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Everything posted by DoctorD

  1. Hi Jorman I'd go with your F3.3 reducer on the C14 and live with the vignetting for now. Post some raw FIT files and we can have a look at what we can get out of them. CS Paul
  2. Hi I use Nebulosity 3 too for my Lodestar C post processing with this Debayer parameters: HTH Paul
  3. Fantastic wide field real time views - I especially like seeing the satellites passing by! Looking forward to more from you please. CS Paul
  4. Hi I'm streaming live on VAL (19:50 GMT 17-03-16) http://www.videoastronomylive.co.uk/#!doctor-d/c1j5j Enjoy Paul
  5. Hi Russ Many of us on here use CCD camera for Electronically Assisted Astronomy - usually exposures of upto 30s are used and are stacked real time. No post processing is done, we see images emerge "real time" on the screen such as this: It's possible to achieve a similar effect using your favourite capture program to constantly take 30s exposures and dropping these in a directory. You can then use DeepSky Stacker Live to stack these on the fly and display the results - not as elegant as Starlight Live or the ATIK Infinity software but can be made to work. HTH Paul
  6. Hi I usually set my Dark Frame capture up as soon as I set the scope up outside, in the time taken to polar align and do the first stars alignment with the finder I usually have between 10 and 20 30s darks which I find sufficient. With Starlight live you can save the Master Dark frame - which can be useful if Starlight live crashes (not that it does often!). My original Lodwstar-C has many more hot pixels - dark frames work well to remove them but you can be left with dark trails on the image. V3 with hot pixel removal should sort this out HTH Paul
  7. DoctorD


    Hi Andrew I got into Video Astronomy about 5 years ago, originally using a standard security camera with a 1.25" nose piece in place of the standard eyepiece. This got me hooked and worked quite well and is a relatively cheap way to get into this branch of our hobby - Samsung SCB2000 still seems to be available and there may be other cameras out there that won't break the bank. However the work done by fellow SGL member Paul81 on Starlight Live has meant that we can use sensitive guide cameras such as the Lodestar to acquire and stack images in real time and see detail in the image emerge the longer we view - much like looking through an eyepiece and noticing more detail the longer we look. We are not aiming for the amount of detail and resolution often achieve by dedicated astrophotographers collecting hours of data then spending a similar amount of time processing this data to achieve the stunning images we see posted on the internet and in magazines. Rather we are looking for an alternative to the eye piece view giving us that quick fix some of us need! ATIK now offer a near real time camera with software of similar functionality to Starlight Live and there are other dedicated analogue/digital video cameras such as the Mallincam range that continue to push the boundaries of what we can "see" with our modest scopes and light polluted gardens. I've achieved reasonable results with a 70mm refractor on a Skywatcher AZ-GOTO mount - Starlight Live will correct for field rotation as well as drift between exposures so you do not need the heavy kit usually associated with astrophotography. I wish you a speedy recovery and hope that in the mean time you can continue to enjoy the views through our electronic eyepieces on VAL. Clear Skies Paul
  8. DoctorD


