the same finished image.... if I have the same failure with a mono using filters I loose a whole data set and end up with no image (or a strangely coloured one at least :-) That's my concern :-) Plus the extra complexity of a filter system. I want 'plug and play' to capture brief windows of opportunity for now. Ben
  14. Helen Many thanks for the link and encouragement..... your 'quick' image of the iris is about all the encouragement I need :-) I assume those pics are through the 123 not the 72? Or a bit of both? The M31 image looks quite wide angle for that chip size and 590mm fl? Out of interest... how recently did you buy the camera and scope? FLO's website is listing the FLT123 as 'Customers also bought this' with that camera :-) I know myself.... and I know my circumstances... and I am unlikely (given this last year and a half's efforts) to be able to commit more than one, maybe two nights to a subject. Being able to set the rig running and capture a few hours on a target during a clear spell... and have something to show for it... is the key thing I'm after. I don't have dillusions of becoming one of the world greats in astro photography, just want to do it for myself and for the joy of capturing this stuff in some detail and hanging some lovely images on the wall. At 6mp or so and sub 5nm pixel size that camera looks about bang on what I need, and is about right price wise too. Anyone else got experience with any other cameras they may want to throw in? Ben
  15. Hi all Ok.... I've made the decision to get a full new imaging rig and go the CCD route having done a year of imaging with a DSLR. I want to go for a colour CCD for the simple reason that I know I will struggle to find the time to capture data to do LRGB or narrowband and will most likely end up with hours of unfinished data sets and no completed images. I will be using the camera with frac's between 350mm and 600mm focal length mainly but would like to be able to get something with a sensor size that allows me to fit reasonable sized targets in such as the whole of M42/running man etc. I am also keen not to drop in resolution from my 550D which means small pixel size, ideally <5nm. My budget is about £2K or so I guess.... would look at second hand cameras if the right one came up but new would be good just for the after-sales support (had a very good experience with Starlight Xpress so far with my guide camera). So.... what would people's recomendations be? Thanks! Ben
  16. the below is with an Eos 500D and a 345mm focal length (Meg72 with reducer) and fits it all in.... well, i say that, I know it is actually much bigger still than this but the outer areas are very feint and don't show up in my pic. Someone told me when I started out that I wouldn't fit it all in with a DSLR unless I went down to 200mm FL.... that was nonsense :-) I tried it with my 200mm lens and it's a bit lost in the middle of the frame.... 300 - 400mm seems about right for DSLR sized sensors. Ben
  17. Cheers olly! I guess that'll just come down to FINDING one :-) Have been thinking further about things the last week and to be honest I am now veering towards getting an entire new rig for a LOT more money over the next year. I need a new mount anyway as I don't have one... NEQ6 is the minimum which I think should do everything I want it to... going to get a CCD anyway as that was always the plan, I'm keeping my current scopes but... what's the old saying about 'the scope you use the most is the best value' or something like that.... well, I am now looking at something serious in this mid-range area that will cover most of what I want to do for the forseeable future, until i get tempted to go a bit longer FL again... when i say serious, I am looking at the Officina Stellare Veloce RH200 or a Tak FSQ106 with the reducer both of which get about where I want in focal length at f3 to f4 thus helping with my overall lack of time to commit to imaging for horribly long periods. Maybe that needs a new thread? :-)
  18. Hi all Ok, same question I think I asked about a year ago, wondering what new products may have come to market or what ones people have personal experience with? Essentially I am looking for a scope I can use for DSO work that gives me a longer focal length than my WO Meg 72 but is still fast and will give good results with my DSLR and eventually with a CCD when I invest in one next year. The Meg with the FR2 reducer/flattener comes in about 345mm fl and f4.8 I believe. I am looking for a scope or scope+flattener/reducer combo which is tried and trusted and which delivers something in the 500 - 600mm focal length range at F6 or faster? For now lets say budget is up to £2K but would prefer to be closer to £1K if it was achievable without loosing too much optical quality. Thoughts? Ben
  19. The Meg72 is an incredible little scope.... best thing I ever bought. Mine is an early DDG model and I have found the DDG focuser (despite other people's problems with them) gets be bang on focus (or very, very close) every time. I have gone back three or four times over a month or so, using a Bahtinov mask to check focus, set it to the same focal length on the DDG as before and not had to sjust it any more at all. I think in the year I used my Meg I never had to move it more than 2/100ths of a mm. I've also never had any sag issues with the scope either. Ben
