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About RobertI

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    Sub Dwarf

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    Near Colchester
  1. 130SLT

    Very nice captures Rob, the setup is working very well. Do you use the plate solving for navigating to the objects?
  2. Can you guess part 2

    Powercuts? Cramp? Police helicopter? (I'm getting deparate now! )
  3. Software for astro sketching

    @Phil Fargaze thanks for the information, looks like a very relevant publication, I'll check it out and report back. @Ruud thanks for all the information. I must admit I had been thinking more about sketching using the ipad rather than the pc (although I didn't state this!) but given that I would be doing the sketching inside later on, then using the pc seems more sensible. The wacom intuos pad looks very accurate and flexible. I guess this approach would be much better than an ipad (a very old 2nd generation one in my case) and touch pen? Love the Clavious sketch by the way, initially I thougt it was a photo!
  4. Software for astro sketching

    Ok will do! It seems that software could be ideally suited to astro sketching as it should be easy to draw and place stars, select the correct colour and brightness, blend, smudge, select sky brightness, select fov, etc. Anyway lets see what I find.
  5. Software for astro sketching

    Sorry if this is a commonly asked question but does anyone use any apps or software for sketching? I read an article linked on another thread where the author had produced a sketch using Photoshop, and the results were really good. It seems that astro sketching could be ideally suited for an app/sw (I hope I am not breaking some unwritten law of sketching by saying this!). I sometimes do very rough scribble sketches while at the eyepiece with lots of words and labels to help me write observing reports the next day, and I could potentially use these to do more accurate sketches. Paper and pencil is the obvious way, but the software approach intrigues me, has anyone tried this?
  6. Does size matter?

    I agree with the above comments, it's a combination of choosing the right f ratio for the brightness of the object and the right focal length to frame the object. You can't always get both! I have a variety of scopes and reducers for different objects, for example: The C8 at native F10 is good for small bright planetary nebulae like the Catseye Nebula The C8 at F3.3 is good for smaller, and usually faint galaxies and galaxy clusters The 66mm refractor at F3 is good for large faint nebulae like the North American nebula and Ha The smaller refractors are so easy to use for EAA, as the wide field means stuff is easy to find and tracking does not have to be spot on. My most used setup is the RC6 (because I prefer the focusser over the C8) at F4.5 as this nicely frames hundreds of interesting galaxies and galaxy clusters which particularly interest me, and with exposures of 30 seconds or less. HTH.
  7. Can you see stars in other galaxies?

    Hats off to @Swithin StCleeve for being brave enough to ask a question that wasn't so daft after all! I love these kinds of question, I always learn so much. A fascinating article, I think I will have a go at NGC206 with my little Lodestar live imaging setup (because I know that I won't have a hope of resolving visually with my C8). It was also interesting to see a sketch which was generated in Photoshop - not something I have come across before, might start another thread on this.....
  8. First EAA session in 12 months

    Thanks for the encouragement Tony. I think part of the problem is lack of available time and clear skies to hone my skills and tweak the equipment. When there is a clear night I just want to just go and observe (using EAA). I think an observatory is the answer but sadly I just dont have the room, so will have to work on ways to speed up my setup. You have some very nice equipment by the way, I assume you use the Hyperstar with the Ultrastar (colour or mono)?
  9. After two house moves in 6 months, I finally managed to unpack my EAA gear and have a 'shake down' session. It did not go terribly well, it took ages to set up, and gotos did not seem to find anything - I think I must have chosen an incorrect alignment star under the strong moonlight, but could also have been to do with the fact that I could only use stars east of the meridian - so I had to slew manually to the objects. Also the scope/camera was only operating at F6.8 when I put it together, so I had to adjust it down to more like F4.5 which has yielded ok results in the past (although sometimes the demon of coma appears for no apparent reason). Anyway after much effort I did manage to get the images below to prove that the setup is at least working. I hope I'll get back into the groove, but the whole setting up thing seemed to take a long time and so many things can and do go wrong, it's not filled me with enthusiasm for the next session. All captures with a RC6, Meade 3.3 reducer, Lodestar mono, Starlight Live, and RGBHa filter wheel. M103 in mono: M103 using the RGB filters: M42 just rising over roof tops:
  10. Stargazersonline.com any relation ?

    Did a quick bit of sleuthing, this appears to be a forum to support a weekly astro TV programme being broadcast by a South Florida TV company: http://www.stargazersonline.org/
  11. What is your favourite piece of equipment?

