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Everything posted by Leedsgreen

  1. Hi JukkaP, Thanks very much for pictures of your amazing project! I find them intriguing because over the last year I’ve been exploring the possibility of a rooftop observatory in my own home. I know the conventional wisdom is that vibration and thermal issues in a rooftop obsy will greatly hinder any attempts at astrophotography but there seems to be a growing body of evidence from astronomers on Stargazer’s lounge who report otherwise. (Before I start any debate, I know that an outside shed based obsy, away from the house, will always be the better option but for those of us with no garden, a rooftop obsy is the only choice or none at all). Anyway, please could I ask you for a few more details? 1. From your pictures, it appears that your obsy is not above any lived-in part of the house, which I imagine helps with thermal considerations. Is that correct? 2. Regardless, are there any steps you take before an imaging session to help equilibrate for thermal issues (i.e. opening the roof hatch a few hours beforehand)? 3. Have you attempted any high power imaging of the moon/planets? Do thermal issues cause any effect? Thanks very much for any further information, Nick
  2. Wow! Absolutely fantastic. Thanks for sharing Tim
  3. Crikey Pete, they are beautiful images, particularly Hadley Rille which is stunning. Once in a while an amazing picture on here makes me stop and keep looking. This is one of those! Thanks for sharing, Nick
  4. Wxastrocapture! Mmmmm, have you tried Sharpcap? I beleive that is good and also offers long exposure mode if needed. Nick
  5. Hi Pete, Quite similar to you, I have an old Toshiba laptop with similar specs. It's really slow booting up but once there it works like a charm with my SPC900NC webcam for imaging. The screen is quite big (15") and resolution low, which makes the image much bigger than on my new laptop (and therefore easier to focus). The laptop only offers USB1 but as this is matched by the webcam it's no problem. Of course, it couldn't go anyhigher than 10fps. However, being an old chap it does still have serial and parallel ports, ideal for long exposure webcam imaging! Nick
  6. Hi Beamish, Had a play with Flycapture SDK this evening and it appears that whilst the gamma slider can be moved for 8-bit capture, it won't budge for 12-bit capture. I wonder if that means 12-bit data has enough 'leg-room' (in post-processing) so gamma correction is unecessary? I'll ask the guys at PGR and let you know if I hear back. Nick
  7. Neil, Do you know if IR742 filter would be too strong/dark for my 5" Mak? (I guess it would make those photosites on the PGR Chameleon earn their keep)! Cheers, Nick
  8. Thanks for reply Neil, I actually carried out a test earlier in the year on the moon, using 1) no filter, 2) UV/IR, 3) Deep red, 4) both filters and I couldn't tell much difference! However, the moon was above the magical 60 degrees, seeing was great and my scope had fully cooled down, so it doesn't surprise me. That being said, when I imaged Saturn on Saturday night there was a huge difference between the deep red and UV/IR filter, much steadier and not 'boiling' like crazy. I'm therefore very interested in trying the red filter again for next moon shots, particularly if the seeing is bad. Cheers, Nick
  9. Neil, Thanks for the reply. Can I ask, does your red filter reject UV/IR light as well (i.e. should I use my UV/IR filter as well as my red filter for imaging, or is the red alone enough)? Cheers, Nick
  10. Beamish, Thanks to the link to your shots. It's great to think that there's a few of us out at the same time! I have found Firecapture pretty amazing so far. The PGR Flycapture SDK software that comes with the Chameleon is OK but a bit fiddly and is provided for industry/ research etc (and people who can write further C++ code). Firecpature just does what we astronomers want, which is great becuase the last programming I did was for my ZX-81! Firecpature does have a few anamolies that I want to work out (i.e. no gamma control when using 12-bit capture). It maybe that I'm doing something wrong (or it's not possible) or that the programme needs updating but Torsten seems really approachable for help as well, which is great. Cheers, Nick
  11. Neil, that is fantastic! It's wonderful to be able to see the detail of crater walls and central peaks! Thanks for posting, Nick
  12. Dear All, Thanks for the feedback and encouragement, it's much appreciated! Neil, there's a .pdf sheet here: http://www.ptgrey.com/support/downloads/documents/TAN2008006_Sensor_Response_Curve_Comparison_for_ICX445.pdf where PGR compare the ICX445 (Chameleon) to a few other CCDs, including ICX618. What's interesting is that the two are quite comparable even though the ICX445 has smaller pixels (3.75 v 5.6 microns). Of course, the frame rate is lower on he Chameleon, as you point out, but I've managed to get 25fps this evening using ROI. Peter, frustratingly, when I switched to 12-bit recording (for the attached shot) Firecpature doesn't seem to produce a .txt form (as it does for 8-bit shots) with all the relevant info in. Unfortunately I can't remember what shutter speed it was at. To be honest, I'm still trying to work things out. If you notice, there is some faint ghosting in the image (look at top of moon), which I'm trying to deal with. However, when imaging chimneys in distance this afternoon (in strong sunlight) the ghosting was removed by using a red filter, so I'll be keen to use this on next lunar shots. Like you say, though, when having a go at Saturn later this evening, I had to decrease the shutter speed, which met I couldn't image at 30fps anyway. I suppose that's a limit of my small(ish) scope (and f/30). I'm still working out how to use the cam to its full potential (and justify the cost!) but so far it looks worth it Cheers, Nick PS Red channel Saturn from this evening attached. A bit over processed but nice to see the major division in the rings.
