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TakMan

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    631
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About TakMan

  • Rank
    Proto Star

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    Design, Photography, Foreign Travel, walking, astro (of course!)

    Motor Racing - used to be the coordinator for the BRSCC Fiat Racing Challenge.

    Trick/Stunt kiting (Benson 'Gemini')

    Console Gaming (mostly PS4 - Project Cars 1/2 (Fanatec CSW-V2 etc) and XBOX) plus a retro collection: Neo•Geo AES, Vectrex, Saturn, Dreamcast, PS1, PS2, XBOX, Jaguar, Virtual Boy, N64(US), Gamecube(US), Wii, etc, etc
  • Location
    Midlands 52° N
  1. Playing with the same data through StarNet (Mac, stand-a-lone), whilst the camera is now back in America being evaluated/mended.... Damian
  2. A big thanks to PhotoGav who posted some simple to follow instructions on how to use the stand-a-lone software earlier in his M27 thread. I'll post again, but add that any file names must NOT include spaces. You can instead use a '_'. If (as I do do), you embed your RGB files with a colour profile upon saving, that appears to be fine. How to get the standalone Starnet version to work on the Mac 1. Download the latest version of Starnet for Mac OS from here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/starnet/files/v1.1/StarNet_MacOS.zip/download 2. Unzip the folder and place it on your Desktop 3. Save the image that you want to make starless as a 16 bit mono or RGB .tif file *****DO NOT use spaces in file name, instead use _ 4. Place the file in the Starnet folder on your desktop 5. Open Terminal and navigate to the Starnet folder, copy this command: cd ~/Desktop/StarNet_MacOS - into Terminal and hitting Enter 6. Open in Text Editor either the file: 'run_mono_starnet.sh' or 'run_rgb_starnet.sh' depending on whether you are working with a mono or RGB file and edit the filenames in there to be the filename of the file that you want to make starless Save the txt file above in part 6, then.... 7. Drag either 'run_mono_starnet.sh' or 'run_rgb_starnet.sh' onto the Terminal window and you should see the path of the the file appear 8. Make sure that Terminal is the uppermost window and hit enter - Program will run (this can take a while!) 9. When it's finished doing its magic, go to the Starnet folder, open up the _s version of your file and be amazed at the results! I am (amazed), thanks again Gav for posting! Some examples from playing around late this afternoon... the starless colour and mono images straight out of StarNet, no extra processing. I still prefer my images with an embedded star field, but this should be great fun and be rather useful whilst processing... Damian The Ha data
  3. Thanks all for the advice. I spoke earlier to the third party chap at work who looks after paid for items for shipping... he’ll probably use FedEx and stated the same - that it’ll be easier to sort the forms for the return if using the same. So, I’ve just fired off an email to SBIG to see which couriers they have access to and take it from there. I’ve been asked to try one last thing before I prepare to send back (I think I know it will be). I’ll also dig out the original receipt from Ian King to show when and what I paid for it - might help with U.K. customs! I’ve been told I can just unscrew the camera faceplate, so at least I don’t have to start unscrewing the connections to the filter wheel which is in turn attached to the reducer... I’ll update as and when - perhaps a useful resource to others in the future...? Thanks again for your replies. Damian
  4. Hi folks... After some advice. My SBIG imaging camera is poorly and it’s looking like I’ll need to return it to the US. I’ve already been in email contact with the chap there, etc. So, for sending out, I’ll be off to the Post office on Saturday. I presume they will give me a Customs form or something to declare the goods going out. Apart from stating that it’s being returned for repair, anything else I should consider? If I have to put a value on it, any thoughts? For when it’s returned, should I speak with our own Customs Office before I return as I don’t really want to be hit for duties on something that is 7 odd years old and already had that paid on it! Thanks in advance... Damian
  5. Sure it’s old news, but my mate’s down at AstroFest and sent me a picture of this mount... so it really does exist then!
