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Everything posted by EA2007

  1. Howdy kids, As I am (ahem) 'a hard-up student' and it's getting towards christmas, I am looking for family to get me some useful presents lol. I am wondering, is it possible to get a focal reducer for my (massively high) f/12 NexStar 4SE ? Had a quick browse with google and all I could get was an f/6.3 reducer for all the NexStar's barring the 4SE, how bad is that! So if anyone knows of how to bring my focal ratio down to an 'acceptable' level for astrophotogromaphy then I would be greatful.
  2. The Andromeda Galaxy isn't in the North East at this time of year so that rules that out anyway. It currently resides South / South-East. Comet 17pHomes meanwhile is amazing to look at, even with just a small pair of binoculars!
  3. Hey guys, I know that at the University of Glamorgan (Rhondda Cynon Taff) there is a good base for astronomy, second year students do an 'Exploring the Sky' lecture and go observing throughout the uni year at night. I am sure that if anyone lives nearby then they would be welcomed by them to participate. They also have public lectures on a monday (the first of every month, or thereabouts) evening at the main campus in Treforest, usually by Martin Griffiths and Chandra Wickramasinge (who worked with Sir Fred Hoyle!) Alongside this then there is an observing telescope onto of the 'G' Block building which is open on a wednesday night (when it's not cloudy-which it always is!) Hope this helps
  4. Hello, I am having trouble connecting my Scope to my PC. I have a Celestron NexStar 4SE (version 4.12), the supplied RS-232 cable along with a RS-232 to USB converter (because I know of no laptops that have a RS-232 port these days!! - why Celesetron, why??). The coverter came with a mini-cd containing a multitude of different drivers. I have installed the NexRemote software on my PC along with pretty much all the available drivers on the CD (as I don't know which one is specific) and connected all the cabeles up, started the program and greeted with the settings interface. I have my NexStar connected upto a 12V power tank and the scope is switched on. The RS-232 cable is placed into the base of the hand control. The PC version of the 'hand control' states the follwing: - PC Port: 3 or 9, where 9 can be either 9, 10, 11 or 12 depending on which USB port I am using, don't know what PC port '3' is. - Model: NextStar 4/5SE - Virtual Port: None If I choose 'PC Port 3' then I get the following: Unable to connect with telescope However if I choose 'PC Port 9, 10, 11 or 12' then I get : Internal Error Can anyone help, I tried to do this earlier on in the summer and pretty sure that I got it to work, but a few months later it isn't working.
  5. Hello again, The easiest way to find your meridian is to use a compass. Place it on the ground where you will be using your scope and see where the pointer shows North, then take either some chalk or masking tape and draw a line in the North South direction. This method works in two ways as you can then place your scopes tripod over the line with the hinge for the wegde nearest north! The Celestron handbook is a bit backwards in some respects, in order to set up your telescope for both polar and wedge alignment you need to do the following: 1) Tilt your scope using the wedge to your latitude, using the engraved points on your wedge drop down 'stick'. Remember that you must have the hinge of your wedge North (or south) of the rest of your tripod. Then perform a EQ North (or South) align using the hand control, it will ask you to index the scope, just level the two index markers. Then you have to find the meridian, using your N/S line on the ground align the scope so it follows this line (it doesn't have to be pefect as the following aligning of the stars will tell the scope of your position). Next you have to choose two stars for the scope to automatically slew to. Allow the scope to fully goto (in most cases, near) the star then using your finderscope properly align the scope with that star, you may find that the scope is a little away from the intended star, so align it properly, repeat for the second star. 2) Now you need to wedge align, this is in the 'Utilities' feature of the NexRemote, the scope will automatically slew to where it thinks Polaris is, then all you have to do is move the scope MANUALLY (NOT USING THE NexRemote!!) to align your scope with Polaris. 3) Perform another EQ North / South align then you are ready to go!! Hope that this helps, it works for me!
