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About SteveNickolls

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    Sub Dwarf

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    Nottingham UK
  1. Next Attempts at DSO's

    I have been imaging using my SkyWatcher Startravel 102mm refractor on a Go-To Synscan alt-az mount and Canon 600D DSLR since just before Christmas 2015. Having since read, "Astrophotography on the Go" by Joseph Ashley I have been inspired to use longer exposures, typically 30 seconds at ISO 1600 and to take more images per object (up to 200 light frames) weather permitting. I use Deep Sky Stacker to collate frames and subsequently process the master image using StarTools. I hope this album of images shows improvement upon my earlier attempts. Since April 2017 I have been using a SkyWatcher Star Adventurer (SA) mount on an old Celestron heavy duty tripod to image DSO's with my Canon DSLR. At Christmas 2017 I received a modified Canon 700D DSLR and an Astronomik clip-in Ha 12nm filter to complement my UHC filter. I am continually impressed by the accuracy of the little SA mount.
  2. 75-300mm focus problem

    Hi Atreta, no moon photos I'm afraid as I image DSO's :-( I do have an image taken with my Canon 600D and the lens at 300mm (see below) and the entry for my astronomy log for that night is relevant to your focus issue-"This evening the sky was clear so I again set up the same equipment and tonight took images of the Perseus Double Cluster and Stock 2 open cluster. In total I captured 20 light frames of 180 seconds duration plus 10 dark frames. Imaging was done using the Canon 600D DSLR and 75-300mm lens at the 300mm FL setting, ISO 400 and f/6.3. I had initial focus issues which I was able to resolve by reducing the lens from f/5 to f/6.3. The focus was giving strange shapes to the stars. After the first 10 light frames the mount hardly showed any movement even between 5 successive exposures. Imaging concluded at 11.43 PM." Image composed from 20 x 180 second light frames at ISO 400, f/6.3 and x10 dark frames plus x50 flat and bias frames. Stacked in Deep sky Stacker and processed in StarTools. The mount was my Star Adventurer. Hope you have lot of opportunities on the coming evenings to experiment under with your camera. Best Regards, Steve
  3. 75-300mm focus problem

    Hi Atreta, thanks for your post. Not sure which Canon lens you are using, I have the basic Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 III USM and at 300mm I find I have to stop it down to prevent odd star shapes occurring. I have not noticed any slippage of the lens during a session. At 300mm you should be able to manually focus very well using a bright star or far away street light. Take your time going into and out of focus until you are certain you have the best focus. Don't rush this step. As Buzzard75 notes you should employ the magnify function on the camera (once you have the star in the centre of the 'Live View' screen) to best judge focus. Good luck with your future imaging. Best regards, Steve
  4. 2sec x 100 captures Leo Triplet !

    I commend you for trying this :-) I guess there's one way of finding out. Certainly look forward to seeing the result of your labours. Beast regards, Steve
  5. The "No EQ" DSO Challenge!

    I've often found a similar issue, it's likely down to your monitor brightness setting. Others find my images dark while I see them fine. Regards, Steve
  6. Markarians Chain

    Thanks for posting your image Peter and good luck if you are imaging again tonight. By comparison my all too brief 42 minutes of the same region taken on the 18th April this year. Details- x14 three minute light frames Samyang 135mm lens, f/2, ISO 400, Astronomik 12nm Ha filter plus x8 dark frames and x50 flat and bias frames. Lots of light pollution here as the target was over the Nottingham conurbation. Best Regards, Steve
  7. The "No EQ" DSO Challenge!

    You have my thoughts soldiering on through all the local light pollution you have to contend with happy-kat. I hope you have a few more clear nights now the weather has turned (tonight is now looking promising). The last time I was imaging was around 9 weeks ago-almost unbelievable. Best Regards, Steve
  8. The "No EQ" DSO Challenge!

