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About wetcoaster

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  1. I have an unusual situation in that I use an iEQ45 on a pier at my dark sky cottage for 3 months each summer. However I live in a townhouse complex with limited space for setup and it's under light polluted city skies. I also spend 2 months each winter in California at a timeshare resort which means I have to cart my gear from my unit to a place on the far side of the resort property. I use and like a Star Adventurer for my home and California. But I need a portable GoTo mount for my next project which is galaxies using an Altair Hypercam 174. That has a small Field Of View and finding galaxies is difficult unless they are near a bright star. So I'd like a Grab 'n' Go GoTo EQ mount. One option is to just forget about it but I am wondering if the latest S/W EQ3 Synscan GPS is sturdy enough and tracks well enough to handle an FD 300mm f/2.8 Canon lens or Nikkor AI 600/5.6 with the H174 which would make it close to a 5 KG load at worst. I will Autoguide using a StarShoot guider and Polar Align with a PoleMaster. I have tried to find User Reviews in Canada and the US but no US dealer carries the EQ3 and the handful of Canadian dealers who do, don't show any reviews. Googling was unproductive as well. I am hoping someone here has experience with the EQ3 and can offer advice.
  2. Amen to your first comment. Much of my work is with really wide angle lenses ranging from 14mm through 35mm. I have some nifty captures of the Orion Complex that I still haven't edited to my satisfaction. But I am hopeful that what I have recently learned will make a difference when I go back to it. I haven't tried multiple passes of ABE and will do so. Given how wide angle my shots are I find cropping is the best way. The problem with this image is that the two primary nebulas are near the edges of the FOV. With DBE, I find that the samples often don't get put in the area that needs fixing. In this case, the right side of the image. I bumped up the samples per row to 40 and even higher and it still din't cover the image as expected. Don
  3. Thanks Wim. I try to use Pixinsight but relying solely on it means missing the lens corrections for example. And I have found that ImagesPlus has a couple of features that are superior to what I can do in PI. Star size reduction and removing halos around stars are examples of that. perhaps PI can do them well but I haven't been able to find the tool that works for me. I have tried dozens of parameter combinations if DBE with limited success most of the time when I really need it, like for this image. It's trial and error non-stop. Don
  4. Thanks for looking at my problem William. I used a Canon EF 100/2.8 USN Macro lens at f/3.5. I do not use darks and flats. My Canon 6D has no dark current problems and is very low noise. In fact, noise is never an issue with my imaging. As for flats, I tried to create them for some of my lenses but it went badly. I now use the lens correction functions in PhotoShop and LightRoom. I can also use Canon DPP as well. The CLS filter for full frame often creates a shadow on the bottom of the frame. At one time I had problems with it loosening but after chatting with Gerd Neumann, I bent the frame a bit and it now remains seated. There are no hot pixels, just blown out stars. Here is a Dropbox link to the PI Integration image <https://www.dropbox.com/s/y9bsiw2rjhjyrjz/160928 integration ET%2BNA v1.tif?dl=0> I received some good advice in the digital_astro Yahoo group and will use that to correct later captures. However, I have decided to leave this one be because it is never going to look good enough to publish. I did a series of 3 tests using my 6D with and without the CLS filter, and my A7R with a Hutech LPS-V4 clip in filter (it works but vignettes). All runs were taken with the 100/2.8 macro lens at f/3.5. I went after the area around Deneb and Sadr so captured a number of red emission nebulas. The filtered images turned out reasonably good but the unfiltered one is not so great. I used the editing process championed by Roger Clark (clarkvision.com) but didn't get the results he achieved. That may be due to his superior editing skills although I used his recipe. Don
  5. I've moved your post to the Imaging > Image processing forum where you'll probably get more replies.

    1. wetcoaster


      Thanks. I also forgot to ask to be notified. I'm not very skilled at finding things on the web site.

