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About dunc

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  • Interests
    Astronomy (Duh!), fettling and tinkering, doing stuff, the beach, walking, cycling, having a nice time.
  • Location
    Manche, France
  1. I use an old film changing bag, I put the cover on the scope (black plastic) and put it over the end of the scope and wrap the arm hole bits round the OAG and guide camera (its a 6" newt) to guard against like leaks. I cover the scope body (carbon fibre) with thick black cloth just in case. I am VERY careful to make sure the cameras cooling vents are clear of any obstruction. The back of the a scope has metal cover, I found a pedal bin lid that fitted perfectly as otherwise the mirror back is exposed and it has an unsilvered centre spot doughnut - big light leak! BTW I have found the ZWO ASCOM driver doesn't produce dark darks with my camera, as an APT user this has caused endless problems. I have switched to SharpCap for the minute as the native drive doesn't exhibit the same issue. (ASICAP, APT, SharpCap, same stretch applied via menu otpion).
  2. Hi, I have an 1100D and have no problems with its RAW CR2 files in DSS 4.2.2 (which I have used for many years). A 450D should be no different if its producing CR2 files. Modding makes no difference to the file format. I don't know how experienced you are with DSS but to see if you have data don't use any Darks, Flats, Bias - keep it simple. Use only a few Lights to keep it quick, also you can select an area on a Light and only process that part of the image - saves a huge amount of time when your trying settings. Use the visualisation slider top right to inspect the lights to check you have an image to stack . If the colour is pants (should be very pink with a modded DSLR) change the Bayer Matrix by choosing an equivalent Canon camera in Raw/FITS DDP Settings FITS tab, but Generic RGGB should work as Canons use that layout as far as I'm aware. Turn off all RGB/Background calibration - Stacking Parameters dialog, Light tab bottom of dialog, click blue text which will change when you have set the options. I use Kappa Sigma Average stacking mostly with params of 1.5 kappa and 1 iteration. Run the Registeration/Stacking process. When the final image comes up it will look black with a couple of bright spots (maybe) of bright stars. Select Link Settings check box. Move the RGB/K black level to the right until the colour graphs broaden out, move the middle triangles so that the graph line intersect the colour graphs at the start of the curve. Set Saturation to at least 20%. Click Apply. If nothing starts to appear maybe your lights are darks! Hope that helps Duncan
  3. I'll be on my local beach looking out towards Jersey, forecast is clear - here's hoping. I saw a bit of the last one from South London, this should be much better. If anyones in this part of Manche, France it may be an opportunity to get together for some observing.
  4. I did this to my NEQ6, painful. That chip is a power regulator, I tried replacing it but didn't have a hot air soldering gun at the time, so gave in a bought a new board. You would think there would be a couple of diodes to help prevent this. External to the mount I use a power module from China to get 12v from a 19V laptop power brick and that has overcurrent and reverse polarity protection, it also has voltage and current metering, all for £8.99... Skywatcher should incorporate one in the mount!
  5. Hi Martin, In twelve years of imaging I have used Hartman masks and eyeballs, good old Bahtinov Grabber (which has an autofocus capability but I still use manually), APTs two methods, BG (not auto!) and FWHM/HFM, never tried temperature compensation or filter change capabilities. I have seen SGP autofocus used by friends and it seems OK but took a while to go through its routine, SGP has never tempted me. Recently I have discovered N.I.N.A. which works really well and is very easy to use. I set up sequences to refocus every 5 or ten subs depending how long they are. It can refocus on filter change and temperature change as well. It does a really good job. Of course you can autofocus from the image capture window as well. The only thing that lets NINA down for me is it takes a long time to display an image, APT is much faster, but it's new software so it might improve. I have used NINA for all night mosaic runs (very easy to set up) and not had problems. Hope that helps, Duncan
  6. I took my SA apart a year ago to resolder the USB socket - the power connector mod is a great idea. I did the fiddling with gears and so on. On mine there is a hex grub screw for adjusting the worm mesh on the outside of the casing which makes a lot of difference but its easy to make the worm bind so it needs care. I've used it a few times in anger but never seem to be able to get anything I mount on it to focus and stay focused, even when connected to a laptop. Must be jinxed.
  7. Hi Dave, What software are you using to polar align? I use PHD2 v2.6.5dev5 for guiding but it also has three polar alignment routines built in which are very accurate , one is drift alignment but the other two work on the stars around the pole. SharpCap 2.9+ also has a really good polar alignment tool also working on the polar star field. I get PA of around 1" to 0.5" using SharpCap 3.x and my main camera, well worth £10 and I don't have to slew the mount east and south so its dead quick and fairly foolproof (which is good for me!). HTH Duncan
  8. I have derotated Jupiter many times but never bothered with Saturn for the reasons noted above. My first observation is you haven't set your location ( as mentioned above). WinJupos calulates the outline projection very accurately and you are not telling it you observed Saturn from Staffordshire. Therefore you can't line up your images and the outline well enough. I am sure your location also affects the de-rotation calulations as it works out were to move pixels tiny amounts. Accurate measurement is key. WinJupos was written for a scientific purpose, us planetary imagers using it for de-rotation of a set of consecutive images is a happy byproduct of whats needed to measure planetary features accurately. As the Jupos.org website says... "Most important software tool of the project is WinJUPOS written by Grischa Hahn. It is specially designed for amateur astronomers to record and analyse positions of features on Jupiter (and other planets), and to display them in suitable time-longitude or other coordinate systems. With its help you are able to process visual observations (Central Meridian transit timings, micrometer measurements) but also to measure electronic images (scanned photos, CCD or webcam images). Positions are written to a special JUPOS database, and can be queried, filtered and displayed graphically." Hope that helps, Duncan
  9. Power banks expect to be charging something with a sizeable power drain, if not enough current is drawn they switch off. Attach something to the second port if it has one e.g. a phone that needs charging or rig up a dew heater to run off 5v with a USB connector - anything to draw current. HTH Duncan
  10. I've got a small stack of small veroboards for projects. I sympathise on the delivery charges front, in France free delivery seems an anathema. I seem to be able to order stuff from A..z.n UK for less postage a lot of the time and half the suppliers on ebay.fr are based in the UK anyway. And don't get me started on delivery times... sometimes it's quicker to order direct from China! BTW We still need to meet up for a coffee two... Not too many astronomers around here that I know of.
  11. Hi Andy, I'm Carole's friend of many years standing, we both belong to the Orpington Astronomical Society and post our astro images on the forum there. Carole sent me an email saying you were looking for fellow astronomy fiends in Manche, I live about 45 mins south of Cherbourg. I also have been hankering after a bit of astro-socialisation, but there doesn't seem to be a local association or club that's still active. I'll PM you. Duncan
  12. Hi I'm Dunc and new to the SGL but a long time member of the Orpington Astronomical Society, The Duncan Mask document was drawn up by me based on something I read on the web, I used to have great difficulty collimating my 8" LX90. I still do as the dratted thing needs collimating every time it's used. I tried out of focus stars etc. but they were too imprecise especially given my far from perfect eyes. It takes 10 minutes, scissors and a piece of card to make the mask and it will save you hours *and* you will be certain your SCT is collimated correctly. My next astro kit project is to dismantle and reassemble the secondary holder to find out why it won't hold collimation. Should have done it years ago!
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