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About Gerhard

  • Rank
    Star Forming

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    photography (duh..); astronomy (DUH!); movies; nature; horses; birdwatching; travelling
  • Location
    Piedmont, Italy
  1. Hi all! It's been a while since I wrote here, also because this year I've been less active in the field, unfortunately... Anyway, I've now started to do autoguiding, with mixed results. I bought myself a laptop and guidescope, with CCD. I'm able to do 10 minute exposures that come out fairly well most of the time. Guiding is mostly good. I tried PHD as well as Maxim, but lately Maxim seems to be doing better, or I just found the sweet spot for my setup. The last 2 or 3 times however, I'm having difficulty in obtaining decent images. Even with no moon, the images I get are quite bright, with stars barely visible, and the stack is terrible: it's a light shade of grey, hiding all stars (let alone a nebula), and the histogram shows the peaks (in DSS) far to the right, so adjusting that is a nightmare, so much so that the last two times the result was not worth showing to anyone.... The site I go to is always the same, and I already obtained quite nice images, also with 10 minute exposures and the same ISO... Apart from this, I'm having a very hard time getting my flats right... I've got a "flatbox" (EL panel with two sheets of white paper, 8 sec exposures at 800 ISO, the same ISO I use for the Light exposures) that I tried at home in the dark with the scope and camera, to get the right histogram, as I gather looking online: the peak should be at about a third of the histogram. Problem is, which I discovered only last week, the histogram changes with the same setup, for the various "receivers" of the flat image: the camera, Maxim, or DSS. As shown in the photos below (the camera is a RAW picture, taken with the same settings as the FIT picture I used for the DSS and Maxim screen caps): camera: DSS: MAxim: Apart from the histograms, I also always get those very ugly red hue photos in Maxim.. Is this something of Maxim, or am I getting something wrong?? The image obviously is not red, but the grey shade of the DSS photo (the photo of the camera screen shows only white, but that's because of the phone cam)... This means I can never check in a decent way if the exposures are coming out right while I'm taking them with Maxim... So, recapping, problems getting the flats right, and headscratching about the bright exposures I'm getting lately from a setup that already proved it doesn't have to be that way... At the moment I don't have examples of the latter problem to attach (because I didn't finish any stack, seeing as they came out so horribly), but I can attach some, if needed. Any suggestions? Somebody had the same problems? I'm getting a bit frustrated, I must say... Clear skies!! Gerhard.
  2. excellent tutorial!!! thanks a lot!!! looking forward to putting it in practice!! :-)
  3. I also don't really like the stacking and calibrating Maxim does. I always return to DSS. but maybe that's my inexperience... in all Maxim seems a bit too complex for me... I will definitely give PHD a try... Is it easy to get up and running? is it intuitive, or will I have to look up some stuff here on the forum, and elsewhere? for that matter, is there a PHD tutorial? a quick google resulted in the manual from PHD. I'm guessing there's the world to be found! but any suggestions as to good points where to start learning PHD would be appreciated, if available :-)
  4. hmmm. food for thought. in fact in my astro club there is a dichotomy between who uses maxim and who PHD... But the astrophoto course they organise focuses on Maxim, so I started with that...
  5. Hi all! Yesterday evening I finally was able to have a success with my new setup. Since february / march I have been struggling with getting autoguide up and running, but due to various mishaps and lots of bad weather, I haven't been able to produce a single image, up until now. This is what came out: M13. As you can see the stars are not very clean... So guiding apparently wasn't as good as hoped for... I also used flats, but there still is a bit of a gradient, but a lot less than previous. These are 180 sec exposures at 800 ISO, so I guess I have to be at least a little bit happy with this result, because without autoguide I could go up until 90 secs, approx. Any thoughts on what can influence good guiding? FWHM was around 5, so not perfect... maybe that could be better, but I never seem to be able to go below those numbers, and often in the past it was way higher... yesterday morning I wanted to set the focus point on the guide scope, so I pointed the moon during the day, and focussed it as best as possible, and marked that on the scope. this night, focus was in fact very close to that mark. But FWHM says it wasn't perfect... I also did drift alignment beforehand, and the guide error graph in Maxim was pretty nice, after initially having to redo the calibrate, because "guide star faded". There were no clouds, however, and the images from the guide scope showed good clear stars (I use a dew shield on the guide scope)... Any idea what this could indicate? I collimate every time, so that should not have been a problem either... Any thoughts much appreciated!! :-) Gerhard.
