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Everything posted by Delboy_Hog

  1. Hi all, A little while back, I took a sequence of photos of the sun, with the intention of doing a time-lapse. Unfortunately, before my planned sequence of photos had finished, I had to move my mount and scope because the sun was about to go behind a tree (poor planning on my part, I know!). The problem is that in moving it, I loosened the clutches on the HEQ5 mount, so the camera was (unbeknown to me at the time) rotated a few degrees out from where it had been previously. When I've come to making the time-lapse, there's a 'jump-point' where the features on the sun's surface in the animation jump to a slightly different place. To add to my problems, the features in Windows Photos and the various online tools that can rotate an image by just a few degrees, resize the image in doing so....so I can correct the angles so that the features appear in the same place throughout, but now the jump-point in the time-lapse is a significant re-sizing of the sun, which looks equally weird... Has anyone made this mistake before, and does anyone know if / how it's possible to rotate a photo by just a few (probably 15 or so) degrees without re-sizing the object in the photo in doing so? Many thanks for any light you can shed on this for me! Derek
  2. That really is epic Olly! Congratulations on another cracking image!
  3. Hmmm, a difficult choice, and one I can certainly relate to. Can't help on the pros / cons of various pixel sizes I'm afraid, but for panoramas and nightscapes, I opted for the 6D, and it's an absolute beast, especially if coupled with a fast, wide lens (I highly recommend the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 - excellent value for money in my view, in a market where you can spend *way* more, depending on the brand). The difference in image quality from my old 1100d is very significant, and worth the higher cost for me. Maybe spend a bit of time looking at other images on here or on 'Astrobin' - it might give you a better idea of what you can expect from the various combinations? My only caution with the 6D route would be to check the budget for the inevitable extras - spare batteries, carry-bags etc. Unfortunately I made the mistake of strapping my 6d to my ED80 scope and now I don't want to go back to using the 1100d and want a second 6d - one for widefield, one for the scope... Unfortunately the piggy bank is empty, so that's a no-go!! I have no experience of the 800d I'm afraid, and others with experience may shout me down here, but I worry that the 800d won't feel like a significant enough upgrade from the 1000d. I have no doubts that the 6D images will feel like an upgrade. The obvious problem with that could be (and was for me) that it prohibits other purchases until funds recover. So you might have to prioritise what you fancy doing most, between a widefield nightscape set-up and a deep-sky scope / mount set up. Good luck whatever you decide. Enjoy the feeling of excitement that comes with deciding new astro-purchases!
  4. Lovely image. Wowsers, 20s subs? That camera is a beast. I've been eyeing up the Leo Triplet with a view to hunting the tidal tail, but reckon I'd need 20m subs at least, and that's with the 6D, which is pretty sensitive. I wonder how long (or rather, how short) an exposure you'd need to find it with the A7s? Keep up the good work - looking forward to seeing more of your images!
  5. Ah fab, thanks for that Charl - I'll give it another whirl and see how I get on. Thanks, and congrats again on the images!
  6. Nice catch Charl, and a couple of really crisp images as a reward! Do you mind my asking how you're stacking your lunar frames? I've been meaning to go back to taking more photos of the moon, and had previously used Registax. Think I've had some windows update thing since last time I did that and for some reason it now seems to struggle and crash when I upload either raw of jpeg files of the moon (strange, as seems to work ok still when I run through planetary frames!)... Anyways, well done on capturing the 99.7%! Derek
  7. Lovely images, James! Well done for getting up and out at that time - it's never easy, but it's definitely worth the effort if it leads to images like these. Looking forward to seeing the timelapse!