  6. I’m Mac based, so have been through the same journey as you are about to start... Nebulosity is great. Simple to understand and with a good manual. I use it for pre-processing, aligning and stacking. I also does a reasonable job of background colour correction and a DDP stretch. Then you can save out as a 16bit tif file. Recently I’ve started using APP. It does an even better job of alignment and stacking (but takes longer to do, so for a quick process just to see what data was captured on a previous evening I still revert to Neb). APP though does have very useful tools for gradient and light pollution extraction, similar to PixInsight. I then work in Photoshop, using Noel’s Actions and Gradient XT. There’s also Annie’s Actions and plenty of other plug ins to be found (or make your own). I wouldn’t contemplate getting into ‘Cloud’. A friend has just purchased via Amazon a Photoshop CS2. I believe it to be legit - it certainly works as he’s now asking for lessons! If you don’t want to fork out, GIMP is a free and powerful Ps alternative. I tried WINE, but found it unstable with the software mentioned. So I did get myself an old Windows 7 laptop for the webcam stuff. I also use it for guiding now (although PHD2 works on Mac). I use Photoshop CS2 on the PC as there are some plugins that only work in the Windows environment - free HLVG for green colour cast removal and (Noel’s) Starspikes Pro4. Make sure if you go for an old PC that it runs 64bit, so you can use Starnet++ (stand-alone if not a PI user), in the future also (mine doesn’t, but I’ll be getting the wife’s old PC in a few months when she upgrades!) For other webcam stuff, Keith’s Image Stacker I think is still around, but I’d recommend OACapture - built by one of the guys on here. Best of luck, you’ve got plenty of learning curve you can ascend before you might feel the need to jump to Windows (if at all)... Hope that helps...? Clear skies Damian
  7. My original alt/az mount - the second generation of the WO EZTouch mount (that used to hold my TSA102s). I did put it up for sale some years ago, but thankfully it never sold! Consigned to binocular duty (especially as a travel mount when on holiday down at the family caravan in Amroth, South Wales), it has recently had a second life holding the Borg 90FL (seen here whilst observing the recent transit of Mercury).... My pride and joy though below. Like 'Space Hopper' above, another rare American made mount - my Half Hitch Nova Hitch mount. Complete with encoders, slow-motion controls and rudamentary tracking on both axis. Originally I used (still own) a SkyCommander unit, but SkySafari and an iPad take observing to another level. Used with the TEC140ED and with the TSA102s for solar with Quark. A quick and simple adjustment of the saddle plate height keeps the amazing '2-axis balance', which affords sublime fluidity. Under observing, the mount really does 'disappear'. Damian
  8. The (quickly processed) result from 5hrs (30x 600sec) imaging run Monday night. Had hoped to get some OIII on the Rosette, but the fog descended after such a nice day, so was forced to shoot high... so yet another 'project' starts! FSQ106 with FR (385mm @ f/3.6). STF8300m, Baader 7Nm Ha. Preprocessed in APP and then Ps CC2017 Any thoughts on the large halo, this filter should be from the batch after the recall some years ago. Do I need to get back in touch with IK..? The OIII is like this (a bit worse, but not like the horror images from years ago!) So does this look 'about right'? Damian
  9. Taken over 6 nights (18th Nov-9th Dec) whilst chasing clouds, trying to sort out a persistent northerly DEC drift with the guys on the PHD2 forum and then processed over the Christmas / New Year break. Also went looking for an old version of Ps CS5 in the loft, now loaded onto a Windows 7 laptop (that I use to guide) so I could try HLVG and the newly purchased StarSpikes Pro 4 on a small holiday discount (not usually available to those of us Mac based). For a processing reference, I found a lovely RGB broadband image of this taken target from a dark sky and tried to replicate it with my narrowband data. Pre-processed, aligned and stacked and combined on Mac, in the still new to me APP (tried lots of different variations which took best part of two hours!) I think it does a better job than Nebulosity... but it does take a hell of a lot longer to do its thing! I do like APP's light pollution removal and combine routine (I also played with adjusting the ratios/power of the different channels), before outputting to Photoshop CC2017. So a pure 'RGB' image, no Luminance file and as I'm sure you can see, I wasn’t overly careful with my processing/masking as I went as this was just an experiment... that ended up taking an hour and a half to complete. Definitely not one for the purists on here and diffraction spikes added as well, sacrilege using an FSQ Oh, well, I quite like it and that's all that matters. Will be trying other techniques on this including Ha/OIII/OIII, the Cannistra method which I've always liked and a Hubble Pallette version.... without the spikes ! All 600 sec subs (dark and flat frame calibrated) Takahashi FSQ106-ED + dedicated F/R @f/3.6 SBIG STF8300M + Baader filters- controlled via the defunct MicroProjects Equinox Image. Guided with an SBIG ST-i / SkyWatcher ST-80 via PHD2 'Scopebuggied' Takahashi EM400 mount - controlled via CduC. The best 69 used from 78, split as: Ha = 18x OIII = 24x although some were slightly out of focus and 12 I hadn’t aligned properly on a separate session so meant a crop of the image - what an idiot! SII 27x So 11 1/2 hours worth, I think that’s my longest exposure to date.... all from a fairly light polluted back garden. Combined as Ha-R, SII-G, OIII-B Gave it plenty of Christmassy / New Year oomph and saturation (willed on by far too many chocolatey goodies!) to give it that lush RGB feel as if captured under dark skies... Happy New Year to you all ! Damian
