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Everything posted by schmeah

  1. Meade made a field derotator some years ago that never took off, because of course it was a sloppy design that never worked well. But the idea is there and if done correctly, by a premium mount company, could permit a full night of uninterupted alt-az imaging. I once thought that commercially available fork mounts could never track/guide as well as a premium GEM. But now I have one in the Avalon. So maybe it just takes a commitment from an innovative company. Derek
  2. British sarcasm is way too subtle for most of us yanks to fully comprehend. Now stop making fun of me ? And Merry Christmas all! Derek
  3. Agreed. But let's say for the sake of argument that such a mount could track and guide as well as a premium GEM of the same price and had an accurate derotator that would allow perfect alignment of subs without sacrificing any of the chip/FOV. And being alt-az it would not require a meridian flip nor accurate polar alignment. Why would anyone not prefer such a mount over a similarly priced GEM? Derek
  4. Very impressive efforts with alt-az mounts. It has renewed my interes in alt-az imaging. But I've not been able to read this entire thread so I apologize if this has already been discussed. Has anyone seen the impressive imaging results with the TTS-160 Panther alt-az mount, both long exposure (I've seen up to twenty minute subs) using an OTA rotator, and very short subs using the low read noise CMOS ASI 1600? Not a cheap mount, but proof that high end imaging is possible with a commercially available alt-az mount. Derek
  5. This is the simplest solution. A 69 cent conduit clamp mounted off axis on top of my C9.25 Edge. A little felt tape inside the clamp to avoid scratching the Polemaster. Works like a charm. I don't understand why everyone spends so much effort and cost on customized adapters for all of their mounts. Derek
  6. There is no reason why it shouldn't work as well as with a GEM. I use it mounted off axis on my Avalon M Uno which is a single arm equatorial fork and it works perfectly. Derek
  7. I have been imaging for nearly ten years from very light polluted skies (Bortle white) and since my data is fairly poor to begin with, I really have had to develop my processing skills over the years. I am convinced that there is nothing that I can't accomplish with Photoshop (after calibration and stacking) that I could with Pixinsight despite never having tried PI. However, there are several Photoshop plugins that I believe are absolutely essential and include Gradient Xterminator, Carboni's actions and HLVG. A few others are helpful but not essential. I have always thought an interesting challenge would be to have someone post some less than pristine raw data, for processing with either PS or PI (exclusively) with some blinded and objected judging for comparison. Derek
  8. A late responder, but with a completely different take on this. Although the seller's motivation is questionable, and the concept may be quite scammish, the motivation behind the gift and the appreciation shown by the recipient is typically genuine and often moving. Stars are often "named" after deceased relatives, spouses and even children, and often received as memorial gifts. My coworkers once gave a named star gift to a colleague who had lost her toddler grandson in a tragic accident. Knowing my interest in astrophotography, they asked me if I could take a "real" picture of it, which I did happily despite knowing the "scammish" origins of the registry. It was so well received, and the recipient was moved, as was I by her reaction. I have since had multiple similar requests. It gives me great satisfaction to find these stars, image them in their local starfield, artistically embellish, frame and present them in a way that adds something personal. It really is the intent behind the gift and not its dubious origin. And it would be sad to cheapen the sentiment by suggesting to a recipient of one of these star gifts that they are anything less than genuine, even knowing that only the IAU can name celestial objects. Derek
  9. I think this depends upon the mount. AP, Paramount, Avalon, Mesu and the like should be able to handle the quoted max capacity or more even when imaging. Derek
  10. Does it make all the difference? Is the hassle of dithering worth getting rid of those few hot pixels that are so easily removed with darks and in post processing? Just saying, if your camera has no significant fixed pattern noise, is it really worth it? Derek
