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Tim star

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About Tim star

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  1. Took this camera out for the first time last night. I normally use an Atik 460EX with filter wheel on an Equinox 80 and am happy with the results. I was interested in trying a OSC CMOS and was encouraged by the idea of short exposures and less imaging time for those nights when I don't have much time or that is imposed by clouds coming in. I focussed in daylight (massive backfocus requiring the tube right out or a 50cm extender) on some trees. I usually use SG Pro and was surprised to see monochrome but understand this is because the data is raw and has to be debayered. Fair enough, so changed to Sharpcap. Focussed OK but a bit bemused by the fact that although there was blue sky the trees were grey. No changes in settings seemed to bring out the green. At night I tried imaging NGC 7000 but no sign of the nebula even with a 240s sub. Stars looked fine and in correct pattern for the nebula but no red in the image. I thought with this camera you could quickly get an impression of the target with auto stacking and align it but no joy here. I did get reasonable images of M31 and realised the value of paying the £10 to upgrade Sharpcap to Pro since the white and colour balance could now be adjusted to get rid of the terrible green. Any advice? To be honest I am a bit discouraged at present and am thinking of returning the camera. Tim
  2. Many thanks for the advice. Makes sense, you don't get something for nothing. I think I am going to go for the Quattro CF 10 inch on discount at FLO and just learn the dark art of collimation. Something to do on cloudy nights anyway, and there are plenty of those! Tim
  3. I am looking to upgrade from my SW Equinox 80 which has been a great little scope for AP combined with an Atik 460 mono with Atik filter wheel. EQ6 mount. With our weather and not unlimited time for imaging I am hoping to get better results with a faster scope, but can't afford thousands for a fast refractor such as Takahashi. I have been looking at the SW MN 190 and the ofputtingly named ES comet hunter. Firstly is the advice that this would be an upgrade in terms of brighter images or should I be looking elsewhere? I looked at the SW quattro but read horror stories about collimation. Secondly I have an autofocus setup with the ED80 using a Moonlite focusser and Lakeside motor which works well with SGP. I have advice from FLO that they can supply equipment to adapt the SW MN 190 in this way but does anyone know if autofocus can be retrofitted to the comet hunter? I would like to focus from the warm room of my obsy or even indoors if I can get TeamViewer to link Any advice welcome, thanks
  4. I have recently upgraded my SW Equinox 80 with a Moonlite focusser. Great piece if kit, screw off the old and screw on the new 2 minute job all works perfectly. Easy fine focus on my Atik 460 with EFW filter wheel, a massive improvement on the manual wheel I had. No focus slip at all. Now I would like to move on to remote focussing as I move to a full remote system. I can't decide between the Moonlite stepper and the Lakeside focusser, both similar price ( ouch). I need a long cable since the scope sits in the garden away from the shed. The Moonlite has a clutch for manual operation which looks useful though the Lakeside has presets. I'm not a genius with software but suppose they both bring the same challenges. Any advice?
  5. So I'm making progress with my Atik 460 coupled to SW80 ED. However focussing is clearly crucial. I don't have an obsy yet but manage the system ok with cables to a nice warm shed. However I have not managed to set up a reliable system for focussing, so there is a lot of running to and from the scope holding a laptop with usb cables dangling. Plus the SW basic focusser as previously observed is rubbish. What would people recommend as a motorised focusser that I can operate from the shed? I've tried the SW one with a long cable which is ok but the bracket and axle couplings are rubbish. I got a Motofocus but can't see how to use this with a long lead. So I wondered about Moonlite who do provide a long serial cable but some say the focusser isn't that great. Maybe Baader but does that work on a long cable. By the way I work the scope with Skyfi which is great.
  6. Thanks for the really helpful advice, will give it a go!
  7. Many thanks both. I will clean the sensor window very carefully. Major help on th darks Olly thanks. I had got that quite wrong. Much easier with the cap on! Tim
  8. Still learning the ropes with my new Atik 460 coupled to SW ED 80 with Televue FR and Celestron filter wheel. The wheel lets in a lot of light but stopped this with foil and a shroud made from the leg of some discarded joggers. Decided to start building up a library of darks since it was cloudy, all went well. Thought I would do some flats too though I am thinking flats probably need to be done at each imaging session since any imperfections may vary from session to session (and filter to filter I suppose). I know there is some tolerance of dirt on the optics which is why we do the flats but this splodge seems a bit much and I cant work out where it is coming from. Have cleaned the FR and (very carefully) the front of the objective. It doesnt rotate when I rotate the camera so does that mean it is on the sensor?
  9. Thanks guys. I think I have my head around the hardware, now for the processing!
  10. So after my first attempt with the new Atik 460 producing a rather blue M27 which I posted last week I got a go at M51. SW 80ED on HEQ5 Pro with Celestron manual FW and Baader LRGB filters. TRF 2008 reducer. Temp -15C. Luminance 10x300s, binned 1x1, LRGB 5x 120s binned 2x2. 10 darks (300 s) and 10 flats (electroluminescent panel). Guided with Orion MM autoguider. Had to use foil to keep light out of the filter wheel - v bright LED on the Orion MM. Astroart and PS. Confess omitted refocussing and taking flats with each filter, also no flat darks (presume these are darks with the same exposure time as the flats). Will get more detail with longer exposure times I guess. Have a problem with Astroart - get "different size image" on LRGB synthesis. Think Ive sorted it but not sure. Autoalignment works well though. Any comments?
  11. Thanks Olly, I find your posts very inspiring. Shall practice a bit more with the colour balance. Tim
  12. So, after a couple of years using DSLR I took the plunge with CCD. Advice from here led me to the Atik 460 with a manual filter wheel. FLO didnt have the manual Atik wheel and recommended the Celestron one. I was delighted to find that my TeleVue TRF 8000 FR 0.8 screwed neatly into the filter wheel with a few moments head scratching over how all the bits fitted together and I have a nice firm Atik/FW/FR chain which slots nicely into the 2" focusser on my SW 80ED. I am still terrified of £1600 worth of CCD camera crashing out onto the ground but an elestic band is reassurance. I have the Baader filter set from FLO. I watched the Atik video and wasnt too impressed with the pinhole lens idea but tested the unit at dusk, no stars so a distant tower and red warning light were good targets to get used to focussing, binning etc. Its really odd not to have an ISO to adjust. Amazing to see the full structure of the tower perfectly focussed in complete darkness. Eventually the skies cleared and I got this very much first time image of M27. 7 L 1x1 and 5 RGB 2x2. They said no darks needed so no darks! So far have just used Astroart which is quite intuitive but will still need a lot more time to learn. Im not sure I will get away without Photoshop though would like to as I have already spent far too much. Looks more blue on here than on my computer screen but there you go.
  13. I use a SW Equinox 80ED with HEQ5 mount and get reasonable images with a modded Canon 1100D. I have seen the favourable comments about the Atik 460 but it is a bit pricey especially as I would like to buy also another mount to use at a second site. I understand the FOV will be small with the 414 but since the need for a ccd really is to image small faint targets like M101 for example is this a problem? I can still use the Canon for the larger targets? Tim
  14. Tim star


