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About HiloDon

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    Sub Dwarf

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  • Location
    Mauna Kea, Hawaii
  1. HiloDon

    Favourite eea camera?

    Hi Louise, I’m probably going against the grain a bit, but my favorite EAA cams are still the SX Lodestar X2m and the Ultrastar C. The Starlight Live Software is the best in my book, and once you try it, others will pale in comparison. The SLL s/w is a free download and available for both Mac and Windows. Both Lodestar and Ultrastar cams are becoming more affordable on used camera market, as many are jumping to the CMOS cams with Sharpcap. I find Sharpcap a bit clumsy to use and others have been frustrated with it too. If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them. Here’s a few captures I got recently with the Ultrastar C.
  2. Nice results, Greg. Do you still have to use 2x binning to get the 694 to work with SLL? Don
  3. HiloDon

    Outreach on Mauna Kea

    Sorry I missed identifying the camera. It’s an SX Ultrastar C. To answer Tony’s question, I prefer the 11” with Hyperstar because it is more flexible in getting longer focal lengths of f/5 and ever f/10. I don’t need the RASA’s larger corrected field because the Ultrastar has a smaller 11mm diagonal sensor size. I use the RASA at the MK VIS because it’s all set up and the young folks up there roll it out for me. I just level it, use the AP RAPAS to polar align and I’m ready to go. I still have the C1100HD that I use when we do our broadcasts off of the VIS property and my home observatory with a permanent pier.
  4. HiloDon

    Outreach on Mauna Kea

    Here are some captures I got during our lastest live view outreach program on Mauna Kea here on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was quite windy, so I limited the exposures to 15 seconds and still got some decent results. I now offer an Airdrop of the captured images to the visitors who have iPhones. It has been a big hit. Don
  5. Hi All, Thought I would give an update on things here on the Big Island. The volcano rages on and has destroyed hundreds of homes. It continues feeding a river of lava eight miles long to the southeastern point shoreline creating new land. The flow from the fissure is over 25,000 gallons per second. It’s hard to imagine. So far we have not been affected from the noxious fumes from the main crater at the summit or the extremely toxic gas produced from the lava entering the ocean. The winds have been very favorable for us, but some of the other parts of the Island have had significant vog. Last night was finally clear here at my home observatory, so it gave me a chance to test out some new equipment. Here are a few captures I got with the SX Ultrastar C and Starlight Live. Scope was a C1100HD at f/5. I included a shot of the volcano area as seen from my observatory.
  6. John, We hear from SX that Paul is taking a break from his development of SLL because of work committments. We’re hoping he returns some day. In the meantime perhaps you can try opening the program with a terminal command. I suspect as Stash indicated that you updated something that affects the compatibility with older programs. I use a Mac with El Capitan and version 3.1 of SLL, and it still works well. I use 3.1 because 3.2 and 3.3 won’t allow zoom on the remote image window to work for some reason. Paul didn’t get a chance to fix that. What OS are you using? Don
  7. Don’t worry, Pat. I was using my new AP1100 Mount for the first time and forgot to pack the CW shaft. Had to cancel even though it was a near perfect night. We’ll try again next Monday night. Don
  8. Thanks, Pat. We are going to try broadcasting tonight on NSN. Should be on about 7:45 HST. Don
  9. Thanks for the concern, everyone. The latest situation in lower Puna on the Big Island is very bad. The whole eastern area of Kopoho Point is cut off by the lava. It is a mandatory evacuation area, but some have decided to stay. They had to rescue four people by air yesterday. The lava has reached Kopoho Bay this morning. There is no electricity, water or cell service available in the area. There are hundreds of homes in Vacationland and Kopoho Beach Lots that are in the potential path of the lava flow which has widen out to about a half mile. Here is a USGS map of the lava flow late yesterday morning. We have not been affected by any of this activity yet. We live near the coast about 25 miles north of Kopoho Point on Mauna Kea. We can see the point in the distance from our lanai on the second floor. At night we can see the glow from the active lava. The winds have been in a favorable direction for us, but I understand that the Kona side is being affected by the fumes. Don
  10. HiloDon

    StarlightLive V3.3 Released

    Hi Alan, Good to see you back. Paul has been absent for a while and hasn’t visited SGL since July last year. We all miss him and were worried about him. We did find out through Terry at SX that he was ok, but extremely busy with his work related projects. We are all hopeful that he will return some day and continue to support Starlight Live. In my opinion, it still remains the best live viewing software available. I still use it here at the VIS on Mauna Kea. If Paul returns, it will be big news in the EAA community, and it will be posted in this forum. Don
  11. Howie, Thanks for the concern. Just an update as things have gotten worse at the Kilauea summit and the lower Puna area where a number of fissures are occurring and causing lava flow. Over 40 structures have been destroyed and the lava has now reached the ocean causing high level of sulfur dioxide gas. A number of roads in the area are blocked, but civil defense is doing a great job rescuing people and keeping them safe. So far the ash and smoke generated from all this has not affected Mauna Kea. In fact, we had an excellent evening Friday and did our live Stargazing show for the big crowd that showed up. The big ash plume Howie mentioned subsided and there was nothing visible from the VIS on Friday just before sunset. They are still expecting more explosions, so this thing is far from over. Don
  12. HiloDon


    f ratio comparison
  13. HiloDon

    Astronomy heaven plus a black eye

    Rob, Great captures and excellent presentation! I am always impressed with what the Lodestar mono can produce. Still a winner in my book. Don
  14. HiloDon

    Horizon vs Ultrastar

    The Infinity, Ultrastar and Atik 414 as well as the SX825 Trius all use the same Sony 825 sensor, so there will be little, if any, difference in the image quality. The 414 and Trius are cooled which will give some noise reduction over the uncooled Infinity and Ultrastar, but for shorter exposure EAA purposes dark frame subtraction or defective pixel removal tools found in SLL should make the difference insignificant. For tighter stars and improved detail a finer pixel sensor is needed.
  15. Thanks, all, for thinking of me. My wife and I were on the mainland last week, so we missed the big earthquakes. We had a house sitter and she sent us pictures of all the things that fell on the floor, but there was no serious damage. All astro equipment survived. I was torn as to whether I wanted to experience a 6.9 mag quake, but I know my wife would have been terrified. The biggest we had ever felt before was a 5.2 mag. We live on Mauna Kea which is an inactive volcano that hasn’t erupted for thousands of years. The eruptions and lava flow are not far from us (about 30 miles) on Kilauea which is a continually active volcano as see by many around the world who have visited Volcanoes National Park. We can get some of the smoke called vog depending on the winds, but we are completely safe from the direct impact of the volcano. The situation with these recent eruptions and flows has been grim because it’s occurring in a populated subdivision. The area has been evacuated, but over 30 homes have been lost so far. Thankfully, no lives have been lost thanks to the diligent efforts of our public safety officials. I’ll post some updates as I get more info. We have a civil defense alert system that I am signed up for that gives regular text message updates. Don

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