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Everything posted by arkosg

  1. Hi Martin, Thanks! Conditions were really pretty good (for here), and it definitely makes a difference as to what you can achieve when the seeing is better. I'm using SLL v 3.4. The SX mini FW is normally pretty well behaved, although I have had occasions in the past where it "freezes up". Sometimes, in the past, I was able to physically unplug it and replug it and have it be recognized successfully again. But this last couple of sessions it's required a restart of SLL to get the FW working again. One session I had numerous "freezes" in a fairly short time span. It's the same cabling, etc. I've used for the last year, so that hasn't changed, or how I connect the FW and the Trius 694. I tried it out "inside" and things seemed to behave pretty well, though I was eventually able to get a freeze after repeated FW control commands one after the other. It seems random to me - or at least, I haven't figured out a pattern to it at this point. Unrelated note: I've also noticed a bit of amp glow (?) in the top left corner. Again, seems to vary. Could be issues with darks - with all of the FW freezes, it's possible I started imaging again without taking/applying darks, which could be the difference in this case! The "banding" issue seems to appear only during 1x1 binned images. If you look at the M100 image (wide field), particularly in the darker corners, you may be able to discern a "tartan" pattern of horizontal and vertical banding. It seems to vary (and I haven't tried to pin down what makes it stand out). Below are other Halpha 1x1 examples taken from a different observing session; I've stretched the contrast a bit more so you can see the issue clearly. Again, it seems to only occur in 1x1 mode (or at least it's more evident then). Are the flats you mention for use with Jocular? Clear skies! - Greg
  2. Hi everyone, It's been a challenging spring here on the West Coast, and opportunities to get in some observing have been fewer and much further apart than I'd have liked, so I was happy when a nearly New Moon coincided with some clearing and diminished winds. I dusted off my 5" Borg refractor @f5 riding on an Ioptron AZ Mount Pro (alt-az) with a Starlight Xpress Trius 694 mono camera (running 1x1 and sometimes 2x2 binned mode) and filter wheel (typically shooting through a luminosity filter, though I did some Halpha viewing as well). Using StarlightLive v 3.4 on the Mac (I've noticed some "banding" in 1x1 shots, and had a few SX filter wheel control "freezes" that required a restart of SLL). Usually a stack of a half dozen or so 30s or shorter exposures (depends on how my mount is feeling and where in the sky I'm observing). No guiding. My standard observing location is a suburban sky in a small city at sea level with Vancouver BC nearby to the east and trees blocking much of the W-NW sky near the horizon. Hope you enjoy the shots! Clear skies, - Greg Arkos Antennae galaxies - with faint tidal tails! Not bad for so low in the sky... \ Leo Triplet M100 with supernova! Closeup of earlier (before) shot and above Some Halpha viewing: PacMan Nebula, Wizard Nebula (which I hadn't viewed very well before), Elephant Trunk Nebula, and finally the Eagle (M16) just rising as I was packing up.
  3. Hi Rob, I was wondering if it was my imagination or just *wanting* to see the comet's tail, but I agree - there may be a hint of something at about 11 o'clock. Don put me onto the SLL beta. I'm hoping it means that there will be continued development... if nothing else, at least they seem to be trying to address some bugs and hardware related issues, which is very much appreciated! Cheers, - Greg
  4. Hi all, A brief break in the winter monsoon here on the west coast, and I managed to get a look at Comet 46/P Wirtanen. Equipment: Borg 77EDii at f/4, with the Trius 694 (1x1 binning) and filter wheel combo. Below are a luminosity filter shot and an RGB composite taken a few nights ago. It's big! But I couldn't really see much sign of a tail of any sort... Cheers, - Greg PS. Trius 694 is now working at 1s exposures, and at 1x1 binning on the Mac with the new beta of SLL from Starlight Xpress - thank you!!!
