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SteveNickolls

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Everything posted by SteveNickolls

  1. Be nice if that works out for you. This was raised on the BYEOS forum-https://www.otelescope.com/forums/topic/2821-bye-3rd-party-api-used-as-basis-for-ascomdslr-driver/ I do hope better progress can be made but Guylain's comment may be telling. Cheers, Steve
  2. I certainly would, you may find it needs no change from the factory. Enjoy the mount. Cheers, Steve
  3. I really wish that Sharpcap will be able to extend its functionality to DSLR's but am haunted by the knowing comment, "let's see how far it gets" here-https://www.otelescope.com/forums/topic/2821-bye-3rd-party-api-used-as-basis-for-ascomdslr-driver/ Cheers, Steve
  4. Hmm, they have averaged the readings that my son and I made on the same evening, 8 for me and 16 for him and an average of 13. Age and acuity are very important to consider. Cheers, Steve
  5. Sorry to hear this if I'd known performance could vary so much I'm not sure I'd have committed to getting one. I'm aware there are a number of different maker alternatives out there on the market for this caliber of mount. Best Regards, Steve
  6. Hi Fabio, Sorry to hear your experience with the SA has not been so good. I have only just recently been working to bring my old CG-5 Go-To mount back into use and learning how to use PHD2 and decipher its graph to check how the mount is performing. I've not thought it necessary to use it on the SA so no idea what its PE etc are like. Are you using a PoleMaster accessory to obtain your alignment on the SA mount? I have been very pleased with how the SA tracks finding the supplied polar scope so much better than the old Celestron types. It didn't need any adjustment from the factory when checking the polar scope was aligned in the mount. As I mentioned in an earlier post I did find the SA wedge quite poor so it's very likely that quality varies with each part of the assembly, luckily I replaced the wedge for an old Celestron Alt-Az mount/tripod I had lying around which is so much smoother to operate for polar alignment and probably more sturdy than a photographic tripod. I didn't mention before but a house brick (about 3kg) is placed on the eyepiece tray to keep everything steady. Regarding subs at 135mm yes my standard exposure length is 300 seconds and unguided the only time I had an issue was when I had not balanced the set up properly to image at a high elevation and found a few slipped frames. Most of my imaging is relatively wide field with the Samyang 135mm lens at around 6 x 10 degrees but good for making mosaics. Here's a 4-pane mosaic of part of Cygnus from last October each pane was made from between 18-24 300 second light frames with matching dark frames from my library and master bias and flat frames, I've used StarTools to turn it into an inverted image so you can see the stars better, the Samyang gives good star shapes- As I've been busy on the few decent nights this season making mosaics I've not used my 75-300 mm lens much to follow consistently up on the 150 and 180 second exposures performance but may next season give this lens more of a try. After imaging at f/2 using the stock zoom at around f/6 is so ponderous. Again I'm sorry to hear you have had less fortune with your SA mount. Just a thought, is it still under warranty to return it to the retailer? Best regards, Steve
  7. Hi, and thanks for posting. I’ve had my Star Adventurer (SA) mount since April 2017 and found it a lovely piece of equipment for taking wide field images. Used within its operational capabilities it works extremely well, the tendency is to push too long a FL optic or payload weight onto it. You will need to factor in a suitable, rigid tripod to hold the SA and your experience with the SA’s wedge will vary. Mine was very stiff to use and coarse so I did away with it and used an old Celestron heavy duty Alt-Az mount which is way smoother when polar aligning. Your experience will of course vary. The large clutch on the SA can get over tightened but Sky Watcher produced this video to help rectify the matter- You soon get to judge what tightness is needed on the clutch and how to do things in the dark! When polar aligning the SA’s polar scope is very decent and if you employ the SkyWatcher Star Adventurer Mini App you can use the polar clock capability to accurately set Polaris. My advice would be to finish polar alignment when Polaris is at either a major division (eg 0, 10, 20, 30 ,40 ,50 minutes) or at the half way point (5, 15 etc.). This accuracy can make the difference when using longer FL lenses. I was able to increase the exposure time at 300 mm FL from 150 to 180 seconds using this technique. The polar illuminator that comes with the SA is annoying and has a tendency to drop off until you use some tape to secure it. Using the SA you come to the point wondering what sub-exposure length to adopt as with short FL lenses you find you can track for ages. There’s a law of diminishing returns as far as exposure time goes, especially if your location is controlled by local light pollution. With shorter FL lenses such as 135 mm I’ve been quite able to obtain exposures of 15 minutes but depending on the light pollution where you image a much shorter exposure time may suffice. Here the speed of your optics will come into play. I generally use a 135 mm Samyang f/2 lens with a clip-in Astronomik 12nm Ha filter and find 300 seconds an optimum exposure time, I have done longer but 300 second sub-exposures do the job and now a spoilt frame due to cloud only loses 5 minutes of the session. The 300 seconds sub-exposure time came partly out of extensive imaging and using the histogram in BYEOS to best judge what I considered was an optimum exposure time, it comes out pretty close to what is explained and calculated in the presentation below. You might find this sky fog calculator useful- http://tools.sharpcap.co.uk/ with it you can determine the amount of light pollution at your imaging site and employ the value to provide a value for your optimum sub-exposure duration depending on your optics, local light pollution level, type of camera (colour/monochrome) and any filter you are using. This presentation is very rewarding on the matter of what sub-exposure lengths to try and well worth watching all the way through- You could skip the very interesting presentation and go to 49.12 in the video where the formula for calculating your Optimum sub-exposure time is given. Provided you know the read noise of your DSLR, how much sky glow you have and how much extra noise you can tolerate in the image you can quickly work out your sub-exposure length. For my set up the sub-exposure time calculates to 312 seconds if I accept a 3% added noise so close to my 'suck it and see 300 seconds actually used. I hope this all helps, I’m sure you will really enjoy the SA mount and look forward to seeing your posts on SGL in the future. Best Regards, Steve
  8. Hi, and thanks for posting. My experience with longer FL lenses (Canon) with the SA mount is that at 300mm FL expect up to 3 minutes sub-exposures if you get polar alignment and payload balance right. That was with a fairly light 75-300 mm zoom lens and which together with a Canon 600D weighed in at 1,164g (2.57lbs). The lens was simply connected to the camera with no additional support. Mostly however I use shorter, faster FL optics on my SA to provide long enough exposures for my imaging conditions in a Mag 5.0 sky. Good luck coming up with your decision and don't forget to post your successes on SGL. Best Regards, Steve.
