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Jim Smith

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About Jim Smith

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    West Herefordshire, UK

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  1. (This is only interesting if you own an SX Ultrastar camera!) When running multiple instances of Starlight Live, I couldn't connect to my new Ultrastar mono with Starlight Live V3.3 using the command line parameters. Terry, at Starlight Xpress, said try pid 0x0525 instead of 0x0505 that I had been using. It worked just fine. Perhaps there are different batches of these cameras with different pids.
  2. Hi Greg, This is all a bit new to me, so these are not expert answers! The seeing was, I think, better than average, but remember that the X2M image is wide field so may not be so susceptible to poor atmospheric conditions. The X2M image was made using a camera lens which I focused by turning it to the infinity setting and then fine-tuning it to get the smallest stars on the screen. I have a UV/IR filter on the lens which might help to remove less well focused IR. I'm not sure if your X2C is as sensitive to IR though. The Lodestar/C6 I focused with a Bahtinov mask. Two instances of StarLight Live? I've only done this once so far, but here's what worked... I had the Ultrastar USB cable plugged in and then started SLL. It connected OK. I then plugged in the Lodestar USB cable and started another instance of SLL using AppleScript in a .app file as below. do shell script "open -n -a starlightlive --args -exclusive-sx-pid 0x0507 -prepend-title-text Lodestar This then connected to the Lodestar OK. I did lose the camera connection once or twice, but I just repeated the same procedure. But, as I said, I've only had this working for one session so far so I'm not sure how reliable it will be. Hope that helps, Jim
  3. A surprise clear night gave me the opportunity to try my e-finder in tandem with my main scope. The finder camera is a Lodestar x2m and the main camera is an Ultrastar mono. I ran two instances of Starlight Live on my Macbook. I stopped down the e-finder's 85mm f/1.4 lens to f/2.4 and found that the star bloat was much improved. The loss of speed doesn't seem to be an issue as the Lodestar is very sensitive. After aligning the two systems, I took these two shots of my target, M57. The finder image is 1 second, unstacked. The main image is 10x5 seconds mean stacked. It seems to be working pretty well so far...
  4. Thanks for the information.
  5. That's the second time someone has suggested Astrotortilla to me. Perhaps I'll need to take a serious look. I'm a bit concerned about how easy it might be to get it working with SkySafari and Starlight Live on my Mac. I think, for now, I'll get used to using my new e-finder and see how I go. One question...Roughly how long does it take for Astrotortilla to take an image, do the plate solving, slew the scope and check where its now pointing? (If that's what it does!)
  6. It's really just replacing the eyepiece with a camera, and viewing the live output from the camera on a video monitor or computer screen. Take a look here...
  7. I know "video astronomy" isn't everyone's cup of tea, but this is the view of M51 I got on my laptop screen, from my C6 and Lodestar camera, a couple of weeks ago. Being able to observe around the summer solstice, or if there is a full moon helps me get best use of Herefordshire's rare cloudless nights.
  8. I have an Ultrastar mono on the way. I suppose the Lodestar will be the finder and the Ultrastar will be the main scope camera...or perhaps the other way round? I will experiment.
  9. Inspired by reading various posts on CN and SL I thought I would start using an electronic finder. I'm fed up wasting too much time trying to work out where my scope is pointing. The finder consists of a Lodestar x2 mono, a 5mm cs to c-mount adaptor, a c-mount to Canon EOS adapter and a Samyang 85mm f/1.4 lens. I don't have any means of securely attaching it to my C6 yet, so I just plonked it on top, pointing vaguely in the direction of Ophiucus. According to the image I captured below is 4.23 x 3.35 deg. I think that should work well. I notice some blurriness around red stars. Is this caused by the lens's difficulty focusing red/IR? Would an IR cut filter help? The image below is a stack of 22 @ 0.5 seconds with the lens set to f/1.4. The image in focus and framing mode (unstacked) is noisier. Sorry, I forgot to save one of those.
  10. I think I've now got to about f/4.2. The sensor to rearmost reducer distance is now ~80mm.
  11. Excellent video. Is it possible to get Canon Utility to record the live view video, or is recording the whole desktop session the best way to go? Thanks.
  12. I am still experimenting on my C6, but I think the sensor to rearmost reducer distance will be around 75-80 mm for f/4.0.
  13. I have been swapping between ALT-AZ and EQ modes to see which works best for me. At the moment I am favouring ALT-AZ for two reasons. Firstly, I seem to be able to grasp much more easily the orientation of my on-screen live view relative to the sky; so even if I don't know what exactly I am looking at, at least I know which way up it is. Secondly, in ALT-AZ mode I can easily mount my 80 mm refractor parallel to the SCT. Through it, I can see what I'm pointing at much more easily than through the 50 mm finder on the SCT. Also, when I press the arrow keys on the controller, up is always up and left is always left. I have found that in EQ mode (even after doing a polar alignment or two) or in ALT-AZ mode, the go-to rarely places the object within the admittedly small field of view of the Lodestar when used at f/10 or f/6.3. I assumed that this was normal for these mounts! I might take a look at Astrotortilla, but I think I rather fancy the video finder option. Thanks for the suggestions.
  14. Yes, I did have a Hyperstar and it worked very well. After using it for a while, I decided I needed a smaller field of view for most of the objects I was interested in. I can now, fairly easily, swap from f/10 to f/6.3 to f/4(or nearly!). Changing from Hyperstar mode to non-Hyperstar mode during an observing session was just a bit too time consuming and fiddly for me. Having said that, I am now toying with the idea of getting a wide field electronic finder of some sort. The go-to on my mount is not very accurate. Finding objects at f/1.9 was really easy and I do miss that!
  15. Another clear night! Here are some shots using less spacing between the reducers and the sensor. I think the spacing is now about 60-70 mm (~20 mm less). processing and checking in Stellarium suggest that I am now getting almost exactly f/5.0. I think, with the adaptors I have, I can adjust the spacing to something between my previous two configurations. It will then be pretty much as alphatripleplus suggested. The field of view at f/5.0 is clearly narrower than at f/3.4, but is anything else different?