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Geordie mc

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Everything posted by Geordie mc

  1. Having just damaged my Lodestar x2 through my clumsiness in the dark, I sent it for repair. Just wanted to say a huge thank you to all the team at Starlight Xpress. They responded quickly to my request for service. Despite me living in France the repair was very quickly carried out. If you take out the time for posting and customs I’d say it was a couple of days tops. Great service. Thanks again. I’ve been using the camera for guiding for nearly 10 years and so pleased to have it back working again. We often complain of poor service but rarely mention it when we get first rate help and support so thought I’d pop this up. Thanks again.
  2. I have the Celestron on my EdgeHD800. It’s had issues. I had to add blue loctite to the screws as they are short and kept coming loose. It’s very noisy. If you don’t have a Celestron mount there’s no way to focus without a laptop as no hand controller. As you may guess I’m not very impressed with it. I have a ZWO EAF on my refractor. Never had an issue and have now bought the bracket to try it on my Edge. Hope that helps. Mind you it’s not going to help me sell my Celestron focus motor if I decide to ditch it!
  3. Skywatcher illuminated reticule eyepiece. It has a red crosshair pattern. I think it’s 24mm rather than the newer 12.5mm models. Great condition. Looking for £35 including postage from France. Thanks.
  4. Hi Dan. I’ve got a red dot finder and moon filter. The red dot has 4 reticule and 7 brightness levels. Comes with box and new battery. The stem is skywatcher but is plastic. The filter is a Celestron 0.9ND moon filter. Still boxed. If you are interested I’m just after enough to cover postage and a few quid on top. I’m in France so I’m guessing around £12-15 postage, so I’d be happy with £25 for the pair. Let me know if you need any other info. Thanks. John
  5. Update. Hope this may be useful to others. I have now discovered that the ascom driver for the QSI660, which you must access before you connect the camera in NINA, defaults to low gain but also will default to high speed download rather than high quality, if you took and saved any snapshot images at the end of you last session. These factors probably are the cause of the long exposure times and grainy results I got. However, after rerunning the flats wizard today the flats still seem odd. Some filters show a brighter border round the image edge. Others seem to have a more expected vignette to them, while the red filter has a clear gradient - bring much darker on the left side and extending halfway across the image. I’ll try calibrating my lights with them tomorrow and see what happens.
  6. I haven’t tried them. They looked so wrong I thought I’d done something wrong so I deleted them thinking I’d retake as sky flats and all would be good. As soon as I started retaking they looked the same. They have a lighter border all round the edges. There’s a couple of dust motes and some odd dark patches running at an angle in the lower left. No dark corners. They look really grainy when stretched too. I think I’ll try with much lower adu target level. I can’t have exposure times for narrowband running beyond 60 seconds with a bright light panel. It would take me several hours to shoot the flats each time. I’ve heard the QSI660 has a full well capacity around 12000 in high gain mode which is the mode recommended for 1x1 binning. Maybe. Should be aiming for half. Of this and not Alf of 65000? I’ll try again today and use whatever I get to calibrate and see what happens. I’ll report back.
  7. Thanks Steve. Sounds like I’ll have to use 2 runs of the NINA flats wizard with a much brighter light source for NB. I’ll try them again and see if they make any difference. As I don’t really see any vignetting with this scope/ccd combination I might just try to keep the optics as dust free as possible and skip flats altogether. Even those taken with lum filter and short exposures just look odd. No clear nights for a bit so time for some experimenting I think.
  8. I’m having issues getting good flats from the NINA flats wizard with my QSI660. I’ve set adu as 25000 with 10% tolerance. I’ve tried sky flats and flat panel. They just don’t look right and with narrowband the exposures are very long. I see no vignette game, indeed I seem to have a slightly brighter edge round the image and a few strange dark bands that don’t change with t-shirt, paper etc diffusing the light. I can see a couple of clear dust motes but I think there should be more. If anyone is using the QSI660 and could help I’d be very grateful.
  9. Thanks Adrian. I’m new to Pixinsight and gradually learning how to process images. I liked the colours but feel I need to get more detail out of it. More experimentation needed!
  10. Qsi660wsg-8, TSQ65 refractor, AZEQ6GT mount. Guiding Lodestar x2 PHD2. N.I.N.A. Capture software. Processed in Pixinsight. 34x300sec Ha, 33x300sec OIII and 32x300sec SII. 65 darks. No flats or bias yet. This was a quick process just to see what I’d got. Needs some work but pleased so far. Outlet 4, SW France. Any helpful processing tips much appreciated.
