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About Howie_Oz

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  1. Howie_Oz

    Came across the forum by accident and went 'oooh!'

    Ditto on everything stash_old says! I've had Samsung SCB2000, various Mallincams, various ZWO's and IMO nothing beats the simplicity and very sharp almost AP results using DSLR on f/5 and lower OTA's. Link to flickr album below ... 3 partial nights viewing using 9 x 60 sec frames ... all screengrabs showing the image on screen in-field at time scope is slewed onto targets and like stash says ... you see the image right from the first frame and then watch it better over the subsequent shots. Usually I set toaster to single shot processing and take single iso12600 frames of around 5 seconds in order to find/frame the object nicely. Then when its framed nicely I set toaster to stack and set the dslr to shoot 9 x iso800 or iso1600 30 to 60 sec exposures. I adjust a few toaster color adjustments and expand gradients after the first shot comes in. Then I sit back for 10 minutes and watch it get better and better with each passing image. https://flic.kr/s/aHsm9Ld4SC
  2. Howie_Oz

    A starter camera

    Before accepting anyones advice on which camera, you need to learn how to very quickly and easily check that you don't get caught again with too much, or too little magnification. Cameras behave very differently depending on their sensor diagonal size. They actually behave very similarly to an eyepiece of the same mm rating. Ie a camera like the altair suggested ... check the manufacturer or retailer websites and you'll see the sensor is about 5mm diagonal. It does not have to be exact dimension - near enough is good enough so if they quote the horizontal and vertical dimensions in mm there's no need to get out the calculator and use pythagorus to cal the diagonal to the nearest 2 decimal places ... just use the bigger dimension ie the horizontal one in mm. So the amount of magnification and therefore the field of view or how large or small objects appear for that camera with its 5mm sensor will be very, very similar to using a 5mm eyepiece in any scope you own no matter what its focal length. If you get a suggestion of DSLR you'll look up the sensor dimensions to find thats about 23mm diagonal. So it will yield a very similar FOV, magnification, size of object as using an eyepiece of 23mm in any scope. And so on ... anyone suggests a ZWO ASInnn ... or any camera ... check the sensor dimension specs and you'll immediately get the idea of whether it'll work in one of your scopes. As I suspect you found with your old VA and the large F5 dob ... those old VA cameras had 5mm sensors so would show you the same FOV/mag as using a 5mm highly magnifying eyepiece in your DOB. If that dob was 1500mm focal length then you effectively had a 5mm eyepiece in a 1,500 focal length scope ... very high mag, very small FOV, unable to find stuff when the goto is off, unable to image big stuff. It would, however, been great for planets! Or an alternate method is to google "12dstring fov calc" and go to that online resource. Its a visual checker with 110 Messier objects and all the solar system objects with hundreds of scopes and cameras from hundreds of manufacturers to see if a camera will work with your scope. The only thing it won't tell you is (a) if the camera will reach focus in your scope(s); (b) if the camera will get vignetting in your scope(s); (c) if you can get a reducer to make it work better with your scope(s) - as you can enter barlows and reducer values in that online tool to check planetary vs DSO scale. To get those questions answered once you find a scope and camera and reducer/barlow combo which works ... is to post questions on the forums, or get money back guarantee from the supplier if it doesnt work with your scope. Cheers
  3. Need my old network drive for non-Astro stuff so checked content before deleting. Found this old late 2016 HD desktop capture from very dark site ... town of Leyburn 3 hours from Brisbane. Single 15 second frames with the DSLR in order to avoid the wind bouncing the scope too much. Nearly all are low hanging bright objects, however the last two objects weren't quite "low hanging fruit" being the western and eastern veil. These were single 30 second frames. Its a 28 minute vid as I blab on as usual, but its live ... no gaps. It includes selecting the target, punching it in the hand control, the slew time, the 15 second shutter and then finally see the image in astrotoaster. Still manage to do 15 objects in that 28 minutes though. So still very fast acquisition. Speed the video up to 2x normal (a) to shorten it a bit and (b) to hear me sound like Donald Duck!
  4. Howie_Oz

    Best setup for wireless Remote Desktop control?

