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Everything posted by NigeB

  1. Excellent! The weights look good; the bit on the other side looks even better...! Nice image. I've had similar weather issues. The latest annoyance is clear skies but lots of wind, which doesn't do much for guiding at 3916 mm focal length
  2. Sale pending on black weight. Two white ones still available.
  3. I have three Skywatcher 5 kg counterweights - two white ones and one black. They were all used with my EQ6Pro, but fit other mounts as well (check bore size). The white weights have 18 mm diameter bores. The black weight has a 20 mm bore (I used all three with the EQ6Pro - I could tighten up the black weight without any problems and with no movement, but please be aware!) Condition is used - there are some paint chips and discoloured spots as seen on the photos, which show front/back views. £40 for the pair of white weights including UK mainland postage £22 for the black weight including UK mainland postage BLACK WEIGHT SALE PENDING or £55 for all three including UK mainland postage. Current new prices seem to be around £35-£39 each plus postage.
  4. Genuine Celestron dew shield for C11. Very little used, but some of the letters in the Celestron label have peeled off (see photos). £22 including UK postage.
  5. You'd need to enquire with Takahashi; this ABS archived post from 2012 is, I believe, an example of someone who did the same thing with their TOA 150, for the same reason: https://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/propview_archive.php?view=62886 Given the time since then I'd guess somewhere around £4000 with shipping etc.
  6. Please read the full description. This is a duplicate of the advert posted on Astro Buy Sell. For sale is my Takahashi TOA 150 refractor, fitted with the large (70 mm) illuminated finder, and Parallax Rings (not shown). Images taken with this telescope can be found on my Flickr astronomy album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk148DDF Additional images *of* the telescope can be found in this Flickr album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmHA1Cik As shown in some of the photos, the coating on the objective shows small spots, usually not obvious but they show up clearly under sunlight/daylight, which is when the close-up image of the lens was taken (ignore the BIG blue spots in lines - these are the reflection of my observatory lights!) The small spots have been caused by pollen grains being allowed to settle on the lens for an extended period of time - they break down releasing enzymes which etch the coating. It's a known issue, to which Taks seem particularly susceptible (search the web), especially if like me, you tend not to clean optics until "absolutely necessary". The spots are very small and though they look silvery in one of the images, they're transparent - it's reflection at the different refractive index boundary which makes them look the way they do. The total area occupied by the spots is tiny, and so the effect on image quality is very small indeed. The objective has been thoroughly and carefully cleaned with Baader Fluid and Purosol to ensure that there are no traces of the particles left, so this issue is not progressive. There are a couple of minor marks on the tube; the focuser is the A-type, and the shortcomings of that are well documented. I used it successfully for visual work, and then fitted a Lakeside focuser to it for imaging, at which point the shortcomings of the focuser design become largely irrelevant. The images on my web page were taken in this state, with the stock focuser and Lakeside autofocus. The Lakeside motor mounting bracket is included in the sale in case the next owner wants to go down the same route, but note that I'm not selling the motor or controller. I'm trying to price the 'scope realistically - a significant reduction on the typical used prices for this telescope to reflect the issue. The telescope will produce the classic Takahashi image quality now, and the future owner may choose to simply to use it as it stands. Of course, the cell can be returned to Takahashi for re-coating if desired, to restore it to an as-new objective. That doesn't come cheap - though adding the cost to the sale price still results in a total cost far below the price tag of a new TOA 150. The Parallax rings will need to be fixed to a dovetail plate (not included), and then it's ready to go. Metal aperture cover included as shown. There's also a cover for the 70 mm finder, though it is a very loose fit. I've been as open and honest in this listing as I can be - I'm trying to hide nothing, and questions are welcome. Price £4000, collection only from Braunston, Rutland (LE15 8QX). UPDATE - SOLD.
  7. NigeB


    Hello Everyone, Thanks for your positive comments! Kirkster, yes, I agree, I think there's more in there. I decided to back of a little bit - a lot of my images have suffered from processing noise, so I'm adopting a more cautious approach. But @wimvb provided some nice approaches to correcting this which I'm going to try. Olly, I agree, it's definitely green-heavy. I've tried a little SCNR noise reduction and some manual adjustments, but I've so far succeeded only in making the colours look even less natural... One of the reasons I've held off adding in the H-alpha is that I found it exacerbated the issue (I've read that taking OIII and adding that into the Green channel can help that). I'll have a go at re-processing to see if I can improve things. Thanks Nigel
  8. NigeB


    Evening All, I've been sitting on a set of M33 subs I took last October - finally got around to doing something with them. It's been a bit of a challenge, difficult to do a reasonable background subtraction when there's so much going on, and I've found colour calibration a bit of a problem. This is as close to "natural" as I've managed so far. I took some H-alpha frames, but haven't added them in yet. Exposure details: TOA-150 @ F/11 / Mesu 200 / Atix 460ex 10 minute sub-exposures L:R:G:B 47:15:15:14 Nigel
  9. Wow - that's a great image - your chuffedness is entirely deserved! Is that a cropped image or are you using the full frame? Those are really nice star shapes - that's a pretty large sensor and even so, the stars a nice and round across a really wide field. Nice!