  10. Indeed.... Could have added an easy grand to the total though with just one Neil Armstrong signature! From the same vendor we have a signature from the last member to survive the Titanic disaster going up for sale in late January, a young girl at the time heading for a new life in America. She, her mum and I believe her brother survived (3rd Class passengers), her father not.... You just never know what someone is going to bring through the doors! D
  11. Finished for Christmas! Just back home from our work’s do - a day at the (very wet) races - Uttoxeter. Despite choosing horses with a vague ‘astronomy name’, today was unsuccessful, so I’ll have to go back on the 2nd! Anyway, as the photographer and designer at auction house Richard Winterton's (you may know of him via daytime television - David Dickinson's Real Deal and Bargain Hunt), I get to photograph all sorts of interesting items for our various sales. Be that fine art pictures and prints, ceramics, gold and silver, jewellery and watches, toys, coins and stamps, books, maps, glass, you name it, I probably photograph it! I'm always on the look out for something 'astronomy related' be that cigarette cards, stamps, comemorative coins, watches (Omega Speedmaster - the one that went to the moon, or their 'Constellation' model) - anything to send out to our little WhatsApp group and on here - well, it mixes things up a bit, rather than post the usual piece of shiny new equipment purchase or processed astro image. We had our last Fine Arts Sale of the year a week or so ago, Lot 575 was right up my street…. Loads of official NASA signed autographs and photos, plus Soviet cosmonauts and personnel involved in The International Space Programme - perfect posting material ! Signatures included 2x Buzz Aldrin, Alexi Leonov (1st person to walk in Space), Valentina Tereshkova (1st woman in space), John Glenn (1st American to orbit the Earth), Charley Duke (CAPCOM for Apollo 11, he’s the one who uttered the famous; "Roger, Twank...Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot!” He was also a member of the Apollo 13 back-up crew and became the 10th man to walk on the moon (Apollo 16). Other stand out signatures included Alan Shepard (1st American in space), Gene Cernan who became the 11th and then the very last person to stand on the moon and both Jim Lovell and Fred Haise Jnr (Apollo 13), together with personnel from the shuttle missions including early test pilots. There were also many photographs taken from space and a photographic album of the doomed Challenger Mission in 1986. Sold for over £600 (fees in addition) Anyway, wishing you all a great Christmas with at least a few clear skies (when I don’t have anything on, anything 'planned for me' or am too sozzled to head out)! Damian
  12. That’s great - someone else with an EM400! I might have to ask for some extra help at some stage as well, apologies in advance.., Thanks all who have replied, many ways to skin a cat. Clear skies to you all.... D
  13. Can you point me to an example of this please: 1) on a mount 2) the product D
  14. Had a few problems with the old mount recently, specifically when imaging the Soul Neb (around 60 degree DEC). Been getting constant DEC northern drift with the mount refusing to respond to guide commands (all tested and it is working,). The diagnosis via the PHD2 forum is my balance and cable management rather than a specific mount issue So, I'm after something a bit less rigid than cable ties and suggestions on the best placement of cables! I've found this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/AGPTEK-Adjustable-Management-Retardancy-Protection/dp/B07SJ47RRK/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=AGPTEK+Adjustable+Cable+Sleeve%2C+3m%2F9.84ft+PET+Cable+Management+with+Flame+Retardancy%2C+Cable+Protection+System+for+TV%2C+Computer%2C+Home+Theater%2C+Car+and+More.(S2%2CBlack)&qid=1575585207&s=diy&sr=1-1 Any thoughts...? I thought I'd followed the way most folks manage the mass of power/USB,heaters... routed to the OTA centreline and then down to a fixed point on the mount. I wonder if there is a better way though, perhaps fixed to the back of the dovetail plate and then to the mount. I think I'm 'happy' with the cables to the mount (hand controller, power and data (second pic) although happy to take advice and replace the cable ties with a more flexible solution. Damian
  15. Hi, Know it’s a long shot, but I’m after a Borg Rotating Ring, the newer version #7352 - M57 Rotating Ring DX (with three thumb screws). New or second hand. As long as it’s in good condition and works as intended. If you have one, please get in touch... Damian
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