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About HiloDon

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    Sub Dwarf

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  • Location
    Mauna Kea, Hawaii
  1. Does anyone broadcast?

    My colleague and I broadcast on NSN from Mauna Kea, Hawaii at 9200’. We try to do it every Monday, but the weather has been terrible for the past month or so. Our time is not the best for viewers on mainland U.S., but we get a lot from Australia, New Zealand and Europe. We still get many die hards from the mainland as well. It’s becoming a real international venue. There is a Facebook page called Night Skies Network where many post their captures from the previous night’s broadcast. Different cameras and scope setups. Definitely a thing to tune into if you’re interested in EAA/VA. Don
  2. Latest Deep Sky objects with Trius 694

    Hi Greg, Very nice results with the 694. I was wondering how it was working after you posted a ways back about the disconnect problem in bin 1x1. There was a recent post in CN from a guy who was trying to use the same camera and I posted this: https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/610481-helpful-tips-for-operating-starlight-live-live-stacking/?p=8441180 I think you use a Mac. Did you ever try it with a Windows machine? I was always thinking about trying the color version of this cam. If you have to bin 2x2, I think you lose the color. Don
  3. New Set up for VAA

    I agree with Eric that an Alt/az Mount is the way to go for backyard VAA. Simple to set up and the short exposure requirement negates the need for eq tracking. I have the Celestron Evolution 6 that is easy to handle and set up. With the Infinity you will need some simple focal reduction to get you to f/5 and you could later invest in Hyperstar for some wide field viewing at f/1.9. The Evolution comes in 8” and 9.25” versions as well. I think the 9.25” is getting a little to heavy for the mount. You can also use the mount for other small scopes. I recently bought a SV60eds that works well with my Lodestars and Ultrastars for wide field views. The SX Ultrastar has the same sensor as the Infinity and is controlled by Starlight Live software. Very intuitive and easy to use. Available for both Mac and Windows. Don
  4. Hi All, We had a fun broadcast from Mauna Kea last night and I thought I would share some of the captures we saved. An interesting one was NGC2525 that has a Type 1a supernova visible right now. It actually occurred about 50 million years ago. Don
  5. Super Blue Moon!

    Had an NSN Broadcast of the lunar eclipse last night from Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Had viewers from around the world, including Reggie. Here’s a few captures from the show. Thanks to all who joined. Don
  6. Hi Rob, One thing I didn’t address in your post was the question of fainter stuff. Last night during our NSN broadcast I went to the Medusa Nebula. Here’s the capture. The Medusa is a very old planetary Nebula in Gemini. The central blue star is what powers the Nebula glow. Don
  7. Hi Rob, I’ll start by addressing the focus. About a year ago, I decided to try a Bahtinov mask. I find it to be one of the best purchases I ever made in this hobby, especially considering the cost. It just takes me a minute to focus and it is nearly always perfect. Sometimes as the night goes on I need to refocus because of temperature change. I don’t lock the mirrors. Haven’t really noticed any mirror flop. It might be more noticeable on a GEM. When focusing, I do see a slight movement of the mirror when changing direction on the focusing knob. Dean at Starizona told me to finish the focus in the CCW direction to minimize mirror flop. Don’t really know if that matters, but that’s what I do. There’s no question that the skies on Mauna Kea are the best in the world. It’s one of the reasons I like to do the broadcast, so others around the world can enjoy it, too. They can get .25 arc-sec seeing at the top (13,800’). We think we can get a half at 9200’ where the VIS is located. I think there is definitely a difference at my home observatory. Still pretty good. I went back a ways to find some captures with the same equipment used at my home. We’re at 600’ with dark skies. Hilo is the only light source and it’s about 10 miles away. They recently changed all the street lights as requested by the observatories on Mauna Kea. The difference with the new lamps is huge. Here’s a few captures made using the same equipment at my home. I remember that the seeing was very good that night, so this is probably the best I can get at my home location. Regarding Galaxy clusters, we do a lot of that, but usually like using the scope at f/5 with a narrower FOV. Here’s one of Stephan’s Quintet and NGC7331 we took during the broadcast at f/2. Hope that answers everything. Don
  8. Not sure I’m the Don you’re talking about, Stash, but thanks for waking us up. I think many of us are happy doing video and EAA and let things go a bit. Martin’s posts were very encouraging seeing that Paul has disappeared for some reason. I’m sure we all hope it’s a work related temporary thing. Martin, I like the Neb connection. I have the program and felt it just needed some live view features. Seeing you want some pics, Stash, here are some captures we got just last night broadcasting on NSN from Mauna Kea at 9200’. All were live view captures with no post processing. We had a number of viewers and everyone seem to have a good time. The amazing thing for me was that everything worked without any glitches. Very strange. All captures were done using a CPC1100HD with Hyperstar at f/2 and the SX Ultrastar C with Paul’s (still best) live view Starlight Live software. Happy New Year to all! Don
  9. How do we define Video Astronomy

