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Posts posted by DoctorD

  1. Hi 

    Have a look at Caravan TV's - there's some with AV input that would work with the SCB2000 and some have rechargable battery packs which may also prove useful.

    Here's one on Amazon UK:


    The SCB2000 is standard definition PAL 1024x600 pixels is the best you can hope for.

    I used a 3.5" LCD monitor (rear view camera monitor)  with my SCB2000 and was happy with the results for personal viewing.




  2. Well....

    It's been nearly 2 years since I posted on SGL (or any other astronomy forum) - work, and family commitments have meant that I've not had much time for astronomy recently.

    It's good to see the changes that have been made to what I have always consider to be my "baby" - this group  was orginally created when there was a change to the forum software and the "Social Groups" were no longer supported - my Video Atronomy social group was turned into the Video Astronomy sub-forum, however the concept was always video and electronically assisted observing. 

    I was originally inspired by  Steve Chambers and his use of the SDC435 security camera for astronomy - I still have one as part of my travel set up.

    The work done by Nytecam using the Lodestar cameras encuraged me down this route and Paul Sears Lodestar/Starlight Live software was the turning point for me.

    For me this has always been about instant or near instant gratification - occasionally I'd save the session and post process to see if I could extract any more detail from the captures, however being able to "see" DSO from my light poluted garden was always what I wanted to do.

    I've posted it before, but perhaps it's been lost in all the past posts - here's what a nights EAA can offer (3 hours compressed into 12 minutes) :-



    I'll be back....




    • Like 1
  3. Hi Huw

    It's a start - welcome to EAA/Video Astronomy, there's no going back :)

    I use an F3.3 SCT reducer on my Skymax 102 with a MAK-> SCT adapter or a 1.25" x0.5 reducer - makes a huge difference to the exposures.

    Let us know how you get on.


    • Like 2
  4. Hi

    Well it’s been almost 6 years since I joined as a member of this community and this is my 1000th post - not a lot in 6 years really but I hope that my contribution has helped, especially here in the Video Astronomy section.

    I still think of this section as my baby, although there are those who are now much more active than me.

    Back in 2011 there was no Video Astronomy section and at the time the Mods did not think that there was enough demand for one so Video Astronomy or Electronically Assisted Astronomy got lumped in with the Astro Photographers. So I set up a social group on the forum to enable us to discuss our small but growing branch of astronomy. Sometime later the forum underwent a software upgrade and social groups were no longer supported and rather than drop the small but active video astronomy social group we were given our on section on the forum albeit under the Science section. later we were moved to our own top level section and we have a much wider audience.

    The changes in Video Astronomy over the past 6 years have been incredible - I still have my SDC435 video camera which started it all for me, however I have upgraded to a Lodestar-C and am indebted to paul81 for his continued efforts on Starlight Live which has finally enabled my to achieve my goal of remote observation in the warmth of my study.

    Here’s to the next 1000 posts.

    Clear skies


    • Like 20
  5. Hi Paul

    Once again thank you for al the effort you put into SSL - each version gets better and better.

    I've noticed a minor issue when running on OSx - I use two monitor setup (Macbook Air & external monitor) -  when I move SSL main window from one monitor to the other the image area goes black and does not refresh until I move it back to the original screen.

    Moving the Image Display window between monitors works OK.

    This is not a new bug - I have seen it in previous versions but forgot to mention it.

    Clear skies






  6. Hi

    These cameras (SCB2000) work best at F4 and below, at maximum integration you are looking at about 10s exposure so some form of tracking will be necessary (AZ is fine).

    You can use cheap 1.25" focal reducers but need to make sure your scope has sufficient focus travel.

    The field of view is similar to a 6mm eyepiece so you may need some focal reduction depending upon which scope you use.




    • Like 1
  7. Hi

    A few years back the SCB 2000 was the camera that many people used:


    You'll also need a CS-1.25" adapter such as this:


    You can improve the SCB 2000 sensitivity by removing the built in IR filter - however, you can use it with it in place.

    You'll also need a 12V power supply and some means of viewing the video - these cameras are Composite Video out only and can be viewed on a TV.

    You'll also need a video capture dongle if you want to view them on your lap-top.

    I use a small LCD monitor for laptop free viewing:-


    In either case you'll need a composite video cable - BNC to Phono cable:


    These can be obtained in various lengths and the benefit of composite video is that it is designed to be used with long cables.

    Here's a couple of images taken with my SDC435 which is the same as the SCB2000:




    Both taken with my C8 SCT using F3.3 reducer.

    The brightness down the left hand side is AMP glow and is common in these cameras when used at  long exposure settings.




    • Like 3
  8. Hi memoryman

    I've no experience of night vision cameras, although I've seen a few people experiment with it, there are security cameras such as the SBC2000/SDC435, which I have used, that have a night vision mode which can be used for EAA and can be used without a computer.

    However for the remote viewing experience you can share I'd still recommend the Lodestar X2 camera and Starlight Live software - in case you missed it, here's a video showing a typical nights viewing speeded up by x16 - C8 SCT with F3.3 reducer on HEQ5 mount Lodestar-C (not X2) and Starlight live running on a 2009 Macbook Pro from the warmth and comfort of my study with the scope on the drive outside:



  9. Hi Memoryman

    I'm biased - I spent my money on the lodestar and am very happy with it, however I've not experienced any of the other CCDs (only the SDC435 video camera).