  6. Had some help of a friend this evening. Turns out it was the usb cable in the end.... ? He also helped me with some of the guide settings in maxim, so that is a good thing coming out of this! ?
  7. That was actually what I was hoping to find out today: if the combination of QHY5 and finder scope would be able to reach focus. I actually almost had it fixed, when using EZPlanetary, lowering the gain and exposure almost to zero: I finally saw some shapes and shadows moving when I had the scope, by chance, in my hand instead of on the mount. So I used those settings, put the scope on the mount again, adjusted focus so some far away trees were in focus and was moving the mount a little to center on an even further away object, when my laptop stopped recognising the QHY5! I tried rebooting, reinstalling the drivers AGAIN, but no joy..... It works on the desktop I have, but my laptop refuses..... I got fed up, and have now put away everything... And tomorrow it's totally overcast here so the transit will be invisible... Grrr
  8. some additional info: Maxim does not balk when I disconnect the USB cable from the QHY5 when it is still connected in Maxim, as it does when I disconnect my DSLR... so it seems it's not communicating perfectly... I must have installed the drivers 5 times by now...... moreover, in EZPlanetary, the image I see (see before: from totally black to totally white, depending on the gain and exposure time I set) changes when I pass my hand in front of the finder scope (with the QHY5 attached. so the camera DOES send a signal to the pc... only not the real image, apparently.....
  9. Hi all! I'm embarking on the autoguiding path... Obviously not everything is going smoothly... So, I have the new QHY5LII Mono for guiding on a Celestron 8x50 finder scope. I had already tried capturing images with maxim, from my main scope with the reflex on it. That seemed to work alright. I installed the ASCOM platform, the drivers from the qhyccd.com site (system & ASCOM), and also EZPlanetary. Maxim connects to the cam alright, but all I can get from the camera is noise, black images, or white overexposed images. I tried all USB gates, reinstalled a few times the drivers... I tried to capture images in the Guide tab, in the Expose tab... I tried with PHD2 as well, but no luck there either: only overexposed white images, or, when decreasing exposure time, gray to black images, but no details of what I'm pointing at at all... Also, strangely, my reflex shows only noise.... Meanwhile, I've seen all kinds of flashing patterns from the red LED on the QHY5... from fixed to slow flashing, to intermittent, to very fast flashes... I'm sure I'm doing something very basic wrong.... Any ideas? I tried looking at previous threads on this, but had no luck trying what was written there... Thanks! Gerhard
  10. I was (as usual) in an open field, away from buildings, and other normal sources of warmth. totally exposed, and no wind. I will definitely try the box.
  11. hmmm, I always have to go out, so this would not work for me. I'll be trying the cardboard box :-)
  12. doesn't this compromise battery duration? I have my laptop and HEQ5 mount on an 18Ah battery, so must be frugal... :-)
  13. Hi all! I just recently bought a laptop for using Maxim with my imaging (for now just shooting the pics, not guiding yet), and I immediately was confronted with the problem of humidity. On the first night out the pc was covered in moisture after an hour or two. I had to wipe the screen to be able to make out the Maxim windows... Does anybody have any tips on how to minimalise this, and avoid problems of shorting the motherboard, etc? Apart from keeping my fingers crossed, the only thing that comes to mind is a lapdome... Any thoughts appreciated!! Gerhard.
  14. Hi all! I am kind of frustrated that I cannot find any source of DSO info that specifies if an object is visible in visible light, or only when putting on certain filters (like H alpha). The other night I took some subs of IC410, but nothing showed up on the stack... Wiki also does not specify in what bands it emits... Is there a site, or other source that specifies this info? For now I only have an un-modded DSLR to shoot subs with, so I need to know if something will show up or not... help!! :-) Gerhard.
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