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Jim Smith

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Everything posted by Jim Smith

  1. There's a nice feature in Stellarium on WIndows that allows you to enter your camera sensor size and lens focal length. You can then choose to see the field-of-view rectangle on the main display. Does anybody know of an iPhone app that does the same thing. I have Sky Safari 6 but I don't think it has this feature. Thanks in advance! Jim
  2. ...and now I see how to do it in Sky Safari 6! Sorry!
  3. I thought I would try to create some images that show what the view through binoculars and small telescopes actually looks like. I have used a single shot for each and adjusted the exposure in software to match what I see through my binoculars and telescope. Could I do something different to improve on these?
  4. I hope to do some wide-angle milkyway and constellation photography. I was thinking of acquiring a Canon EOS 6D for this, but I am concerned about manual focussing with the fixed screen facing towards the ground. My old body is not as flexible as it used to be :-) Has anyone got any experience of focussing using the Canon smartphone app over WIFI? Is it possible to actually see the stars on the smartphone and focus? I've tried the equivalent process with my Panasonic Lumix LX100 and I can't see any stars on the screen, so I have to focus on some distant building lights then reorientate the camera. Thanks, Jim
  5. Thanks for the quick reply. I think there's quite a lot here I haven't quite grasped yet! Is it possible to focus using the live view display on the camera? Do you have to set a very high ISO, long shutter and/or something else to do so? Does the live view display on the phone app differ from the one on the camera? With your trial and error method, how do you view the images you have taken?
  6. Jim Smith

    Does size matter?

    I agree. I overlooked the importance of field of view. I used to have a C6/Hyperstar f/1.9 set-up. It was very fast and great for some things, but most objects I was interested in appeared unacceptably small. I have kept the C6 but I now use it at around f/4.0 to f/6.3. It's slower but I get the view that I like. If I really want a binocular-style field of view then my f/2 camera lens finderscope can give me that. Also, don't forget that smaller scopes have benefits in terms of mount requirements, storage and quick set-up times. I think a 120mm f/6 refractor would give good results on brighter objects as long as you didn't mind waiting a bit longer to get them. However, a C6 captures more light and is overall more compact. But, of course, it's always a compromise and we all have our own preferences. This M27 view, using the C6 @ f/6.3 took 2 minutes to achieve but I think it was worth the wait...
  7. I have had some success with command line parameters when launching SLL 3.3 on my OS X macbook. I thought I would explore the possibility of using my Windows 10 Surface as an alternative or back-up. When I run SLL v3.3 on my Surface It appears as a small, scrunched-up mess. However, I believe using the '-platform windows:dpiawareness=0' argument will fix this. Sadly I can't persuade SLL to take any notice of my command line parameters. My batch file with contents... C:\"Program Files"\Sll33\StarlightLive.exe -platform windows:dpiawareness=0 -prepend-title-text jim ...runs SLL but there is no difference to when I leave the command line parameters off. I think I must be doing something wrong! Any ideas?
  8. ...continued in private message.
  9. Do you know which folder your StarlightLive.exe file is in? (Try searching your C: drive for it in File Explorer.)
  10. Jim Smith

    StarLight Live and SX Trius 694 - help!

    Greg, On my Mac, I have only used command line parameters when I have had two cameras connected at once with two instances of SLL running at the same time. With only one camera connected and only one instance of SLL running, it has, as far as I recall, all just simply worked without any command line parameters. I'll let you know if I think of anything else.
  11. Helen, thanks to Steve, my .bat file now contains the following single line... start "" "C:\Program Files\Sll33\StarlightLive.exe" -platform windows:dpiawareness=0 (I created a .txt file with Notepad and renamed it to .bat) (Also notice that my StarlightLive.exe may be in a different folder to yours!) When I double click on the .bat file it gives me the nicer version as shown below. If I just launch SLL 3.3 in the normal way I get the squished version, also shown below.
  12. Thanks Steve. That makes all the difference! It works!
  13. Jim Smith

    StarLight Live and SX Trius 694 - help!

    I had a similar sounding problem with my SX Ultrastar on my Macbook with SLL 3.3. I discovered that I had ticked the box to save fits files for every exposure, but I had specified a save folder that didn't exist.
  14. Jim Smith

    Electronic Finder First Light

    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 astrometry.net 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.
  15. Jim Smith

    SX Ultrastar mono pid

    (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.
  16. Jim Smith

    Electronic Finder First Light

    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
  17. Jim Smith

    Electronic Finder First Light

    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...
  18. Jim Smith

    Electronic Finder First Light

    Thanks for the information.
  19. Jim Smith

    Electronic Finder First Light

    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!)
  20. Jim Smith

    M51 Whirlpool Galaxy in mid July

    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... https://stargazerslounge.com/forum/123-video-astronomy/
  21. Jim Smith

    M51 Whirlpool Galaxy in mid July

    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.
  22. Jim Smith

    Electronic Finder First Light

    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.
  23. I think I've now got to about f/4.2. The sensor to rearmost reducer distance is now ~80mm.
  24. Last night I tried stacking 2 Celestron f/6.3 focal reducers on my C6. I calculated that I should get about f/4, but processing one of the images in astrometry.net showed that the new focal ratio is about f/3.4. I might try reducing the spacing between the double-stacked focal reducers and the sensor and see what that gives me. The first image below is M10 from a previous session using one f/6.3 reducer. (I include it so that the fov can be compared with last night's M10 shot) The others are with two reducers. There do seem to be a few funny shaped stars, reflections and uneven field illumination present, but for live viewing I think it's OK.
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