    Hi Andrew Cloudy & rain here so I'm unable to broadcast - you can sign up to notifications in the VAL website so when someone goes live you get a message. I don't think there any kind of rota - VAL can manage multiple stream at once if the broadcasters are able to weather/commitments permitting. HTH Paul
  9. Hi FLO have the original Lodestar-C on offer for £335 - a bit slower than the newer X2 but check out my gallery to see what it can do! http://www.firstlightoptics.com/clearance/starlight-xpress-lodestar-c-colour-autoguider.html HTH Paul
  10. Hi I had a Minitower V2 for a year and swapped it for a HEQ5 - the Minitower was great when it worked, however I had problems with alignment and goto accuracy that finally made me want to get rid of it (especially when loaded up with my C8). Paul81 runs a Minitower V2 - perhaps he can give a more positive view of this. The Celestron EVO 6" looks like a nice scope/mount but you'll need a focal reducer for EAA - Hyperstar would work if you can stretch that far, alternatively the F3.3 reducers should work if you can find one or a 1.25" x0.5 or x0.6 would also work - you should aim for F5 or below - I work at about F3.5. I'd be inclined to go for the Celestron as it also has NextRemote for remote control which can be useful as it's usual to operate the scope & mount remotely in EAA (that's part of the attraction - staying inside nice and warm). Alternatively you could always consider the ubiquitous HEQ5 Pro and EQMOD or Synscan and the scope of your choice - keep it at or below F5 and you'll be good for EAA with todays cameras such as the Lodestar X2. You should also check out the potential field of view with each scope/camera/reducer option - the cameras used for EAA are relativley small chips with small FoV - I have a range of scopes to give different field of view: C8 with F3.3 reducer and Lodestar-C - 0.52x0.41 degrees MAK102 with F3.3 reducer and Lodestar-C - 0.71x0.55 degrees INED70 with AE x0.6 reduced and Lodestar-C - 1.78x1.37 degrees Check out my gallery to see how this relates to various objects or use Stellarium to simulate the views. HTH Paul
  11. Hi Here's my set-up with the F3.3 (note I have modified the spacing by removing one of the 10mm spacers to give 53mm instead of 63mm as shown below - this gives about F3.5 and much less coma distortion): I must take a photo of my latest setup! The actual CCD is 12.5mm back from the from of the Lodestar (standard CS lens spacing). The F6.3 will need more than this but I'm not sure how much as I rarely use it for EAA (possibly another 50mm but I don't think it's all that critical). HTH Paul
  12. Hi Paul If you'd like a few Beta testers, I'm sure there's a few of us who would be happy to see a pre-release for testing purposes I hope that this thread hasn't put you under any undue pressure - I hope it's a place where we can give constructive input, whatever your planned release schedule. CS Paul
  13. Hi Alex Great images - some I need to add to my next observing session - NGC2903 looks like it has a great amount of detail! CS Paul
  14. Thanks to everyone for joining me - a very enjoyable evening! Unfortunately I was so wrapped up in the broadcast that I forgot to get any screen captures from the session! CS Paul
  15. Hi I'm currently broadcasting on Video Astronomy Live (20:30 GMT): http://www.videoastronomylive.co.uk/#!doctor-d/c1j5j CS Paul
  16. Hi Alex A great set-up - I'm working towards a similar set-up. I currently have: C8 on HEQ5 plus F3.3 Reducer and Lodestar-C USB 2.0 Hub and 10m USB extension (I'm still having problems with this especially in cold weather) Macbook Pro running: EQMAC - allows PC control f mount (Like EQMOD for Windows) Starlight Live Sky Safari Pro Astrometry.net (allows accurate sync if GOTO not 100%) I'd like to add: Remote focuser USB Filter Wheel - fantastic idea Alex, I had not though about using this for Darks as well as narrowband! USB->IP convertor so I can dispense with the USB extensions. I also saw this mini computer that got me thinking I may be able to simplify it even further (If I'm prepared to go back to Windows!) http://www.365astronomy.com/Primaluce-Lab-EAGLE-Control-unit-for-Telescopes-and-Astrophotography.html However the price may be prohibitive. Clear Skies Paul
  17. Hi Paul V3 is going to be s major step forward for an already fantastic piece of Software!! CS Paul
  18. Hi Hiten I tend to leave my dew heater on all the time as I cannot control this remotely. I use a bahnitov mask for focusing, but perhaps I should try using a dimmer star. I rarely check collimation - do you do this by eye or with your camera? I had a go recently when we had a partly cloudy night, used a defocused star and tried to centre the hole in the donut using the camera with no reducer. I was unable to see any diffraction pattern using the Lodestar . Interesting comment on read noise - I had not realised that the X2 was significantly different from the original, thought it was primarily better sensitivity. CS Paul
  19. Hi Hiten You seem to be able to pull out much more detail than I can using similar equipment in a similarly light polluted area - well done! I wonder where or not your skies are clearer despite the light pollution - I think I may suffer from higher humidity levels which may exacerbate the local light pollution. My image looks much more like your image taken through thin clouds. CS Paul
  20. Hi I hope Paul81 does not mind me staring this thread - I've been using Starlight/lodestar Live since it's first release and continue to be amazed at the levels of functionality that Paul manages to include in each new release. I though it might be useful to have a single thread where we can discuss everything from minor improvements to major pieces of functionality. Paul has already previewed his hot pixel removal and I for one am looking forward to this (given the number of hot pixels my Lodestar-C has!). Some minor UI improvements as a starter:. 1. Include the Stacked/RAW and Linear/arcsinh/X^0.25 info on the saved PNG (perhaps these could all be optional via a Image Export screen) - I often forget which mode I've used when I come to post the images. 2. Include a Processed Image Save button available at all times - no need to confirm the file name/location, just press and it's saved to your preferred location as the file naming convention works fine. 3. Remember last settings for "Image Acquisition" and "Focus and Alignment" modes (Exposure and image processing) - I usually use the focus and alignment mode to centre the object at 5 or 10s exposure (or sometimes much less depending upon the brightness of the surrounding stars) before moving to Image Acquisition at my chosen exposure for the evening (matched to my Dark Frame). This allows me to leave the Export RAW FITS setting as no files are saved in the Focus and Alignment mode. More involved functionality: 1. Add the possibility for user defined transfer functions to augment the arcsin and x^0.25 - this might be achieved by a CSV lookup table - 64K integers should be manageable but I'm no software engineer! On the topic of transfer functions, I find the way the current arcsinh and x^0.25 work to be somewhat confusing and this might be down to how the other image controls are applied - you always seem to end up with the histogram pushed to the right. Perhaps if there was a separate level shift available which effectively moved the zero point before applying the transfer function we could keep the histogram in the middle or better still towards the left and then adjust Black/White levels and contrast after the transfer function has been applied. I get the impression that currently the brightness is applied after the transfer function but I could be wrong. Once gain a big thank you to Paul81 for all the effort he puts into this magnificent piece of software. Clear skies Paul
  21. Note this is a single unstacked 30 frame despite the info on the image
  22. Hi Martin I do like your round stars - the F3.3 reduced SCT shows significant distortion - I've tried playing with the reducer spacing and think I need to go back to 10mm spacer plus adapters which seems to give me about F3.5 and less distortion. I'm also envious of your darker skies too! CS Paul
  23. Hi For comparison (if that's possible ) here's my M81 from February - Lodestar-C, C8 F3.3 reducer at about F3.4, no filters, Starlight Live. The "black" fleck's are hot pixels removed using live dark frame subtraction. Taken from my Red Zone light polluted garden just West of Bradford. I used one of the non linear display modes (0.5^2 I think) which reduces the chances of burning out the core. Note pretty much no colour in the image. HTH Paul
  24. Hi The colour decoding is made more difficult by the interlaced nature of the sensor (Starlight Live combines the odd an even fields into a single frame) - here's an excerpt from the data sheet: HTH Paul
  25. Hi The Lodestar has a CMYG matrix not an RGGB matrix. HTH Paul
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