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Hackleby

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    Huntly, New Zealand

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  1. The biggest problem you will have with astrophotography or even just viewing on this set up is going to be the mount and tripod. I would strongly recommend that these be upgraded to enhance your experience. I converted the same scope for my son last year using a pair of 90mm tube rings that I picked up off of ebay for £5 and a spare dove tail bar. The scope now fits straight onto my old EQ5 that I handed down to him but will also fit a wide variety of other mounts. The focus tube is 1.25" and would require both a T ring and adaptor to enable a DSLR to be connected. I have not tried to obtain focus with a DSLR on this scope mainly due to the fact that I wouldn't trust the build quality of the focus tube with my camera.
  2. A big thank you to all who took time to respond to my plight. Your feed back stopped me from giving in and underlined that I indeed had, yes had a problem. Having never worked with dark frames before undertaking the trials of Astrophotography my knowledge of them was zilch. Comments made above with regards the dark frames being stretched puzzled me as even just viewing the RAW files highlighted the same issue and there in lay the problem. Today I was asked how I was viewing the darks and the resulting conversation opened my eyes. Having received both my cameras without software I had been opening my RAW files and viewing them with the only software I had to do the job, Corel Paint X7 and Picasa 3. I have since installed Digital Photo Professional and taken another look at my RAW Darks frames, they are pretty much totally black and have no resemblance to the images displayed when viewed with the afore mentioned software. The tutorial frames how ever do still look similar but just not as pronounced. Moving forward I believe that I now have some setup issues to resolve in DSS to get the best out of it and try to retain some of that lost colour and detail. Once again I thank you all.
  3. No stretch has been applied, just converted from RAW to Tiff to enable import into PS. I'm still at a loss as to why my lights do not contain the noise on the darks like the tutorial lights do. Think I need to worry as the darks are not reducing noise, they are reducing the amount of data in the image.
  4. The file names were allocated to each sub by the camera control software "BackYard EOS" All three subs used in the image are single and unprocessed, other than converted from RAW to TIFF to import into PS to create attached image. I would also have thought that my lower ISO would have produced a cleaner image. I have also compared the lights and darks on the tutorial software and can clearly see all of the noise in the dark on the light. How ever I see none of the noise in my darks on my lights so something must be wrong with my camera setups. I have followed several walk through's (is throughs a real word) which are basically all the same so I am unsure what the problem is.
  5. The ISO used in my light and dark frames is 800, the dark frame from the tutorial is at 1600. Camera used is a Canon 6d although my 1100d has same issues, noise reduction turned off since I started AP as recommended by most people.
  6. Hi everyone, I have been struggling for some time now with DSS and have found that single exposures always look better than a series of stacked images. I have persisted but keep coming back to the same conclusion. I recently purchased "A Guide To Astrophotography" and after watching several of the tutorials decided to have a go at subtracting darks. What became immediately obvious to me was the difference between My dark frames and those from the tutorial. Granted I'm a beginner but surly the dark frames I took should not contain so much noise. The attached image shows, Left to right, a 600s light frame at 50% and 500%, My 600s dark at 50% and 500%, Tutorial 600s Darks at 50% and 500%. Are my dark frames normal or are they noisy and if so what could be contributing to this? Stacking images in DSS with darks, flats and bias washes the picture something terrible and there doesn't seem to be enough data left for stretching after wards. Any advise is welcomed. Thank you.
  7. 1) shipped my NEQ6 and SW200p no problems at all, just left them in their original cartons and put on the container. dependant on your visa requirements will determine if you will have to pay customs duty on the equipment you bring over. 2) No pole star over here so alignment can be tricky, drift aligning is a very accurate way and I achieve this with my laptop and software called Back Yard EOS, takes about 10-20 mins to nail it depending how well I first set scope up. 3) I can not answer what you will see as don't live in Wellington and not sure of light pollution there but where I am in Huntly, mmm, mmm, mmm. Plenty and more to see. You wont see the whirlpool, pinwheel and probably not Andromeda so get them while you can. 4) Very poor choice and vey expensive here so bring all that you can, you will only regret it if you part with stuff before leaving. There are some fantastic astrophotographers here in New Zealand or maybe its that the sky's are so good. Join a society when you arrive and join this site https://www.facebook.com/groups/5889909863/
  8. Hackleby

