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About ncwolfie

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    North Carolina, USA
  1. The inability to achieve reliable precise focus when doing AP, whether it be deep sky or planetary has finally taken its toll on my last nerve. 80% of my scope time is spent imaging with a Celestron 8" Edge HD (with .7 reducer for deep sky) attached to a Losmandy G11 mounted to a permanent pier in a roll off roof observatory. So I have come to the decision that its overdue for an autofocuser, preferably one that I can also control from my PC. I have read posts from users of Edge HD systems experiencing problems with backfocus in the image train when using crayford type systems like Moonlite etc. So I have primarily been looking at primary autofocusers like the ones from Rigel systems, (unb stepper) Robofocus and JMI. Frankly there is so much info on the JMI page that it is difficult to see what is needed there, let alone calculate a cost. Plus the Rigel system and Robofocus do seem to fall more into my price range for a remote access system (inside my home). So I am looking for advice, recommendations, warnings etc on either of the systems I have mentioned, plus if you know of another that works with this scope, I would love to hear that to. There is the possibility that I may upgrade the 8 edge to an 11 edge sometime in the future, so a system with a conversion kit would be a great bonus. But for now I just want a reliable precise way to autofocus via hc & pc. Thanks for any advice you can give, Randy
  2. I currently have an AVX mount for my edgehd 8 which is pier mounted in a roll off roof observatory. I am mainly into astrophotography with only occasional visual use. Nothing but problems out of my AVX. Have tried until I can't try anymore with it. So trying to decide on a new mount within my budget. Of course a paramount would be nice but way out of my budget. Looking at an Orion Atlas or Skywatcher EQ6 Any thoughts on which would be best or concerns with either? I need to make a decision quick as the skywatcher is on sale until the 18th if I go that route. Thanks in advance for any advice Randy
  3. Bookmarked this site for future reference in case do end up needing it. Thats' a great find Alex.
  4. The problem is I must maintain a 105 mm back focus for the edge hd and celestron focal reducer/Dslr combo. Which I am at now without adding the Thin OAG. If I add even a thin OAG, I exceed the 105mm. Seems I need a shorter T Adapter? X being the distance from the focal reducer to the OAG prism is approx 57-59mm so plugging that in I am already over 105mm on the main imaging camera with no way to shorten the T adpater. See this thread. http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/256766-celestron-edgehd8-07-focal-reducer-oag-owners/
  5. I'm in desperate need of advice here. Have read all the threads about the 105mm back focus when using a the Celestron edgehd8, celestron 0.7 focal reducer. Of course these two in combination yield the perfect 105mm back focus when using a DSLR. As most of you know, the problem arises when using an OAG. Basically it won't work. I was under the impression that this would work with a Thin OAG, so I purchased the orion thin OAG. I will be using a ASI 120MM-s as an autoguider. But before I can determine the spacers I will need there, how is it possible to insert a thin OAG between the celestron T adapter and the camera without exceeding the 105mm backfocus. It appears that if there was a way to reduce the T adapters length, then I could determine spacers to do the rest. (See the Celestron focal reducer diagram below) I'm in a pickle here and really need to know how others have overcome this, what you used or if it is even possible? I'm to the point I either have to get a solution or try and sell the Thin OAG and go the guidescope route, something I did not want to do. I currently have 56.5mm from the OAG prism to the ASI camera chip. That is a minimum distance and cannot be changed, so it would seem to me that I would need to reduce the length near the T adapter to rein in the guide came distance to come close to 105mm. But when doing that what I loose in distance at the t adpter, I may need to add a spacer or not on the other side of the Thin OAG before the DSLR to maintain 105mm. So unless I am seeing this wrong, the culprit is the T adapters length? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  6. And so my headache has begun. Trying to use an Orion Thin OAG with my EdgeHD8 and the celestron .7 focal reducer. I have a ASI120MM-S for my guide camera, a Canon T4i as my imaging camera. I can not for the life of me figure out what spacers I need. Surely someone has had some success with this setup using a thin OAG to overcome the back focus issue. Trying to keep from ordering a bucket full of spacers just to see which one works. Any advice on making this work?
