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About chiralchemist

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    Worksop, Nottinghamshire
  1. Roy, thanks for that. The Astrotech is apparently like an old Williams Optics 66, so has SCT threads on the tube. However, I have a Baader adapter that screws on to let me push fit 2 inch accessories. Inward travel might be the issue again - but I'll see if it will work. Simon
  2. What connections are on the Skywatcher FF? My scope has a SCT tread on the tube, but I do have a Baader 2 inch "push"-adaptor.
  3. Thanks for this suggestion about the SW flattener - I'll check this out. I did use the FWHM feature in APT, and I'm not sure that the soft-stars are a function of me not getting this quite right and / or not having my polar alignment spot-on. A mask is definitely on the shopping list!
  4. Well, 3 years after first getting the astrophotography bug, I managed to get my first reasonable image of a deep sky object, M42. Previously, I've been limited to widefield shots using a 105mm f2.8 Sigma lens, but I've always wanted to get a short-tube for 'closer' shots but have been limited by cost. I managed to get a 400mm ST Astrotech 66ED on Astronomy Buy and Sell just before Christmas, and armed with an excellent second-hand EQ5, my Canon 1100D, and a Dew-Not heater, the above is the result. I took the usual flats and darks, used Deep Sky-Stacker to process and Gimp to tidy up the image. The result is from 20 shots of 30 seconds each. Problems to resolve for the next session. Polar alignment - could not find stars on the East and West horizon. I used the polarscope but I think that the slower scope (compared to my zoom lens anyway) probably need more precise alignment.Aligning the scope - need to get a decent finderscope attached as I was 'flying blind'. Telrad gets good reviews?Horrific field curvature - I did buy and try a Williams Optics Type IV but there was not enough inward travel, so returned it. I also have a Meade SCT flattener that I thought might work and screws onto the SCT at the back of the scope. But again, not enough inward travel to get focus. Anyone know of a way to get around this? I found this article but it looks like they use a W/O type II - not widely available.Longer term - autoguiding - I guess this would resolve (to some extent) precise polar alignment issues. I have a 9 x 50 finderscope I think I can use, and also a fairly cheap f5.0 short tube. I've a couple of web-cams but the QHY5 seems to get the best reviews? Any thoughts.So overall, riding a high this weekend, even though I now have to wait for the weather before my next attempt.
  5. chiralchemist

    Deep Sky

    Deep sky objects
  6. Thanks folks.....hadn't seen astronomy buy and sell before. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  7. I'm looking to get a good short-tube soon for my first foray into deep sky imaging, but am not sure to go for the Williams Optics zs71 or the Skywatcher Evostar 80ED DS-Pro. With reducers, both look to be a similar price, but it looks like the Skywatcher has a wider aperture and focal length, whilst the WO is faster. Anyone have any thoughts? Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  8. Thought I'd share this one with you. After spending the best part of 90 minutes messing around trying to image Mars ( still no success...), and then trying somewhat optimistically to image with a cheap short tube ( ... don't even bother trying this), I returned to my trusty Sigma 105 lens and thought I'd at least have a go at trying to image M101 which was in a good position at approaching midnight. Here's the result.... Trust me when I say that about half way up the image, about a third of the way in from the left is a fuzzy patch that if blown up does have the appearance of spirals . What I'm pleased with is acheiving 60 sec exposures (now my longest yet), and also having success getting the diffraction spikes on Alkaid (top right) using a lens hood with a bottom E-string of an acoustic guitar threaded through it. With summer coming, I now see it's time to start saving the pennies for a short-tube, maybe a Williams Optics? Once again, none of this would have started coming together if it were not for having a decent mount. Best advice for all newcomers - invest in this piece of kit first!
  9. chiralchemist

    Wide field

    Wide field shots
  10. Do you have any recommended settings for the HD movie? I did try this but the image looked way too bright. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  11. Having had some recent success with a couple of wide-field shots I thought I'd use last nights break in the weather to have a go at something different; Jupiter and Mars. Used a Nexstar 127 and a webcam with Sharpcap to control. Jupiter wasn't too bad.... ..although the most frustrating problem I had was finding the image on the screen after centering in the eyepiece. After many wasted minutes slewing slowly back and forth it appears that fiddling with the focus was the key (the focal point of the webcam must be significantly different to the eyepiece). This caused so much of a problem that I couldn't face trying to add a 2 x Barlow as well, which many recommend. The final iimage looks OK, but there is a 'halo' around Jupiter, probably caused by my sharpcap settings (back to this later). Mars was a different beast. No matter how I fiddled this is the 'best' (and I do use this word very loosely) I managed to achieve. I think that the problem lies either in Shapcap or the webcam that I got here... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-3MP-USB2-0-Digital-Eyepiece-Telescope-All-OPERATION-SYSTEMS-PCs-/140938459595?pt=UK_Photography_Telescopes&hash=item20d09639cb ...as I can't use the recommended settings that a number of people have posted. So, any clues or tips on how to improve these especially with the horrifc Mars image are greatly appreciated. I should point out I did try to generate images using APT and my DSLR, but I think they are overexposed and may need some adjustment to settings that I'm not aware of.
  12. chiralchemist


  13. Quite forgot I'd taken this image below..... Last summer we went on a holiday to Sedona, Arizona. One evening we returned to our hotel room late and I noticed a rather blurry sky. After finding my glasses I was astonished by what can be seen at what I didn't realise was a dark sky site. Unfortunately I wasn't prepared for this, so all I had to hand was my DSLR, a trustry 50mm lens, a tiny 'bendy' tripod and and a remote programmable timer. Was able to take the usual series of RAW light and dark images but couldn't manage flats. Quite pleased with the outcome given that I had no specialised equipment to hand. I am now very envious of those who can easily escape to dark sky sites with equipment in tow...
  14. Never had any success with the EQ3. The HEQ5 is so much easier to use. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  15. Been fiddling around with tracking mounts for a while now but have been limited by equipment (only an EQ3). Last November I managed to get hold of a second hand HEQ5 mount and last night I managed to give it a go for the first time, looking at M44. I was quite impressed by the result: Quite please with the result in the end, given my longest frames have only ever been 15s in the past.I used a Canon 1100D, ISO 800, with a 105 Sigma lens at f4.5. The picture is a result of 20 x 40s frames (of course with the usual flats, etc) followed by processing in Deep Sky Stacker and GIMP. I used APT (astrophotography tools) for the session which really helped. I'd previously tried using an illuminated reticule eyepiece to do drift alignment, but the function in APT was excellent. It also really helped to plan the session, since I knew what size the object would be. Setting up the session was easy as well.Hardest part was actually processing as I couldn't seem to get colour into the picture. I'm quite pleased with the final result.
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