  9. Did it have the desired effect and the sky gods keep the night clear for you? Cheers, Steve
  10. Cheers once again Steve for your newsletter. Steve
  11. For last Christmas I had a large Ha mosaic of the Cygnus region printed onto 800mm x 600mm canvas by BonusPrint for a present, it turned out very well and would certainly use them in the future especially if you can get a discount offer. Cheers, Steve
  12. Hi Jon, Welcome to SGL. Enjoy reconstructing your reflector telescopes and good luck (and dark, clear skies) with the astro-imaging. Folks on SGL are very welcoming and knowledgeable. Cheers, Steve
  13. As someone who worked in Env. Health all their working life a council will want to deal with all complaints properly and be able to get back in touch with you to discuss matters, advise on progress and put closure in place at the end, hence the need to 'sign up'. This is can in some circumstances be actually better than speaking to 'someone' on the telephone, at least your actions are all in the written form as evidence, especially if delays etc. arise. If your complaint is not acted upon there are lots of internal ways of raising the matter further-through your ward councillors, the Chief Executive and ultimately in certain cases of maladmiistration, the Ombudsman. In these days of less central Government funding to councils many authorities now have rationalised complaint taking and arrange that complaints go through one conduit, something akin to a customer services department which then internally routes the complaint to the department(s) responsible for actioning the matter. This might seem blocking but in times of staff shortages is the best they can organise during times of austerity. In some cases the departments may have to liaise together to agree a solution. Hope this explanation helps and somewhat reassures. Good luck resolving your problem. Cheers, Steve
  14. That gentleman man was no gentleman. Take the matter further, his boss, Environmental Health, your ward councillor(s) and Chief Executive. As regards the councillors some councils across the country are having elections in May and looking for votes. Good luck. Cheers, Steve
  15. Hi, don't know how you have your equipment set up but could it be your set up is too well balanced and at some point the load is acting with the RA instead of against it giving a toppling effect in some exposures? Cheers, Steve P.S. And this may be interesting to you- https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/610712-star-adventurer-double-star-problem/
  16. Hi, thanks for posting. I've recently purchased a Unihedron SQM-L meter and one of the things I want to do is record how the light levels change here over the months so hopefully I will be able to produce some figures in the future. Light levels are just one factor in 'sky quality'. I run my season for astronomy from June to the following May and here's a record of my observing and imaging work since 2012, you can see there's big fluctuations by month and between seasons with 2012-13 and 2016-17 being particularly poor seasons. Don't have data going back any further though for you. Total number of observing and Imaging sessions- And imaging opportunities since I began imaging- I'm old enough not to believe in global warming but accept climate has always been variable in the past. I'd like more clear, dark nights in which to image and observe but have to put up with whatever nature provides. ? Enjoy your hobby. Best Regards, Steve P.S. Whether the weather be fine, Or whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold, Or whether the weather be hot, We'll weather the weather Whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not!
  17. Thanks for posting, Astrometry.net gives the area as- And on the WorldWide Telescope site- Cheers, Steve
  18. 2 But the downside to ever increasing light frame exposures is a cloud or knocking the mount etc. can ruin a lot of time from an evening's work. Try it all out and make your mind up what you prefer to do. Cheers, Steve
  19. Hi John, I use my Samyang lens at f/2 with an Astronomik 12nm clip-in filter in the Canon 700D modified DSLR. I have two ways of creating flat frames (either shooting with a manual remote or using BYEOS). For both methods I use a clean, large matt white bethroom tile illuminated evenly and place the lens a 3"- 4" inches away from the tile and not affecting the illumination of the tile. With the Camera in Av setting I then take multiple RAW flat frames (x50) and thereafter use the master flat for subsequent stacking in DSS. If you get the histogram on the camera/BYEOS between a third and half way across the flats are fine to use. Hope this helps. Cheers, Steve
  20. Thanks for your update, I also help you recover from the 'flu as quickly as possible. ? Cheers, Steve
  21. I'd say no but why not try it and find out practically. You can get amazing results when you least expect too. Cheers, Steve
  22. Be guided by what you practically get. ? Last night there was a decent Moon shining so on a darker evening you would get the histogram more to the left as well. Cheers, Steve
  23. If your camera is usually located within 20m of an indoor location (kitchen etc. then I'd suggest using a program such as BYEOS and one of these quality active cables- https://www.lindy.co.uk/cables-adapters-c1/usb-c449/20m-usb-2-0-active-extension-cable-p510 You can then control imaging from the warmth of indoors with no worry over the laptop. Cheers, Steve
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