    Southern Skies

    Images taken from Huntly, New Zealand (37.5600° S, 175.1600° E)
  9. Hi All, At a recent members night at the Hamilton Astronomical Society it came up in conversation that a society owned scope, a Meade LX200GPS hadn't worked properly for over two years and that it would be nice to get it up and running again. I am led to believe that in the past various members have taken a look into the issue with this scope but are yet to find a resolution. I took a little nosey at it my self and this is what was found. The scope powers up ok and the hand controller illuminates and displays the word "Initializing..." then the screen goes blank but is still illuminated. After this nothing else happens or is displayed. The scope can be slewed manually via the hand controller at a default speed and nothing else. No menu options are available, Slewing speed can not be changed etc. It had been suggested that the GPS battery could be dead and without it the scope would take some 20 mins to establish a location so the scope was taken outside and left powered up for over an hour but still no change. We only meet once a month so I will not get opportunity to see scope again until April but can pass on any help and advice that you guys and gals can recommend. It is a favourite scope of many of the members (I'm yet to use it) and it would be great to have it available for public viewing nights. Thank you.
  10. Hi, These are the 2" and 1.25" adaptors that you may have been supplied with your scope. The image on the left is how they are stored but not used. The image on the right is how they are used with 1.25" eye piece. Have a look and see if you have similar.
  11. Guess I'm a bit late to this party but here is my 2 cents worth and I'm sure most will disagree. You have a £200 voucher to burn and want to improve on what you have already got to hand so I would look at getting the EQ5 mount from amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=EQ5 at £214.99. That's an additional investment of only £14.99. This is a minimum requirement mount for astrophotography really that can be upgraded at a later date and is excellent for visual. This will allow you to practice required skills such as polar alignment and balancing, not much fun but part of the steep learning curve. If you can push your budget to £440 then get the EQ5 with 200p Sky Watcher from Amazon. This would be a good investment as you already have £200 towards it or search for a cheaper OTA on ebay. The 200p will serve you well over the early years of your new hobby and a T-ring is all you need to attach your DSLR to the focus tube (depending on brand of DSLR). With the EQ5 & 200p, great images of the moon and larger planets are obtainable with the use of a web cam, laptop and free software, this is another skill set to learn. So for the extra investment of £240 plus cost of a T-ring you could be up and running with a reasonable/upgradable entry level AP set up as I did. Everything else will follow as you learn, read, question and explore your new hobby. You will always be skint, frustrated and confused but never a loan ha ha!
  12. Hi Jolal, The attached image is my sons scope that originally got me hooked. As I have upgraded my equipment he has benefited from my hand me downs to be able to upgrade his. Originally his scope was a £40 department store plastic job he got last Christmas from his granddad. You only had to breath next to it and the viewing image would disappear, it was so wobbly on its flimsy tripod that holding it was easier. His upgrades comprise of £5 ebay tube rings, my original EQ5 mount and 9x50 finder scope. His viewing is now as good as mine so it goes to show that the mount is oh so important and a cheap scope is still a good scope.
  13. Hi everyone, I have been pushing myself to go down the road of a CCD camera over the option of the Canon 6d as I only wish to use the camera for Astrophotography. Looking around at a comparable priced CCD I was drawn to the SBig STF-8300 series and the mono in particular as I wish to get the maximum out of my imaging sessions. However, my budget will only allow for the camera at this time which would leave me with mono exposures until I have enough readies to buy filters and filter wheel. My question to anyone who can help is, do I need a filter wheel to be able to utilise filters with the STF-8300M or can they be attached individually to the camera. I know that taking and stacking exposures that have elements of movement in them (hence the need for filter wheel) are not ideal but can it be done, ie will they screw into the camera nose piece etc. Any advice that can be given is most welcomed, thanks in advance.
  14. The blue circle that you mention seeing around the stars is reflected light from the dust cloud the cluster is passing through and nothing to do with your collimation although it doesn't hurt to get into the habit of checking collimation. Any technique practiced gains experience and with time becomes second nature, (much like driving), great first attempt.
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