  7. Also looking for impressions of this camera, especially the infinity vs the ultrastar, before I push the button on one. Looks like both could be used for EAA also.
  8. I've been observing for years but have just recently gotten serious about imaging...and with mixed results. Some hit and some miss, mostly miss. Two constants that seem to give me trouble are keeping the image noise down and producing a well defined image (they are in focus but the detail is just not normally sharp when viewed full resolution). I am realistic about my setup, it is fairly meager compared to most here, but yet I have seen others produce seemingly better results. It's my feeling that I am missing something in the processing aspect. I continue to review video tutorials concerning Deepsky stacker, Photoshop astro techniques etc., but feel I have a wall. I mostly concentrate on deep sky. As I said, my optical setup is fairly basic. It is however pier mounted and is as follows. Celestron EdgeHD8 on an Advanced VX mount. I normally use an edge focal reducer for deep sky. My alignment is pretty good I think but I do not currently have an autoguider (that is coming soon). So with that in mind, I rarely push any exposures beyond 2 minutes, normally 90 seconds. Normally I shoot at 800 to 1600 iso, I use BYEOS and a Batinov mask for focusing precisely. My camera is a Canon EOS T4i DSLR, unmodded so I know I am missing some reds. But colors are not as big an issue as noise and a lack of what I perceive as sharpness. Maybe I am expecting to much? I know that images are unique and processed differently, but I have a loose standard protocol I use, based on Doug Germans DSS video tutorials. It is as follows: Normally use the default settings in DSS to stack then, go directly to Photoshop. 1.Convert to 16bit, then local adaption to exposure and gamma. 2. Crop just a small outside edge of the image out, to get a good dark edge. 3. I was using a plugin called gradient exterminator, but didn't see that much difference so dont currently use it. So now run "HLVG" plugin filter and sometimes Solar Screech plugin "Colour Corrector" 4. Create level adjustments layer and stretch to a low mid range 105-127 5. Create normally 2-4 curves adjustments layer and adjust each one a small bit to bring out detail, keeping a nice smooth curve. 6. When satisfied, flatten the image. 7. Copy background layer and do match color adjustment. Sometimes use 8. Copy previous layer and run noise filter as needed. 9. Copy previous layer and run a sharpen filter (unsharp mask). I have been using smartshapen lately as it has seems to give me better results than unmask sharp most of the time. Sometimes I reverse the order of 8 and 9. That's my basic run through. After that I run different adjustment layers I feel are needed if any, mostly hue & saturation, or contrast or color balance or mixer and sometimes a photo filter. Not all of these normally just what I think helps. Below is an image of ngc 7331 I took the other night. The image was stacked in DSS (19 lights, 10 each, darks, flats and bias) (5x 90 second exposures @1600 iso, 14x 90 second exposures @ 800 iso) and processed in Photoshop as listed above. As a smaller image it doesn't look so bad, but a closer look shows more noise and reveals no real definition of edges. Is there something I am missing in my processing, should I be producing a better image than this even unguided short exposure, or am I in fact expecting to much? The full size image can be viewed here at astrobin as well as another image of the veil nebula which looks ok as a thumbnail but bad at full resolution as well http://astrob.in/213175/0/ http://astrob.in/212804/B/ Any tips or advice would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks , Randy
  9. And add an option for daylight savings time here in the US. Thanks
  10. What a great service and app this is for the community. Thank you FLO! Bookmarked! Just one question, is there an option fior showing temperature in Fahrenheit for us old farts in the US?