    I know you haven't set me up on this Ian but as regards understanding and carrying out Alt-Az imaging folks might well like to get a copy of Joseph Ashley's book, "Astro-photography on the Go-Using Short Exposures with Light Mounts" and available from our sponsors at -https://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/astrophotography-on-the-go-book.html It does concern me that the popular, evergreen, "Making Every Photon Count", (specifically on page 44) states in my view quite wrongly - "With the mount, it can be seen that one type, the Alt-Az, can immediately be disqualified as being unsuitable for deep sky work..." For many people an Alt-Az mount is the ideal way to test one's toe in the very deep and expensive water that can become astro-imaging. An Alt-Az mount can be the real difference between someone wishing to try out imaging and sitting at home reading articles about it while saving up or waiting for a suitable second hand EQ mount etc., etc. to come along. I have to smile knowing that Joseph Ashley can compose his well thumbed 320 page book based mostly on the genre within the crack so quickly stepped over by the other book and which actually is testament to Joe's insight. This, 'No EQ Challenge' thread shows what can be done with such mounts and how much important learning goes off within its fertile posts. Above all have fun doing hands on astro-photography and be prepared to learn all the time (usual caveat-weather permitting). Cheers, Steve
  9. Canon 1100D or 100D for Astro imaging?

    Alternatively- http://www.astronomiser.co.uk/booking.htm#2 Cheers, Steve
  10. Canon 1100D or 100D for Astro imaging?

    Hi Will, Thanks for posting. This may help you in your decision making-http://cameradecision.com/compare/Canon-EOS-100D-vs-Canon-EOS-1100D I have not used either model but do own a couple of Canon DSLR's so am conscious of features that are astro-useful and which not. As Peter CPC says the 100D seems the better of the two; depending on how you intend to use the camera the better 'LiveView' screen may be of importance to you. It is slightly lighter in weight too and more modern manufacture. I was intrigued at the data here-https://www.sensorgen.info/ as the 1100D has a much greater well depth and larger pixels. The 100D has the greater QE however. It would indeed be very interesting to hear from someone who has used both cameras in the field. Best Regards, Steve
  11. DSLR vs CCD/CMOS

    Hi Pete, thanks for the post. Looking at your signature I'd not spend the money right now, no really. I'd take the opportunity to consider what most attracted me to imaging, then draw up an acquisition plan for necessary purchases over a few years. £1k won't go far I'm afraid. Bank the money, explain things to your other half and take her out for a meal with a little of the money as a thank you for being so understanding about your plans. Cheers, Steve
  12. BBC stargazing live IS going ahead, but in

    Totally agree. While I've a soapbox to stand on can I make a plea that the 'names' in our hobby do something to publicise and inform the general public about light pollution. They have the skills but where is the initiative? Off my soapbox now. Cheers, Steve
  13. What a b"£$%y stupid hobby.

    He,he, this hobby ought to come with a health warning in large neon letters. Anyway welcome to the thwarted astronomers club SR. We all mean well with advice but have the stripes from years of past waiting and the gnashing of teeth. I totally agree on the MS updates but I'd add to this the attempts of pre-installed software to alert you your subscription has ended. They all want you to spend money to re-activate them and each warning message switches off BYEOS, usually during a run, proved inconvenient that. We have of course the Spring Creators update from MS to look forward to from next month onwards. Avoid catching it if you can. The next phase in the condition is the onset of 'Retail Therapy' whereby the victim patient attempts, often unknowingly, to compensate for the lack of dark, clear nights by buying more equipment to get better results in the future. I've kept records of observing and imaging since 2012 and the average number of imaging nights is around 30 per year in this neck of the UK. Yours may vary depending on the terms and conditions you originally signed up for on joining. Hiccups are part of the course. This March has been a little stinker what with two 'Beasts' to contend with. We all sympathise but patience is meant to be a virtue. Chin up! Best regards, Steve
  14. Yes we could all do with some clear, dark skies. I wish you every success with your experimetation. Best Regards, Steve
  15. Hi Rolandkol, Thanks for posting. Why not experiment with lower ISO values and see what effect this has on the final images, you really have little to lose and a lifetime's experience to gain? Somewhere in all of this your local light pollution plays its part. You might also want to read this-https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/500991-is-dslr-unity-gain-useful/ And this-http://dslr-astrophotography.com/iso-values-canon-cameras/ including the comments at the bottom. I have two canon DSLR's but unfortunately neither are your 1300D model. I've come to view my DSLR's as black boxes that use proprietary software built by humans and contain circuitry made for specific (and non-astro) purposes. In that perspective they may or may not behave as they are supposed to according to theory for the purposes you want to put them to for astro-photography, so it makes it even more intriguing to experiment and draw your own conclusions. Do let us know the outcomes of any lower ISO experimentation you try should you fancy exploring this field. Best Regards, Steve