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Everything posted by Hightower

  1. Makes no difference. The Android OS locks certain functionality down. Without rooting the OS you can't do as you would like. Dimming apps are available but one that puts a red screen over, I have yet to find.
  2. I think an app to do that would require a rooted phone.
  3. If you want to image planets, invest in a £5 (or less) Xbox webcam - light enough for most scopes/tripods to deal with, and you'll end up with half decent images
  4. I know, Astro Panel told me it was supposed to be crystal clear last night. Was nothing but cloud.
  5. Yeah, after watching your video - it's as James says. Take a look at your gain settings and exposure settings. There's no where near enough light getting in. But looking at your image, I can just see some detail, so that shows you how good a job Registax does, even with such a dull video.
  6. It's not really about the light coming in when talking of FPS, that's your exposure setting. For FPS, you need to find a medium between capturing as many frames as possible in as short a time as possible, but also not having the frame compressed too much. The webcam will compress frames if it can't send them fast enough, resulting in reduced quality as your capture software. I've found that around 10FPS is pretty good. A 30 second video will give me 300 frames, but they don't get compressed too much at the camera. Have an experiment - take a film as 30, and one at 10, and one at 5 and compare the differences. Pick the one that seems the best compromise, but remember that these settings aren't a "I've found a good one, that's it forever" - keep experimenting when you have time, you might just find a setting that gets a better image. Are you barlowed? I would remove the barlow if so. But again with the planets, you don't need to track it perfectly. Have a look at the image I've drawn up. This is on a simplified scale obviously. Say you have 2 frames in your video. Frame 1 shows the left hand side of the moon. Frame 2 wasn't tracked quite right so shows a slightly different part of the moon. You then stick them in the stacking software, which aligns and rotates frames, and finds these two frames overlap, and they both add something to the final image. So your final image would come out, cutting out any bits that didn't fit. So, yes, you need to track a little bit, but it by no means needs to be perfect as the software does so much to help you.
  7. Yes, to an extent. You don't want to have it over exposed, and when talking of photography using a webcam you need multiple frames. The more the better, so don't turn it too low on FPS. The software will decide (along with your input if you want) which frames are classed as poor, and which frames will help make up the final image. I think the default on Registax (from memory) when you select which frames is based on lowest quality, and the level is set to 95% (which can be changed). Now this doesn't mean 95 out of 100 frames will be binned. It means that if a picture isn't within the 95% threshold quality wise (compared to the best frame you have) it will be binned. If you have a really good video, this means that only 70% could be binned. If you have a bad video it could mean 99% is binned. Registax works very well out of the box, but it works even better with a minimal of tweaks - it's definitely worth playing about with it and trying to tease quality out of images. Hey, it's kind of like a sub-hobby for all those cloudy nights we have!
  8. Yeah. With DSO imaging and DSLR camera you leave the mirror open, allowing more light in. If you move the scope while doing this you'll end up with a blurred image. However, with a webcam and planetry you don't leave it open, it just takes a standard video instead. It doesn't matter whether Jupiter starts at the top and then drifts to the bottom as you track it, as the software you use to stack it will align and recentre it for you. You could even use 30 x 25 second clips stitched together to give you more frames and hopefully more detail.
  9. Try 1000, 150, and 15 for the edge. I've just checked and it should fit inside a 150 (rest on the spiders for the secondary). Simply print it on to some card, and get a craft knife and cut all the white bits out. Metal ruler might come in handy too, to keep your lines straight. How did you focus the telescope for the image you took? Did you focus with an eye piece and then just swap out the camera? Or did you try focusing with the camera on the laptop screen? As James has said, longer videos will generally produce better images, but it does sound like a focusing problem if it is totally washed out - you should still see some sort of detail.
  10. You should be fine with manual tracking for planetry work. Sounds to me like your webcam is not in focus. The webcam will have a different focal point to what you have with an eye piece in. Stick the webcam in, and use a home made Bahtinov mask to get the correct focus.