  6. I live in a light polluted urban area near Vancouver BC. Sky Quality Meter readings are typically 18.8 versus the stellar 21.5 that I get at my cottage. The best SQM reading possible is 22 by the way. I have been trying to image portions of the Milky Way. I used an Astronomik City Light Suppression filter. I pre-processed in LightRoom to apply lens corrections and a few other small edits. Then I aligned and stacked in Pixinsight and followed up with Dynamic Background Extraction and MaskedTransfer. What I got looks like a badly designed quilt. See attached. Since then I have tried to use HistogramTransformation to balance the colours but without success. I finally painstakingly edited the image in PhotoShop CC and managed to get a so-so image. I am wondering if there is some tool or technique that will colour balance this image. Or if it is Mission Impossible. The CLS filter chops out around 100nm of the visible spectrum. BY the way, I have used a Custom WB on occasion but the problem will not go away. Don
  7. Width of LVI Smartguider 2 eyepiece spacer ring

    Final post on this problem. I arrived back home last night and today I used a 12.5mm eyepiece with the ZWO guidescope focused at a point where the camera can find stars. I was able to adjust the setback of the eyepiece till a distant tree came into focus. I am now very confident that that the Smartguider 2 can find a suitable star. Now all it needs is tuning for the right guiding parameters.
  8. Width of LVI Smartguider 2 eyepiece spacer ring

    Sometimes perseverence is stubborness. It felt that way to me a few times.... Don
  9. Width of LVI Smartguider 2 eyepiece spacer ring

    Well the sky cleared around 1900hrs which was a surprise. I set up and tested the LVI SG2. The focus point setting from last night's test was almost bang on. A slight adjustment and the SG2 reported Star Found. I could not see anything through the eyepiece so wasn't sure that a star was in the field of view. I will use a 12mm e-p after I get back home on Monday. I calibrated and then started guiding. The graphs looked reasonable. I wasn't pointing at anything interesting. I selected Schedar because there are several stars around it. I won't have any time to do further testing before I take off for home. Don
  10. Width of LVI Smartguider 2 eyepiece spacer ring

    I started to run a comparison of my ZWO g-scope and a Skywatcher finderscope tonight basically to check how good the ZWO is. To make a long story short I switched to testing the SG2 on a yard light 300+ meters down the hill. In just a few seconds it found the light. Ironically I didn't verify the set back distance of the 6mm eyepiece - I just eyeballed it. I focused and switched the SG2 for the e-p. The most noteworthy aspect is that the focus point on the focuser is over 1cm from where the 6mm e-p is in focus on a star. I know there might be a slight change in focus when going after a star but it should not be much. This result suggests that the e-p might be a piece of crap. After I get back home on Monday I will go out on the first clear night and try out my decent lighted reticle 12mm e-p. I still need to centre the star so can't just leave the SG2 in the ZWO scope. While I'm not there yet, this is the first hopeful sign in a long time. Don
  11. Width of LVI Smartguider 2 eyepiece spacer ring

    Sorry Ron. I try hard to call people by their right name. I just realized that the Doug Larson in your tagline is the author of the quote above it. Being a sucker for punishment, I went back out last night when the sky cleared at 2300hrs. I captured the North America Nebula for about the 50th time because I felt like it. Seeing and transparency were average and my sky is nicely dark. However, when I set up my LVI and chose Vega as the guide star, the SG2 still could not find Vega which was centered in the field of view. The 6mm Kellner eyepiece is low quality and I only own two other eyepieces and they are back on the west coast ~4000 miles away. With my regular Skywatcher finderscope I see a many stars but in this case it was only one in the e-p FOV. Since the SG2 can't find the star, that leads me to believe that my 60mm f/4.5 270mm focal length ZWO guide scope is not up to the task. I already bought and sold an Orion guidescope because it didn't have a focuser and the Smart e-p only came into focus when the front of e-p was held at the start of the opening in the Orion g-scope. Perhaps I should have bought an extension tube but that didn't cross my mind. I don't think a new eyepiece is the answer. A new guidescope may be the answer. The ST80 is a common g-scope but its focal length is equal to or longer than all but one of the OTAs I own. I capture wide field almost exclusively, using camera lenses ranging from 28mm to 200mm and a 430mm focal length refractor. I haven't used my RC6 in two years because I can't without guiding. I really, really, really want the SG2 to work but am very concerned that I may never get it to work. Furthermore, could I use an ST80 with my work horse refactor, an AT65EDQ? I read that guide scopes should be half or less than the FL of the primary OTA. Don
  12. Width of LVI Smartguider 2 eyepiece spacer ring

