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Posts posted by Sandancer10

  1. Update on Astrotortilla - I've now got it working and it's fantastic. It was worth all of the angst trying to get it operating as I now get every object bang in the very small field of view that a Atik 314L+ has.  The problem was I didn't download both index files as the instructions tell you that you don't need both unless you are using a 3 deg or more field of view.  My advice is download everything and if you want to isolate the files you don't need you can move them to a separate file so it doesn't slow the system down while plate solving.  To be honest I just leave everything where it is as it doesn't take much longer to plate solve using all the files.  The other problem was using the exact fov for each combination of camera and scope - don't do this as you spend days trying to figure out why it won't plate solve. Use at least 50% more at each end of the scale eg. if smallest fov of 5mins use 2.5mins and if largest fov 1deg use 1.5deg.  

  2. I have been very busy beavering away in my new obsy so I haven't had much time to come onto to Stargazers Lounge, but when I need help I know somebody on SGL has already encountered the same problems so I'm hoping to be helped with an Idiot's guide to Astrotortilla.

    I don't think it's the setup as I have downloaded all of the index files I need to run it, I also have setup my camera/telescope combination and everything is running okay - except it won't platesolve.  I even gave it a photo of M51, used telescope simulator and even upped the search area to 180deg - still nothing.  Can anybody help me  :help:

  3. Brenda, can you reveal the cost and which rail system you decided to use?


    I think it depends on the size of the aperture as to how they build it, but for me they used a fixed rail system onto the garage roof.

    The total cost of the hatch, including electrics was £4,400. If you just want a manual opening then I think that is about £2,000. To be honest I went for the electric motor because I have problems with arthritis and I thought I might have a problem with the weight of the sliding hatch and it being difficult to move - far from it, it is so finely balanced it moves very easily by hand. I think if I had of known that I would have just gone for the manual opening.

    I also looked at a conventional observatory dome, but that worked out at £3,600 for the motorised version - and again the problem with that was because of my location on the coast road the World and his wife passes by so security was an issue. I opted for the flat hatch as it doesn't announce to the World "come take my kit"  :rolleyes:  - also some bright spark might have thought I'd opened Mosque  :eek:

  4. They aren't too far from where my parents live so I'll pop in when I'm next up there.

    Looks like good quality kit.


    It is good quality kit Mike. Mine is 1300 x 1300 - that's 4ft square and the biggest my garage could take, but you can get them to make you any size you want.  :smiley:

  5. Really nice set-up!

    How did you construct the opening?  Is it a ready made sliding shutter?

    I am asking because I have a flat garage roof and your design got me thinking...  I might be able to use a similar hatch system but I am concerned about leaks.

    The opening is constructed by a company called Surespan in the Midlands. I had to do a lot of research before I ordered it as I couldn't find anyone to make it for me - fortunately, this company specialize in opening hatches. The reason I decided not to go for the normal wooden sliding roof was incase of leaks, maybe not straight away but over a period of time - I think for the extra cost I have peace of mind and that is priceless. The electric motor is really useful as it's a simple open/close switch on the wall and can be disabled incase of power failure. The hatch opens easily without the motor, so that's always an option if you wanted to keep costs down.

    If you have any more questions let me know by message as I'm not sure if the moderators might restrict this posting. Good luck with your project  :smiley:

  6. Very Nice! I'm just now getting started on my obsy and progress has been slow - due to life's little inconveniences like bad weather and a full-time job :)

    Just curious - how did you attach your pier and what is it made of  :icon_question:

    The pier is a steel hollow box metal construction - an off cut from a friend. The base is welded on and bolted into the cement floor with a raised wooden floor covering so there's no danger of tripping over it. The mount head is attached to the pier by welding.

    I've spent most of the day getting the computer setup to allow remote control, using Eqmod, phd guiding, carte ciel (sky map), and auto focusser. Finally all tested and working - just need clear skies now :)

    • Like 1
  7.  Well I haven't been on SGL for quite awhile as I have been a little preoccupied - to say the least  :rolleyes:

    I finally, today, have my new observatory with electronic sliding hatch and recently purchased  SW 200PDS with HEQ5 mount head working.  It's been a bit of a nightmare to get everything together, but I can't wait for clear skies to be able to start photographing again  :grin:.

    We went to Normandy last week on holiday and stayed in a Gite in the countryside and the dark skies were amazing. I managed to photograph the Ring Nebula, but haven't worked on it yet so I'll be adding it to my Gallery with some new material from the 200. I've added some photo's of the obsy and realise they show a limited view from the hatch, but as I'm on the North East coast the rotation of the sky means I will be able to see everything up to and including the meridan.

    One smiley happy person signing off.  :smile:


    • Like 7
  8. Just discovered that NASA is broadcasting live signals from the ISS for about 6 hours today.

    That's around the World 4 times whilst they are working up there - incredible. Today is the second of 3 space walks.

    They are changing the way spaceships dock with the ISS incase there is ever a need for quick evacuation. At the moment it's done with the robotic arm from the cargo deck - they are installing something that allows cargo flights etc to fly in and dock directly freeing up the cargo bay.

  9. Hi and a warm welcome to SGL. Great to hear Santa was good to you.

    At the moment most of the Planets are viewable, Jupiter in the East in the evening. Mars, Venus and Mercury in the South West about Sunset and Saturn in the East in the morning just before Dawn.

    Happy Stargazing and enjoy your Astro journey

    • Like 1
  10. Hi Ian and a warm welcome to SGL.  I see you're thinking about a Skywatcher, it's a good choice and it's what I use for Astrophotography. have a look at my gallery to see what you can achieve with it.

    Happy Stargazing and enjoy your Astro journey.  :smiley:

  11. Hi Olly, this is even more beautiful than when you were going through the tutorial with me. I have a copy of the same data, but shudder to think what my feeble effort will be in comparison. I will however 'give it a go' and see what I can do.

    It was great being at your place last week and the seeing was unbelievable - the food and wine was excellent too. I had a good journey back and called into Sistron on the way to Marseille, it was lovely and I got quite a few terrestrial photo's. Please say hello to Monique for me.

    • Like 2
  12. Hi Christine

    I thought I'd just post you a note to welcome you to SGL and to say that I got back from Les Granges okay late on Friday. The plane took a big bump on the landing and I thought My God we are going to crash, but all okay if just a little scary.

    I also had a great time with Olly and Monique, he is a mine of information and quite the host to boot!!  I'll be putting all this new knowledge to good use, once I've unpacked  :rolleyes:.

    Anyway great to meet you and I hope you will find some good friends on here in your area.

    Brenda  :smiley:

    • Like 1
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