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  1. Hi John Great first image. Yes it is a pain focussing in bright sunlight. I find it easier to get focus on the edge of the disk especially if you can find some proms as the finer proms fade out of view very quickly as the focus changes.
  2. Hi All, Been a very long time since I have been able to do anything astro. I was all set for the venus transit and of course it was totally overcast here. Occassionally the clouds would thin and a small gap allowed me to catch a glimpse of the sun. This image is from a single frame where there was the least amount of cloud polluting the picture (you can see the mottled shades of light cloud darkening the surface of the sun in various places). Still, I was glad that I at least was able to see it for myself even if only for a few seconds. Regards Bil D
  3. Hi I am in Australia. In the south we dont have the convienience of a bright easily distinguishable star right on the pole. It is quite difficult to find the right one even if you have a good view of the southern polar region despite what the books say. When I have been at star parties, most people use a compass to find south (or let someone with a GPS based goto scope find true south for them :-) ) Then fine tune wiith a drift alighment. Generally, you would make sure you at least know your latitude and longitude, and the offset between magnetic south and true south pole for your area. Rough alighment with a compass and then drift align to fine tune. Bill D
  4. Aah Yes... Hehe Just a couple of weeks ago, I was all set to image horse head for the first time. Got the adpative optics all tuned, scope tracking beautifully, Camera cooled to -29. Did a test shot and there it was smak bang in the middle. Turn the camera just a smidgeon to frame it nicely. 11 mins into my first 15min exposure in Ha and POP everuthing on the pier goes dead.... Turn on lights, looks like the main Powere supply that powers the camera and most things on the pier has died. Plug in another, that is not quite strong enough will try without heaters etc, but mount had chucked a wobbly and decided its will go to a diffent univers and is all over the place... try a few things. no go.. oh well sort it out in the morning.. so I close up and call it quits for the night. Next day I find what I think is a Bat Poop has hit the side of the pierand landed right inside one of my 12 sockets on the pier and it shorted things out. Lesson learned??? Empty Sockets face downwards on the pier now hehe. Bill D
  5. Thanks for all you kind comments. I am remotivated :-) Yes its the processing that is the difficult part. Urgh Scubamike hehe yeah I thought about it. Maybe the next one, I am prolly going to do another one when I get bored.
  6. Hi Everyone, Seasons greetings and happy holidays. Its been a very very long time since I have had a chance to do anything solar. Here is a link to my first attempt at a time lapse animation of some prom activity. It is one frame per minute over a period of 2 hours. There was more activity over that timne period than I expected. its 36mb in size and can be downloaded from my web site. http://www.billd.net/images/stories/Solar/SolarPromAnim1.avi The original footage was shot back in November, taking 30 frame anims every minute and manually keeping the prom in the center of the field of view. Its not the celarest of images, but I was not using my usual gear, it was more a spur of the moment thing using a video camera through my solar scope while I was bored. There is alot of work in processing all of the images and getting rid of dust bunnies etc. Regards
  7. I have used a cannon 40D on a 12" SCT. You wont see anything at all if you are too far out of focus initially. Even after focussing you wont see anything but the brightest stars in the viewfinder and even less in live view. Do a simple experiment during the day if you can. Focus on something like a tree of a post a long way away (NOT THE SUN), using an eyepiece. Then replace the eyepiece with the camera and work out which way and how far you need to adjust the focus to get focus with the camera. Falling back to this process will help when you are out there at night trying to work out why the hell you can see anything at all hehe. In the evening Pick the brightest star you can see, then start adjusting the focus as required. Sometimes to start off when I cant see anything I take a 30 sec exposure, this will usnially start to show you any out of focus stars unless you are way way out. Make a bahtinov mask. It realy helps get perfect focus every time. regards
  8. If you are happy with the results you are getting then there is no need to change it. Going to 2" may illuminate the egdes of the 400D CCD a bit more. Do you get much vignetting? If not then its prolly not worth replacing all the filters.