    One of the great benefits to Video/EAA is the ability to show the wonders of our universe to groups of people through outreach programs. I do a lot of that at the VIS on Mauna Kea here on the Big Island of Hawaii and through our weekly broadcast on NSN. The most asked question is “ is that what the scope is looking at now?” The real time feeling or belief is what thrills the viewer. If I had to wait more than two minutes to get an image, I would lose the crowd. On a broadcast with more sophisticated viewers, you can use longer exposures that approach AP. But, it’s all good and the simpler the system, the better for live crowd shows. Less time to get an image for viewing, the more the crowd likes it. So, there’s always that trade off of getting something faster or higher quality. In any case it’s a lot of fun to see people get excited about deep sky objects. Most are impressed when I tell them that they are looking at light generated thousands or millions of years ago. Don
  10. SLL remembers some of the settings from the previous session. Stacking is one of them. If you don’t shut off the stacking from the previous session the new image will not show because there is no alignment. When starting a new session, always check to make sure the enable stacking box is unchecked. Don
  11. Does size matter?

    In EAA/Video Astronomy I find that speed and field of view are most important. Larger aperture will allow for narrower FOV given the same focal ratio and sensor. If you want a wide field shorter optics will work. I use everything from a C11 at f/10 (2800mm focal length) down to a 50mm Orion Mini Guider scope at 162mm focal length. With the longer slower optics, you will be limited to brighter DSO’s like PN’s and clusters. Just to show that size doesn’t always matter, here’s some examples of using a 50mm scope at f3.2 to view larger emission nebulae with a narrow band Ha filter. Here are some closer views of Eta Carina taken with a C11 at f/5. Same camera, different optics. All images from an SX Ultrastar.
  12. What is the current trend for eaa/va

    Thanks, Rob. Please do join us. Let me know when you make your plans to visit. That goes for all out there. It is a wonderful place for astronomy. Always plan for a new moon or late moon rise phase to enjoy the really dark skies. Don
  13. What is the current trend for eaa/va

    Hi All, I started into video astronomy about five years ago with an scb2000. I built my own remote controller from some plans on a forum. Kept looking at more analogue possibilities, but came across Nytecam’s work with his Lodestar and Paul’s Lodestar Live software. I got the new Lodestar X2 mono and it change my life in astronomy. Martin Meredith’s work was also an inspiration. I bought an X2c as soon as it came out and eventually bought an Ultrastar C and M. Paul updated his software to Starlight Live and I’ve been a happy camper ever since. I now am involved with outreach at the VIS on Mauna Kea. We also do a weekly broadcast on Night Skies Network. I can get great views of DSO’s in less than a minute and the audience loves it. Paul’s incredible software has a remote image window that is almost a must for outreach work. Attached is our card for the weekly show.
  14. Some colour issues with SLL 3.3

    Bruce, I would suggest trying both and see if there’s any difference. Couple of weeks ago I had taken darks and had some issues I thought might be related to them, so I shut them off and just relied on the DPR tool. It worked so well that I don’t take darks anymore with the Ultrastar C. Last night though my mono Ultrastar had some amp glow, so I need to take a couple of darks to remove it. The DPR won’t remove amp glow. I think I’m not getting the green stars anymore, but I need to run more tests to be sure. It’s really nice not having to take darks. The reddish halo is something Paul was aware of and was working on a fix. Hope he shows up soon. Don
  15. Some colour issues with SLL 3.3

    Hi Jim, The green stars are caused by the defective pixel removal tool being enabled. Sometimes I use the tool and don’t get the green stars, but have yet to figure out what I did. You can disable the tool and use darks, but some strange artifacts may show up depending on the object. I think Paul was aware of the other problem you see, but he doesn’t appear to be active here recently. I hope he’s just busy with summer activities and gets back soon. I think we all miss his help and support. Don