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Everything posted by MattJenko

  1. This looks a lovely little scope. If the upcoming reducer works well, then this can be an awesome travel imaging scope when combined with a little pixel camera, be it a cooled CMOS or DSLR. Enormous field of view at a fast ratio and lightweight rig, making it easy for tracking. Bravo! I have a TS60 and the TS x0.79, otherwise I would have one of these without thinking about it for more than a second.
  2. Looks like you could choose a target and just continuously image for weeks on end and just discard the subs taken through the Earth!
  3. Looks much like a less substantial version of the JTW version, the Predator: http://www.jtwastronomy.com/products/predator.html
  4. If it is an open cluster, then there is not a great deal of benefit in a Luminance layer in my opinion. Anything else, yes, using L to get fainter areas of a glob, or any kind of galaxy detail, nebula etc, but pure stars on a dark background - stick with the unsaturated RGB and get some lovely colour in there as an RGB image.
  5. Binning also gets complicated when dealing with CMOS or CCD chips. CCDs can be binned at a hardware level, and given the noise characteristics, this can improve signal to noise ratios. With CMOS chips, it is different, in that most (maybe all, not sure) are software binned only. However, with the low noise of modern CMOS chips, the concern about this meaning binning with CMOS is pointless is lower, but it will not result in a better SNR as I understand things.
  6. Do Mak-Newts count? http://www.astroshop.eu/intesmicro-maksutov-newton-telescope-mn-152-1216-alter-mn68-ota/p,6563
  7. Astro cameras are cooled and as such have very different requirements from other industries and users of CCDs. In truth, it really isn't necessary to use grade 1 CCDs as the advantages for this particular use case simply are not there. The price differential is large as well. Check out Moravian G3 cameras for instance which offer grade 1 or grade 2 versions, and there is very little real world benefit from the 'better' sensor when used for astronomy. In this regard, grade 2 sensors are not rejects, just built to a different spec. As for the quality/price issue you speak of, what amateur astronomers have available to them these days is unprecedented in human history, but I have to grant you, in a small sample, so take that as purely my limited viewpoint, all of the people I know who have AVX mounts have a non trivial % of downtime because of issues.
  8. I wouldn't worry too much about hot pixels. As long as the number is a small % of overall, there are ways to get rid of them. If you are struggling with darks and/or DSS's hot pixel removal feature (from memory) isn't working, then there is always dithering/stacking or other stacking tools. Hot pixels/dead columns are a fact of life, most astronomy CCDs are grade 2 CCDs anyway which have a higher hot pixel % within the specs than the more expensive grade 1 CCD, so they should be expected, so dealing with them and other noise is a key part of AP.
  9. To be honest, as long as it is powered, you should be good. Stick with brands you already trust. And get one with more slots than you think you need
  10. The main change I did to the standard kit was to take off the dovetail and put it on top of the rings and buy a longer one for underneath. Rock solid with a mini handle and somewhere to attach guide scope.
  11. Fine choice, enjoy. There are many frustrating things in astrophotography, but the HEQ5 Pro isn't one of them. I eventually did the belt mod, and there is no way I am getting rid of mine, just no reason to.
  12. If you don't currently take dark frames, try that out for removing hot pixels. Some software can remove hot pixels as part of a hot pixel map as well. Mesmerising first image though
  13. Cheers all. Hopefully getting back into astronomy soon, as my work/life balance levels out (I hope!).
  14. On a certain non-astronomy site, hitting arbitrary post counts means an attempt at a treatise on certain aspects of that enterprise (poker for those curious amongst you). There were some legendary posts created as a result, as well as a lot of misses. Here is my small attempt to not miss. What topic to cover, given the extraordinary threads over the years I have read on this forum? I feel I don't have much to offer the seasoned veteran, and while I try my best with the beginners forums, I feel I am not much past that point myself most of the time. This therefore points to the thrust of my post #2000. Learning. To take that well known authoritative source of knowledge, wikipedia, here is the definition of learning : Learning is the act of acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences which may lead to a potential change in synthesizing information, depth of the knowledge, attitude or behavior relative to the type and range of experience. For me, the biggest of the many gifts astronomy has given me has been the rekindling of that spirit. The more I look up at the skies and see with my own eyes what is just floating there, the more wonder and curiosity is invoked. Following in the footsteps of generations of astronomers imparts a sense of discovery and wonder that we all have shared. It connects me to the sense of a common human experience going back as far as consciousness allows. Doing outreach events is one way that feeling is kept going, seeing the reactions of others who see the sights for the first time that may have become familiar friends to you, as is the attempt to locate those elusive Messier members and the more esoteric catalog objects. Having had a keen interest in origin of self for most of my life, a large part of those investigations always revert or fall back on the nature of physical reality, so my intellectual pursuits have always had a strong Physics element. However, since I ended up with a telescope 3 years ago, this academic interest transformed into a practical one. Imaging and the need for precision and understanding has done nothing to dampen that feeling, quite the opposite. I have never been a contributor to the collective knowledge of humankind, and this somehow doesn't sit well with me as a lifelong consumer of knowledge, not a giver. All of a sudden, later in life than I ever could imagine as a child, I have been presented with a chance to do precisely that. There is so much that a humble lone amateur such as myself can do, that I can hardly bear to wait any longer. Spectroscopy, Near Earth Object orbits, Variable star photometry, Exoplanet observations. All activities that require amateur astronomer input. All possible with amateur equipment. From our own back gardens. Not necessarily everyones cup of tea, but this is truly an age of the amateur, not necessarily in discovery, but in the diligence and meticulous nature of scientific observation and cataloging which underpin modern scientific progress. I feel I am a passable imager of objects in the sense of creating pleasing images of the heavens, but the sensation of producing useful, scientific data and contributing in some tiny way to the collective human experience of understanding is beyond measure. The more I learn, the more I want to learn. A positive cycle of interest and passion for something that could be classified as a mere hobby, but in reality is founded on the core questions of origin of self and our wondrous universe. I am so glad my insightful wife bought me a telescope. Onwards to #3000.
  15. MattJenko

