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    Astronomy (duh), photography, science.
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    Buenos Aires, Argentina

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  1. Hi! I have a skytracjer and I also have a Polarie. I'd leave the Astrotrac out of discussion as it is a different thing, the AT can hold about 15kg so it's a lot more robust and less portable. I've done a comparison between the Polarie and the Skytracker and to be honest there is no winner. The skytracker has some serious design issues. The battery door is horrible and will break if you try to change batteries in the cold, mine is duct-taped. There's declination control but no azimuth so you have to either move the tripod legs or buy a rotation base. I'm using a feisol panoramic base that fits the unit very well. The led for the polarscope is too bright to use the PS but too dim to notice if the unit is working or not so if you run out of batteries good luck noticing it. So far I can say: - The polarie polarscope is much much better but you have to remove the camera to PA and that's terrible. With the skytracker you don't need to remove the camera to improve alignment. - The polarie will only work for about 2 hours with two AA batteries, the skytracker can work for about 20 hours with 4AAs. - With the polarie you need to use two tripod heads with the Ioptron you can skip one if you use a panning base. My conclusion is that if you add a panning base and duct-tape the battery door then the Ioptron is better because you don't need two tripod heads, the batteries last longer and you can polar-align without removing the camera. I've done 10 minutes exposures with the Polarie and 4/5 minutes with the Ioptron mainly because in the south hemisphere the Vixen PS is a pleasure and the Ioptron PS not so good. In the North hemisphere I believe it will work fine. Hope it helps! Luis
  2. I understand now, you are using an eyepiece to find the target. Well without goto it is indeed a bit of a problem! You may try centering your target, putting the DSLR on the scope and then unclutch the DECl or AR know but only that one and sweep to see if you can find a star that may be used to focus in live-view then you can return to your target as you only need to move back to the original position.
  3. I also own a Mak 127, I know your pains I bought a Bahtinov mask from a UK seller via ebay for my Mak, it works really well. But why can't you focus on a bright star before anything and then do the alignment or whatever you do to image? Strange! The Maks are really picky about temperature changes, I let mine out 2 hours before imaging and re-adjust the focus every 1 or 2 hours depending on the temperature changes. APT can help you do that if you add the temperhum sensor, it's also good to monitor probable dew. Finally I've found that at such long focal length the sharpness really depends on the seeing, some nights it just doesn't work at all. Hope it helps, M5 looks nice!
  4. Hi all, I'm doing some experiments in deep-sky imaging with my Skymax 127 telescope (Mak-Cass 5''). It has very nice resolution and the long focal length helps me battle light pollution. I'm noticing the stars have a curious shape/aberration pointing towards the center of the frame. I wonder if a field-flattener is what I need or if the problem is due to something else. If it's a curvature problem do you know a good FF that I can use with this scope? Here's an example of the keyhole using a Canon 60Da at prime focus 120x1min subs guided. Thanks!
  5. Howdy all, On March 1st the Moon occulted Spica for observers in South America. Just before the occultation thin clouds produced a nice and colorful lunar Corona. The photos I took are here: http://www.luisargerich.com/spica The ones I like the most: 1) HDR of 8 shots showing the corona and Spica nearby 2) Single shot showing Spica in the glare of the Corona 3) Half a Spica! Thanks for looking! Luis
  6. Thanks again! Just the camera. There's a video crop mode in the 550D, 60D & 60Da that uses the central pixels of the sensor for a 7x magnification, it shoots at 640x480 60fps using real pixels. The other Canon cameras either don't have this mode or if they have it is just an interpolation of the video-hd mode (not real pixels). That's why the 550D, the 60D and the 60Da are excellent cameras for portable planetary work, you don't need a computer to shoot. See my reply above, the 1100 doesn't have this mode. Don't worry you can still use BackyardEOS to record movies from live-view for planetary work. BYE will produce an AVI file that you can stack with Autostakkert! or Registax directly.
  7. Thank you! The DSLRS with a video crop mode really have little difference compared to a DMK-style camera and you don't need a computer to shoot or filters. Thank you Steve, the rings are nicely opened this season, hope the view gets even better by April. Thanks! I have M83 on my to-do list, I haven't ventured into galaxies yet but maybe I will soon :-) Thanks! The Mak is really a wonderful tool for planetary images. Yes I often use a 2x Celestron Barlow or a 4x barlow depending on the seeing. I hope your raiders bounce back from the recent draft disasters!
  8. Hi All, I took this image yesterday February 21 from my home using a Symax 127 (5'' Mak). The adqusition was done with a Canon 550D in 640x480 @60fps crop video mode. Aligned and stacked with Autostakkert!, wavelets applied in Registax and final touch with PS. For the satellites I took an extra exposure at ISO6400 and 2'' of exposure. Mimas and Enceladus were too close to the planet to be seen. Saturn is looking good this year. Thanks! Luis
  9. Argentinians shouldn't be allowed here, they are weird.... :grin:
  10. Thanks for the replies. I'm still not sure if the problem is collimation or guiding, 1500mm is pushing the guiding somehow and my seeing is always very bad. I guess I will have to test everything and go crazy like a maniac. In other words another normal day... Any recomendation for artificial stars?
  11. Hi all, I own a Skymax 127 Mak-Cass. In some photos I´m noticing the stars are not 100% perfectly round, this can be either a guiding problem or misscolimation. I don´t know which one it is so I would like to verify if the scope is perfectly collimated. I know Maks hold collimation very well but mine travels a lot so it may be an issue. I wonder which would be the best way to test collimation, cheshire? artificial star? Just a collimator cap? Defocusing a star is one way but I would need to have the star perfectly centered in the eyepiece for that so I´m not sure... Which way woud you recommend me to test collimation and collimate the scope if needed? Thanks! Luis
  12. Thank you for your warm comments, all of them are appreciated! :smiley:
  13. Thanks for the comments! Thank you I think F6.3
  14. Hi all, A recent photo from the very popular Orion Belt. Taken with the 60Da, 400mm F5.6 lens and Astrotrac Mount. 42 subs of 1 minute each. Cheers! Luis
  15. To the OP: Try converting first fron NEF to TIFF using RawTherapee (free), you can adjust the same WB, exposure and other settings for all your images at this stage. Then load all the Tiff files into Pipp as James and Cgarry suggested. The final tiff files should load in Autostakkert!2 for the final stack. (I'll be doing my tests and will come back to this thread with my results in case they are useful for other lunatics... er lunar imagers)
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