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JGM1971

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Everything posted by JGM1971

  1. I got the NexYZ adaptor yesterday, but only had 10mins of experimenting with it due to clouds last night. I'm heading down the Mono + Pro mode route too, as I'm getting lens flare like artifacts using the RGB lens. I think it's due to the location of the laser focus beam between the top 2 lenses on the P20 pro. (got a passing 737 though!) ? Altair 72ED-R with 32mm eyepiece...
  2. Can I ask what settings or mode you are using on the P20 Pro? I've recently got one too, and am awaiting the arrival of my Celestron NexYZ phone adaptor, so I can hook it up to my Altair 72ED-R. I'm looking at getting a cheap Alt-Az once again, as since starting this thread, I have moved to the dark side and got an EQ mount, but I do miss the simple "drop and go" nights of Alt-Az. My ideal "instant astro imaging" setup will be Alt-Az mount, 72ED-R and P20 Pro, if the images start to come through ok. I've not used the P20 Pro in PRO mode or shot in RAW yet, but it opens up a whole new area of experimentation going forward. John
  3. Wow! This forum just keeps rolling! Just popped back in the see how my baby is going. Love the images and the advice that is being shared. The long summer nights have kept my kit well and truely in storage, but I'm looking forward to the dark nights again. Might be over my affair with the dark side, as the issues I pointed out in the rules at the beginning do indeed hinder the fun at times. EQ mounts are amazing, but the number of nights I've wasted with poor alignment or set up issues is causing me to reconsider my move. Love the OTA, but might get a good old Alt Az again for "drop n go" imaging. Keep up the good work and clear skies to you all. John
  4. I got the astrophotography bug last year, after several years of mainly visual fun with my trusty Nexstar 6SE. I sold it and traded up to an EQ mount and small refractor. Best decision ever, but it's still a steep learning curve a year on from the change to EQ, so just be aware that nothing is as simple as it looks. Rush anything at your peril, especially with the rare UK clear skies. I've wasted several nights due to rushing to set up, then wasting the rest of the night taking images I can't use. Taking all that into consideration, don't aim too big too soon. I'm more than impressed with my iOptron SmartEQ Pro mount and Altair Astro 72ED-R refractor. I originally got a Skywatcher ED80 DS Pro, but it was just a little too heavy for the mount after I added a finder, focal reducer, DSLR. The 72mm is light, has great glass and has a lovely wide field of view, as it's only just over 400mm focal length, but fast at f6. I live just outside Newcastle, so suffer from light pollution too, but imaging deep sky objects is proving easy enough so far. I would recommend that you go to an astronomy store before buying, as the advice is great, plus you get to see and feel the gear before you buy. Images in magazines and online never truly show you the size, or more importantly the weight, of mounts and scopes. Important if you plan to head out to a darker sky one night. Green Witch have a store in Birstall, plus Grovers in Northallerton (a bit further afield, I know) have a great range on display in store. Hope this helps. Image of M51 Whirlpool Galaxy, taken from my light polluted Tyneside garden. Still lots to learn, but i was so pleased to finally image this!
  5. Wow, wow and indeed wow! After starting this thread all those months ago, I never expected so many comments and amazing images to be posted. I've picked up lots of hints and tips over the time, as I hope you all have too, as this was the main hope for my initial post. I have a terrible admission though, I've gone to the dark side!! I now have an EQ mount ?. I was right, AltAz is a lot easier, but the temptation grew too much and a member of my local Astro club offered cold hard cash for my Nexstar. Keep up the fantasic work.
  6. Looking at the shape and off centre blur on the stars, I'd say it was collimation of your secondary mirror. You'll need to adjust the small screws on the back of you scope (very carefully). Esiest way is to point at a bright star, then de-focus til you see a "doughnut". If you see the central "hole" off centre, then you need to adjust the screws until it lies in the centre.