  10. NOW SOLD - Thanks Graham These units were uninstalled from my Mesu 200 mount which has 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 Software Install + Instructions disk - Long (several metres) serial cable for PC control of ArgoNavis - ServoCat power lead (12V car cigar style plug on the supply side) No other wires, motors or encoders - you'll need to add these. ServoCat drives the encoders in both RA and DEC as well as receiving guiding information. Argo Navis acts as a stand alone controller (no PC needed). Both have been installed on a wide range of telescope mounts, large and small. For ServoCat see: http://www.stellarcat.com/Pages/servocat.html For Argo Navis see: https://www.wildcard-innovations.com.au This is a highly capable system costing upwards of £1200 new, and should be a good deal for someone who wants to add high precision, highly configurable go-to control to almost any kind of mount. The buyer will need some technical capability - it's not "plug and play", and you'll need to add motors, cabling etc - but there is information in the manuals (available online) to help. SOLD.
  11. Hi Tom, I have experience of only one autofocus solution - the Lakeside system which Ian King Imaging is the dealer for. I've fitted these on all my telescopes to date - C14, TOA150, C11 and Altair Wave 80. I find they work very well, including integration into SGP (there's an ASCOM driver). Lakeside provide the motor, mechanical connectors, control unit and mounting bracket - if there's not an off-the-shelf bracket already available for your chosen 'scope, they'll make one - all you do in this case is make a few simple measurements of your telescope focuser geometry, using a diagram which Ian King will provide. Other solutions available etc etc, but I've been very happy with my experience of Lakeside's offering. Regards Nigel
  12. NigeB

    NGC 2683

    From the album: NigeB's Images

    Takahashi TOA-150 Refractor Takahashi 1.5 Extender Atik 460ex CCD +EFW2 Filter Wheel & Baader LRGB Filters L: 20 x 1200 sec + 2 x 600 sec R: 10 x 1200 sec G: 10 x 1200 sec B: 7 x 1200 sec
  13. Hi Feilimb I've had a quick look at your image, and you've definitely got some good data in there. I think a major issue is that you've not applied any flat field correction, which makes it much more difficult to process and extract the real signal. I had a quick go in PixInsight, just with a simple Automatic Background Extraction followed by some histogram stretch, and you can see the nebula clearly - but there's a lot of vignetting and other features which would be easily solved with flats. Others more skilled at gradient correction may get better results than I have (and I've not taken any care over balance - just a quick and dirty attempt to show the signal is in there - so it's a bit gaudy!) So my advice would be to keep doing what you're doing, but to make sure flats are part of your routine - they're really important. Regards Nigel
  14. Blinky, I use SGP with a Lakeside focuser and have encountered a range of issues leading to the HFR warning message, most of which I've managed to solve. Seeing variations might be a cause, depending on how long your integrations are and how long your overall autofocus routine is. I used to have SGP set so that the guide-star was re-centered and guiding stabilised in-between each frame; that extended the time taken for the autofocus process, and recently I've just turned off the auto guiding during autofocus, resulting in much quicker AF routines and no issues with resuming tracking. You might avoid issues due to longer timescale variations in seeing by using this approach. Have you checked for any slippage, rotation of the motor etc, that might introduce a slight shift between the position of the focus at the optimum point, and the position which the system returns to at the end of the focus routine? It would be worth comparing the optimum focus settings as a function of time and temperature across several nights. Slippage doesn't have to be large, or noticeable when you look at the hardware during a run. I detected slippage by seeing a systematic shift towards smaller autofocus position settings over the course of several nights, due to a small slip during each AF routine. In my case, each slip in itself wasn't enough to give the HFR error - just a few steps, but clearly there was a small difference between the optimum and achieved focus position at each run of autofocus. Another issue I've occasionally come up against is due to guiding not being settled during integration of the final AF frame (taken at the optimum location). This leads to a slight elongation of the stars, which skews the HFR. Once settled, the HFR agrees with the value at optimum focus, within the tolerance bounds. I don't see any sign of this in the image you posted, but it's worth keeping an eye. There are a few posts on the SGP forum relating to this issue. Just some things to investigate if your issues persist. Nigel