    Hi Its taken me a while to make my first post mainly becuase I was waiting until I had a half decent photo to post. So here is my attempt at M104. Only 5x5 min subs, 5 darks, 10 bias and 10 flats. I observe from an elevated position just south of Bristol and have pretty good dark skies, especially to the South and East. I also am fortunate to have a site in Cornwall near the coast where the sky seems very black but it is often rather windy. I have a SW Equinox 80 Pro with HEQ5 Sysnscan and I must say am very impressed with this setup. Although obviously a beginner I started to get reasonable pictures straight away, only limited by patience to take enough subs and skill in processing. I have an Orion Magnificent Miniguider package which seems to work though to be honest the HEQ5 seems to track pretty well over 5 minutes or so. I did notice elliptical stars at the edges of the FOV and thought this was a guiding error but of course what it needed was a field flattener. I have the Televue TRF2008 0.8x FF/FR which was a bit pricey but gives nice round stars right out to the edge. I usually crop a bit anyway. Camera is Canon 1100D modded by "Cheap Astrophotography" which was brilliant - he needs a better name. I bought photoshop elements since the full program is so expensive but I have just done a 1 month free trial of photoshop cc and admit it does seem more flexible and resourceful, might go for the monthly subscription. I have had a lot of "fun" trying to set up a semi-remote system. I would prefer to sit in the shed with a nice blow heater in my face looking at the monitor than stand around in the freezing cold. I obtained 10m USB repeater cables from Trixes which seem to work OK for the camera on Live View and the Guide cam. I tried to use EQMOD and its clearly a great system but I did get frequent freezes which was very frustrating and I think may have been due to data loss in the long cables. So I have the Southern Skies Sky-Fi linked to an ipad with Sky Safari and that works great. I seem to have found that the imaging/refractor side most appeals to me, I like to have a record of what I have seen, though sometimes a wish I have a really big scope to look though. I soon found of course that planetary work with my setup is a waste of time. Now, another reason for taking the plunge and making a post is that I have a bit of money to spend, and, more importantly, spousal approval. The obvious thing would be to step up to CCD imaging. I looked long and hard at the Atik 460 but am thinking that if I settled on a 414 I could buy another HEQ6 mount with roughly the same budget which I could keep at my second site to avoid lugging the mount and tripod about all the time. I know the FOV is small but I could continue to use the Canon for wide field and use the 414 for little faint targets. Anyway, nothing too original here but thanks for a great forum, its informative and sometimes amusing to read! Tim
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