  7. I've been getting more and more into Astrophotography (mainly planetary, with some DSLR wide field stuff too) but the DSO bug has got a hold of me since imaging the Leo Triplet, M31 and some Globular Clusters back in March, while under The Lake District's perfect clear, dark skies. I'm using a Nexstar 6SE, so I'm on an AltAz mount, so I know the mount will have to change to EQ if I want to get better results. I was considering an AVX mount and that was the issue sorted, but seeing the size of it, has me considering going in a different direction... Should I sell the 6SE and get a whole new set up? Thinking of going smaller, as having something more portable would be a real advantage too. Considering an ED80 DS Pro, but wanted to know if moving to an 80mm APO refractor, would be better or worse than the 150mm SCT I have? Next query is back to the mount. As I'll still need EQ, what would be the best option for the ED80? Is there a sturdy EQ mount that can handle the OTA, DSLR and be future proof in case I one day add a small guide scope, or would I still need an AVX or HEQ5, etc? Grrrr, why did I get hooked on this hobby!!!
  8. Thanks for first few bits of advice (as opposed to advise, as in my title... D'oh!!)
  9. The imaging bug has bitten and it's not going away... The piggy bank is (very) slowly filling up, with the intention of upgrading my Nexstar AltAz for Celestron AVX EQ mount. To speed up the purchase, I was thinking of selling the Nexstar and keeping the 6" SCT OTA, as I have a f6.3 focal reducer, dew shield, focus mask & SCT to T-Adaptor fitting and "Bob's Knobs" for collimating. A local dealer has recently offered me £200 trade-in for the mount if I purchased the AVX from them, but highlighted that If I traded in the entire set-up I'd obviously get considerably more and could therefore buy a new AVX with an 8" SCT as the outstanding amount would not be too much more. Plus, most of the accessories would therefore fit the new 8" too. (I'll just get a new set of "Bob's knobs" if required). Since the dealer has mentioned this, (damn him!!! ) I've started looking at other options like a wide field scope. The 6SE is a great all rounder, so I've done a lot of planetary / lunar and even sampled a bit of white light solar imaging with it, but I'm now craving deeper skies and longer exposures that the mount definitely can't deliver, but I'm not sure if I'm fine to stick with the 6" OTA, or if I'll soon be needing more aperture or a refractor for DSO imaging. If I need to change the OTA and the mount, it seems like a good opportunity to kill 2 birds with one stone. Given these options, I'm looking for advise and pro's & con's to help with my decision. Option 1 Sell the Nexstar mount only, keep the 6" OTA - trade up to AVX. Pro - Finally get an EQ mount (and a good one by all accounts) and it's the easiest option for my very slim budget. Con - Can't think of a one! Option 2 Sell the whole mount/scope - buy an AVX 8" SCT. Pro - Better Mount & more light gathering, plus I can keep f6.3 FR and camera adaptor Con - Need to replace Bahtinov Mask and Bob's Knobs, plus set up costs more. Option 3 Sell the whole mount/scope - buy another EQ mount / Scope (ED 80?) Pro - Smaller scope = easier to transport, so might get more use (the 6SE has only ever travelled once and it filled the boot). Con - starting all over again with accessories, so costs starting to rise when this is factored in. Any advise very gratefully received. John
  10. Best thing I ever did was to manage my own expectations on what I could do with the kit I could afford. Yes, my images do not come close some of the things I've seen in the imaging section, but as I've not spent £10,000+ on my kit and don't live in a dark sky site, I just appreciated them for what they were. DSLR + 6" SCT on an AltAz mount... so I'm never going t I started a thread on Imaging "the no EQ DSO challenge" to see what other people could do and to pick up some hints and tips and although I am saving the pennies to eventually get an EQ mount, I have been very impressed with the results you can get in a bad location, with entry level kit. Learn to use the kit you have, keep a note of settings, set-up, etc so you can replicate and refine as you get more experience and only upgrade once you truly have maxed out the potential for the camera, mount, scope, etc as starting over with a new piece of kit will bring it's own issues or learning curve and rarely an instant increase in the results. Of course, if I win the lottery I'll be blowing millions of pounds on a state of the art observatory in the back garden of my new country house in a dark sky site!