  13. Beautiful image Neil, can you tell me what (if any) filters you used for the shot? What (if any) do you recommend for lunar imaging? Thanks, Nick
  14. Fantastic effort Southernman, particularly for one shot. Have you tried stacking some (i.e. using Registax or Avistack)? Even stacking just 10 can have a drammatic effect on image clarity and contrast etc. Nick
  15. Great image James, and well presented (as always)! You've developed a real style there. Nick
  16. Wow, wow, wow! That is awesome Pete. Great job abd dedication. Thanks for sharing, Nick
  17. Thanks for the comments, Cliff and James! James, no probs: 1. I bought it from Edmund Optics: Point Grey Chameleon USB 2.0 Camera - Edmund Optics However, I notice it's gone up from £371 to £396, since I bought it. Unfortunately, this doesn't include P&P and VAT, making it now £484 (compared to the £455 I paid). 2. Whilst £455 is expensive, it is cheaper than DMK 31/41 that I was looking at and has one of the new EXview HAD CCD from Sony that are much more sensitive (ICX445ALA). The max. resolution is 1296x964 with a fps of 18 (in 8-bit mode). Rate drops to 12 in 12-bit (I'm still exploring if the extra bits are worth it for moon). Camera also offers ROI (640x480) at 30fps (or any combination you choose to use). Not as fast as the Flea3 and Bassler Ace cams but much cheaper! Data spec found here: Point Grey - Imaging Products - Chameleon - CCD USB 2.0 Camera Also, Firecapture works like a charm with it. Allowing plenty of control for astronomy use: FireCapture 3. Used Avistack for stacking. Whilst Registax 6 is much quicker, I still prefer Avistack look but need a bit more time with R6 to get better results! Hope this all helps. The camera is a 40th birthday gift to myself (with contribution from others). Feels extravagant but has helped soften the blow of reaching middle age! I spent ages investigating and comparing it to others but it seems a good deal (i.e. extra real-estate for lunar imaging, ROI for planets, sensitive, USB2.0 and pretty cheap). I plan to write a review after I have got used to it and will post on SGL if I do. With best wishes, Nick
  18. Hi Tom, Some lovely shots there, with great focus and contrast (with a few others a little over-exposed). The RAW mod certainly makes a difference doesn't it? I found Registax wavelet 1 much more responsive when using RAW mode for my SPC900NC. As to the reducer, it's probably best to tey a 1.25" 0.5x reducer that you can pick up from most inline astro stores (~£25): Antares Antares 1.25" focal reducer 0.5x How much reduction you get depends on how far away from the CCD chip you place it. This can be varied by placing the reducer before or after a filter (for example) or on the end of a barlow tube (with the barlow lens unscrewed). On my 66mm refractor (fl=400mm), this works great but not so on my Skymax 127 (fl=1500mm), which is too magnified. Will be good to see how you get on! Nick
  19. Dear All, Finally received my new CCD yesterday and had my first proper chance to use it tonight (what, no clouds)! It's a Point Grey Chameleon with the more sensitive ICX445ALA chip. The main thing is that it offers much more real estate than my older SPC900NC (1296x940 compared to 640x480). Anyway, first effort attched. I'm made up with the clarity, particularly around Tycho's walls! Thanks for looking, Nick
  20. Hey James, Great work as ever and well presented. I was looking forward to seeing what you could do with Saturn! Thanks for sharing, Nick
  21. Fantastic work Myles, they look your best and clearest yet! The focus looks sharp in the middle of the frame, so maybe the stacking can be improved for the edges? Great effort (with non of the highlights blown either). Nick
  22. Thanks very much guys. I guess I haven't thought the risk has been worth it up to now and never really considered it before. However, the thought of having two GOTO mounts (and much better tracking) at no extra cost is appealing. However, I think I will hangfire until anyone with the Merlin mounts can confrim (aka is brave enough to confirm)! Thanks again, Nick
  23. Dear All, I currently own both a Merlin non-GOTO (Supatrack) mount and a similar mount but with Synscan GOTO controller. Both seen here: Merlin Can anyone tell me, if I attached the Synscan controller to the Merlin non-GOTO mount, would it be able to control it and provide GOTO (or would it break either the mount or controller)? I haven't had the courage yet to try! However, this post suggests it would be OK: http://stargazerslounge.com/equipment-help/114752-skywatcher-supatrak-mount-control-stellarium.html Thanks for any help, Nick
  24. Thanks for the further information Pablito, much appreciated. Looks like the Chameleon is behaving itself now! Nick
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