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Everything posted by MattJenko

  1. I bought a second hand ST80 in my early days of astronomy and it still gets regular usage as a guide scope as I have moved to focus more on astrophotography. Not many bargains in astronomy, but this scope is one of them because it is so flexible.
  2. For those rebels who actually look through their refractors, and to those who have an aversion to clutter, I suggest you look away now. A kind of dual imaging setup, one which is based on flexibility than both scopes imaging at once. Each one can guide the other, giving me options in one setup.
  3. Isolation of the flooring itself if possible sounds like a good idea, but simply building pier on the existing base is how I am going to proceed - thanks.
  4. I would scour the classifieds for the older generation ccd cameras and filters (assuming you want to go mono). This will get you started at that budget. Cameras like the Atik 314L for example AstroBuy Sell: Atik 314L colour
  5. Something I found in my experience in this hobby is that it is worth finding a configuration that works and sticking with it. This comes from having a setup and tweaking over and over again over the course of session after session to fine tune how it works and behaves. Having a scope which requires basically disassembly to convert between use cases breaks this and sets you back to square one each time and is the classic case of jack of all trades, master of none. I don't doubt the Edge 8 is awesome in whatever configuration it is capable of, but that will come from being in that configuration for an extended period of time, making the flexibility of that scope a little of a double edged sword. If I was to buy one of these scopes, it would be for a particular purpose, not because it could in theory do many things.
  6. OAGs are more fiddly to get working, sometimes require adjustments to the imaging train to get guide stars and overall I have found to be more than awkward to use. For the multiple scope use case you mention, I use the same ST80 guidescope and guidecam and put it on a whole variety of other scopes and it just works. There are loads of stars to choose from, I can choose whatever framerate I need and never have to rotate things just to make it work. Astroimaging is hard, and the simpler things are, the more likely it is to result in usable images, and starting out, its all about minimising things that can go wrong. I am not saying OAGs can't work with small refractors, but they are not required, there is no mirror shift to worry about which is the main reason OAGs are used and you can get good guiding with a less complex setup. Be nice to yourself and get things working to the point where you don't have to worry about them.
  7. Hi Rob, To my eyes, its got better contrast, tighter stars and just has an overall crisper feel to the views. Its way more tunnel visioned given the different optical characteristics. The 250px is brighter with the huge aperture advantage, and I use it more than the Mewlon as its a Dob, and I have yet to get a simple AltAz for the Mewlon, but whether its imperfect collimation or something else with the 250px, I just think the views through the Mewlon do it for me. My first light report still holds true : Mewlon First Light
  8. Leave off axis guiding for another day. For an 80mm scope, use a finder guider or a little guide scope.
  9. All the secrets coming out. Must limit the visibility of this thread. 1: Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ. Purchased with my wife as we lived out in countryside and wanted to give astronomy a go after years of little interest. Rapidly hooked. Sold. 2: Skywatcher ED80. Bought as a move into imaging was inevitable. Eventually sold after years of loving use. Regret letting it go. Not that I want this model again, I just want this particular scope back! 3: ST80. What a scope. Arguably the most used scope in my whole collection. Has guided pretty much everything. 4: Skywatcher 250px. Sometimes you just have to see for yourself! 5: Altair Astro RC6. Awesome purchase as an ex display from AA at Kelling. Best astro bargain ever. 6: Altair Astro Starwave 60. Despite my best efforts, we sucked as a couple and this one moved on. 7: Altair Astro Wave 115. Bought off a lovely chap down Gatwick way. Now my main instrument. Not letting this go. 8: TS60ED. This scope makes me smile. Keeper. 9: Takahashi Mewlon 180. Bought just because someone was selling it and I wanted something classy. That it is. Imaging with it is "interesting", but the views, my god the views! TBC...
  10. Your Fuji sensor already has quite small pixels, at about 3.7 microns I believe. Assuming your 60mm APO is about 300mmFL, that is a resolution of <3"/pixel which works well and is almost certainly not the reason your stars are large. Larges stars can be caused by many reasons, like bad tracking, bad skies, bad optics. Depending on what colours are big with your stars, that would point to the root cause. If I had to guess, I am going to assert that if your stars are bloated with blue edges, then the issue is down to the APO not being able to keep the blue light focused with the other colours. This can be mitigated to a certain extent by moving to mono CMOS and filters which can be focused individually, but not eradicated as the blue subs will still have bigger stars that the others, but will be much better than the full colour Fuji which has to choose a single focus position for all colours. I had a 60mm "APO" once which was very much in this category, and I now have a different 60mm APO which is much more true to the name and manages this far better. Let us know which scope you have and we can confirm. If this is the case, then a new little scope would serve you way better than a new camera and fall within budget. Also, post an image so we can help you further.