    Quick hello

    Never too late to start. You are on course to beat the age I was when I got my first scope!
  16. A 10" dobsonian is car portable and will split into 2 for lugging about, add a Telrad and who needs goto! It is hopeless at astrophotography though. In your shoes, my completely personal opinion would be to buy the Dob and also a small tracking mount like the StarAdventurer and get a nice fixed FL lens for your DSLR for some serious widefield imaging. There is a lifetime of activity right there. A halfway house would simply run out of fun fast for me.
  17. One consideration is that using mobile phone apps at night has a rather detrimental effect on ones night-vision, even with most red screen settings. A planisphere is a nice option if you get your head round them
  18. I tried this. And while the AzEQ6 can hold it fine, it is a seriously serious proposition and not for the faint hearted. To give yourself a better chance of success on a regular basis, I would think significantly smaller scope
  19. Joining a local society will give you the opportunity to do something you won't be able to do at a shop, and that is look at the stars through them.
  20. I have the AzEQ6 and think it is very capable, but in your situation, I would be tempted to go EQ6-Pro and get the specialist version, as opposed to one with features you won't use (although having 2 scopes in AzMode for visual is awesome ). You wouldn't be making a mistake either way.
  21. 130pds for me over the 150pds. It won't impact the kinds of things you can image, will be lighter, which your mount will thank you for and is all round much easier to handle and deal with. I agree that you can cut your teeth on this very tricky hobby with a simple Az mount to begin with as an EQ waits in the wings. Planets/Lunar/Bright DSOs are all great targets for you. Astrophotography is hard, so taking things gently and mastering the skills one at a time will get you there.
  22. Much as I would love to come to the SGL star party, if plans work out, this Cheltenham visit will be a short term thing unfortunately for star party action.
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