  15. Nice images Wouter. I'm going to spoil the consistency in responses... I agree that the middle one is probably the best in terms of clarity of detail; but aesthetically I prefer the first one; the lower overall brightness level and the contrast appeal to me - perhaps because it's reminiscent of some of the Apollo imagery. The bottom one seems overly processed. Nigel
  16. Update - I managed to get some clear skies and image the same target with the TOA-150 and a x1.5 extender (so it's running at f/11, matching the Edge's focal ratio). Exposure details below. I've spent more time processing than I did with the Edge image ( @wimvb - many thanks for your tip regarding the mottled background control - it worked really well.) I've also found the reason for the really bad flatfield results in the previous attempt - a loose filter wheel adapter ring. I find that in side-by-side comparison, when enlarging the refractor image to match the view given by the 14", the star sizes are similar - so seeing seems to be the limiting factor. Exposure details: Takahashi TOA-150 Refractor Takahashi 1.5 Extender Atik 460ex CCD +EFW2 Filter Wheel & Baader LRGB Filters L: 20 x 1200 sec + 2 x 600 sec R: 10 x 1200 sec G: 10 x 1200 sec B: 7 x 1200 sec (All 1x1 binning). A side-by-side comparison of the Edge 14 and TOA 150 versions, with the TOA image zoomed to match approximately the Edge 14 (full frame) version is also shown below. The point being... nothing in particular, but it reinforces my view that the "softness" often claimed for SCTs is due more to plate scale than intrinsic optics - the central obstruction will have an effect, but this is not what people are seeing when they remark on softness. N.
  17. I'm selling my C11 OTA with some accessories - it sits between the other OTAs I have and isn't getting used. C11 XLT OTA with Fastar-Ready secondary. Used but in nice overall condition. The only point of note is a small indentation on one side of the tube, which I think happened when mounting up a couple of years ago. I've tried to show on the photos but it's really hard to see (no paint damage). Also included are the standard accessories: - 1.25" Celestron Diagonal - Celestron Finder scope - 40mm Celestron Plossl - The original Celestron CG5 (Vixen)-size dovetail Additional items included: - Celestron F6.3 flattener/reducer (Made In Japan version) - Celestron Losmandy-style dovetail - Celestron flexible dew shield (as shown on the photo, some of the Celestron lettering has come off). Price reduced to £970. SOLD Inspection welcome. Sale by cash or bank transfer, buyer collection only.
  18. Well, it's definitely to be avoided of course, but accidents do happen, and there are two features which offer some protection. This is a friction drive mount and there are no clutches. Even when it's tracking, it's possible to move the telescope by hand without releasing anything if you really want to. So conversely, if there's a clash, the system will slip rather than crumple your camera, and that should save major issues. There are encoders on both the motor and the axis in RA and Dec; if the Sitech detects a mismatch between the motor vs axis encoder (I think it's around 10° difference), it stops tracking (there's a message which appears on the on-screen Sitech panel). I've had that happen a few times when I was pushing my luck with meridian flip adjustments, and absolutely no harm done to mount or camera. If the clash is during a slew, then of course, there's a fair amount of momentum in the telescope assembly, and even if the mount stops, the motion can't be halted instantly without something giving - but again the friction drive seems to me to be the one most likely to keep your hardware intact because of the ability to slip if required.
  19. Gorann - definitely worth doing, but I feel the pain! Note that I've tried mounting my TOA150 + C11 together on the Mesu, and it's fine; I found some of the currently available side-by-side mounting plates introduced a bit of flexibility and lengthened damping times noticeably, and there were some issues with cameras clashing with my pillar - the dual mounting plate pushes the OTAs out over the side, so you need to watch out. In the end I found a Casady tandem bar used which is a phenomenal lump makes for a stable setup. So in principle you don't need to have either/or, you can have both your Esprit 150 and C11 (and probably the ED80 as well) up and running together. Good luck!