  5. Hi Don, Thanks, and yes, on the Mac I still need to use 2x2 binning for things to work. I don't have ready access to a PC to see whether SLL for Windows functions properly, though it has been suggested that this limitation may be a (Mac version only) bug. One of these days I will give it a try and see if I can verify this! Cheers! - Greg
  6. Hey everyone, The school term has started, and after almost a month of rain we were able to get the Borg 125SD at f5 out again, with the Trius 694 and filter wheel combo. Here are some of the objects - a few are more wintertime than fall objects, just a consequence of a late start. Clear skies, but only average seeing. One pleasant surprise to me was how well things worked even with a nearly full moon... visual work was difficult, but the camera & filters worked pretty well! The images are all captioned... see if you can find the planetary nebula in M46! ? Enjoy, - Greg A
  7. Hi Rob, I'm running the Trius 694 in 2x2 binning mode. There seems to be a bug in SLL for the Mac that won't allow me to run it 1x1 (crashes) or any other binning mode (distorted images). Luckily, 2x2 seems to be useful in terms of balancing resolution with sensitivity; it isn't quite as sensitive as the Lodestar X2, but close enough, and with larger FOV and higher resolution, even at 2x2. I haven't had a chance to use the Ultrastar, so can't say how that compares.... Cheers, Greg A
  8. Thanks Rob and Martin for the kind comments, and to everyone else for your likes! It's gotten smoky here on the West Coast, as smoke from fires burning in California up through the pacific NW and into BC have all combined to make our skies hazy and indistinct this past few days (I hear it's been smokier for much longer for some areas, so I won't complain too much....) . Anyway, thought I'd share some shots from the last round of EAA a little bit ago, with the 5" Borg refractor at f/5 and the Trius 694 and filter wheel combo, short exposures and usually only a few subs. Some Halpha shots too. The skies during this session were definitely slightly hazy (this was before the main forest fire smoke moved in), but even so got some decent results. I don't have Don's lovely dark skies, but I was thrilled to finally be able to get a reasonable view of the Helix (it's VERY low here, even at the best of times, and with the hazy skies I was doubly uncertain it would turn out....). Cheers. - Greg A
  9. So a follow up. Got out a second time in a week (!), this time with a smaller 3" Borg refractor, same mount/camera/filters. Some slightly longer exposures, but still all under 1 minute, and typically less than a half a dozen images to a stack. The skies at this location were perhaps a little darker, but more humid conditions. A lot of the shots were Halpha images this time 'round. Enjoy! Greg
  10. Hello everyone, After a bit of a hiatus, I was able to get out again and enjoy new moon/clear skies from a slightly less light-polluted viewing location. ? For those who have seen my past posts, I'm still using StarLight Live 3.3 with a SX Trius 694 camera, now with SX filter wheel. I alternate between using an 8" SCT and various Borg refractors - these shots are with a 5" Borg, with exposures < 30 s. The combination works well, overall, and SLL controls the filter wheel which makes jumping between L,R,G,B and Halpha filters really easy and fun! The only major issues I have are that (on my Mac) SLL seems unable to run the Trius in anything other than 2x2 binning. I haven't been able to get a PC to test whether this is only a Mac related issue, though others have apparently been able to use this camera in all the various binning modes via SLL windows. I also have focus/framing problems if exposure time is set to 1s (camera drops out and SLL freezes up). To facilitate not having to refocus, everything was shot through either an L filter, R+G+B filters, or Halpha filter (all Astronomik 1.25", in a single filter wheel). It generally worked really well, but occasionally I would switch colour filters to do a composite and SLL would stop stacking and I've had to start my colour composite from the start again. But a fantastic feature of SLL! Enjoy the shots - these (and others not posted) were all taken over a few hours time in the early morning. I love how much - and how quickly! - you can view with EAA! Cheers, Greg A
  11. Hi Don, I'm still "stuck" in 2x2 binning mode, unfortunately (?). I am a Mac guy, and have not used it with Windows. Someone who had the Atik version of the 694 (Atik 460ex OSC) posted some results using Atik's Infinity Software: https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/607284-using-atik-infinity-software-with-an-atik-460ex-colour-camera/ Cheers, Greg A
  12. Thanks! I often come back and look at M63 - I love the structure in it, and am always trying to pick up a little more of it if I can... :-) - Greg A
  13. Hello everyone, I was able to get out again recently and run a few sessions with students. The images below are labelled, and are from our less-than-perfect suburban site on campus using both a Celestron CPC 800 (8" SCT) at f6 and various Borg refractors (in this case, primarily a 77mm Borg EDii) at f4 with a SX Trius 694 monochrome CCD camera. All shot with an alt-az mount using SLL software for capture/stacking. No post processing other than the usual on-the-fly adjustments. I'm using the Trius 694 in 2x2 bin mode, mainly because SLL doesn't seem to want to work with it using any other binning mode. Luckily, it seems to work fine in 2x2 and I'm generally happy with the results, though I find with the fork mounted CPC that the need to use a diagonal makes spacing of the reducer/camera tricky, and I'm not getting as well corrected or reduced a field as I'd like (I'm using an Antares 0.5x reducer, but I'm only getting f6 out of it and still see artifacts at the edges). Any suggestions are welcome! Cheers, Greg A