  6. Hello, I have a NexStar 4, although its a single fork mounted scope and the base model in the NexStar range, it does have a built in wedge, which is one of the reasons I bought it. I have found that the wedge is essential for astrophotography and the celestron hand-book way of polar aligning is easy once you know how to do it. I have seen others with say Skywatcher telescopes on an Equatorial mount taking ages to set their scopes up, and I am glad to say that mine takes just a few minutes. As for your exposure length question, I can only say that yes 300x30second exposures will give you the same as 30x5 minutes, although you have to realise that if you have an ISO of say 800, the noise will be greater on the 300x30 as you have taken 300 images at 800ISO rather than just 30, so your images will be less grainy if you do 30 rather than 300.
  7. As in my earlier post 'Help with / notes on Olympus E-400 etc' further down this message board, I have come to the conclusion that the exposure times (or lack of) are no adequate on an Olympus E-System camera for astrophotography. Therefore I am asking if anyone has any experience or advice with a Canon EOS (or similar make) Digital SLR. Have a budget of say upto £800ish pounds or thereabout, maybe a bit more. Just really looking for any advice on which model is the most popular / a good choice, as I have read that the older EOS 20D is the 'standard' for noise compared with the newer models. Any information on remote shutter release cables and t-rings as in where to buy (good deals!!) would also be great Thankyou
  8. As Barkis has stated at the top of this post, I have had problems with my Olympus DSLR. Although it is an E-400, I can assume that the exposure restraint is a problem throughout the Olympus 'E' range. The 8 minutes of exposure on mine comes at a low ISO of 100, and an ISO of higher than 500 will only do 1 minute, saying that though my scope has a slow f/12 ratio so perhaps results will be better on a scope with a ratio of about 7. I am hoping to change my Olympus for a Canon or a Nikon as like the others say they are coming down in price and accessories are easy to get hold of, plus Canon has most of the software market. Take your time to 'test drive' a camera before you buy it if you can
  9. No problem Sounds like you have just the same viewing parameters as me, I can view the southern, eastern and western horizon from my back yard. There is a whole host of things for you to look at at this time of year in this region of the sky. I could go on for ages but I will narrow it down to a few for you... NOTE: It will greatly help if you download a star chart, I use TheSkySix but I got it with my NexStar, a good free program is Voyager 3 from Carina software. It's only a demo but its as good as, you can pinpoint your position on a global map in the settings tab once loaded, enter your date and time and it will show you a clear image of the constellations etc along with planetary orbits. As you know Jupiter is quite low in the sky in the South / South-West direction, give it another shot with your starhopper, once you get it focused you will be amazed at what you can see, although thermal currents from surrounding terrain may interfere with your vision of cloud belts but you will most likely be able to see the Galilean Moons (Medici's) of Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto and maybe a few others. Although not really feasable at this time of year due to its short time above the horizon try to watch the moons over a period of time and you will see them change position as they orbit Jupiter. So you have jupiter towards the south-don't worry about your telescope for the moment, I assume that your new to astronomy and perhaps need to learn your way around the night sky (no offence here if you already capable with ths part)? If you turn to the west, slightly higher up you will see a bright orange star - this is Arcturus in the constellation Bootes, not far from this further to the north and a slight higher is Ursa Major (the stars of the plough are clearly visible, even just an hour after sunset). If you want to look at some objects in this region of the sky, there is Bode's galaxy (M81) and the Cigar galaxy (M82) which lie just above the right end of the plough. I have viewed both galaxies with the starthopper and they are a joy to look at as they both resolve well in the same field of view. However it takes a bit of luck to find these two galaxies and at this time of year you are better leaving until well after sunset as the sky is not dark enough in the west. A good thing about the dobsonian is its easy manouverability. If you can't find them don't worry. If you turn back to the south, look directly up, you should see a bright white-ish star, this is Vega in the constellation Lyra. I used this star, Arcturus and Deneb in Cygnus to form a triangle to help me when I started out in astronomy. Cygnus is right next to Lyra towards the NorthEast and is clealy seen as a cross going NNE to SSW. There is a whole heap of objects to view in this region of the sky especially with the 8" starhopper, primarily M57 the Ring Nebula, M27 the Dumbell nebula, M13 the Hercules cluster and M92. M57: Start with Vega you should notice a diamond shape of stars pointing south from it, M57 is positioned between the bottom two stars of this selection and will appear as 'a blurred ring around a black core'. Use Voyager to help you with your search. M27: Again start with Vega but take the bottom star in the cross of Cygnus and move your telescope that distance and then half again, you should find M27 quite easily. M13: This and M92 lie in the constellation of Hercules. Its positioned between Lyra and Bootes but closer to Lyra, find a square of stars tilted north and use this as a base for M13 and M92. M13 is situated between the two western stars of this square whereas M92 is above the top of the square towards the eastern side. I hope that this helps, it's only a rough guide and you will probably find that you need a good few nights viewing to find everything, there are loads more out there but these things are the easiest. Learn to star-hop and learn simple ways to find those 'interesting' objects so you don't need star charts, if you need to use a star chart (from a book) use a red filter on a torch to help preserve your eyesight, I use a simple rear bike light lol. If you want any more info about finding basic DSO's such as M31, M29, M71, M11, NGC 869 etc just ask.
