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Vox45

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Everything posted by Vox45

  1. He has published a very good book as well ISBN-13: 978-1937538439 https://www.amazon.fr/Astrophotography-Thierry-Legault/dp/1937538435
  2. I think the problem is that I went in there with a lot of assumption on what focal lenght and diameter really meant. I was sure that I would get a better view with 1800 FL compared to 1000/1200 Newtons, but was shocked by the poor view of the 3550mm of the 14'' SCT ! So I spent quite some time this afternoon to research what a Mak is really about, how it came to be and what kind of optics it uses and learned quite a lot. Most of it was covered in the first answers here (thanks guys) and some more on a couple of in-depth explanation of meniscus corrector plate, achromatic corrector and spherical aberration on different websites... What I take away from this experience is that pure numbers was not the only factors in play: size of the scope, thermal equilibrium, EP, mount, seeing, wind, collimation can all throw a wrench in the proverbial works ... I'll try to reassure my pal Pascal shown here with the MEADE 14'', unaware that he would be crying later, and the guys back at the club that they did not spend 10K€ for nothing (they were a bit upset)
  3. - smaller central obstruction - lack of spider vanes - 'solid' collimation I can see all this playing a big role. thanks for your remarks Ha, I did not think of this ... I will have to compare under better conditions, It was quite shocking to me to see in the 14'' that, although Saturn was bigger, the view was less contrasted and detailled ...
  4. I was attending a star party at a new astroclub I just joined and was the only one using a Maksutov-Cassegrain 150. The general public was quite happy with the view of jupiter and saturn in my scope and soon members of the club started to take interest in my small OTA compared to their big Newton OTA. I had the best view of all scopes that night and even the club's MEADE 14'' was put to shame in term of contrast... This was very shoking to me. I knew that Maks were "planet killer" but I never had the chance to put one in direct competition with other scope under the same conditions... I assume that the MEADE was maybe not used to its full potential as this is a new acquisition by the club. Also, the EP might have played a role as well. But, compared to all other scopes present (mostly Newton scopes) the Mak was the only one to resolve Cassini's division and see 3 bands on Jupiter on a night with a so-so sky. So I started to wonder what was making Maks so good at planetary observation ? Focal lenght ? I read that on visual observation FL does not have a lot of importance... Diameter ? 180mm is less than the Newtons present (200mm) so resolution is lower than a Newton... Even my old C6 with the same aperture did not give me as good a view, so the cassegrain part is not in play (?) Anyone can weight in on this subject ?
  5. I usually solve under 10sec using the local installation. I can understand that people would be reluctant to use plate solving if every solution took minutes to get solved. To speed up solving, you need to have your FOV exactly right in the configuration and download only the appropriate index files. If not, you will need to go through all index files and there are a lot ...There are a couple more tips to speed things up in the documentation. To get the exact FOV you can do a blind solve and Astrometry.net will tell you. If I use astronomy tool calculator I get 2.49 x 1.66 deg FOV for my setup, a blind solve gives me 2.44 x 1.63 deg FOV. Not a big difference, but it is accurate. In my case, I only use plate solving. I never do any kind of star alignment, I just sync to the solution when on target. I even use astrometry to get my polar alignment right.
  6. I just re-did my whole setup on an RPI3B+ using Stellarmate (the comercial version of INDI/EKOS) because I was to lazy to redo everyting I had done on a laptop running Linux Mate. So now I run everything from the RPI at the mount plugged into my power distribution box v.2 I can now connect with VNC over WIFI (the PI act as an access point) and I use a GPS dongle to provide location/time to the Ekos/Kstar and the mount. I would say that from the time I received my RPI, install the Stellarmate image and test my new setup it took around 1 hour it took some time to watch a couple of videos on the Stellarmate youtube channel and I was up and running in no time. I even got myself a GPS dongle for 15€ to setup the time and location since the RPI does not have an RTC onboard. So, all in all it works great, I only do DSO imaging so RPI3B+ is fine. As a precaution, I bought 2 microSD cards and, once the configuration was to my licking, I burned the same image on both cards, so if I am in the field and something goes wrong with my OS or INDI I can just switch cards and reboot to a clean setup... So now I only have one cable coming from the mount (power cable) ... until someone comes up with a golf ball size nuclear fusion powered power supply
  7. I also bought the right angle finder for my Sirius mount (HEQ5) and found this thread for the 3D printed adapter Thanks for sharing, it works perfectly ! I printed all the pieces from the second file and glued them together. I just need to spray paint them black and I will be the star of the party next time I go out
  8. Good news on the update front. INDI and Kstars have had both new releases this week. If you are still on old version you may want to upgrade as there are a lot of new features and bug fixes. Some of the new features I found interesting are : + New Celestron Nightscape 8300 CCD driver. + New INDI FFMPEG-based Webcam driver. + New ZWO USB2ST4 driver. + New Arduino ST4 driver. + New Weather Watcher driver. + MacOS improvements + Ekos Auto Park Timer + Revamped Ekos Scheduler You can find the whole list of fixes and improvements here: INDI v1.7.4 KStars v2.9.7
  9. I did the upgrade (Rowan belt mode) on my HEQ5 in 30 minutes without any issues and I am all thumbs! Just make sure to get the "Pinion Gear Extractor" ... It was well worth the price ! Here is a noise comparison I did in mid-ugrade...