  11. I use the Skywatcher Star Adventurer with a Canon 7dmk2 and a canon 100-400mm L lens. With good polar alignment I can get 3 minute subs at the 100 end but only about 1 minute at the 400mm end. It will guide in RA but I haven’t tried it. It’s mounter on a Manfrotto camera tripod. Very lightweight setup. I’m pleased with it.
  12. If you get a t-ring for your dslr you can attach to your scope. Advantages are that you can control exposure times. You’d get good Lunar images with very short exposures so no need to guide. Planets wiki be very small in the frame and not very rewarding.
  13. Mine has been out under a cover for days on end and gets stored in my barn which gets pretty cold. No issues after 10 years of use!
  14. Sounds promising. Sure you’ll be enjoying using the EAF soon presuming the weather improves.
  15. Thanks David. It’s a msystery. I think I’ll just have to experiment. I have a QSI660 I could try with the scope and see what happens. As you say, if the flattener is in a fixed position then trying different spacers should make no difference. Maybe it’s the ZWO filters? But then you’d think others would be reporting issues. Hoping I can do something in Pixinsight to reduce the issue.
  16. I don’t have this scope, but I believe the top left/right and bottom l/r are the screws that fix the the focuser of the scope, so I’d use the bottom l/r and remove the focus lock knob that’s center right. The screws are M3 and I think 8mm so you’d need M3 screws that are long enough to go through the ZWO’s plate and still have enough reach to thread firmly down. I can’t remember what length the ones in the kit are. Pop one of the originals out at a time and put in the ZWO screw before removing the second one just to keep everything lined up although it shouldn’t move. There are some pictures on the ZWO compatibility chart that show the 72ED but they aren’t very clear what’s being used. If the ZWO are too long you can just add a washer or 2. If too short then it’s easy to get longer ones online. Good luck. The EAF has worked really well for me. I’m thinking a of getting second one when funds allow.
  17. Hi Steve. All the scopes would be fine for lunar viewing or imaging. For planets the 150 would probably be best for visual and would show some deep sky objects well. However, if you think you’d like to image deep sky objects you really need an equatorial mount. Alt-az mounts like those you’ve listed can only be used for very short exposures due to field roataion. The mount is key in imaging. Here you need to think about where your main interest lies. If your going for deep sky imaging then things like the William Optics Redcat of short focal length refractors can go on small mounts, but these will probably not have go to - eg Skywatcher’s Star Adventurer which is very portable and just goes on a camera tripod. As you go to more stable mounts, like the Skywatcher eq3, they have more features but they get a bit heavier and still work fine with small scopes. I’m afraid that imaging tends to need more than one scope to cover all bases. Small refractors are less than ideal for lunar inaging and no good at all for planetary. Then there’s the camera. A DSLR will be fine for lunar or deep sky imaging. Planets will be very small due to the large sensor. As you can see, it’s a bit difficult to choose one setup to do it all. Give it serious thought. The scopes you list will be great for visual use. They’ll give great views of the Moon, major deep sky objects like M42 in Orion, M31 Andromeda etc. With a Barlow lens (2 or 3x magnification for any eyepiece) you’ll be able to see some detail on Jupiter and Saturn. Globular clusters and open clusters will be okay too as will larger/brighter galaxies. Normally I’d say get along to your local astronomical society, but clearly that’s not an option at the moment. Be aware that imaging can end up being both addictive and a very expensive hobby if you want to go for deep sky and lunar and planetary! A large mount, several scopes and cooled cameras not to mention guide scopes and cameras, filters etc. Not sure I’ve helped, but hope I’ve given you some ideas. Good luck in your search.
  18. Hi all. Does anyone know the backfocus limits on this scope please. The 4th lens acting as a field flattener is in the tube. As the focus tube has to move to reach focus I presume that their is a range for the backfocus rather than a set distance. When I image with my ASI1600mm - cool, with good focus and guiding showing a total RMS error under 0.7 using the ASI air pro, when I zoom in on the image the stars look slightly triangular. I think this means I’m too far past the ideal backfocus distance, but I’m not sure. I’m confused as to what I can do. The sensor has to be at that distance to be in focus. Is the 4th lens in the draw tube of the focuser? If that’s the case I could remove a spacer and get the ASI1600 about 3mm closer to the focus tube. Image is one Ha sub of 300 secs at minus 20 degrees. Any advice very much appreciated. Thank you.