  20. Thanks Gorann! I think my EdgeHD14 is a similar story - good price so an opportunistic buy, but ultimately I find it hard to convince myself to remove the frac from the mount. But I think it's definitely worth a try. Regarding the soft stars - I think Wim has captured the situation very well in his reply to you. Certainly my experience with side-by-side comparisons between the TOA150 and C11 co-aligned is that the performance of these two designs is much closer than often portrayed in some forums - once you take into account the very high plate scales of the SCT and try to match that with the refractor, things look a lot more equal between a good frac and a well collimated SCT. Not perfectly so - that central obstruction in the SCT does spread the power out around the central maximum more than in the case of a refractor - but as Wim has identified, it's only part of the story. Much is down to simple image scale. I don't regret for one moment the money I spent on the 'frac, but it shows just how good modern SCT's are; in terms of "bang for buck" they're really amazing - even if a little more maintenance intensive to get good results from. Regards Nigel
  21. Hi Wim, Many thanks! Yes, I think seeing is the key limiting factor. The 14" was an itch I had to scratch, and it doesn't disappoint, but previously I've noticed how similar deep sky images from the 'frac and my C11 are. Planetary imaging is a different matter and that may be a good reason for keeping the 14" on the mount, but I've not tried that yet (unlikely to either, unless the trees in the wood opposite suddenly fall down so I can see below about 30° altitude!) I think you probably made the right decision with the MN190 vs the Edge 8... The mechanical compromises with the Celestron do take the "edge" off slightly. Thank you very much for that processing advice - this is really helpful, and I'm going to try re-processing the image adding this technique - I'll re-post when done. Best Regards Nigel
  22. Evening All A few weeks ago I decided to take my TOA150 off the mount for a while to give the Celestron Edge 14 a proper try-out. The refractor is beautifully straightforward to use - it "just works", has a wide field which makes plate solving easy, and a reasonably trouble-free focuser. I anticipated some problems moving to a long focal length mirror-shift SCT. I've fitted the Edge with a Lakeside motor focuser - rather than going the Crayford route I've put it on the normal primary mirror focus knob. I expected this to throw up challenges due to mirror shift, but after some experimentation with SGP settings I found the right combination of focus direction and backlash compensation which generates good V-curves and little net image shift between the beginning and the end of the focus run. I can definitely recommend the solution which Peter at Lakeside has come up with for this fitting. I'm using the OTA at native F/11 (3910 mm focal length), with an Atik 460ex CCD and Lodestar guider via an OAG on a Mesu-200 mount. Plate solving was an issue to begin with - the 460ex imaging area is quite small, and the system is slow. I've found that adopting 4 x 4 binning and 15 sec exposures for plate solving captures, usually works, and I can now centre a target in the middle of the frame from any part of the sky in 2 or max 3 plate solve cycles. By far the biggest challenge with the entire thing so far has been finding and keeping guidestars - in the wide field of the refractor it's hardly ever a problem, but with the 14" it's a real challenge for some targets because the area of sky captured by the Lodestar is so small. Very often there aren't any usefully bright ones available in the 4-8 second guide exposure times I'm using in PHD2, and now and again I've hit problems in which the guide star is lost because it has moved out of the guide square in PHD2 after a focus run - although I seem to have managed to tune most of that out now (I really wish there was a setting in SGP to perform a re-centre after auto-focus - that would solve lots of problems). Guiding at f/11 has posed no problem at all - really flat PHD2 curves. The "Target" view in PHD2 has shown clustering of points within the 0.5" circle most of the time this week. Collimation is probably not brilliant, and I've found having to think about that business to be a bit of a pain compared to the trouble-free experience of the refractor - not that it's difficult, just that it's something you have to do. At the beginning I spent a night jumping around from object to object, marvelling at how targets that are tiny in the refractor field of view suddenly fill the frame. But eventually I settled on NGC 2683 as the target for a proper first attempt at imaging with this combination. Result shown below. Exposures: 26 x L, 10 x R, 9 x G, 9 x B subs - all 600 sec with 2 x 2 binning. It's clearly far from perfect - I've tried not to introduce too much noise in processing but there's definitely noise there with mottled background being a real issue - though that's my processing not the instrument. I also have a problem in L with a couple of dust bunnies that aren't flat fielding out properly - either the filter wheel is not returning to exactly the same position, or I've had a small shift in the orientation of the camera. Need to check collimation as well. I think it's promising although there's more work to be done on the image and on the setup. However, by coincidence I'm posting on the same evening as @wimvb who has posted an image of the same target taken with an MN190 and 460ex, and the level of detail in Wim's image compares very well indeed with mine, despite the difference in the aperture and plate scale of the combination used - make of that what you will. I have my own views on why, and ultimately it's the refractor which will be mounted for most of the time - but the 14" certainly offers a lot of different options for imaging and I think it's worth working to tame the challenges which the design introduces. Nigel
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