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About NigeB

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  1. I agree. I've tried various tools including PHD2, but I've always found drift alignment to be just as effective and often more simple. I use the "DARV" variant - which is just drift alignment with a camera, but it's given me great results pretty quickly. Here's what I think is the original article by Robert Vice, on CN: https://www.cloudynights.com/articles/cat/articles/darv-drift-alignment-by-robert-vice-r2760 And here's a SGL thread about the same, with some useful discussion: https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/205355-drift-alignment-the-darv-method It's not for everyone, but it suits the way I work. Worth a look. Nigel
  2. Hello All, Due to a bit of luck and a very understanding wife, I've acquired a used Celestron Edge 14 OTA. It has currently deposed my TOA-150 from the mount. I'm aware that the maximum payload for the Mesu 200 is 100 kg (visual use); apparently it's rated for 75 kg (imaging) according to this article - though that seems very optimistic: http://www.modernastronomy.com/images/products/Sky_firstlightmesu.pdf I'd really like to put the two 'scopes on the mount side by side (I've run the TOA-150 and a C11 together and imaged without any issues). I've weighed the various parts. Rounding up to the nearest kg, the numbers are: -14" OTA + dovetail rail: 25kg -TOA-150 with rear counterweight: 20 kg -Casady tandem bar plus Tak rings: 10 kg. Total 55 kg. With camera etc onboard, it's going to be nearer 60 - 65 kg. If the payload capacity numbers above are to be believed, this is well within spec, even for imaging. However, I suffer from a fairly significant case of mechanical sympathy, and I'm really nervous about putting such a big lump of 'scope on the mount. By size alone, the C14 seems to dwarf it. What do people think - too much, or go for it? Thanks Nigel
  3. Pah. It's the People's Front of Judea you need to worry about...
  4. Hi Tony, I'm visiting infrequently at the moment... I've not used Farpoint plates before, but reviews seem to be pretty positive, and Mike clearly has direct experience - it sounds like they're a good solution. Cheers Nigel
  5. Hi Tony I'm assuming your NE6 Pro has a mounting interface which can take both the Vixen and wider Losmandy plates (I don't have one but I've just looked at a spec, I think that's right). Assuming that it is ready for Losmandy-style plates, then you can get Farpoint dovetail plates to fit Meade 8, 10, 12 and 14" SCT's, including the LX90. Here are the links, from 365Astronomy: https://www.365astronomy.com/FARPOINT-Dovetail-Plate-for-Meade-8-SCT-Losmandy-Compatible.html https://www.365astronomy.com/FARPOINT-Dovetail-Plate-for-Meade-10-SCT-Losmandy-Compatible.html https://www.365astronomy.com/FARPOINT-Dovetail-Plate-for-Meade-12-SCT-Losmandy-Compatible.html https://www.365astronomy.com/FARPOINT-Dovetail-Plate-for-Meade-14-SCT-Losmandy-Compatible.html I've not done this myself, perhaps others on SGL will have direct experience. But I think this is what you need. Good luck... Nigel
  6. Hi Tomato (Still laughing at Sara's comment about having a skill level of zero - not sure how far into the negative skill levels that leaves me!) Anyway, I'm a serious refractor fan and use a 150 mm apo as my main toy of choice. I second all of the benefits of refractors that previous responses to your post have pointed out. However, you mentioned that your favourite targets are galaxies. That would sway it for me - for most galaxies the plate scale of the refractor would in my view be too small. Sure, you can put an extender in the optical train as I've done, but that makes for a very slow system. So if galaxies are where it's at for you, you're happy with the fact that you're going to have to do some occasional adjustment to keep the system running at the peak of its capability, then I would go for the RC. You could always mount your existing apo on top (personally, if you went for the RC, I'd be tempted to piggyback a smaller apo, something like a 70 or 80 mm, to cover those wide field opportunities. Also think about plate scales and make sure that your optical and focal plane systems are reasonably matched so that you get the benefit from the plate scale of the RC system. Nigel
  7. Fantastic, thanks Ray - have just updated to 0.92ge. And the hole in the cloud has closed up. Question - how did you find out about that version? The version which is linked on the SiTech front page is 0.92g. Thanks again Nigel
  8. Excellent, Thank You Ray! I looked at the firmware change log but didn't see anything that seemed to be related to the problem - so I stayed put. Clearly that's not the case. Great to hear that I'm not alone, and it's solved. Right then - just a few more weeks until the next clear night to try it out... Thanks Again Nigel
  9. Hello All, Having used the ST4 cable and "on camera" mount connection in PHD2 from day 1, I thought I would try switching over to ASCOM guiding - as much as anything else, I'd like to get rid of a cable. Now I'm seeing something odd during the PHD2 calibration process. If I use the ST4 cable and PHD2's "on-camera" mount setting, then my East-West and North-South calibration proceeds as expected, with about 12 steps needed in each axis to reach a guide star displacement of ~26 pixels. However, with guiding via ASCOM (I switch over to mount setting "SiTechDll Telescope (ASCOM)" in PHD2, and physically remove the ST4 cable just to be sure), the calibration behaviour is different - the E-W phase is still takes ~12 steps to displace the star through ~26 pixels, but in the N-S phase, the guide star rate of movement is at least double that - completing calibration in around 6 steps. Guiding looks OK, but I really want to understand where this factor of ~2 in step size is occurring. I'm using PHD2 v2.6.4 (but the behaviour was the same with v2.6.2). SiTech.exe version 0.92G, ASCOM on Windows 7 (32 bit). PHD2 reports the SiTech.Dll is version 1.5c. I notice that in the ASCOM platform diagnostics (and also when I click on "About" in the ASCOM telescope interface via Cartes du Ciel) the file ASCOM.SiTechDll is listed as version I've spotted that while my RA encoder is set to "Polite Mode" in SiTech.exe, the Dec was set to "Ignore", so I'll try changing that to Polite. Also in SiTech.exe the "ASCOM AxisRates to R/A and Dec" box is not checked. Finally, I checked PHD2's settings under "Algorithms", and the mount guide algorithms under "Hysteresis", "Lowpass", "Lowpass2" and "Resist Switch" are very similar- the only difference being "Minimum Move (Pixels) is set to 0.25 in RA and 0.20 in Dec for "Hysteresis", and 0.20 for RA , 0.25 for Dec under "Resist Switch". For all other settings, the minimum move is 0.20 pixels for both RA and Dec. Am I missing something? Given how few clear nights we have at the moment I'd like to identify anything else to try when the next opportunity arises. Thanks, Nigel
  10. Get your wide field scope ready

