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About Squagnut

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  1. I doubt that removing an IR filter would lead to such overexposure problems, as a webcam's IR filter doesn't cut out very much visible light. If you can find the driver specific to the webcam, perhaps that would enable SharpCap to deal with gain control and other fine-tuning? If it's a very old webcam then this might be tricky, but worth a look.
  2. My usual laptop webcam imaging kit is a small 10.1" netbook with 2Gb RAM and a second 12v monitor. This enables using CdC and whatever imaging software I'm using at the same time, and it'll easily deal with Registax. It depends on a few factors, such as how much power you have available, what your eyesight is like, what you're accustomed to using and how important time is to you, since a smaller laptop takes a bit longer. It's very useful to have a fast SD card to record everything, so a laptop with a built-in SD slot is a big bonus.
  3. I'm not sure. Try it and see what happens. Since the dob is also an alt-az mount, I'd have thought it could well work.
  4. Excellent stuff - thanks The sea monster mentioned in my sig is an arduino-based console which controls various peripheral devices and also reads a small array of sensors, returning data to an LCD and also to a desktop app I wrote. I have a few spare pins on the sensor side of it, so I'll see if I can incorporate this SQM into it all.
  5. Hmm. You shouldn't have much difficulty getting Jupiter in focus. It'll be fairly small in a 5" scope no matter what you do, but if you can't see Jupiter's moons or equatorial bands then I'd say you're doing something wrong. Re: EPs, a 12 or 15mm would be a useful addition, but what surprised me was how useful a 32mm EP is, especially for larger DSOs. It's worth bearing in mind that eg the Andromeda galaxy appears as wide as six full moons.
  6. Hi Inky, and welcome to SGL. I have the same scope, and I had the same issues with mine. The 25mm is useful as it's a long eye relief EP, but neither that nor the 10mm are all that good, and I no longer use either of them. I got the Revelation set, five plossls for just over £100, and while that may not have been the best thing to do, they're still better than the stock EPs that came with the Skymax. My C9.25 came with a Celestron 25mm plossl, which far surpasses the Skywatcher one. Plossl? (There are no silly questions on here. Astro terminology is not self-explanatory.) Here's Wiki's piece on EP designs : - click. You don't *need* an EP of any particular design, but plossls are common, good and popular.
  7. Purdo, the point Peter makes here cannot be emphasised enough. The imaging apparatus on my main scope has cost me £500 so far - a Nikon dSLR, an off-axis guide and a guide camera. This setup is not complete - on the shopping list is a filter wheel, a set of filters and a focal reducer, which will come to about £600 more. And I'm doing this on the cheap. That's beside the £1,500 I paid for the scope itself! Then I'll want to upgrade the mount and get a better imaging camera ... If you're content just to do observing then £500 will get you enough kit to keep you going for years. Astrophotography, on the other hand, will happily absorb all the money you can throw at it.
  8. Hi Purdo, and welcome to SGL. If you want to photograph DSOs up close then you'll find your budget won't get you very far! Think of DSO astrophotography as a specialised (and challenging) branch of photography, rather than "astronomy with a camera added". You could get a SkyWatcher 150PDS on a manual EQ3, which you could later modify to goto. Or you could get a SkyMax127 on a SynScan AZ goto, which is what I'd recommend. It's great for lunar/planetary photos, and (for its size) good for DSO observing. You could get a much bigger aperture than either of these if you went for a Dobsonian mount - this means sacrificing goto and tracking capabilities, but you get to see more space stuff.
  9. This has been asked before, and DC motor kits for it are available for about £80. http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/41716-motor-drives-for-a-skyscan-eq3-2-mount/
  10. Yes, you can get a suitable polarscope for a VX mount, but I'm not sure they've yet reached the UK market. As it says here, "Please note: This is the NEW version of Celestron's # 94224 polar finder. It no longer has the silver aluminum ring that the previous version had and that you will see all over the internet. The old version was modified by Celestron very recently to also work with its latest Advanced VX mounts. The item we ship will match the photo above." Usually mounts don't come with a polarscope included. I'm sure FLO would tell you about its availability.
  11. If you're thinking primarily of imaging with a webcam then you don't *need* an equatorial mount - you may *prefer* one, but I don't see that it will bring any significant advantage. A SynScan AZ alt-az mount, which can easily be connected to a PC, would be fine and should be able to take the weight of your OTA. EQMOD is very useful and powerful, but it doesn't work either on alt-az mounts or on Celestron equatorial mounts. As Malc said, how you connect PC to mount depends on distance. I'd use a powered USB hub at the far end of a 10m extension cable, and connect both webcam and mount to it. Further than that and I'd look at wireless options. If your laptop output is a USB port, you'll need a USB-serial adapter. These are cheap and easy to find. You might also like to consider focusing. Popping out and in to get your webcam is in focus would be annoying! There are ways of remotely controlling focus too, but practical astronomy is often about doing legwork to make the most of the kit you have.
  12. Here's the user manual: - Click - The celestial poles move, but not very fast - maybe a small fraction of a degree over a human lifetime.
  13. A 127 Mak (SkyMax or SLT) would be suitable for what you want, but don't expect to be able to see many DSOs (deep space objects, i.e. distant faint fuzzy things) with a webcam. Moon and planets, yes, but galaxies and nebulae will prove to be too faint. You'll be able to see them visually (i.e. through an eyepiece), of course. Often I link my 127 to a laptop, then control all the goto and tracking from there using Cartes du Ciel (CdC) planetarium software, while observing and recording video or images on whatever software is suitable for the camera I'm using. Viewing and imaging the moon this way is comfortable and never gets boring, but it would be a serious underuse of the scope only to use it for this purpose. As I said, it's not so good for DSOs with a camera, so a lot of the time I use eyepieces. This can be hard on the back - perhaps an adjustable observing chair/stool would help?
  14. Ok. Not ideal! I can't comment on the price he quoted for the replacement drive assembly - as I understand it, you can get spares directly from Celestron, but they don't publish a price list. You contact the support dept and they give you a quote for the parts you want. Gcek above says he got a replacement dec drive for about $60. I should have advised you not to ask questions, just buy the thing and post pics on here so we could help get it going!
  15. But .. all those times I hear folk say they learned things in maths at school and could never find a real-life application for it!
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