  20. Hey Sam Depends what you want to image :-) A dob is not ideal for imaging anything unfortunately.... I assume it is not driven in any way, if it were then you could theoretically do some planetary imaging with it and a web-cam so long as the drives could keep the target centered long enough. Really you need to start with a quality Equatorial mount, a HEQ5 or NEQ6 is the usual starting point. Then you want a scope on it relevant to your intended targets... a small fast refractor if you want to start on DSO's, a long focal length Catadioptric scope or Newt if you want to go the planetary route. Then you want a relevant camera.... a webcam or dedicated planetary camera for planets, a DSLR or dedicated long exposure CCD for DSO's You can do a lot in both fields without guiding but for DSO's you will ultimately want to add a guide scope and guide camera too. Unfortunately it's a costly jump whatever you do, folks here however can make sure you jump in the right direction, with the right equipment :-) Ben
  21. Thanks all I'm in no rush, may be a month or two before I can really splash out on the NEQ6 as I have other expensive hobbies to feed in the mean-time :-) I was previously using the HEQ5 which was awesome, but struggled with the big 8" Newt on it, I went from easy 10min exposures with my Megrez 72 on there to 1 in 3 useable 5 min exposures with the Newt... which was frustrating in the extreme. Yep, PHD works fine with the Lodestar, that's what I was using before everything cr*pped out on me :-) A single piece of software certainly has appeal.... I must be honest, the hour+ of pfaf setting up numerous home-made bits of software and getting all the physical appartus plugged together and aligned was what kind of put me off getting back into things this last year.... I have limited spare time but a reasonable budget so would rather 'buy my way' out of some of the hassle... if that makes sense. Being able to keep the rig largely assembled and just moving it outside at my house will certainly be a massive improvement over last year when I had to image from my work car park or other remote sites and had to assemble everything from scratch out of my car boot all the time. Any other thoughts on 'integrated' software solutions? I am using a DSLR at present but hope to get a high-end colour CCD next year so don't want to have to upgrade everything again. Ben
  22. Hi all Well, I haven't been on SGL for about 7 months since a number of technical problems and general apathy forced me out of the hobby. I am now settled in my new house (which I might be able to do a little imaging from the garden of, as I have a lovely summer house with mains power at the end of the garden :-) ) and keen to get back on the horse as it were... So... I had to sell a load of my astro gear at the start of the year for financial reasons, I'm now able to buy some new gear... here's the set up as it stands and the planned purchases: Mount: Sold my HEQ5, need something bigger to handle my Orion 8" Newt, NEQ6 is the plan unless anyone has any suggestions of a better mount for under £1K. Planning to upgrade again to something on a permanent pier in a year or two when we buy a new house which will be even more remote and can have a permanent obsy. Scopes: My beloved Megrez72 plus the 8" F6 Newt for now.... need something inbetween the 350mm and 1.4m focal lengths of those two but again, next year maybe :-) Guiding: ST80 and (now fixed) SX Lodestar guide camera. Imaging: My trusty Eos 500D for now, may invest in a CCD next year. Software: Dunno. I want to do it properly this time.... I have the chance now to set up a more permanent imaging rig which I don't need to lug about so much... with that in mind... I am keen to get this right. Using the above set up, and wanting to be able to computer control my imaging runs a lot more precisely (I was still 'manually' aligning the scope on targets before using the go-to function) I want to know what people's recomendations would be for software so that I can get the rig set up and polar aligned... then run everything from the computer, ie: select a target, frame the target, take test images and view them on the screen from the EOS (ie: control the camera from the computer too) and then programme a run, including parking the scope afterwards so I don't need to worry about it running itself into the mount or burning out the CCD imaging the dawn sun by accident if I leave it overnight. What would people recomend? Thanks all! Ben
  23. See thread in Imaging Discussion forum.... Essentially, since my guiding laptop died in Jan I have been unable to get the camera to work again... reinstalled drivers but just get a grey screen with white noise and diagonal lines travelling across it no matter what I do... Won't give the full story again here... suffice to say it's a pain in the proverbial and I haven't been able to image in three months now and it's starting to get annoying :-) Ben
  24. Cheers Rob... I will drop him an e-mail and see if he can help! Cheers muchly Ben
  25. Yep... tried all the settings for the camera (not that there really are any). No matter where the gain or gamma are set it stays the same no matter whether the chip is covered or looking at a bright light source. Seems to be something more fundamental than that :-( Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk
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