  11. Yes, 6.3 reducer used on M3 and the Leo Triplet images.
  12. It's actually M3, not M53. My bad! Need to start an observing log, as the memory is getting a bit rusty.
  13. They were beyond help, as the trailing / focus / collimation was poor on most of them.
  14. oops! Canon 600D attached to my Nexstar 6SE. ISO 6400, for 20secs. That's about the max I can get without star trailing, although I took about 20 shots of both targets and these were the best of the bunch. No flats, darks or bias frames subtracted from either, but I ran them through Photoshop to sharpen a bit and tweak levels.
  15. M53 Globular Cluster & the Leo Triplet. Single Light frames taken while experimenting under the dark skies of the Lake District, UK.
  16. New 3x Barlow getting it's first light. What a difference it makes too. Registax training coming along ok, but still a lot of trial and error.
  17. This is my weapon of choice. Nexstar 6SE, with Canon 600D & 18-200mm lens, on piggyback mount. Used this to get the M31 image I posted earlier in the thread (also the last clear night I've had) It was the first time I'd used the piggy back, but as the image showed, it worked fine.
  18. I do. Newcastle, UK. It was part of the reason I started this thread, as I wanted to see just what targets were potentially possible when not tracking EQ - I presumed that if you were an Alt As user, then part of your reason was that due to location, light pollution would rule out having a much higher spec set up. I generally look to see if it's clear, then quickly set up in the back garden, using part of my house to block as much of the lamp posts in the street. Hence, I have no views West!
  19. Quick M31 tonight. DSLR piggy backed on Nexstar 6SE. 34 x 30sec subs, no darks, 20 bias (was intending to to 100 subs, but battery ran out - school boy error!)
  20. I'd have to say no to Barn Doors too, as they still track equatorially. Sorry.
  21. Thanks for being the first to post. Now this is EXACTLY what I wanted to see. It can be done. :-)
  22. M81 / 82 image taken from light polluted Newcastle garden. Overlay of 2 x 25 second images, as I had each galaxy centralised in the field of view to help with the vignetting caused by using f6.3 focal reducer.
  23. I'm still fairly new to imaging, but have had a good start with Planetary and Wide Field images. Obviously, like most of us, it's the Deep Sky stuff I'd like to glimpse, but time, location and more importantly budget are limiting factors. I currently use an Alt Az platform (Nexstar 6SE) paired with either a webcam (ZWO ASI120 on the Xmas list) or a Canon 600D DSLR and have found SGL forums to be a great source of info and inspiration, but do get a little exasperated when scrolling through threads posted by people in a similar equipment position to me to constantly advised to "just buy an EQ mount". I will, but for the moment, the £1,000 has alternate requirements. I loved the thread started by Stevie P below (30 minute Challenge) so thought I'd see what we, the lowly Alt Az community, could assemble. Please post images and setting data, as a way to assist others. I know they won't be Hubble quality, I know EQ users can do much better, I know it's going to be flooded with M31 grainy attempts, but who knows, a few of us might have squeezed a few more photons out of the sky with our limited kit. Rules: 1: Please don't post planetary / lunar images, as we know we can do these just as good as the EQ big boys. 2: You must have used an Alt Az mount (No EQ, Polarie, AstroTrak, etc) but a fixed camera tripod is fine too as I've seen some REALLY good images taken this way - 500 x 1sec subs, is just as good as 1x 500sec sub (ok, field rotation aside). 3: Give as much settings info as you can, so others can copy/learn the tricks. 4: Don't post advise saying "hey, that's great but you can do this... with a £50,000 observatory class set up, perfect dark skies from Antarctica, etc" as we know it already! :-) Look forward to the posts and learning to do things a little better myself (my main reason in posting this). Finally, don't feel 2nd class as an Alt Az user, remember we can drop the kit and observe / image in seconds some nights - very handy when clouds roll out, then back most nights. Try getting an EQ set up, polar / drift aligned, guider tracking in that time! Only kidding, no fighting please. John
  24. Just what I wanted to hear. Thanks for the feedback. Nice image too!
  25. Just wanted to check if anyone is happily doing planetary & lunar imaging using the simple setup above. I'm currently managing ok with an SPC900 webcam, but want to make the jump to a camera with a bit more oomph! I've read several reviews and this seems to be the best option for my humble budget.
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