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    Life, the Universe, and Everything.
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    Surrey, UK

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  1. This has turned into an interesting debate. At the moment I am struggling to get better results from StarTools than my earlier efforts with PSP, however that is probably because I don't understand properly what the tools are doing yet. Clarkey's comment resonates for me.
  2. Thanks for that recommendation, Martin. It certainly looks like a comprehensive programme of instruction - something to keep me occupied on cloudy nights. Following this discussion I am beginning to appreciate how little I know about astro processing. Basically I've relied on habits and methods derived from 'normal' photography (acquired through trial-and-error experience). Time to learn some new tricks!
  3. Thanks for the further suggestions. The examples of PI products are seductive - particularly the comparison (Budgie1) of the same data processed in two ways. The PixInsight tutorials I've looked at seem to spend a lot of time explaining the interface. The Startools ones got more directly to the sort of stuff I want to do. I think that indicates my way ahead: Startools to start with and, if and when I gain some competence, then I'll reconsider PI. It's a sort of Stannah stair lift approach to the learning curve .
  4. Another vote for Startools! That has to warrant a close look. You are right about working in isolation too, although that may increasingly become the norm...
  5. Thanks for all the advice and encouragement. The plethora of software does make choosing difficult. and, I guess, age makes the prospect of climbing another learning curve seem more daunting. I will investigate the other options before I take the plunge. Stickey's question does focus the mind: I think I'm wondering if a more sophisticated and standardized approach would be better than the seat of the pants methods I use now. 'Better' might be defined in terms of extracting more detail or, at least, in being confident I had all the detail that was there to be extracted. Of course, if software existed that produced the ideal result with just one click, I am sure that would be profoundly unsatisfying.
  6. Currently I use DSS and Corel Paint Shop Pro and get images like the two attached. PixInsight looks like a significant investment in time to master. Would it be worth the trouble? Or should I concentrate my attention elsewhere? Any advice welcome...
  7. Thanks for that. I have just received a very quick response from iOptron with the same suggestion. I suppose it's obvious, but I have a reluctance to start removing bits less than 24 hours after delivery. Nevertheless, that's my next step.
  8. Interesting... and confusing. My CEM40 arrived yesterday. As delivered the Dec head end-stop limits movement to roughly +/- 180deg either side of the centre position (indicated by the arrow on the saddle pointing up). It makes no difference whether you adapt to side-by-side mounting by simply rotating the saddle 90deg or by unscrewing it and rotating it 90deg. The effect is the same; instead of +/-180deg you get 90deg one way and 270deg the other. This sounds potentially awkward when viewing objects below (or above, if you're in the southern hemisphere) the equator. Nothing is perfect, I guess.
  9. Thanks guys. It gets weirder. I'll finish the story in case it helps someone else. I worked through my various USB to RS232 options until I found one that the firmware loader was happy with. The loader made two attempts to update (erasing the ROM first) before the controller went dead, I tried several times to resurrect it either stand-alone or connected to a PC. No signs of life at all so I ordered a V5 controller from FLO. The application of cash seems to work by dark magic, because when I then tried again to resurrect the controller (illogical, I know, but...) it sprang back to life and updated the firmware. The bit that might be of use to someone else is this: I started on version 3.27 firmware. Connected to an ASI AIR, I found guiding very good in dec but erratic in RA and no amount of tweaking settings made any difference. I also had a few instances of unexpected mount movements, plus some functions (such as manual slewing through the AIR app) not working, and occasional uncommanded resets by the controller. All very perplexing. Now the controller is on version 3.39. I haven't been able to check the RA guiding yet, but everything else in AIR app is working smoothly and I feel confident. So, if you're thinking of adopting the AIR, or have one that doesn't seem to be working correctly, it's worth checking your controller firmware. If you decide to update it, I wish you the best of luck!
  10. I wish I'd read this before I tried updating my V3 hand controller. Similar symptoms; tried twice. Now it's completely dead. I've resisted the temptation to update for years, (ain't broke, don't fix) but integration with a ZWO ASI AIR was proving difficult and it seemed this might be a fix. Live and learn... and pay for it!
  11. My garden is surrounded by tall trees, which makes the effort of dragging all the kit across the lawn to the car seem worthwhile. It usually takes half an hour to load up. Half and hour's drive to a reasonable site. Get out the mount, power supplies, scope, guidescope, laptops, cameras, and then realise I've left the counterweight at home. Do make a good check list.
  12. Four nights chasing and fighting the haze and light pollution. This shot is my preferred result, despite the star trails. Pentax K3 + Astrotracer 50-135mm f/2.8
  13. It's four years since I lasted visited SGL or did any astronomy. Three days before this pic I finally got the analgesics I needed. Neowise could not have arrived at a better time. So excited I shot this at f/22! Pentax K3 + Astrotracer
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