    I cannot find the thread, but ages back I saw someone having similar issues with wifi. So they ran a power cord from inside to outside OBS, and ran EOP (ethernet over power). Fixed up all the problems. Apparently Of course if you are portable setup then it won't help out in the field.
  5. Howie_Oz

    Portable EAA Setup

    Ooooo .... aberations ... you may get vignetting with such big reduction and a mid sized sensor in the Infinity. But get out and try it out. You did good in getting 2nd hand (and those 0.3x SCT reducers are scarce as)! Do hope I didn't confuse you there? Bottom line ... crack on with the Infinity and 0.33x test. Crop off the vignette if you have to and see if it works for your needs. If not, resale should not loose you money. If you decide to keep the 0.33x anyway for future use ... it'll work nice with smaller sensor cams of around 5 to 6mm diagonals. Don't read the rest of this post ..... Unless you'd like to know why diff sensors may or may not vignette with reduction. It's not a physics explanation with precise correct terms etc, but it's how I think of it in an easy to remember way. When light is focused by lens or mirrors, it forms a cone of light. Light intensity/brightness is brighter in the middle of the cone of light, and falls off at the edges of the cone. Hence a small sensor does not extend much into the edges of the poorer brightness of the cone. So they suffer much less from vignetting (dark corners and edges). Larger sensors extend much more into the less bright edges of the cone of light, and so suffer much more from vignetting. The larger the sensor diagonal the more it suffers from vignetting. Second handy thing to know, is reducers act by steepening the angles of the edges of the light cone (so they "reduce" the focal length of the scope). It is this steepening of the light which stretches the stars into elongated rather than round (IE coma). The middle parts of the light cone are still relatively unsteepened as the light right through the middle would clearly be still parallel coming straight down the middle of the scope, even though the edges are now more steep and stretched in order to reach focus shorter than without the reducer. So once again, small sensors will sit more in the region which is less stretched and are less likely to get coma. ANd I'm sure you can then work out why the larger the sensor the more it gets coma around the edges. And third thing to know, Is because reducers (effectively) shorten the focal length of your scope, it means the point you reach focus moves further and further into the scope as you add more and more reduction. So to work with reducers, your scope needs lots of focuser "in-travel". Refractors and SCT's have much more in-travel so usually (not always, but usually) will have enough travel into the scope to bring the camera to focus. However, if you ever think about getting a Newtonian telescope, they do not have much in-travel in the focuser and often cannot bring a camera to focus when you use reducers. People desperate to use reducers with Newts often resort to shortening the tube with hacksaw, or replace the primary mirror bolts with longer ones so the mirror is moved into the tube, or shorten the struts (if its a truss newt - and its what I've done to mine).
  6. Howie_Oz

    Portable EAA Setup

    Ditto to the comments above. And the kit you have chosen was wisely chosen for starting EAA. Your review and experience should be a sticky thread on SGL under the EAA / VA under "Example of how to correctly get started in EAA"! Great to see an excited new member of the "Observing-With-Camera" club, especially the shots of what you saw. Top write up.
  7. Howie_Oz

    Which cam

    Forget about clicking the Live Stack option until you have a live image on the screen which looks bright enough to see many stars as well as some details in the actual object. Don't worry about grainy noise in the image as thats what stacking fixes. Only when the live image is showing many stars and some bits of the object do you start stacking. Stacking will get rid of the noise. Isn't there a sticky on how to use SharpCap on SGL? Or am I thinking of Lodestar Live how to? As other posters say ...bump the gain up to 300 to 360 and then adjust the exposure time to start to get stars n stuff. But you should also adjust the image gamma and contrast n stuff so its a learning curve/balancing act. We've all had to learn and overcome the learning curve. Then when you do click Live Stack you then have to adjust the histogram curve (in the stacking windows TAB's). Worth doing in the end though
  8. Howie_Oz

    Binoveiwing Revolution R2?

    You know, years ago in the days that Mallincam AV cameras were King, I saw a post on another forum about a guy who was sending the analogue video feed from the MC camera into a Sony HMD. IE the early days of virtual reality headsets. Those Sony HMD's were uber expensive (for me anyway!). But I loved the idea. So when you folk get these dual camera setups working, as well as trying your twin setups to more rapidly reduce noise/ more rapidly increase SNR, etc it would be interesting to see if there's a VR headset which will display two feeds side by side ala stereoscopically. Now be careful about what I am saying here as I very much doubt that the width apart of the two cams are going to make any difference at all in yielding a 3D effect .... they are simply no where near far enough apart to do that given the distances to the objects being viewed. But ... the two images each contain different noise and different bits of clarity, and just like the stacking software your brain should combine the two diff noise/clarity images into one instantly presenting to you a cleaner and more detailed 'view'. And as per the Mallincam Sony HMD guy waaaaay back about 7 years ago, in the absence of any peripheral light or people distractions give the viewer a totally immersive floating in space experience.
  9. And again trust Don and others are safe over there. Saw on morning news Kilauea spewed ash 6 miles high this morning.
  10. Howie_Oz

    Binoveiwing Revolution R2?