  9. If you can weld, I would go the modified tin shed option. A few people I know have done that. Basically you take a stock standard Tin Shed, remove the roof, add some sort of steel frame to the Walls and Roof (they are designed to hold each other ridgid, when they are not connected they need additional frame work., then add tracks and wheels. Personoally, I can only work with wood and wanted to do it myself, so I built mine with more traditional materials. I have details of what I did and all of the steps on my web site. This might give you a bit of an idea. But keep in mind there are as many home made designs as there are observatories :-) Bill D
  10. Hi Olly, Hardware wise no issue at all. I have only used it a couple of times so far. It is a second hand unit, I know the guy who owned it and he has used it a fair amount. The steadystar software is pretty neat and basically at the push of a button or two does an auto calibration of the AO unit and then the scope and works out the angles. From theire you hit guide and it just works a treat. The software generally works well but it has a few bugs. The biggest problem I had was that pressing the main Find Star' button which you need to do to have it guide, would crash on the latest version but I tracked this down to using a video camera at full PAL res. I have reported the problem and they informed me they are looking into it and there is new version of software coming out soon. In the meantime I received my lodestar guide camera and this is excellent and very sensitive. The software had no issues with this camera. Bill D
  11. I just got one of these. I have to say I am a convert. It has exceeded my expectations. I have always had problems with football stars on my 12" F10 lx200R. The optics on the scope are wonderful, after 3 years still hasnt needed a collimation. It just seems to have some tracking issues even when guided. I have pec'd it to death with pem pro but still get more bad frames than good ones when taking longer exposures (even when guiding). But a couple of weeks back, after hearing about the great improvement a friend got with one of these I picked one up and on Day one I was blown away. Uut of 25 x 10 minute exposures only one was not perfect (and there were small wind gusts for it to contend with too) This device and its software are excellent, adjusting the image many times a second and occassionally knudging the scope. I think if you already have good results through normal guiding it would not be of any help, but where you have not perfect polar alignment or a not to good RA drive, even if there is a light breeze this thing is the bees knees. I think it would be excellent when out in the field as you would not have to get perfect polar alignment before starting to image. From my perspective, I gave DSO's a big miss for a year as I just could not tame the beast, but now I am waiting for the clouds to go away (over a week and still waiting) so I can get out there and actually image something. Bill D
  12. Nicely Done Olly, I too prefer the hot look for the solar imaging Bill D
  13. Very nicely done, David. Very well processed. Ahh I remember what it looks like now :-) Have not see the sun here for ages. We are having a bad run, Aus has been having recurring floods, Storms, Cyclones and get to see very little sun lately. Thanks for the reminder :-) Bill D
  14. Hi Olly, I have a 2.5 powermate that I use wth my Lunt LS60. I couldnt imagine using a 5x with that. I dont think there is enough light gathering power to be able to magnify it that much. If I double stack mine the exposures I need to get reasonable details of proms etc when using the 2.5 as well are down to about 19 to 15 frames a second. Any slower and I think you would rarely get clear images unless seeing was exceptional. I have tried a 2x barlow inside the 2.5 powermate and the results were pretty poor. I am not sure how much od the disk you are seeing now. Bit if you go to my website Billy D's Front Page on my home page the latest images were taken with the 2.5 pm, fursth down the page they were taken with a 2x barlow. Keeping in mind I use the DMKK41 that has the bigger chip and I get to see nearly the entire disk without a barlow. Do you have access to a barlow? you can always try a cheapie barlow first. I feel the power mate is substantiually better, so if you cant afford it I would not wast desperate funds on the Barlow. In Summary I reckon with a 5times there would be rare occassions when the results would be adequate as seeying would play a much better part. Where as with a 2.5 you get to see nice details and is can be used under most circumstances. Bill D
  15. I wouldn't be dissapointed Wolfgang. You captured some nice proms there. It's pretty difficult to get really sharp images. Practice makes perfect.
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