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AstroFrog

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About AstroFrog

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    Sheffield
  1. Unfortunately work has thrown a whole load of extra hours at me, so I'm stuck for time, but just wanted to post a quick thank you to you all for replying, and for your considered and helpful responses - thank you! I'll have a good read and absorb all this wonderful info at the weekend hopefully, and will respond properly then. Thanks again and catch up with y'all soon! Fred
  2. Good morning all, You were very helpful (as always!) recently, when I asked for advice after a friend had asked me to help him set up is new shiny HEQ5 pro synscan. Having only ever used my little alt-az mount, I was stumped, but you guys came to the rescue, for which I was extremely grateful! Now we’re teaming up again to try and get more precise polar alignment so that we can start doing some longer exposure astrophotography. However, it’s proving mighty tricky, so I was hoping I could trouble you with another few queries. I had seen that Astro-baby’s tutorial came highly recommended, so we gave it a shot, but we weren't quite sure about a few things…it comes to something when even the ‘idiots guide’ has the two of us completely stumped! So the final step of polar alignment is to get Polaris in the tiny circle in the reticule, which has been set up to be in the perfect (hopefully) position for Polaris’ movement around the North Celestial Pole. So the angle that the mount is at right now, e.g. with the scope at the 9’o’clock position and the counterweight bar at 3 o’clock – do I start from that position if I wanted to do a 3 star align now for goto accuracy? At what point do you power up the mount? Before you start polar aligning or once completed? Does it matter where the declination axis is during polar alignment? If I PA, and then wanted to do a 3 star alignment (for example) – The telescope should start by being absolutely centred on Polaris? Or presumably just slightly off set (Thus ensuring the alignment of the mount and the scope are the same?) So I’d need to move the declination axis only, until Polaris was near-centred? Should the mount slew the scope to the exact location of the alignment stars, if all of the above has been completed correctly, and the mount is level? Do I keep the RA circle/clock locked in at ‘0’ from that point onwards for the rest of that imaging session? Or do you unlock it? I use the http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/mrst.php website for Polaris transit times, which I saw linked to on here recently – I trust that’s a reliable source? Many thanks for any help you can offer! Fred
  3. Wow, James, thank you for your super quick and helpful response! :-) Very kind of you sir!
  4. Hi folks, Could I trouble you with a couple of daft queries about heq5 mounts please? A friend of mine just bought one, and having my own kit he asked me to come help him set up. Unfortunately all of my experience has been with an alt-az mount, so I've not been much use so far!! We've managed to get the scope on and balanced, and just about to power it up...Might sound like a daft question, but do you lock the RA and Dec axis 'locks' before you power it up and start driving it / aligning it?! I've been quite surprised how much useful information is NOT in the skywatcher instruction booklet! Many thanks for any advice! :-) Cheers Fred
  5. Olly, you might be right - I'm fairly sure the focus was good to start off with, but looking through the data, I'm wondering if the later data might be less sharp as the temperature dropped. I'm not using a mask at the moment, but I've actually got one on order after getting fed up of the 'hit and miss' nature of trying to do it by eye. I think I'll also need to get in the habit of checking it throughout a session too, rather than assuming it's going to stay the same. D4N, yes, that's the root of this problem I think, high f ratio + short exposure + someone who doesn't know what they're doing! I'll have a look at the brightness scaling option - it's a canon 1100d so I think that it's 14 bit? Might just give me a sporting chance with the data I've got! Nigel, thanks for that, I wasn't sure at what point DSS stopped stacking. I thought I had at least 8 stars, but like you say, they have to be common across the frames. I'll have a look and see if I can figure out the debayering you mention. Again, many thanks for your help! That you would take your time to help someone who doesn't have a great deal of understanding or the best of kit for the job is very much appreciated, and is what makes this forum so special.
  6. Hmmm, yeah, ok thanks all, I think you're probably right. I think it's as I suspected - better data required. I think actually I need a change of approach. My imaging has been done with a Skywatcher 127 mak on an alt-az mount, which is obviously far from ideal. I've been pushing for objects that are less bright, (e.g. compared to the glob clusters, M42 etc) to see how far you can go with this scope given limitations of sky and kit...but I think I may have found the limit! Perhaps I'll focus on getting a load of good data on a couple of the brighter objects for now, until the finances allow me to upgrade the kit a wee bit! Thanks for the DSS tutorial pointer as well Chris. Having found and tried to follow a couple that really weren't helpful, I've been looking for a good one, so I'll check that one out. HappyLimpet, thanks, I may give that a try in IRIS before I give up completely... Thanks to all for taking the time to come back to me - it is much appreciated!
  7. Hi Chris, I can't remember exactly, but it is very low - the first time I tried it said there were only 5! I went through my frames again to see if I could pick some better ones, which got it up to 15+, and yes, that's with the slider right over to the left (2% I think it says). I know my data isn't great, I was just hoping there might be an option that said "eh, give it a go DSS, give it your best shot and let's see what you can do!"
  8. Hi All. A quick DSS question for you imagers out there - is there a way to get DSS to stack subs where there are not that many stars in the frame? I've been attempting to get some frames close in to Alnitak, in a bid to get something of the Flame Nebula, but DSS keeps telling me there's only 1 frame suitable for stacking as there aren't enough stars. I've tried using the slider to maximise the chances of it finding enough stars, but it's still not having any of it. Any tips to get around this issue, and persuade DSS to stack the frames I have anyway, or is it back to the drawing board in order to get longer subs in order to find a few more stars?! Thanks for any light you can shed on this for me! Fred
  9. Hello mate, I'm in much the same position as you, so can't help much I'm afraid. I only downloaded GIMP myself a few days back and will try and spend some time on it this weekend. Sure there are more experienced folks on here up for the challenge, but as I understand you can lighten / darken backgrounds as required using curves etc, which might be all you need. If I figure out how to do it myself, I'll have a crack at these and post what I manage, though it might not be much better I'm afraid! Catch up soon mate, Fred
  10. Hello mate, I'm no expert, but I wonder if the ISO was too high, and it's having a hard time pulling out the detail from the light pollution / haze? I'm sure more knowledgable folk will be along to point you in the right direction though! Might sound like a silly question, but are you sure the stack is made up of the correct files? The first time I tried I had lights in with my darks and vice versa, plus a couple of my test shots at different ISOs and exposure lengths in there too. No idea what effect that has on DSS's ability to do the job, but worth double checking! I can't help with the whole 'raw files making a portrait image' thing I'm afraid. I've not seen that before. There's plenty of stars in there though, so I guess the skies must have been pretty dark? Keep at it, it's worth it in the end!
  11. Great, many thanks for your help, and super speedy response!
  12. Thanks Peter, I'd looked for that option, but DSS only seemed to give me the option to save as FITS or TIFF files - did I miss a menu option somewhere?
  13. From the bright background of the SPC900 Saturn shot, I'm guessing you had the settings as 'high' as they'll go? I've had the same thing when pushing the settings on the planets, the background turns blue. The dark background of the DMK shot suggests you might be able to get more out of it though?
  14. Sorry for the slow reply folks, (work takes me away for days at a time so my access here is all too intermittent!) but thank you very much for coming back on this. I think I need to take the plunge, get hold of and get used to some proper processing software, so that I can make the most of the data I've got before I worry about reducing the size. Otherwise, as you say, it's going to reduce the quality too much. I've got a few days off work coming up so I can see myself taking a crash course in image processing! Thanks again for your help.
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