  8. Having the star adventurer has actually given me a real kick of enjoyment recently from the wider-field (than most telescopes) images. Andromeda will look lovely at 250mm (as well as shorter focal lengths, which might enable slightly longer subs) as will M45 I'd have thought, and even with relatively short exposures you'll be able to get some cracking images in and around Orion anywhere within your 55 - 250mm range. At the lower ranges of that lens, you can get some interesting shots with 2 or more of the better known galaxies in. At the 50 - 85mm range you'll get Andromeda and M33 in the field which is pretty spectacular to see, and you'll similarly get M51 and M101 in if you focus somewhere between the stars Alkaid and Mizar in the plough. If in doubt, I'd recommend a quick peek in the images section of this forum, or the website "Astrobin", where you can see what other people with similar kit are imaging. You also get a good idea of what kind of camera settings / exposure lengths etc that you'll need to think about using. Hope that helps!
  9. I was over on the other side, a couple of hours North of Marseille. Definite on the list of places to go back to! Hope you have a great trip and we'll look forward to seeing your photos!
  10. Haven't tried flats before, but hopefully I can crack it! Darks are a pain, and I've been experimenting with sort of manual dithering, and moving the camera a wee bit between frames, and it seems to help reducing noise. I need to do a comparison with taking dark frames, as if I can ditch darks, I will! Patience is the main issue I have with dithering though, as spending a couple of hours moving the camera every couple of minutes isn't ideal, especially when you're sat out in the cold. Yes, I've only used an 85mm lens so far, but am in the market for something in the 150 - 300mm range as there are a number of targets that I think look great at that focal length. Looking forward to hearing how you get on at the longer end of the range. Oooh, the south of France trip sounds good. I was out there just before Christmas and got very lucky with the weather - whereabouts are you heading? Hope you have a great time!
  11. Hi Adder, Having the same setup as you, I wondered the same thing when I started out aligning. As you say, it doesn't 'hold' the first star once you've confirmed it, and seems to drift away, especially if you've stepped up to a higher magnification on the first star. I don't think it makes a big difference, but as Mognet mentioned, if you can wrap up the second star (and third, if you're using 'brightest star' method) in a couple of minutes or thereabouts, you should be fine. I time I found I could improve the accuracy of my alignment by getting the chosen star central in the 25mm eyepiece, then checking with a 10mm (and for when i was imaging planets, eventually a 2x or 3x barlowed 10mm) that it was still bang in the centre. Clearly it takes longer to change out the eyepieces, but once you've done it a few times and have everything to hand when you set up, you can soon whip through it. Like Geoff, I lost count of the number of times I'd slew to the second star only to find it was out of sight behind trees or houses! As has been mentioned, the software Stellarium is great to have at hand so you can quickly find out where a particular star is, and you can also get apps for your phone that help you to find your way around the stars too. Getting familiar with that AZ goto alignment procedure was a great step for me in learning the brighter stars! All the best, Derek
  12. Very nice images! I've just been getting started with my Star Adventurer, and have really started to enjoy the wider field of view that you get using a camera and lens on these types of mounts, as a bit of a change from the views you get using the scope. The lenses are often 'faster' than the scope too, so even shorter subs can reveal all sorts of goodies in your images. There's a whole load of wonderful dusty stuff around M45 that you'll start to pick up for sure if you can lengthen the subs to 2 - 4 mins. My next challenge is to figure out how to take flat frames, as it seems they'll be pretty essential to getting great images with the DSLR and fast lenses. Looking forward to seeing more of your images! Derek