    I'm going to choose two: My Rigel Quickfinder, can be swapped between scopes, so easy to adjust, light, well thought out and cheap. Sky Safari Pro, incrediby rich with information and functionaly, just so useful for planning, imaging, observing and researching, runs on my phone and ipad, could even control my scope if wanted. Amazing. I know we are not allowed to include OTAs, but I love my little shiny orange anodised Zentihstar 66mm refractor with its silky smooth focuser and sliding dew shield. A little object of desire and incredibly versatile but also sadly my least used scope at the moment.
  12. What a useful guide, thank you! I must admit that I have been bamboozled by the ever changing model numbers of ZWO. I know that the ZWO CMOS cameras are becoming very popular for EAA, and I think Sharpcap now does live stacking and is pretty good for EAA (though not as good as Atik and SX s/w which have camera & software packages dedicated to EAA). A bigger chip is definitely on the list though, thanks for the advice.
  13. Thanks Ray, it sounds really good, I think I need to have a go to really see if it works for me. Another BIG advantage I guess is that I can use any of my scopes and not worry about having to switch the electronic finder/starsense accessory. Presumably would need different catalogues for the different FOVSs? My setup involves Nextremote s/w controlling the mount and sometimes Stellarium talking to the mount. Would Astrotortilla or SGPro work seamlessly with that setup? Hi Louise, I don't guide as most exposures for EAA are less than 30 seconds, so one less problem. As for scopes I use three scopes, the C8@F10, the RC6@F4.5 and the 72mm@F3 depending in the object. The RC6 is the one I use most but I do switch, so anything that makes that easier would be good. Good suggestion about the larger chip, that is something else on the list, I guess the downside is the potential coma like effects on the bigger chip at the massive reductions I use...another unknown! That's really good to hear, and very reassuring. Which scope do you use and at what F ratio?
  14. Thanks @Thalestris24, @RayD, @CrashEd, @HandyAndy, @BlueAstra and @newbie alert. To answer a few questions and clarify, my main goal is really to get observing with the camera as quickly as possible, and reduce the likelihood of problems. Typical problems include: I cock up the polar alignment (I'm pretty adept but still get it wrong sometimes) and I don't find out until I realise that tracking is not good. Occasionally the polar scope becomes off-centred too, so I feel I have to check that each time too, adding to the setup time. Goto alignment does not work first time. Usually I do manual alignment indoors using a homebrew electronic finder I have, but sometimes initial alignment gotos are way off for some reason, and alignment stars are not even in the field of view of the electronic finder, so I have to start again. Also manual alignment can take time as you have to select alignment stars which you can easily identify and you feel are in the right place, just a bit tedious. The gotos are not quite good enough and do not get the object in the field of view - this is terminal as I have no way to find the object. So I believe an altaz mount would solve problem 1, Starsense would solve problem 2 and platesolving through the main camera would solve problems 2 & 3. If I am being honest problems 2 and 3 are the biggest issues. Although I like Starsense, I do worry about it's ability to get accurate enough alignment so that the gotos can get the image into a tiny camera chip. Also not everyone seems to get on with it. It would appear that platesolving using the main cam is the answer, but how quick and easy is it and how well will it work with a tiny field of view? Do you need a fast computer? I have an i3. Sorry if I have rambled, but it helps to talk it throug, so thanks for being patient!
  15. I'm planning to do as much EAA/Video as I can this winter. I currently have a CG5 which I operate from inside the house - it does the job, but polar alignment plus goto alignment takes a little while and it is potentially pretty noisy for the neighbours. I'd like to simplify and speed up my setup time, and am thinking I have two options: Add Starsense to my existing setup - about £360 including special cable required for CG5 - I have been told this produces accurate enough alignment to get objects onto the tiny chip of my Lodestar and should speed up setup time, also believe I will have to find an alternative to Nexremote for remote control of mount. I feel there are a few risks with this approach. Buy a nice quiet modern altaz/eq goto, such as the AZ-EQ5 - about £950 (or £820 clearance on FLO) - easier to align than an EQ, can use EQ Mod for remote control, nice and quiet, but no Starsense (cannot stretch to new mount and star sense...yet), possibly not saving as much setup time as with option 1 - I would need to sell a couple of my lesser used scopes as well as my current mount to fund this. Head says StarSense, heart says new mount. Any sage advice from the forum to help me decide would be appreciated! Rob