    I have tried to get bright stars. In my testing I have been using Alioth because it is away from the rising moon. I also had a problem with my main camera/lens combo being slightly off the forward axis causing the dual mounted ZWO g-scope to point at a different part of the sky that didn't include Alioth. If I need a mag 1 star in the field of view that may be a challenge for the nebulas I typically shoot, e,g, North America Nebula and others in the Milky Way. I would have to have Deneb or Sadr. Someone in another thread here says the g-scope must be pointed at the point in the sky as the main OTA. I always use my 6mm Smart Eyepiece to focus the ZWO g-scope before attaching the SmartGuider. The ZWOm is f/4.6 so should be fast eniugh. But with the 8mm spacing of the Samrt e-p, the SmartGuider still can't dind a star. I guess I'll have to find a really bright star, say Vega, and make sure my ZWO is pointed to it for my next test. Since I have all the parts I need (CCD camera, cables, etc) and a small but good laptop with PHD software, I may have to go over to that guiding system. I've already had to buy two g-scopes and I don't want the expense of acquiring another one which may or may work. I now know it has to fast. Thanks for advice Doug. Don
  13. Width of LVI Smartguider 2 eyepiece spacer ring

    I have tried everything in terms of moving the eyepiece and changing the focus on the ZWO guide scope. The ZWO is only 60mm f/4.5. Perhaps I am using stars that aren't bright enough once I got the correct distance for eyepiece positioning. My eyepiece seems to be different than the one Ontario Telescopes had in hand. Their's was longer. However Doug's is the same as mine apparently based on the image he posted. I had to change the threshold from 140 upwards to get past a hot pixel. It was kind of nice to for it to find a star so quickly but that was with the scope cap on! I used 200 and maybe I should dial that back. Perhaps the 200 Threshold and less bright stars I offered it were incompatible. My setup doesn't allow me to move my g-scope as much as needed. I have to work on a solution today. It looks like I will have another decent night tonight. The moon is slowly getting out of the way. Seeing was poor last night but transparency was good and my cottage is at a relatively dark site - Sky Quality Meter reading was 21.52 until the moon rose. Upper winds and a stiff breeze at ground level made my stars bloated. My cottage is on the east coast of Canada but I live on the west coast! I am going back to the light polluted Vancouver suburbs on Monday. I live in Surrey, BC by the way. Don
  14. Width of LVI Smartguider 2 eyepiece spacer ring

    Thanks Doug. I should have mentioned that I got one measurement from Ontario Telescopes. In fact they sent me a couple of replacement spacers but Canada Post appears to have mislaid them. I apologize for not seeing your response sooner. I really don't know how to navigate around this web site and literally couldn't find my post here when I checked back a few days ago. I went through hundreds of posts using my handle (wetcoaster) and couldn't find it. This time I found a Search box and typed in LVI. Using the measurement in the image I've attached, I have not been able to get the guider to work. It turns out that 8mm from the front of the nosepiece is exactly the same point as 9mm from the image I attached. So I have a bigger problem and am unsure how to proceed. I may try to get a replacement eyepiece but that may be a wasteof money. Does your eyepiece have a K 6mm inscribed on it? I assume that means it is a Kellner design. As a photographer, and not observer, my knowledge of e-p's is extremely limited. I wonder if another 6mm would work as long as the setback was the same.
  15. LVI Smartguider

    I am having great difficulty is getting my SmartGuider 2 to find a star. I have tried 3 different scopes as guide scopes - Orion Guidescope, ZWO guidescope and an AT65EDQ. I have managed to get the device to start tracking exactly once. The problem is that when I get the g-scope to focus using the Smart eyepiece, with a star centered, it appears that it isn't in focus for the SG2. Has anyone here run into that problem? Part of my problem is that I removed the little plastic spacer ring from the Smart e-p and then lost it. I was having a problem with the Orion g-scope and felt I needed more in-focus and the spacer prevented that. I have gotten the proper set back distance of 9mm from a retailer but that doesn't work. To complicate the situation, the only time the SG2 did work was also when I didn't use the 9mm spacing. Something is amiss. I would appreciate any suggestions as how to isolate and fix the problem.