  10. Altitude can be a problem but, apart from breathlessness from time to time I had no issue. The age of the group ranged from 30 to 70yrs old and noone reported issues. It is possible to visit the observatory, from the village it is a 2 hour hike in the beautiful scenery of the French Alps. Those on the mission are mandated to act as guide for tourists who stop by. We had several groups of hikers during my stay and they were all able to visit the observatory. There is also the possibility to spend the night but you have to pay for that and book the stay well in advance. There is a smaller dome that is reserved for the visitors and you spend the night with a profesional from the observatory. We had to submit the project to the association who manages the site and then there was a selection process. We had the chance to be selected but from what I understand it is not that hard to get accepted. They only ask for the mission to be well managed, have a scientific goal. We were all amateurs and some on the team did not even own a scope
  11. November, it is raining, so I thought I'd post my setup in a different environment ... sorry for the double post These were taken in August at 3000m in the Alps, we spent a week on a mission to detect exoplanets using the transit method. We used the 620mm 9m focal lenght telescope (seen in the background) One of the clearest sky in Europe and the highest observatory. This site was selected in the 60's to host the second larget telescope in the world but it was decided to put it in Hawai, it is now known as the CFHT (Canada France Hawaï Telescope) It was a real treat, a bit wasted on a simple noobie like me I guess, but I had fun spending 7 days with 10 other people sharing the same passion Part science mission, part star party in superb conditions. Good times.
  12. I already have a SkyWatcher Auto Focuser and the HitecAstro DC focuser control in hand but I'd like to switch to a stepper motor... This thread got me thinking. Would it be possible to replace the DC motor in the Skywatcher enclosure so I can use the brackets, RJ11 connector and cable ? I could open up the Hitecastro controler case and fit in the arduino (?) This would look better than making my own bracket and case ... I guess this is just a question of form factor for the motor and size of the arduino board... Anyone knows the type of motor used in the SkyWatcher Auto Focuser and if there is an equivalent size in the stepper motor world ?
  13. Some great news on the INDI/Ekos front ! Problem statement: on a RPI3, in the field without access to the internet, I want to be able to retrieve GPS coordinates and time to synchronize my mount. Solution: (1) buy an external antenna and module for RPI (current method) (2) use my iphone/andoid to get the information. This was not possible until today There is now a new panel in ekos where you can enter the IP address of your iphone and get that info from an app installed on your phone. I am pretty impressed by the time it took between identifying and reporting the need to do this, until the time it became a new feature.... 2 days ! This again shows the power of open source
  14. we can add Astroberry to the mix Astroberry Server is a ready to use astronomy desktop system for Raspberry Pi 3 It is a standalone system for controlling astronomy equipment supported by INDI server. The system features: Ubuntu Mate 16.04 Desktop Virtual Access Point (VAP) allowing to access the system without external wireless network Remote desktop accessible over VNC at astroberry.local:5900 or a web browser at https://astroberry.local KStars and Ekos with all available device drivers Astrometry with basic index files PHD2 for autoguiding Gnome Predict for satellite tracking StarPlot for 3-dimensional positions of stars in space oaCapture and wxAstroCapture for planetary imaging Astroberry PiFace drivers for a relay and focuser control Samba server sharing Pictures directory for easy access to captured images Quite easy to install as you just need flash your microSD card (minimum 16GB required) with the image and then boot up
  15. Good news, a new version of Kstars is available. Version 2.8.3 has had is C++ code modernized... "KStars has a mature codebase with well-written C++. It has been under constant development for the last 16 years and requires serious modernization due to the complexity of the code with its many contributors. The student is required to refactor the sources with modern C++11/C++14 features, explore and fix corner cases, perform static code analysis and implement new testing methods. Expected results: Refactor code to C++11/C++14 Replace raw pointers with smart pointers where appropriate. Use standard containers. Migrate all connections/slots to new Qt style connection. Add new unit and functional tests covering the complete scope of the source code. Reduced memory footprint especially on embedded devices. Knowledge Prerequisite: C++, Qt, Data Structures" Kstars was already very stable... can't wait to test this new version
  16. My trusted 80ED and my DIY power panel in action
  17. Finally got around taking a picture ... not "at night" really but almost
  18. Video link that explain this. Looks a lot like PoleMaster and Sharpcap but works on Linux and is free
  19. To all the INDI fans : KStars 2.7.6 has been released today http://knro.blogspot.fr/2017/03/kstars-276-for-windows-osx-released.html The most impressive new feature is : "Ekos Polar Alignment Assistant Most users were able to achieve impressive results using the this easy to use Polar Alignment tool."