  10. Thanks for the info guys, I may trade it in for a different model, although I have a cable release and t-mount and t-ring and Four Thirds adpater for it so if I were to change then I would have to change those aswell. But yeah the prices on Ebay are quite good, any ideas on another Digital SLR which will definitly expose for a LONG amount of time and one which will take an XD picture card ??
  11. Thankyou for the offer and your research, I went on the Olympus website and downloaded the .pdf file manual for the E-400, page 147 shows that the exposure times are as so: ISO 1000-1600 = 2 minutes ISO 500-800 = 4 minutes ISO 100-400 = 8 minutes This is cleary not the case with my model-argh! Shall have to wait for the e-mail back from Olympus UK.
  12. Hello, I live in North Yorkshire and I also have an 8" Starhopper As the others say, it was jupiter, I must say that the 8" StarHopper is a good scope for looking at the planets, last summer I managed to see atleast 5 moons around Jupiter with the cloud belts easily seen. Although last year Jupiter was higher in the sky, this year though it is lower in the sky and I can't view it as easily due to thermal currents from the surrounding landscape and it is only vsible for a few hours around sunset . Below is a few things which may help you with your scope from now on..... Firstly I agree with the fact that your eyepiece was out of focus, you were seeing a big yellowish circle with a black hole in it, yeh? The only thing I can suggest is that on the underside of the eyepiece holder there are two turning knobs (not the big silver ones to focus on the sides) which tighten/loosen both the 2inch and 1.25 inch eyepiece holders, I suggest that you make sure that the one nearest the telescope tube (lower one) is loosened slightly and that the higher one (nearer the eyepiece) is tight but not too tight, if both are tight then the eyepiece will not focus so make sure they can move. However if you have both of them too loose then the eyepiece will just fall into the hole. Secondly, do not try prime focus astrophotography with this scope as it does not provide enough of a range for focusing so you will just be left with the above (circle with a hole in it). Also the dobsonian is an alt/azimuth mount so tracking is out of the question, short exposure prime focus photography with a camera will add weight to the scope and you will find it near impossible to balance the starhopper. I have been able to take some good images of the moon though with just a camera phone (2 MegaPixel) afocally, give it a go. Thirdly, I have had the scope for just over a year now and found that the tension handles have loosened, now I know that they do loosen (obviously) so you can move the scope around, but mine could not tighten at all, upon inspection I found that the brass / gold coloured sockets which are built into the black plastic circular tube holders have come out, they appear to have been heated up and sunk into the plastic when built but over the past year of tightening and re-tightening by myself they have popped out. My father and I found that by heating them up again and re-sinking them then it sorts the problem out, this is maybe somehing which Celestron should modify as common sense usually shows that plastic does not easily support metal! But be aware because you may find that within a year you come across the same thing. Fourthly, as you may know, rotate the turntable clockwise when observing (or moving) as to not loosen the screw at the base of the mount. Hope this helps
