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  1. Thanks for all your responses. Even though my initial idea was to simply replace the Lodestar with another guider having sturdier ports and cables, what I've learned is that most replacement candidates are less sensitive. Therefore, the idea of such a support is appealing. I would assume that once installed, such a device would mean keeping the cable attached semi-permanently. The only problem I see with that is finding a way to screw the Lodestar onto the guider port of the QSI with the cables connected. Any suggestions? Meantime, I think I'll go ahead and order one. It may not be cheap, but it's a lot less than another guiding camera.
  2. The SX Lodestar I had been using as a guider on my QSI 683wsg worked beautifully until it suffered an untimely and premature death due to a USB port that broke. By broke, I mean the internal part of the port sunk down into the camera body. To its credit, the vendor I bought it from agreed to replace it free of charge. They also mentioned that my USB port failure wasn't the first such problem they'd seen on Lodestars. While I was glad to have a brand new Lodestar delivered today, I can't help but worry that I may see another such problem with it. I certainly do not want to have a trip to a dark site torpedoed by a wonky guider! So the question is, can anyone recommend a more robust guider that won't sacrifice sensor size or too much sensitivity that will work with the OAG built into QSI's 'wsg' series cameras? Thanks. -Bert
  3. Pete, Very nice! Very nice, indeed. Makes me anxious to get the RGB data I need to complete my M51 in progress. Stuart, Don't feel al alone. Conditions have been equally fickle on this side of the pond, Out here on the left coast, it's been mild temperature wise, but we've been plagued by sneaker clouds, high winds, Ah well, life is a series of compromises...
  4. Thanks sologuitarist61! I was frankly quite surprised by the amount of detail I was able to pull out a limited amount of data, as in less than 2 hours worth. Even more so for the fact that the skies at my home site are seldom better than Bortle 5/6, and it's a rare night indeed when the seeing is any better than 4". Hopefully I can hit another one of those rare good nights when I collect the RGB data I'd like to add. Post processing consisted of nothing more that DBE and a gentile deconvolution in PixInsight followed by some noise reduction and curves in Photoshop. I realize this is an often done target, but I've never been able to do a really good M-51. So I'm hoping to get 'lucky' with this one.
  5. Thank you all for the encouraging words. Xplode, yes, the Hibble palette is an acquired taste. That's the beauty of the PS clipping mask technique. The channel collor assignments can be changed around and adjusted at will without having to redo any of the pre- or early post processing.I think the same technique can be applied to 2 chanel images as well. So I might give that a go. One thing I have noticed about NB imaging is that I have to be careful of bright stars in the field. Seems if I frame then too far off axis, I'm more prone to reflectoins than is the case with traditional LRGB imaging. This has me thinking I might want to upgrade to Astrodon Gen II NB filters, but that'll be a slow transition for budgetary reasons.
  6. My apologies... That shoulkd have beem "Thanks wxsatuser" Correct sentiment, wrong name..
  7. Thank you wxsatuser. This image represents a number of 'firsts' for me. Aside from being my first SHO narrow band (20 minute long subs at 0.6"/pix is a whole new territory), it was also my first use of clipping mask technique in PS.
  8. Mark, Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I do plan to add some RGB data as soon as the moon allows. You might want to have a look at my humble M-1 NB also recently posted to this forum. It isn't much, but I hope you enjoy... Thanks, Bert
  9. This one was my very first narrow band tricolor image. I used the Hubble pallet (SHO), blending the Ha, OIII, and SII in PS using the clipping mask technique described here http://www.astrodonimaging.com/tutorials/#t9 The full image is here http://www.astrobin.com/full/85439/0/ The details are on the technical card view. I want to emphasize this was my first venture into NB territory, so be gentle...
  10. OK, this isn't anything special. Just a little less than 2 hours (15X400") of luminosity data on M-51. Above the only thing remarkable is the fact that this was taken from my Bortle 5/6 back yard skies with the usual ~4" seeing. http://www.astrobin.com/full/82456/B I'm too new here to have a sig yet, so here's my rig: AP900GTO-CP2 Deep Sky Instruments RC10C QSI 683wsg-5 Baader LRGB filters Software; Sequence Generator Pro (Capture & Pre-Processing) PixInsight, PS CS4 (Post Processsing) Still on the steep part of the learning curve, so I'm wide open to suggestiions Thanks, Bert
  11. Either alignment of possibly focus... I've seen doubled difraction spikes like that from my 10" RC when focus was off a bit.
  12. Thank you all so much for such a warm welcome!! I've done some lurking here as a guest and was impressed by the level of expertise, willingness to help, and just general civility. I hope to contribute to that. Bert
  13. Having been a professional *NIX systems engineer/analyst for 17 years, I've got more reason then most to dislike Windows as a platform, and I can't say I'm overly thrilled about the idea of having to funnel most of my hardware through the ASCOM platform, which itself is slavishly dependent on the aging .NET framework. So, has anyone here had any experience with any alternatives? I've been working with the developers of the INDI library which can be used by any LINUX/MACOS applications (such as Kstars and Ekos) that are aware of it to control a growing list of devices. Unfortunately, the INDI driver for Astro-Physics mounts isn't quite ready for prime time in its current iteration. That's what I've been working on with Jasem Mutlaq og the INDI project. So the question is, does anyone know of a *NIX-based driver for AP hardware? Thanks.
  14. Of the US, that is. Just broadeneing my horizons here by joining a more globally oriented forum. I've been involved in astronomy, in one form or another, on and off, for something like 40 years. Yes, I was one of thse pathetic souls who's deep sky imaging experience started with film, a home made cold camera, and buckets of dry ice. Long story short, it's been a long and winding road, as they say, but along the way I've climbed at least a part of the learning curve associated the transition to CCD technology and modern equipment. I currently run a Deep Sky Instruments RC10C for smaller objects and a Stellarvue 130 EDT for wider field images, both atop an AP900GTO with a QSI 683wsg-5 as my main imager and an SX Lodestar for a guder. Much more managable than my old self built 12.5" F5 Newt mounted on a custom built Cave-style GE and using a joystick to try to keep the cross hairs center on a guide star in a very dim, barlowed Celestron C5. Oy! I still consider myself pretty much a beginner, and I'm looking forward to the new tips/tricks I'm sure I'll be exposed to here. Thanks to those responsible for building this forum and community. I'm sure I'll enjoy me time here.
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