  20. Not mine but I think this is the best shot we could ever come up with (Computer-generated reconstruction of what Nicolaus Copernicus may have looked like, based on his skull )
  21. Good new for Linux users NDI Library v1.4.1 Published: 27 February 2017 INDI development team is happy to announce the release of INDI Library v1.4.1 on Feburary 27th, 2017. This new exciting release builds on the maturity of INDI Library and comes with many new supported devices and fixes for existing drivers. Several improvements and enhancements are included in this release including native support for Cygwin and MacOS platforms in addition to Linux, BSD, and Windows (Client only). The following is the change log for the release: Support for HitecAstro DC Focuser. Support for SQL-LE Sky Quality Meter unit. Support for USB Focus V3. Support for Quantum Filter Wheel. Support for 10micron mounts. ZWO ASI filter wheel support. Driver updated to latest SDK. Fix infinite loop exposure. QHY driver updated to latest SDK. Added preliminary support to TCP server connection for all mounts. Updated and improved Nexstar Evo driver. Fixed reset of filter wheel names to default values under some circumstances Fixed feedback loop issue in chained INDI server. Handle correctly broken frames in FLI driver; convert time left from ms to seconds as it should be. V4L2 CCD driver updated to properly work with DMK cameras. Several bugfixes for Moravian CCD driver. CCD Simulator allows for up to 4096x4096 resolution. Raw color video streaming now uses RGB24 instead of RGBA to conserve bandwidth. New Dome and Mount safety interlocks mechanism. Fix the Virtuoso mount detection in SkyWatcherMountAPI driver. Support relative driver paths to INDI server. Fix property cache collision conflict in case of multiple devices per driver. Moonlite driver can now sync to any value instead of reset to zero. Store OBJECTRA and OBJECTDEC as sexigesimal strings. New Axis Lock feature to limit joystick to specific motion axis. INDI server now reaps zombie processes as they appear. EQMod support for AUX encoder values. ST4 Guide Rates settings. PPEC Switches. Fix for TELESCOPE_PIER_SIDE implementation in EQMod driver. Several fixes for Pulsar2 driver. Fix SER file generation for color frames. Added timestamps for each recorded frame. Support subframed video streams. Debug and Logging options can be saved in the config file. New CCD_TRANSFER_FORMAT property. libindi can now be compiled under MacOS and Cygwin. Non-Linux specific 3rd party drivers are also supported under MacOS and Cygwin. When a request for snooped is sent, it is echoed to drivers so that they send the snopped value immediately if it exists. libindi shared library (libindi.so) is dropped. libindi now offsers indidriver (shared), indiclient (static), and indiclientqt5 (static) libraries. Legacy drivers removed: SkyCommander, Intelliscope, MagellanI, TruTech, SBIG STV
  22. For those who are still not sure about the maturity of Linux in the field of astrophotography, here is another shorter (16 minutes) video of a live session from start (opening the roof) to finish in 10 minutes, going through platesolving, focusing, guiding, cooling the camera and starting the capture sequence. All done on a Linux PC and Raspberry PI at the mount
  23. In my case, I use an RPI3 at the mount acting as an INDI server to control my Canon 1000D DSLR, HEQ5 mount with Eqmod cable, HitecAstro DC focuser, ZWO ASI 185MC and a relay card. I use a laptop as an INDI client with Kstars/Ekos and stellarium plus a whole lot of goodies I've decided to use the Ubuntu Mate image instead of Raspbian as updating the whole system (including INDI and Stellarium) is now a single command. Now that they have included the driver for HitecAstro DC focuser in the INDI library I have everything I need and installing from scratch takes me less than an hour (first update takes a while) Here is a step-by-step guide for installing Ubuntu Mate + INDI drivers + Web Manager on an RPI3 : (1) get the Ubuntu Mate LST image for RPI3 from the Ubuntu website (2) copy the downloaded image to the SD card using Win32DiskImager (windows) or any other methods (3) boot on the PI and go through the installation steps as you would for a normal OS installation Although I haven't had any problems so far, I would recommend at this point that you take a backup of the whole system before making any change or update. In my case I made an image of the SD card using Win32DiskImager (free) Once the OS is installed, ssh to the PI and start with these steps : ########################################################## #Re-size file system ########################################################## sudo fdisk /dev/mmcblk0 Delete the second partition (d, 2) then re-create it using the defaults (n, p, 2, enter, enter) then write and exit (w) Reboot the system, then: sudo resize2fs /dev/mmcblk0p2 ########################################################## #add repository for INDI and any other repository you might need (in my case: Stellarium) ########################################################## sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mutlaqja/ppa sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stellarium/stellarium-releases <------ Optional ########################################################## #update the system ########################################################## sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get dist-upgrade ########################################################## #Install INDI Library including all 3rd party drivers: ########################################################## sudo apt-get install indi-full ########################################################## #Download the INDI Web Manager zip file. Extract the zip file ########################################################## https://github.com/knro/indiwebmanager/archive/master.zip unzip indiwebmanager-master.zip copy indiwebmanager-master folder to your $(HOME) ########################################################## # Install INDI Web Manager ########################################################## cd indiwebmanager-master sudo apt-get install python-pip python-dev build-essential python-requests python-psutil python-bottle pip install --upgrade pip cp -rf servermanager ~/ ########################################################## #modify [user] and [path] to reflect your real $(HOME) in the file indiwebmanager.service # located in the original /indiwebmanager-master folder ########################################################## [Unit] Description=INDI Web Manager After=multi-user.target [Service] Type=idle User=[username here] ExecStart=/usr/bin/python /home/[user home directory here]/servermanager/drivermanager.py ExecStart=/usr/bin/python /home/[user home directory here]/servermanager/autostart.py [Install] WantedBy=multi-user.target ########################################################## #Copy the indiwebmanager.service file to /lib/systemd/system ########################################################## sudo cp indiwebmanager.service /lib/systemd/system/ sudo chmod 644 /lib/systemd/system/indiwebmanager.service ########################################################## #enable the INDI Web Manager to automatically start ########################################################## sudo systemctl daemon-reload sudo systemctl enable indiwebmanager.service sudo reboot ########################################################## #check the status of the INDI Web Manager service ########################################################## sudo systemctl status indiwebmanager.service ########################################################## #Connect to Web Manager ########################################################## http://localhost:8624 or from a remote laptop http://remoteserverIP:8624 ########################################################## #Disable X11 (optional) #to disable/enable the MATE desktop environment for easily creating a headless #“server”. #Executing graphical disable will present a console login on the next #boot, with no X11 or #associated services running. If you want to get the full #Ubuntu MATE desktop back, run #graphical enable and reboot. ########################################################## sudo graphical disable ########################################################## #update the system and reboot ########################################################## sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get dist-upgrade sudo apt-get autoremove sudo apt-get clean sudo reboot BACKUP YOUR PI BY TAKING AN IMAGE OF YOUR SD CARD
  24. For those interested in INDI there is a nice and long 1H30 video from september 2016 on "The Astro Imaging Channel" with the main developper Jasem Mutlaq that goes into details of INDI/EKOS Enjoy
  25. Good news all ! INDI Library v1.3 has been released on octobrer 30th and it includes the HitechAstro DC focus drivers developped by AJK ( https://github.com/A-j-K/hitecastrodcfocuser ) According to a post from Jasem Mutlak posted today: "I added Hitecdc focuser to official INDI, so no need to compile it, just use it from the PPA. So update kstars&indi and it should be there" Kudos to AJK for his work Other improvements include: Support for Shelyak eShel spectrograph. Support for NStep focuser. Support for ASI Filter Wheel. Support for OneStep Telescope Controller. Support for Moravian CCD driver. Support for GigE machine vision cameras. Experimental SSAG CCD driver. Adding support for fast BLOB with ENCLEN. With Fast blob mode enabled, blob performance is now significantly faster. FITS Min/Max calculations are disabled by default to save processing time unless explicitly enabled by the user at compile time. Qt5 based client class is added to enable multiplatform client development. New significantly faster base64 encoding/decoding routines. Selectable alignment modes for INDI EQMod that includes built-in EQMod alignment and INDI Alignment Subsystem. CCD sequence queue number is no longer limited to 999. More Starlight Xpress CCDs cameras supported. Updated Starlight Xpress Adaptive Optics driver. Updated Temma Takahashi mount driver. Updated Apogee CCD driver. Updated QHY CCD driver with numerous fixes. Updated FLI CCD driver. Updated Pulasr2 driver. Updated ASI CCD with support for arm64 architecture, 1600 model and a lot more. Significant improvements to GPhoto driver including better support for Nikon DSLRs. Improved GPSd driver. New CCD_FILE_PATH property to indicate remote file path. New TELESCOPE_PIER_SIDE property. Dome & Telescope Scripting Gateway added. Added support for servos in Indiduino Fix BuiltinMathPlugin crash for Southern Hemisphere Add scope park aware feature to the rolloff roof simulator INDI Logs are now stored under ~/.indi/logs and arranged by date and time per driver. Good times!
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