  11. I'm pretty happy with StarGo. I had issues early after its initial release, but Avalon was very responsive in addressing all issues. It is simple, very functional and adaptable IMO. It has been rock stable since I last upgraded my firmware several months ago. Derek
  12. My Avalon M Uno is portable and manages my 9.25 Edge with ease at FL 2350. The M Zero is even more portable, especially with the T-Pod and is a bit less expensive, but going above an 8" SCT would be pushing its rated capacity. And as Olly mentioned, the Linear is a proven performer. The Mesu is a beast, both in performance and in heft, so not really portable. Derek
  13. Received the FSQ85 yesterday. The Optec seems to fit snugly and the backfocus distance seems about right. Now for some testing. Derek
  14. Hi Andy. That was an M Uno that I was referring to but the the concept should apply to any of the belt driven Avalon's. I don't set up in strong wind, but that would be the case regardless of the mount. The wind issue is a non issue IMO. Olly's point about scopes with a long moment arm however is well taken. My scopes, both SCT and refractor, are fairly compact. Derek
  15. I want to automate the focus routine ( if I can't sleep, I can't image ) and already have an Optec temperature compensating focuser that I use on my 9.25 Edge and absolutely love. Do you use a motorized focuser on the stock focus knob? And do you automate you sessions unattended? And if so, is it any problem since you can't lock down the focuser for aoutomatic focusing? Derek
  16. So the CAA reportedly uses 32 mm backfocus, so it would appear to be ok. We'll see. Has anyone else put a Crayford type focuser on their FSQ? Derek
  17. I'm close to pulling the trigger on an FSQ85ED, but have been hearing about stock focuser problems / tilt etc resulting in very out of round stars at the corners. I want to use my Optec TCF-Si focuser and want to be confident that this will work before I purchase. The FSQ85 has a generous backfocus of 197.5mm. I assume that backfocus is measured from the rear of the racked in drawtube? My QSI 640wsg with t-adapter takes 50.17mm and the Optec focuser uses 92mm at midfocus (84-99mm). Optec makes a Tak adapter with a 72mm male thread that should connect the focuser to the camera angle adjuster (or can replace the CAA if there is not enough backfocus). This adapter uses 2.5mm. Does anyone know what the backfocus requirement of the CAA is? I am hoping with the stock focuser draw tube racked all the way in and clamped down, that any flexure / tilt will be eliminated. So, backfocus with this configuration would be 144.67 (with Optec at midfocus) + thickness of CAA and coupler. Assuming that I am short I can make the distance up by racking out the Optec, or the stock draw tube a bit? If I am long I would remove the CAA from the imaging train. Hopefully the CAA is less than 53mm. The positions where I could fit the adapter/Optec are below. The Optec would connect directly to the CCD nosepiece without the last three items shown below. Does any one know why this shouldn't work? Thanks, Derek http://www.takahashiamerica.com/charts/FSQ-85ED Baby Q.pdf
  18. You sure you're not thinking of the M Uno which is about $1000 US more than the Linear? The M Zero is about $1000 less than the Linear. But yes, if you are just planning on mounting a photographic kit, then any of these are way overkill. Derek
  19. The Avalon M Uno is probably more portable than any of the mounts you have mentioned and is a very reliable and solid performer. Derek
  20. Thanks Mike! George Abell discovred it when he noticed a "bulge" when scanning photographs of Mu Orionis.Derek
  21. Thanks all. I really appreciate the comments. Derek
  22. Excellent! I love the dense colorful starfield in your RGB image. Like diamond dust. Derek
  23. This magnitude 12.4 planetary nebula in Orion is referred to as the hidden nebula as it is often obscured when observing and imaging due to its proximity to the bright mag 4 mu Orionis. OIII/Ha filters and careful processing tamed the glare from the bright star. The PN mag 20 central star was seen only on additional LRGB subs. Thanks for looking. The full, uncropped image is here: http://www.pbase.com/dsantiago/image/162322763/large Derek
  24. This thread on CN raised the hypothetical concern of belt drives in general and wind stability. I don't buy it, and haven't seen other Avalon owners complaining. http://www.cloudynights.com/topic/372925-avalon-muno-neaf/ My M Uno fares as well in the wind as I would expect others to in that class and weight t. I don't image in strong gusts or steady wind greater than 10 MPH anyway, due to generally poor seeing conditions. Derek
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