    If I was spending my money again I'd get the latest Lodestar X2 mono (I have the colour lodestar) and go galaxy hunting and a little narrow band. Starlight live also allows you to do multi spectral captures live - adding each colour as you go.

    Just make sure you image at F4 or below and you won't be dissapointed!



  10. Hi Memoryman

    You will need to consider what software you will use for EAA/VA - a big part of the EAA experience is the ability to see the images on screen with minimal user manipulation and in particular, the ability to repeat the process automatically with each new capture. Starlight Live, Sharpcap and Atik Infinity software provide these features but I'm not sure what is available for the Moravian cameras.

    Nytecam produces great results using the standard Starlight Live capture software which shows you do not need dedicated EAA software but I think it can make a real difference to the viewing experience.

    I'm a big fan of the Starlight Express cameras and in particular the Lodestar range and Pauls Starlight Live software is constantly being developed adding new features all the time.



    • Like 1
  11. Hi Jim

    Nice to see  your set up - a permanent pier must be a real advantage.

    I have my scope and mount set up in the garage and move it out to marks on my drive so can be set up in about 15 mins also, however, I find that the polar alignment is never quite right and I cannot be bothered with drift alignment as I don't think it's necessary for EAA. (Quite a handful with the C8 on board!).

    I usually set up with the Macbook alongside the scope then move indoors with a 10m USB extension. I've recently been testing a 150' CAT-5 to USB extender off *-Bay with a 15m CAT-6 flexible cable, which seems to work quite well, although I have noticed that the download speed seems to have suffered (can still manage 1s exposures). I've yet to test  this at low temperatures which is where my 10m USB cable used to fail.




    • Like 1
  12. Hi Jim

    Fantastic video - looks like the C6/Hyperstar/Ultrastar has a really useful sensitivity and FoV.

    I think it would be great for Ha wide field if you have a filter although longer exposures would be necessary.

    Your work flow looks very similar to mine - I've also got Astrometry.net set up on my Mac so I can solve and sync to an image then recentre (which works most of the time!)

    Glad that OBS worked for you - another great piece of free software along with StarLight Live.



    • Like 2
  13. Hi Rob

    An 8" SCT work fine if you can get your hands on an F3.3 reducer - my primary EAA setup is a C8 with F3.3, although I also use a 4" MAK with the F3.3 at about F4 to good effect.

    A combination of F6.3 and 0.5x 1.25" reducer can also be used on these SCT/MAKs  - your target should be F4 or there about's (lower better) - the F6.3 reducer is an x0.63 (only F6.3 if you use it with an F10 SCT).

    You can use your existing 0.5 reducer with the 6" SCT (or any other scope for that matter) - SCT/MAKs have a wide focus range and can accommodate many different reducer configurations.

    The benefits of the smaller SCT (6") is shorter focal length and corresponding wider FoV with your camera along with a reduced mount requirements.

    My travel set up is  a Skywatcher AZ Gtot and the 102MAK with F3.3 reducer - I used to use this wiht my SDC435 camera before upgrading to a Lodestar:


    The flip mirror was useful in getting objects centered  on the camera but I eventually stopped using it - at this time I was using a combination of an F6.3 SCT reducer and an x0.5 1.25" reducer - hence the extension tube on the flip mirror for the eyepiece (need to make the camera and eyepiece parafocal).




    I upgraded the tripod to increase stability - even tried the C8 on this - OK for EAA but goto accuracy was not really good enough at that focal length.

    If  you go with the 6" Celestron SCT you can upgrade to Hyperstar later for increased speed - especially useful if you move to CCD based EAA such as Ultrastar.




  14. Hi

    I've been using Astrometry.net with SSL and EQMAC under OSx - I've a Python script that looks for the newest PNG file in a directory and and solves locally, you can then SYNC to these new coordinates.

    It took a lot of set up as you have to compile Astrometry.net for your system, no packages available however it has been worthwhile as it saves a lot of effort in finding target. You simply slew to the target take a short exposure then solve & SYNC followed by another goto which usually puts the target in the middle of the image.

    Ceartainly a great help when remote observing using EAA.




    • Like 1
  15. Hi

    I have both the F6.3 and F3.3 reducers and use them with my C8 and Lodestar - to be honest the F6.3 does not get much use as the FoV and speed with the F3.3 suits me.

    Note that the reducer to CCD spacing is quite critical with the F3.3 - get it wrong and you'll get bad distortion.




    • Like 1
  16. Hi Jim

    I use a similar method with my Lodestar-C and F3.3 reducer - 500ms or 1s exposures to frame the object, no stacking and stretched until I can see the object.

    You can see my work flow in this speeded up video:

    Blatantly plugging my video :)

    Have a look at Open Broadcast Software (Studio) - I use it for streaming and for stream capture, works on OSx and Windows:


    Great results with the Hyperstar!




    • Like 5
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