  11. This looks to be similar to the Altair Astro 130 and the TS130 versions we get over in Europe. I have the AA115 version and it is excellent, so I would imagine the AT bigger brother version is also very good optically. The difference in the brands tends to be with the focusers etc. My AA115 has a monster 3" focuser which requires a bit of TLC here and there but otherwise does what I want of it.
  12. Why not a Canon 400L for that kind of focal length?
  13. This outbuilding is in inland southern france, so mild winters and hot summers. I see the view that isolation (at least in terms of piers rather than pandemics) is not represented well here. I hoped as much and will do some basic experiments myself and assume that if the building is stable enough, which it is, then its base will do for my modest astronomical observations. The piers (thinking of 2) will need to be about 8-10 feet high, but thinking brick chimney style would work well for me. Thanks again, this forum never ceases to impress me.
  14. Thanks for all the input! I'll try out the tripod on base approach and see what happens. It is next to a country lane which has the occasional tractor going past, but nothing in the evenings. If all that means is to double check polar alignment periodically, hopefully I can just base pier on base.
  15. I understand how a concrete pier, sunk deep into the ground below any frost line and the column not being attached to the surrounding building would give the most stable platform for a telescope, but how important is this really? I have an outbuilding which is brick built with a concrete base and I have been pondering converting this to an observatory. I am thinking one or two breeze block columns sitting on the concrete base and a first floor ROR, but wondering how much I would be missing in terms of end result if I went the far more effort route and try and smash through the floor to sink in a more formal base. Cheers Matt
  16. This hobby is such a mix of the insanely fine-grained technical and the crude! Identifying a persistent imaging issue with a shake :). Glad you nailed this without recourse to opening the wallet. A success for persistence.
  17. Rather than straight up copying another area over your donuts, you could you context fill and allow PS to do a more natural job. Nothing beats good calibration frames though.
  18. Binning should be used when you can afford to lose resolution, to better match pixel size to the available seeing/sky angle. I think it is primarily used to match sensors to focal lengths. An example would be an Atik 460 with 4.54 micron pixels on an RC6 scope of 1360 native focal length. This means that you would be imaging at 0.69 arc secs/pixel, which is pretty unachievable with UK skies. A more suitable resolution would be to bin 2x2 giving a 9.08 micron pixel and a 1.4 arsec/pixel resolution, much more manageable and sensible. Different sensor types bin in different ways, so a 2x2 binned CCD will actually read out the 4 pixels as a single pixel value, minimising read noise, whereas a CMOS sensor would read out each pixel separately and combine afterwards, giving different characteristics. One way to take advantage of binning without losing resolution in a final image is to take Luminance subs with no binning and then use 2x2 binning and shorter RGB subs for the colour, which I have done with a fair degree of success in the past. All the comments on extra flats/darks etc are spot on too. Cheers Matt
  19. Assuming that it is this one. Gemini Telescopes I have been salivating over the MoFoD for years!
  20. Not seen one of these posted yet, I present to you the Berlebach mini.
  21. Doesn't have to be a 1600 type CMOS camera for galaxies. I would keep the scope and don't bother about narrow band either, as you won't get a big enough benefit from NB filters on galaxies. Second hand is a great option and there is a QHY8 for £450 for example (admittedly an OSC sensor). There is even an Atik 414ex mono there below budget too. I would then get a manual filter wheel and a L filter and go to town on those galaxies and add RGB when you can find a bargain, as you could add colour from DSLR if you wanted in the interim.
  22. I loved Ronen Plessers "Introduction to Astronomy" online course from Duke University a few years ago. It was a free to enroll one back when I did it.
  23. You can remove ini files using the EQMOD tools as well, as well as back them up/restore etc if you don't want to root around in filesystems deleting stuff manually.
  24. When I was in the area I was a member of the North Essex Astro Society and have to say it was an extremely positive experience. Helped out with some outreach observing nights at local schools, helped with some public outreach observing events at a local reservoir with Essex Wildlife Trust and various solar viewing days at local events. There is a weekly club night at the society's observatory dome where people are more than welcome to bring own scopes as well, be it beginners or more advanced imagers and to be honest, with the monthly talks etc, there was more being organised than I could attend. Seems like a bit of research into the local options for societies is in order, and I was one of the lucky ones, but from my experience, a good one is more than worth it.
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