    Toaster will most definitely take the two images from two cameras and stack without problem. It doesnt care where the image came from. There's a max derotation angle setting in DSS itself, which will allow slight differences in the two frames and still stack. But I will suggest a better way to 'collimate' the two cameras. A handy tool to use for overlaying the two images just to check orientation of the two cameras is a free (Windows) app called peek through. Once loaded you setup a hotkey which in my case is Windows-A. At start of evening go to bunch of bright stars and take test image and when get short high gain photo of the target stars, set the second camera at same exp and gain. Then with two photos side by side (from each camera) ... click on one cameras image so that window is 'active' and click Windows-A (in my case) and that window will become transparent. Then you simply drag the transparent window over the first non transparent one. Drag the Window edges to make it the exact same size/scale, and bingo you'll see the stars are aligned or not aligned via the foreground transparent one won't overlay the background non transparent one. By simply turning one camera slightly and due to the high gain you'll use on the bright target stars, you should see the stars (from that camera which youo are turning) rotate over the top of the image from the other camera. Then lock it down. Bingo both cams are collimated and so closely that DSS wont have any trouble stacking the images from the cameras. I know some use cam as eGuider open in one copy of SC, and another SC opened to run the main imaging cam. Havent done it myself but Ive heard peeople say they do that. Else ask Robin. You'd set two copies of SC to run each of the bino cameras, and set both to save to the toaster folder and it will see every new shot (from either camera - it doesnt know any diff seeing every new frame and a new frame to stack). It wont 'brighten' the image but sure as heck you'll decrease noise (thus increasing SNR) twice as fast as using just one camera. So you'd get faster to the final shot you wish to accept as nice and noise free, but also if you still went for a total exposure time same as if you only had one camera in, the better SNR will enable to to tease out more detail ... and in effect allow you to get a 'brighter' shot with more details. Go for it mate !!!! I'd love to see your results!
  11. Howie_Oz

    NexStar 6se EAA Recommendations

    You've done well as that's about what we all see on our first goes. Good job mate. Re number to stack ... you've already seen it and will now have in your mind what kind of number to stack yields a good result. Cos there's all sorts of recipes re what number is best. It is indeed a law of diminishing returns and sometimes stacking more than optimum leads to blurry images as more gear/motor pulse problems appear in more frames. Its a "give it go some night on one object" sort of thing for you to try out. Stack the equivalent of 1 minute (say thats 12 x 5sec frames), then 2 minutes (24 x 5 sec) then 4 then 6 then 8 and so on and watch for the difference in ease to move the sliders around to see the best you can get it, which both helps you learn what slider does what as well as the aha moments of Gee bright nebulas works best with about 5 minutes worth of total exposure time, but the dim stuff really needs 10 minutes, and star clusters only need 1 minute. Or something like that. Re cannot find the objects .... the 6SE Nexstar hand control has a Precise GoTo menu item. Go look that up in the manual, and if you dont have the manual look for copy of the manual on the web or from celestrons website or an astro shops website. Basically if you cannot 'see' it then use the HC menu to initiate the Precise GoTo. It knows the constellation of your desired object and so knows the brightest star in that constellation and slews over to it. Being a bright star you can see it thru your finder! Tada! ... so move the scope using the arrow buttons to centre that star thru both the finder and then the camera (which again being bright star it WILL show it on the laptop). Once centered you press Enter and the HC works out how much the error in slewing to that bright star was in that constellation and so refines the accuracy of all targets in that constellation based on that error. So then you slew back to your desired object and its accuracy to land on the small sensor should be much better now. cheers
  12. Howie_Oz

    Does anyone broadcast?

    Another endorsement for NSN (Joe's site). Tis the best I've come across. If you broadcast be aware that it needs (according to Joe trying to help me do a show which kept crashing) 2Mbps upload to work properly. I'm in Australia and only average 0.4 to 0.7 Mpbs upload so once I got 3 or 4 people join in the show and voice chat with me it crashes several times a minute. Until I get better internet I cannot broadcast. There is debate on what I've just said there though, as some US people broadcast with less than 2Mbps upload fine. So it could be some other weird Aussie bandwidth/other problem going on for me. There is a Cloudy Nights Announcements sticky which Don in the above post (HiLoDon) and others put announcements of when they are going to be on. But some dont bother putting it in there and instead post they are up live on the NSN Facebook page ... so join that too. Don's broadcasts with the Lodestar X2 and Starlight Live are excellent. Always impressed with both that cam and the software. Another regular is another Don (DonBoy) who tests and wrings every last drop of goodness out of so many camera's it's wonderful to watch new stuff before everyone goes buy them. And lastly, Robin Clark who lists on that CN announcements page as saguaro (or something like that) who wrings the utmost out of ASI1600 doing 1 min x 10 to 20 stacked ... but while not VA shortness, the shots are like AP. Very sharp and great detail.
  13. Howie_Oz