  19. Hi. I have one. I’ll dig it out and check it’s all ok. I’ll take better pictures too. I’m in France so would need to factor in postage. Probably around £40 all in. I’ll post tomorrow with more pics if it is working. Haven’t used it for a while but it should be fine. Boxed with all origonal bits.
  20. I will not be subscribing. Hate that model of software use. N.I.N.A. has been my choice this season and has worked superbly for me. Also the team have listened to user requests. The platesolving offers several options and works well. Autofocus likewise. Options for framing and mosaics. The list goes on. SGP has always been a bit unstable for me so I was looking at APT or M.I.N.A and the latter seems to be my preference. I think he SGP team are goin to be sadly disappointed at how much this strategy will raise in income.
  21. From my reading of the new model - which SGP themselves say is a subscription based model - you will be billed annually unless you don’t buy into the new model. As soon as you fail to pay your subscription you lose “premium support” whatever that is. They may decide to keep working on past versions, but v4 is due out soon and I suspect v2.7 users like myself will see little or nothing in the way of development. my point really is that if they need to raise cash this method is unlikely to work long term. Existing users may well decide it works as is and therefore won’t subscribe. Newcomers will try free software first like N.I.N.A. Or APT, find it works well and have no reason to buy into the SGP model. On that basis they will raise only a small amount now and put people off in the future, raising little new revenue. I hope SGP continues. There are lots of satisfied users who would lose out if it all goes under. I just think they’ve gone about this all wrong. If they’d said £10-15 a year gets you continued updates and access to new versions, even though I hate subscriptions, I would have paid it because there might have been times I wanted, or needed to use it. But at £50 a year I will not be subscribing. I expect quite a few others won’t, or can’t pay that fee. Unfortunately for SGP there are now very good alternatives that are free, regularly updated and don’t involve any hassle with changes to accounts and new liscence keys etc. which are already causing issues according to many on the SGP forum. if someone was getting into imaging and asked for a recommendation for capture software I’d point them to APT or N.I.NA. Why would I recommend SGP which is expensive and will have ongoing costs for them? That’s before we even mention none PC based platforms which are also set to improve and lure both existing and new Astro imagers down a different route. I hope SGP make o go of things, but I fear this marks the start of its decline. Let’s hope I’m wrong.
  22. Just had an email from SGP saying that a subscription model for payments is now here. I had already started to move towards N.I.N.A. and I think this will make that move my preferred option. What do others think? I hate subscription models for payment and now that there is a great free alternative I think they might lose a lot of users. I’d have paid £10 or so each year but £50 is way too much for me. I get the impression that maybe they are not getting many new buyers and need to generate funds from existing users. Could this be the end for SGP?
  23. Sounds a pain. Hope the release comes soon and sorts it. I’ve been doing okay with it so far. Wi-fi range is only a few meters but ts been going well. Hope the new release includes autofocus feature. I’ve even using NINA on my laptop this ast week and had all sorts of issues with the QSI camera driver and losing connection to the mount. Compared to that the ASIAir pro seems very straightforward but probably jinxed it now! Good luck with the update it’ll give you a really portable setup.
  24. Hi Richard. Sorry for the delay in responding. If it’s the asi120mm mini then it should be fine. I have the mini too but guide via eqmod which is not an option with the Sr]tar Adventurer. However I do have a Star Adventurer to test things with. If you haven’t already sorted things give e shout and I’ll rig things up and see what happens, John
  25. Hi. Just started trying NINA and like it very much but not sure on setting gain for my QSI660. The old driver had high, low and auto settings. The new (and rather unreliable) driver seems to have dropped the auto option. In NINA there is an option to set the gain but it needs a numeric value. Does anybody know these values for qsi high/low gain settings? I don’t think I enter the 0.2-e/ADU or 0.4-e/ADU but maybe I’m wrong! NINA just show a 1 in brackets in this field as I’m choosing in the ascom driver and entering nothing in NINA. Wish there was a direct driver for this camera. I’ve had a lot of issues with the Ascom driver. I’ve tried the old one but no luck. 1.o.o.4 works most times but seems very shaky! Any advice much appreciated. Sorry if this should be in software threads but it is a camera specific problem so guessed here. Oh and running Windows 10 home 64bit laptop.
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