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About Whirlwind

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  1. Whirlwind

    Kepler exoplanets

    The recent change in the definition is that the object had to be able to clear it's neighbourhood of objects and be the dominant object in it's orbital path. Hence Pluto demoted because it did not dominate it's surroundings. Neptune passes by it's orbital path and if they ever interacted (and they probably will at some point) then Pluto would be scattered depending on the type of interaction. The exoplanets we have currently found would generally all fall under this category as we don't really have the technology to find small planets around sun like stars. A lot of focus (including TESS) is to look at cooler, smaller stars because to be in the habitable zone they have to be closer which makes a probability of a transit much more likely. Because the planet is proportionally larger to a small star the transit depths are also easier to spot; the mass has more impact on the star and hence easier to determine the radial velocity etc. All of these planets however are large enough to have cleared their orbital path. There is however one known minor planet identified with some surety. It is around the White Dwarf WD1145+017. Here there is a large asteroid that is disintegrating as it approached too close to the White Dwarf. You can see the transits as this object pass in front of the White Dwarf (or strictly speaking you can see the dust cloud from it breaking up). You can see them because the White Dwarf is so small (on the order of Earth sized).
  2. Whirlwind

    Starlight Xpress Active Optics

    I could of course be cynical a given that MaximDL and SBIG were very close (and now bought out). Given that SBIG also have their own AO system I couldn't possibly see any potential conflict in a competitors product (especially as there are only two such systems)!
  3. Whirlwind

    Starlight Xpress Active Optics

    I suppose the question is for what purpose are you thinking about an SX-AO? I see you have two 10 Micron mounts and if it is used for refractor imaging on these I'm not sure there is much point. They are primarily there to correct for tracking issues in mounts with poorer corrections (or backlash) as you don't have to correct the whole mount and just using the SXAO to correct over time. It can also help with mirror based systems as they can be more reactive to mirror movement. This system is not the same as the adaptive optics professional observatories use to correct for seeing. You might get a small improvement at the fastest correction but in that case you need bright guide stars and they can be hard to come by. As for experience I have one of the older versions (Serial) and have the following comments to make:- For faster corrections you need a sensitive guide camera (binning also helps) It worked very well for me in Astroart and never had the problems Sara mentioned (pretty much plug and play)...but I found issues with it when using MaximDL. I could never get it to calibrate it properly and always tried to sit on a bright pixel in the lodestar (even after dark subtraction - was a non linear blighter). MaximDL didn't also allow me to select a star in AO mode (it would just jump back to the bright pixel). As such it never really corrected properly and on the rare occasions I found a brighter star than the pixel I also experienced the same calibration issues in that it wouldn't bump the mount. That I never got the same issue in AstroArt made me believe it was a MaximDL software issue and not something fundamentally wrong with the SXAO. This was a few years ago now as I use a Mach1 now and tended to find with refractors that I ran out of backfocus with those that needed flatteners as my CCD size increased. Things may have hence changed (both with Maxim and AstroArt). I am not sure whether this could relate to Sara's issue above.
  4. Whirlwind

    Recommend me a decent frac!

    If you can find a used Skywatcher ED80 or ED100 then these usually fall in this price range. They also have a good reputation. Another option might be to consider a used Celestron C6. Yes it's not a refractor but it does have more aperture. Should also cover you as a decent planetary scope.
  5. Whirlwind

    Astrofest 2019

    Thanks for asking. Much appreciated.
  6. Whirlwind

    Astrofest 2019

    The location is PITA for myself (more likely to go the PAS next month. I'd be interested in hearing about the new proposed QSI 16200 CCD and the proposed specs (download times, noise characteristics, price) if anyone would be kind enough.
  7. There is some strange diffraction spikes in that facebook image on the brighter stars but am unsure whether this is a telescope issue? I can't see anywhere what the possible backfocus range is?
  8. I thought I read that Chroma will make custom filters. May be worth and email to ask?
  9. Whirlwind