    NexStar 6se EAA Recommendations

    You got the 0.5x1.25" ... no worries ... just get out and use it and have fun experimenting! Those Mallincam (and other brands) 0.5x 1-1/4" and 0.5x 2" reducers are (IMO) all GSO's or that design spec, rebranded. They're all priced simiilarly, look identical, and have the same specs. I've tried several 2" out in field with the local astro club as many guys buy them and I've always found them blurry compared to the old Mallincam ones. But ... I see Roel's post above he was using the MFR5 ... he may have compared his MFR5 to the typical 0.5x cheap reducers and have a comment. IE dont just assume my findings on the 0.5 cheap reducers were the norm ... maybe the three or four I've tried were all rubbish offloaded to Aussie vendors at some point (LOL). Roel might have gotten a good one and reckon they're fine. You might have gotten a good one and find it great... so no probs keep it for now and get out and have a crack and see how it goes. But, it was the MFR5 I was referring to. Comes with spacers and two lens units. Using those in different combinations of lens and spacers you can achieve a variety of reduction to suit diff targets. I got it with my Mallincam VSS+ which was my first venture into VA waaaaay back 6 or 7 years ago! Anyway ... the ZWO cam's come with a 1-1/4" adapter which screws onto the camera body. Into the 1-1/4" hole in that adapter you normally thread the ZWO 1-1/4" nosepiece. But if you end up finding a MFR5 2nd hand and buy it to give it a try ... you'll find you can thread the MFR5 into that 1-1/4" hole effectively replacing the need for a nosepiece and away you go.
  14. Howie_Oz

    NexStar 6se EAA Recommendations

    Yeah mate ... have a crack with the 224 + reducer. Been there done that! LOL. Its still mighty powerful mag/narrow FOV with a 0.5x on the 1500mm FL 6SE tube though. So you'll be very limited to short exposures and any aberations in the tracking and bad goto's will show up. But it's all about having a go and learning and finding out. And cheap first go for you cos you already have the 6SE. Couple of tips ... I found the GSO 0.5x reducer to be rubbish. Second hand Mallincam reducers work really nicely. Much sharper views and less coma. Its tough to find them 2nd hand though (they are expensive (!!!) brand new). Plus you can double stack reducers with the very small sensor size of the 224 ... it handles it quite well. Secondly, if you do find it still has too much mag/narrow FOV/hard to goto, hard to track, hard to go long enough exposures, blurry stars .... its more the OTA problem with it still simply having too much FL/mag rather than a prob with the 224. Try to borrow an Orion ST80 from someone (although 2nd hand they are cheap as chips) and put it into the dovetail "clamp" on the 6SE mount. Much wider FOV/less mag so more forgiving on tracking, goto accuracy, field rotation with the small chip 224, much 'sharper' stars .... but you'll have to use a yellow #8 or #12 to cure the achromatic color fringing with it. The thing with the little ST80 mounted in the 6SE mounts dovetail clamp is that it makes a GREAT grab n go! Leave the thing all setup with camera the whole lot ready to go. You really dont have to use the tripod with the 6SE as the base has rubberised 'bits' underneath so you can plonk it on a car, the ground, a couple of bricks ... single cable from the cam to your laptop with you sitting in a chair and away you go. Bit tough to crouch and do all star alignment ... but get a 2nd hand StarSense and then you're really talking ... plonk it down, turn it on and in the couple of minutes the StarSense is doing your alignment you're getting the comfy chair and laptop out. By the time you're ready with that you're ready to start 'observing' with the 224. As they say the best scope is the one you use the most. And the easier the setup when we occaisionally see clear sky, the more we'll get out there ... and the more we can forgive the still fairly blocky/grainy/star bloat images coming from the 224 compared to other cams. But those other cams have their compromises ... longer exp time, etc. So crack on, cant wait to see how you go.
  15. Howie_Oz

    New Set up for VAA

    Said I'd post up a quick tip on PA with a GEM when you cannot see the pole... The star alignment and PA routine built into the hand controls...... 1. Dont forget that second alignment is necessary after doing the PA routine! The sequence is always first 2 or 3 star alignment followed by PA routine followed by second 2 or 3 star alignment. 2. The alignment routine and also the PA routine selects stars for you to use assuming you can actually see the pole. So the tip is ... if it selects a star you cannot see because it is near the pole, don't sweat it ... just use any star it suggests which you can see. 3. Dont forget that second alignment is necessary after doing the PA routine! The sequence is always first 2 or 3 star alignment followed by PA routine followed by second 2 or 3 star alignment. Not a mistake writing this up a second time !!! LOL ... you'd be amazed how often it gets forgotten!

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