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About brancusi

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  1. The large version is a stunner - great work!
  2. A warm (well, actually cold wet and windy!) welcome from London!
  3. Super shot of one of my favourite targets. :-)
  4. Thanks! Are there any that have better quality mirrors? Or is it a case that if you optimise your optical train for imaging, you're compromising any visual work and vice-versa?
  5. Hi I'd really like to be able to quickly change between some visual observing and astrophotography and I'm thinking a flip mirror could be the way forward. My camera only has a parallel port output so full frame readout takes over 60 seconds which can make it slow to find and centre a target the way I would like and having the option to flip to visual mode will have all sorts of advantages. Ideally I'd have gone for the Meade flip mirror as I have a LX90, but I guess any will do so I've been looking at the vixen one here. Is the vixen suitable do you think? Is there any real difference between this one and (say) the Skywatcher or the OVL? Should I look for a 2" one in case my eye piece collection grows? Thanks! Roger
  6. Thanks I'm looking at the field of view you'll get with the Celestron and G3 and I think that would be tough to do at f10 - I'd suggest adding the focal reducer or switching to the ES80 without the powermate. Exposure wise, I'd say start short to check your guiding and then ramp up as you have confidence in the setup. If they're looking good at 60", try 120" and then 300" and check your stars are still round - if you can get nice round stars at 5 minute subs you'll get great results when you stack them. As for when to start - it depends if you want to shoot a few things in the same night, or want to spend all your efforts on M51. I'd maybe do 1 hour L (12 x 5 mins subs) and if you can bin the camera 3x3, you should be able to get away with 20 mins each R G B. If binning 2x2 you would need longer R G B, around 45mins each as well (given the filters) and that means you're looking at a 3 1/4 hour session - I'd likely be more concerned about when I would sleep rather than the height of the object and generally I would do L first so that if anything goes wrong later in the night, I still have a good mono shot to process. Strong disclaimer - I'm not remotely expert at this!
  7. If (and I stress the if bit) you have had previously good results auto-guiding the Celestron without a focal reducer, then that will be the most challenging option (and so the one I would choose!) - however guiding at a focal length of 2m will be a test if you're not well set up for it and I think a more sane approach would be to add the f/6.3 focal reducer to both lower the exposure time and make the guiding a little less critical. M51 is fairly bright, so you can get away with short subs which puts less stress on the guiding and polar aligning - for example my first attempt at M51 with a similarish setup (LX90 on AZEQ6 with ST-8E) used just 15 x 30 second exposures unguided and whilst it's a bit rubbish, you can see that it is M51. At the end of the day, your sub length is determined by the accuracy of your guiding and assuming you don't want field rotation, the accuracy of your polar alignment. If you can guide up to 10 min subs that's likely to give you some pretty decent data and if you can bin your CCD, you could shoot the RGB 2x2 binned to save some imaging time - you will get the detail from the L at full resolution. Other more experienced imagers are likely to have a better idea of the number of subs for each of LRGB that make sense. Enjoy the night whatever scope you choose and do share the images when you get back!
  8. I think the content and people on the forum make it what it is - great - however I find it much, much slower than other sites with pages often taking 20 seconds or more to load. This is pretty regular and seems unique to this forum compared to others I use. Whether I'm using a PC, Mac, Safari, Chrome makes no difference and my internet connection is generally around 50Mbps so it's not a local issue. Does anyone else find this? Roger
  9. Hi Brian I de-forked my LX90 earlier this year and put it atop a AZ-EQ6 and love that combination. My first light with the combination and ST-8E is actually a bit (well, a lot) rubbish and it's actually un-guided as I needed to rotate the camera to get a guide star on the guiding chip and couldn't be bothered, oh and the polar alignment was well off too ... so it's not exactly an image that will sell the idea to you! I think anyone would say that guiding at 2m is tough and you may wish to consider a focal reducer in your image train? Meade do a f6.3 field flattener / reducer that will make the combination more forgiving and also likely a better scale for many DSO - but I like a challenge and so at present I'm working at 2m and hoping that the built in guide chip of the ST-8E will mean that I've eliminated any flexure concerns and should be able to guide reasonably well. I'm waiting for the clouds to clear before giving it another run at 2m now that I've sorted out various other software issues and am reasonably confident I can do a better polar align. We shall see. As you know the OTA on the LX90 weighs in at 10Kg, but being pretty short, even with a camera hanging off the back, I'd personally have thought your NEQ6 will be fine - even with the st80 on top. Some may say use the lx90 to guide the wider st80 of course ... Roger PS. I'm pretty new to all this as - so other more experienced folks may give sounder advice!
  10. Very nice indeed - I'd be well pleased with that
  11. Envious of the views you would get of the aurora, welcome to SGL!
  12. It's an old photo from 2011, but it reminds me how poor the skies here in London are and what fantastic skies are still possible elsewhere in the UK when conditions are right. This is a pair of 1 min exposures aligned more for artistic than pure astronomical requirements, so try not to be too offended by the lack of accuracy! The pair of original photos were taken on a Nikon D90 with the 10.5mm fisheye lens on a basic tripod. Image on Flickr with more information Thanks for looking!
  13. Thanks everyone, liking the advice about a planetary camera - making me think about a second scope as well now ... is there no end to astronomical spending ;-)
  14. Thanks! Should I be worried about the length of the kit hanging off the rear? I have a pretty heavy SBIG ST-8E and the thought of a barlow in line makes me wonder about the mechanics. Should I use my diagonal for planetary imaging so that the kit gets stacked vertically or does this really not make much difference?
  15. For prime focus astrophotography, we can use focal reducers for a wider field of view. For planetary imaging, it would be nice to get closer - but all the barlows I can find are for eyepiece use, not for screwing to the rear cell of the SCT. I am just failing to look hard enough, or is there something inherent in the optics that means adding a barlow to the rear cell simply doesn't work?
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