    If we're suspending physics & orbital dynamics, then I say let it come a little bit closer. After what seems like 2 months of solid cloud here, having something penetrate below the cloud base is probably the only chance of seeing something celestial in the near future...
  11. First time with a scope - warning contains very poor image!

    Hey, that's pretty good - particularly for your first night out with a scope. Keep going... and if you're lucky enough to get a hole in the cloud, try the same thing when the moon is showing a different phase - like first quarter ("half") or less. You lose the crater rays, but you gain shadows and the craters and mountains will really stand out. Nice job!
  12. Swaledale Moonset

    Lovely video Paul - what a fantastic looking landscape as well. How many exposures went into this? I did a time-lapse video with my 7D Mk I a few years ago, and realised that I'd almost doubled the shutter count of a camera I'd had and used regularly for the previous 4 years! Nigel
  13. Hi Solarboy I've edited my earlier response following closer inspection of the motors. In fact, the Faulhaber motors have encoders installed into them. I've attached some additional images below. The encoder model number is IE3-1024, and there's some information about them here: https://www.faulhaber.com/en/products/series/ie3-1024/ In the images, the metal contacts on the side of the motor body (one shown in the slightly blurry image - there's another contact on the opposite side) are for the power supply to the motor itself; the ribbon cable coming out of the back of the assembly is actually from the encoder and carries the encoder signal. So I'll update the ad to mention encoders. However, I need to emphasise again the fact that while I know the ServoCat + ArgoNavis units work, I've not used or tested the motor+encoders, so I'm being as clear as I can that they are an unknown quantity, and a case of caveat emptor. Nigel
  14. If you're looking at this advert then you probably already know what the ServoCat + Argo Navis are and what they do. These units were uninstalled from my Mesu 200 mount which has now been reconfigured with a Sitech controller. Sale includes: - ServoCat Gen-3 unit - ServoCat hand controller - Argo Navis unit (Version 3.0.1 firmware) - Argo Navis cradle - Argo Navis Instructions and Software Install disk - Cable from Hand Controller to ServoCat - Cable from Argo Navis to ServoCat - ServoCat power lead (12V car cigar style plug on the supply side) - Long (several metres) serial cable for PC control of ArgoNavis - Two Faulhaber 2342-S024-CR motors with encoders* - Pigtail wires for mount motors & encoders** Please note the following important points: One of the photos shows the electronics board within the ServoCat unit - to be clear, the box is intact with both covers - I just removed one side to show the cosmetic state of the internals. *Faulhaber 2342-S024-CR motors - these were not part of my original configuration but may be of use to the next owner - they're basically used motors with encoders fitted, and included "free in case they're useful". I make no claims about their health or usability, though Faulhaber's have been used on (very large!) telescopes, as a quick Google search will show. **The motors and encoders were hard-wired on my mount, so the cables running from the ServoCat to the mount aren't nice neat units with plugs on each end - there are plugs on the ServoCat side, but they've just been clipped off at the motor/encoder side. The new owner will almost certainly want to make up their own cables to suit their particular installation but I'll put the old wires (with plugs intact on the servo cat side, and plain wire on the other) in the box in case they're of use. These aren't shown on the photos. The serial cable was used for planetarium control of the system, and worked very well. It's several metres long, but not shown on the images. I'm asking £500, which includes UK P&P (fully insured, which is quite expensive). Buyer collection (from Oakham, LE15) welcome in which case the price will be reduced accordingly. I'll consider posting overseas with some adjustment in cost.
  15. Most memorable observing moment?

    Received 60 mm Bresser telescope from my parents when I was around 12. Installed "Starfinder" by Ronald Alpiar and Heather Cooper on my BBC micro. Found out that Saturn would be visible over the roofs of the houses opposite at around 3 am... ...set the alarm clock for 3 am. Got up. Opened bedroom window and pointed telescope through it. Turned on desk lamp fitted with red painted bulb - which smelled very distinctive when it got warm - and opened my copy of "Patrick Moore's Pocket Guide To Stars and Planets" - oddly, this also had a distinctive smell. Pointed telescope at an orangey star which was hanging over the houses around the place predicted by the square blob on the screen. Looked through the eyepiece. Acquired a vivid, life-long memory. I've seen Saturn many times since, through bigger and better 'scopes, but nothing can touch that night. I still have the book - it still smells the same, and transports me instantly back to that night.