    QSI Vertical Banding Issue

    Have you tried Wayback Machine. You can get access to version 6.3.1 from here (not sure what version you are using?):- https://web.archive.org/web/20161224162028/http://qsimaging.com/software.html It appears that Jan 1st 2017 is the last time it took a snapshot where you could download the files directly. After that it always said to contact customer support. I did have a link to the beta testing site, but that seems to have been killed off since they updated the website. Thanks Ian
  10. Whirlwind

    Trolling for a new mount

    In some ways your limit is just shy of some potentially very excellent mounts with the Mach1, MyT, Avalon M-Uno, EM200 and GM1000. They all have some strengths and weaknesses. I can only really refer to the Mach1 (as having experience in this mount) but that does have available a right angle polar finder (so no more contortions). It's more expensive than your limit especially when you consider the hand controller, but this isn't absolutely necessary if you have a wifi controller - but with it you also have a daytime polar alignment routine that will get you close. If you are set on keeping to this £ limit and only want to mount a lightweight set up (12-13kg) then the M-zero might be worth looking at (with the advantage of no pier flips). Another option is to look at the Vixen SXP2 which is lightweight and seems to have a decent reputation. However I have only seen Astrophysics doing a right angle polar finder.
  11. Whirlwind

    Am I a cheat? A question of morals.

    I think the moral of this story is never believe anything you see on the internet without engaging the grey matter! There is always a certain level of responsibility is how things are reported. It's different if someone is actively trying to deceive people (like putting an incorrect figure on a bus for example) compared to someone that is just trying to achieve an artistic image. We don't, for example, criticise Van Gogh for his picture "The Starry Night" which is highly abstract artistic view of the heavens. But then it was never sold on that basis. If an image then gets copied and quoted by someone else incorrectly then it partially comes down to the person viewing it being slightly cynical (and the person copying it not to be clear of the source).
  12. Whirlwind

    Anyone using an OGEM mount??

    To be fair it looks fairly imbalanced and probably is straining because you have what appear to be a heavy axis at the top with nothing as a counterweight underneath. So it might be already straining under a load. It might have been better to put counterweights on to be in balance. But I've definitely heard worse (e.g. the old celestron CG5!)
  13. Whirlwind

    Am I a cheat? A question of morals.

    From a perspective if the images are for your own pleasure then there is not really cheating because as you are happy with it then it doesn't really matter. Where I would 'frown' is where data is manipulated to make other people believe something happened or was there. A good example of this was an image shown by the BBC of the eclipse yesterday. It was a user submitted image but obviously manipulated to be cut from one image and overlaid on another (you could see the discontinuity). It made the moon look artificially big in the image and would give a 'person on the street' the wrong impression. Manipulating images to bring forth information in an image isn't cheating from my perspective. The 'information' really is there, it is simply that our eyes can't comprehend the data (not sensitive enough) and therefore needs to be enhanced. Our eyes are not infinitely sensitive to all wavelengths. Is the scientist cheating when they show an IR or radio image that our eyes can comprehend? So from my perspective it is not 'cheating' to bring forth data in an image that allows us to appreciate and understand an object. It's only 'cheating' when someone tries to deliberately mislead other people through the photo manipulation. If that person states upfront that is what they have done that's fine because it is simply artistic licence.
  14. Whirlwind

    Anyone using an OGEM mount??

    Just really empirical evidence that one method is better than another? The backlash was referring to the other comment in relation to gears. I appreciate that you've experienced multiple types of mount but that's not really empirical evidence but more anecdotal evidence which could simply be bias from always aiming to obtain a better mount. What I am really wondering is whether there is empirical evidence to suggest one method is simply better than another or whether some approaches are easier to implement and hence can get a much wider range of quality - hence the comment on the Astrophysics mounts which are gear driven but are considered at the top end of the market (whilst there are also poor examples of gear driven mounts)? Are any of the methods empirically better if they are applied as well as you possibly can?
  15. Whirlwind

    Anyone using an OGEM mount??

    I know this can be an issue with non-absolute encoders and the Mach1GTOs. I have a Mach1GTO and have never seen any backlash issues though.

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