  13. Great question Andy, I've been trying to figure out the same thing recently, and was planning on asking the very same thing. It was helpful to see Adam's suggested times as that matches my very unscientific experiments more or less. With my 1100d, I've found I can do 15 - 20 min subs (under good dark skies) on cool nights (so under 10 degrees) at ISO 800. They're *very* noisy though, so I haven't tried anything longer, and I don't yet know how many I'd need to stack before I got a useable image at the end of it. That's the next stage in my investigation! I've also wondered about whether it is necessary to let the camera cool down for a while after a long exposure. With the noise, fear of losing a long sub to guiding issues, wind etc, I tend to opt for a larger number of slightly shorter subs to 'play it safe' - but then I've not been chasing anything faint enough to really need 20 minutes as yet. As Peter mentions above, dithering (moving where on the screen the target object sits by a small amount) between frames has helped a lot with these shorter subs, so I'm looking forward to testing it on the longer subs. On warmer nights (so 20+ degrees), I've seen some pretty ugly 5 min frames at ISO 1600 - so again, that matches pretty well with Adam's figures. I'll be looking to pick peoples' brains on here about ways to cool a DSLR once we get to spring time here in the UK! All the best, Derek
  14. Ah, many thanks Bryan, I hadn't thought to look there... Yup, you're absolutely right...there's the fuse, and it's definitely blown. Well I was hoping for that - a little fuse is a lot cheaper than a new dew controller. I'll drop into Maplins tomorrow. Many thanks again for your help! Derek
  15. Many thanks for coming back on this Alan. You're absolutely right about me not having a multimeter! Think my neighbour does though so might give him a shout. Ah ok, that's really helpful. That power tank is only used for the dew heater these days - and the power tank still works. My other battery doesn't prompt any life from the LEDs either, so as you suggest, I guess that means it could be the wiring to the dew heater. Everything was pretty heavily dewed so perhaps some water got in somehow. Thanks again - I'll go and investigate further! Derek
  16. Hi folks, I wonder if you could advise me on how I might fix my astrozap dew controller... My best guess is a blown fuse - I'd left my kit out imaging but conditions weren't great and came back to find the imaging and guide scopes with fairly heavy dew on them. I moved both dials on the controller up to increase the warmth a wee bit hoping to fight back against the dew. When I returned a few minutes later the lights on the dew controller were no longer on... guess I'd asked for more than my little controller could give. I'm powering 2 dew bands (1x5inch and 1x4inch) from a skywatcher power tank. No problems previously so not quite sure why it objected this time. Picture of the insides of my controller attached. This is where I show my total lack of understanding of any electronics, I'm guessing that the fuse is the thing I'm pointing the screwdriver at, as, well, there's nothing else in there it could be. But how on earth do you get it out to replace it? It doesn't appear to pull or screw out. Has anyone taken one of these things apart before?! Extremely grateful for any advice. I've had it for several years and it's had a lot of use in that time, but if it's possible to revive it, then great! Thanks for your help. Derek
  17. Hi Steve, So glad to hear you enjoyed your session. As a fellow Skymax 127 owner, I'm always delighted to hear of others who've experienced that same joy I did when I started out with this scope. Although I've put a lot more time into deep sky imaging with a different scope lately, whenever I return to the 127 it's always a joy. Mastering the alignment took me a few goes, but like so many things it's not too tricky once you get the hang of it. Downloading the free software "Stellarium" helped, and if you get stuck, just put another post on here - there are plenty of folk who can help. Just wait until you see Jupiter and Saturn when the conditions are good - if you liked the moon I think you'll enjoy these planets as much if not more. Venus and Mars too maybe. Jupiter's a couple of months away from being at its best, and Saturn a bit further off still, but it'll be worth the wait! I've greatly enjoyed views of the Ring nebula (M57), Sombrero galaxy (M104), Dumbell nebula (M27) as well as a handful of others. You get into the realms of faint fuzzy splodges with some of these, but when you consider how distant the objects are, the joy of just being able to see them is fabulous. Eight years later, I'm still using my trusty 127, Skywatcher power tank, stock finder and eye pieces (though I did get one zoom lens and a better barlow for imaging the moon and planets)...a few minutes to set up and hours of enjoyment. My only investments for that particular set up has been a dew shield to keep the dew and ice off the front of my scope for longer, and a garden kneeling pad for when the eye piece ends up closer to the ground than my creaky limbs can cope with! Hope you continue to enjoy your new scope, and keep us posted on how you get on. All the best, Derek