  11. I'm trying to make a final decision on an OAG and autoguider/planetary imager for my setup and it is about to make my head explode. So much info, I just want to make sure I make the best decision in the end. So once again, I am looking to the knowledge of the community to steer me in the right direction with their experiences. Here is my current setup: My main instrument is a pier mounted Celestron Edge HD8 on an advanced VX mount. I have a Celestron, .7x focal reducer. For short exposure imaging, I use a Canon EOS T4i (650d). I am now looking to move up to longer exposure so its time to pull the trigger on buying some equipment. I use BYEOS, Nexremote and Stellarium for camera and telescope control. I will use PHD2 for autoguiding and Astrotortilla for plate solving. At least that is the current plan. Based on discussions on this forum and others, I am leaning toward a thin OAG, probably the Orion OAG. I am still open to other ideas. I do have an extra 9x50 finder I could mount beside my right angle 9x50 finder, but from what I gather, OAG is the way to go with this scope and a thin one in this case due to the focal reducer. The next part of the equation of course is the imager. I go back and forth on what to purchase. I am looking for something that will be a solid autoguider/planetary imager 1st and foremost. The Canon T4i suffers from limited fps in live view so an autoguider /planetary imager could really help me on the planetary imaging front. For now I will be satisfied with the Canon for deep sky work as long as I can get some reliable autoguiding going, but if the imager did allow some deep sky that would be icing. My intention is to primarily use my small observatory for imaging and some small scale educational outreach. So if the camera also offered the ability to be used as a live video feed to a monitor, I can see that being very useful as well. This is not as important as the autoguiding feature but it would aid in keeping visitors from causing alignment issues. So I'm looking for any and all advice for getting the best imagery I can out of my Edge HD. I've been reading about QHY5L-II, Lodestar, ZWO etc. Hoping that someone with first hand knowledge and possibly with a similar setup, can help me make the best choice. As always, thanks in advance for any advice. Randy
  12. Apparently in my haste to discover an improved simpler method of polar alignment, I misinterpreted a video that suggested using phd2 for polar alignment. I have no guide camera, only my main canon dslr. Looks like my best option may be to use BYEOS as described by Forest Tanaka in his video. Oh well my bad, sorry for the confusion. Just looking for the simplest way to polar align my advanced VX edge HD.
  13. So, Can I not use a DSLR with PHD2?? For the life of me I don't see any mention of how to connect a dslr except with v2 simulator and even then I get no image. Was hoping to try the polar alignment option. Can connect with BYEOS fine and see my star, but when I switch over to PHD2, it wants me to calibrate. I see no option for this and don't even know if a dslr is supported at this point. What am I missing in all these guides I have read. Pulling my hair out. Thanks
  14. Ok results from last nights testing. Updated nexremote to V1.7.23 Confirmed findersope is aligned near perfectly to main scope. (Side note) I recently purchased a duplicate 11lb counterweight to balance out having a camera on the scope. Extra counterweight stays on the scope even when no camera like tonight. Normally balanced, tonight I used a slight east heavy side balancing. 1st alignment test, used Nexremote only, did 2 two star alignment with 4 calibration stars. 12.5mm illuminated reticle eyepiece, made sure all last adjustments were up and right. Alignment seemed to be a little better than the previous night, Stars in the 12.5mm were still not quiet centered but a little better overall. I noticed that stars in the south and west seem to be very near centered and spot on in some cases. Stars in east, Vega for example tended to be off the most. Powered off in prep for new alignment test. 2nd alignment test. Used physical hand control only, no nexremote. Same eyepiece same alignment and calibration stars. Results were nearly identical to alignment with nexremote. Noticed the same south and west closer alignment than in the east. Started stellarium this go around, it did not slew or recognize scope was aligned for some reason. Could have been a fluke. Was not of real concern since this was test of nexremote vs HC anyway. Powered off in prep for new alignment test. 3rd alignment test, Decided to do another nexremote only alignment to make sure the issue with stellarium was just a fluke. Same eyepiece etc, Used a couple of different alignments and calibration stars this time due to the skies advancement. Alignment seemed to be a little tighter this time but still off some. Same west and east anomaly. Slewed to some stars some dead on, some others off but still visible in 12.5mm eyepiece. Popped in 40 mm and checked out a few more stars and couple of deep sky objects. Determined that everything was acceptably centered the in 40 mm. Fired up stellariumscope/stellarium and slewed to several objects with no problems. I can live with that if it doesn't vary anymore. This is all mainly for astrophotography so that is why I am be as picky as I am about alignment. Conclusion: Not really sure what is causing the worse accuracy in the east. The reason I brought up the comment about the additional counterweight is I wonder if that could be causing an issue? Thoughts and ideas are welcome.
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