  11. We love the Cumbria Mike, and it doesn't take much of an excuse for me to pack up and head over there. Will there be electric hookups on site (or charging facilities?), and also would the dog be welcome?
  12. I heard there was no stock until the middle of March.... "Hi Hightower, Thanks for your message unfortunately these are out of stock with the supplier at present and won't be available until mid march. Regards Steve"
  13. Hmmmmm, food for thought. She's not bad with me spending money on hobbies. I mean, she's quite happy to let me get a new bike in the summer. Just she wants stuff doing to the house and that is taking priority at the moment.....
  14. Yeah, use the Bahtinov (or similar). Adjust a fraction, let the scope settle, view and adjust again if needed. It's just about small adjustments and letting the scope settle. I don't think people with big scopes have quite the problem as they have sturdier mounts and better focusers, but for smaller scopes it's a case of letting it settle down. You should only need to focus once per eye piece/camera.
  15. You don't need to continually focus - once in focus it will happily stay in focus, so you obviously don't start recording the video until you're all focused up. I found the best way to focus was with a Bahtinov mask. It's fairly easy to make your own, something that looks like this: http://sweiller.free.fr/DSO-Canon10D-300D/bahtinovFocusingMask.jpg Stick it over the telescope, pop your webcam in, and point at a bright star. On your computer screen you will see some diffraction spikes: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6128/5970466310_82189bf413_z.jpg The one on the left and right is out of focus, the centred one is in focus. Take your Bahtinov mask off the scope, and start recording what you want to
  16. Yeah, for the sake of £20 for a proper charger I think I might just shell out.
  17. I find it amazing that we can even do this at all. That you can even capture something so far away with a relatively small scope and cheap equipment (webcam) is crazy, and only leaves me wondering what we will be able to capture with 'amateur' equipment in another 30 years time... It's stunning to see all these marvelous DSO images taken on the more expensive setups, but Jupiter/Saturn/The Moon will still continue to blow my socks off, and the fact that you can take a decent image with a rubbish webcam makes it all worth while. Astronomy really does have a place for all sizes and all budgets.
  18. I don't think she understands all the terms haha. I'm hoping at star camp she will notice that people spend tens of thousands on equipment, and all I want (for the moment) is a £300 dob. There's only really one thing I could use to bribe her with, and I'll be damned if I'm giving up motorbikes haha.
  19. I currently own one of these: http://www.maplin.co.uk/5-in-1-jump-starter-with-portable-power-224871 Does anyone know if I can plug this in to the wall to charge, and then connect the jump start leads to a second battery to charge that?
  20. Well, after a couple of hours of fiddling, mixed with some very dodgy soldering, I now have the innards of my DIY dew heaters. The OTA one will manage about 12 watts I think, and the littler ones around 2-3 watts. Next up, I'm waiting on the wife buying a camping roll mat to package them, and then I will make a start on a dew controller for them. Still undecided whether to buy another jump start battery like I already have, and use a cigarette socket to power them. Option 2 is to buy a leisure battery, with a charging unit, and just power them directly off that.
  21. You can buy an upgrade kit, something like this: http://www.australiatelescopes.com.au/skywatcher-10-inch-dobsonian-telescope-goto-synscan-upgrade-kit-for-manual-push-to-dobs.html
  22. Forgot to mention too, my first scope was one of these: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Celestron-Travel-Scope-Refractor-Outfit/dp/B006MCYAH4/ref=sr_1_10?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1361262629&sr=1-10 Still got it, but it never gets used now. If you are interested, give me a shout and we'll sort something out.
  23. Hi, it's AZ mount - it doesn't take up too much room, and I plan on keeping it as well (so not an upgrade, more like a new purchase). The 200 dob is out of stock until next month, so gives me more time to persuade her - with a star camp coming up I'm sure I'll be able too. In the meantime, it's observing with the 130 (which isn't so bad really).
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