  18. Congratulations on the new scope! These maks are excellent - I have the smaller 127, and it's a little beauty. As Reggie mentioned, your views of the moon and planets in particular will be excellent, and on those rare but wonderful nights of good seeing, bump up the magnification and marvel at the view! Enjoy, and we look forward to hearing how you get on! Derek
  19. Thanks Paul, that's helpful to know about the solidity of the mounting plate. Look forward to hearing how you get on with the new-look setup! All the best, Derek
  20. Very interesting mod Paul, thanks for that - fascinating to see what the insides of one of these things looks like! Interesting too that you found faults on opening it - I'm always too scared to open these kind of things up, but you always wonder what the quality of the build is like on the inside. I got a Synguider a little while back, and I love it. I use it with a diagonal which helps with viewing angle, though I have found the little grip screws have to be done up very tight to prevent the Synguider from rotating. Yes, it takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you've got it in, aligned with the mount axis and focused, you're away...and now that I'm used to it, the setup only takes a couple of minutes. As I use a DSLR and drive a fair distance out to a darker-sky site for almost all of my imaging, it's very convenient, and it works well - I've had flawless 20min exposures before, and 5-10 minutes don't trouble the Synguider at all. For me, my only concern with the Synguider so far has been the slight lack of sensitivity - so it's ability to pick up suitable guide stars - though this is probably more about what my expectations where when I bought this unit, rather than an actual weakness of the Synguider itself. There's not always a conveniently placed, sufficiently bright star to guide on in the field of view of some of the objects I want to image. Not surprisingly, the issue seems worse under light-polluted skies. Under much darker skies this really hasn't been a problem. Sadly I don't know of anyway to improve the sensitivity. Quite often there's a bright enough star somewhere in the area, but having a fixed guidescope means your images are then dictated by the framing of the star in the Synguider, rather than on the imaging target in the imaging camera. This I have become frustrated by, and having done some research I see a few other people have bought the skywatcher guidescope mount, so that you can move the guidescope to search slightly more widely around the target object for a guidestar. It runs the risk of introducing differential flexure between the scopes, but people who have it seem to think it's been machined well enough to avoid any issues, so I'm going to contact FLO about getting one in the next week or so I think. Great modding Paul, and hope the new-look Synguider serves you well! Derek
  21. Thanks Stuart. Not sure that it compares to the epicness of your experience and photos from Leeds, but they're certainly always a treat to see.
  22. Good evening folks, (entry 2 of 2) As with the previous post, here's my second entry from later in the morning of July 18th, this one was around 2.50am. Taken from a tiny car-park near to Malham Tarn up in North Yorkshire. As with the last one, this was taken with a Canon 1100d with stock 18-55mm lens. It was a bit lighter by this time, so this one's only a 4s exposure, with a bit of tinkering in Lightroom and some dust-bunnies cleaned up in Photoshop. Thanks for looking in! Derek
  23. Good evening folks, (entry 1 of 2) Sneaking in just before the deadline with a couple of photos I took back on July 18th between 2 - 3am. Taken from a tiny car-park near to Malham Tarn up in North Yorkshire. It's the second time I've seen NLCs, but the shape and structure was quite different from when I saw them last year, so it took me a little while to figure what the weird electric blue glow was until they got much brighter. I stood and watched them until the morning light drowned out their glow. T'was a lovely night. Canon 1100d with stock 18-55mm lens - around 5s exposures, bit of tinkering in Lightroom and a couple of dust-bunnies cleaned up in Photoshop. Thanks for looking in! Derek
  24. Testing out the new (as it was then) imaging kit in Spring last year, from the beautiful skies of North Cornwall...ED80 with canon 1100d, guided by a Synguider autoguider through an ST80, all on an HEQ5. If memory serves, I think it was a 15 minute shot of M101, a 10 minute shot of M51, and a 5 minute image of M81 (and what I thought was M82 from the test shot I'd taken before this one! ) all at ISO 1600. The framing leaves a little bit to be desired... No processing on these. Life's been a bit bumpy since then so I've yet to get really stuck into stacking large numbers of subs, but I'm spending a bit of time looking at Stellarium to see what I want my first big project to be.
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