  14. I think Don & Jim have given some great examples and things to consider when picking a scope for EAA. My experience has been that it really depends on the kinds of objects you want to view; sometimes I find I really want a larger FOV for larger objects (nebulae, etc.), other times I'd like detail (planetary nebulae, some galaxies, etc.). I've enjoyed trying different scopes and reducer combinations, along with different cameras as well. There isn't really a one-size-fits-all. The SCT's certainly are flexible and offer varying focal ratios and fields of view, but I have to admit I've enjoyed the views using smaller refractors as well. So it really just depends! :-) Attached are a couple of examples - "tighter" shots are with SCT at various focal ratios (typically around f/4) and wider fields are with 5" refractor. Of course, camera FOV matters too, but you get the idea! Cheers, Greg A
  15. Bump.... Got a chance to do some more with the camera & SLL. Same issues. I tried contacting Terry, who said he would get hold of Paul.... but haven't heard back since. It's been a while. I do hope Paul is doing OK, wherever he is these days! Here are a few examples - definitely not optimal conditions (the light from Vancouver makes imaging to the east challenging). No filters. Still using 2x2 binning. Definitely lots of moisture in the air last night, clear and calm but unsteady skies. Was able to get some of the nebulosity around the Pleiades, which was cool. :-) These images are with the university 8" CPC setup; the focal reducer is not as nice as the Borg one I used on previous shots. I think the Celestron needs some collimation, but I just never seem to have time to get around to it! Cheers, Greg
  16. Thanks guys. I've noticed Paul hasn't been around much lately, so I will look into the SX mailing list and see if anyone else can lend a hand. How does one post on the SX mailing list? Cheers, - Greg A
  17. Hi all, So I'm still in need of assistance with the Trius & StarlightLive combination - hopefully Paul sees this at some point and can offer suggestions or a fix. The Trius 694 works well, binned 2x2, but still fails at 1x1. It also has problems in the Focus Tab if exposures are set at 1s or under - just hangs and or disconnects the camera in this case. I've been using 1.5 s to focus the camera as a result. At any rate, if these few issues could get cleared up, I think the camera is quite viable for EAA use. Even in my suburban skies, the results are more than acceptable, and at 2x2, exposure times do not seem excessive. I've added a few images below taken last night, most with an Halpha filter to combat the waxing moon/urban skies (forgive compression issues - the images on screen/full size are nicer)! Paul, if you're out there... help! :-) - Greg
  18. UPDATE: After some further fiddling (this is indoors, daytime, using dark frame acquisition/image acquisition), I found that the camera DOES work - but only when binned 2x2 or higher. Every time I set the binning to 1x1, the camera connection is lost once I initiate an exposure. This appears to be reproducible. MacBook Pro running El Capitan, SLL 3.3. Help Paul! :-) - Greg
  19. Hi Jim, Thanks for the suggestion. I took a look, and I hadn't checked that box. But I did make sure I had a "real" folder in the save files section. It still disconnects after trying to start an exposure. :-( Should it just "work" (plug and play) or do I need to do something from the command line (I recall you mentioned having to use a different pid for your Ultrastar...?) Cheers, - Greg PS. The camera is recognized and "works" with the SX IO 1.0.8 software, so it's probably not a hardware issue, I think....
  20. Hello all, I'm hoping Paul or someone who has used Starlight Live with a Trius camera sees this and can point me in the right direction! I've borrowed a Trius XS694 (mono) to try out. I have it plugged in to the AC adapter, and am using the USB cord that comes with the camera to connect it to my Macbook Pro's USB port. When I attach the SX Trius 694 it shows up in Starlight Live 3.3 (checkmark symbol) as Starlight Xpress SX694 (F/W 25.1). I can set TEC, mono, binning, etc. However, as soon as I try to do anything (eg. start to take darks), it pauses, then loses the camera connection. I have to physically unplug and replug the camera to get it to show up again. My understanding was that SL supported the SX cams... do I need to do something else (command line?) before connecting the cam? Or...? On a related note: I'd also appreciate the proper command line syntax to view FITS files generated by the cam (assuming I eventually get that working!) Thanks so much in advance! - Greg A
  21. Thanks Jim! That's very useful and helpful... keep posting, especially those Mac tips! :-) Clear skies, Greg
  22. Hi Jim, Very nice! Did you have very good seeing, or are you able to focus and get tight stars/sharp images like this all the time? I find my Lodestar X2C gives bloated stars, and getting sharp focus has been elusive, even with a mask.... I'm not sure, maybe it's my technique, or perhaps my location (I'm on the west coast at sea level).... Also: how did you run multiple instances of Starlight Live on your Mac? Cheers, -Greg
  23. What sort of spacing are both of you using between the reducers (and between the reducer and image/sensor plane)? Cheers, - Greg A
  24. Hi Paul, Astroimager software has an intriguing looking Bahtinov mask helper panel - appears to fit lines to the spikes to allow better determination of when the spikes are aligned. It assumes/requires each spike to reach the edge of a bounding box (I'm assuming to calculate the corresponding lines). I've never used it but it looks potential useful.... Any chance of adding something like that to SLL? Cheers, Greg A
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