  13. Thanks for the reply, Just recieved another e-mail from Olympus, they say: "According to the manual, that I hope you got, p. 47, the shutter has this limitation: Bulb shooting ISO100 - 400 : 8 min. ISO500 - 800 : 4 min. ISO1000 - 1600 : 2 min." And if my model does differnetly then get intouch with my retailer, guess I shall have to now! I usually have noise reduction on and although it does a good job with the images, Olympus cameras seem to take ages to process it, an exposure of 1 minute requires a further minute noise processing time and that drains the battery, but I can get away with doing it about 30 times so I don't think that battery capacity is much of a problem. I assume the firmware is upto date, my camera says the Body is 1.1 and the latest update on the Olympus.co.uk website is Version 1.1 (which does the follwing - 1.The [PICTURE MODE] can be changed when the shooting mode is set to [AUTO]. 2. [PICTURE MODE] default setting is changed to [@NATURAL].) If you could measure the exposure times on your E-500 that would be great, it's annoying that I paid hundreds of pounds for a camera and it doesn't do what it should! I have used Deep Sky Stacker, Rotn'Stack, Registax, Photoshop CS3 and AstroArt 4 to stack images however I cannot seem to get anywhere with Registax, Phtoshop or Astroart when it comes to stacking and or colour enhancement, Photoshop seems inept at stacking images!!
  14. A great program to use for image reduction is 'IrfanView', it's freeware too and easily 'googled'. I have Version 3.99 and there is probably an update to that by now, it works really quick and not only does it reduce the image size (to a variety of sizes) it also reduces the file size so managing image files is somewhat quicker when processing.
  15. New to this forum, so hello! (By the way, I refer to the word 'quid in this post, a quid is a pound in English slang!) Firstly though....I have started taking an interest in astrophotography, however after thinking that I had quite good equipment (on a budget here people, so don't frown at my choices lol) I have come across a few problems. Earlier on this year I purchased the following in order to begin some amateur astrophotography, a NexStar 4 SE and Olympus E-400- the main problem here is the E-400! I chose the NexStar4SE due to its Wedge Facility, modest aperture for someone on a budget, the only downside is the rather high focal ratio of 12 . I must say though that there are hardly any reviews of this model on the internet and those that I have read say that the Maksutov-Cassegrain optics give slow light transmission hence the f/12. I find it bad astronomy that they cannot see past that as the NexStar 4 is a very good scope for tracking images and is even better when Wedge Aligned and Polar aligned, giving just the same ability as a Equatorial mount, combined with this is also the fact that the StarBright XLT optics show a huge difference in star colours when compared to my Starhopper which used BK7 glass optics. I purchased an Olympus E-400 D-SLR a few months ago and have only recently started in astrophotography, having needed time to collect together a t-mount t-ring (note here that the Olympus D-SLR's use a 4/3rd's system so users will also need to purchase an adpater ring for the t-ring so that it can fit into the E-400 body, these are advertised as a pricey £100's but I found loads on E-Bay for about £6 lol I love E-bay now) and a 12V power tank to power the battery eating NexStar4 (another tip here- 8 pack of batteries from Ikea (couple of quid) lasts far far longer than Duracell or any other 'leading brand'!!) # Now, in order for me to take worthwhile images with the NexStar I need a camera which can expose for longer times due to it's slow focal ratio. BIG PROBLEM with the E-400 is that an ISO of higher than 500 on 'BULB' mode will only provide a lame 60.2 seconds of exposure, further to this an ISO of 250 to 400 will provide a lame 120 seconds of exposure, an ISO of 125-200 will give 241 seconds and 100 ISO gives 8 minutes. As you can probably guess this is really bad as anyone would think that the 'BULB' setting on any SLR would expose to infinity, apparently not! I have e-mailed Olympus and they merely stated that I should 'Reset' the camera (I aren't daft, I already did that) and yep your right it did NOT help, still stuck with the lame exposure times. Can anyone help, does anyone have the E-400? Any images I have taken with the E-400 have been taken with an ISO of higher than 800, the stacking process has left me with loads of noise! Thankyou
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