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DarkKnight

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Everything posted by DarkKnight

  1. Thanks for your input Ross. It's very helpful and most appreciated. It seems the general consensus that the scope needs a bit of a fiddle. SF, you raise some pertinent points about jumping into a CCD camera straight up. I'm fairly comfortable with DSLR's so it is probably prudent to stick with what I know in the early stages. This forum is a great source of knowledge for those like myself that know Jack, and also gratifying for the willingness of those that do to share. Thank you.
  2. Chris, now you are doing my head in. I had to google MPCC to find out what you were referring to. I though I had my foot on the first rung of the ladder, now I'm not real sure i can even see the bloody ladder.
  3. As I delve deeper into this, from my research it seems that it is probably a better proposition to look at a CCD camera instead of a modded DSLR for around $AU1000.
  4. Thanks again Chris. Slowly filling in the gaps for me.
  5. Aha, collimation. How often does that need to be done?
  6. Cheers Rob How do you find the D5300 for Astro? I have it on top of my wish list with a full spectrum mod from Camera Clinic as my astro camera. I'd love the D810a but my budget doesn't equate with my desires. PS: Just saw that this is your first post so welcome to the forum. They are a very helpful lot on here even though most are on the wrong side of the planet and have a rather skewed view of the sky down under.
  7. Cheers Dave. Lightroom doesn't offer Live View focusing and the Nikon stuff, as you said, costs an arm and a leg. I only use manual focus and the problem I'm having is getting a clear live view image on the laptop screen. The ControlMyNikon program seems fairly well sorted and when the clouds go away I'll have another go and fiddle with ISO and 'f' stops, and also different viewing modes on the laptop screen, ie Night Mode, High Contrast etc. Thanks for your input.
  8. Hi, In the land down under we don't seem to have the Skywatcher Explorer 130P-DS and instead have the Sky-Watcher BKP 130 OTAW Dual Speed, and after perusing the specs the only difference seems to be in the name. http://www.sirius-optics.com.au/astrophotography/astrophotography-optical-tube-assemblies/skywatcher-130-650-photo-reflector.html I'm still in the early stages of this nocturnal sky gazing affliction, but have a reasonable background in terrestrial photography, my main interest being bird photography. At this stage I have a Nikon D800 full frame DSLR and a selection of lens from 14mm to 420mm which I've used with a tripod to get some encouraging results. My bird photography was a lot to do with sharpness and detail and this led me to look for the same in my night photography. To this end I acquired a new EQ6 mount which I've upgraded with the stepper motors and the SynScan v4 handset. I've more or less come to grips with the mount. Scanning the forum for snippets of info to help me on my way I came across this thread and to be honest, I found some of the posts to be mind boggling. How the hell can you get those shots from a 'cheap' telescope? For that sort of money a 'cheap' camera lens would give you fairly 'nasty' results. OK, I want one, or the local equivalent. These are it's specs: Dual-Speed 10:1 ratio focuser Optical Design Parabolic Newtonian Reflector Diameter / Aperture 130 mm Focal length 650 mm Highest Practical Power 260x F/Ratio f/5 Finder Scope 6x30 Focuser Diameter 2" Eye Piece 2" Tube Weight 3.66kg Tube Dimensions 16.0x61.5cm3 Shipping Weight 8 kg Faintest Steller Magnitude 12.7 Shipping Dimensions 67x29x26 cm3 Now this is where my limited knowledge of things astro hits the wall. I know I'll need some sort of Nikon specific adapter to mount the camera to the scope and hope the scope mounting point can handle around 1Kg. Also from reading the above it seems like the 6 x 30 finder scope is not an option for guiding so I guess that will need to be replaced, or not. And then what do I need to attach the scope to my mount. This is a pic of the saddle on my mount. I should state here that I'm an OAP (Old Age Pensioner) so not exactly flash with cash, but I won't go the 'cheap 'n' cheerful' route if it won't do the job. If someone could give me a rundown of the basic bits to get me started I'd appreciate it. Thanks for reading all my waffle.
  9. " After a re-read of the instruction manual, I spotted the date was in U.S. format MM-DD-YY. Doh!!! I'll bet that's never happened to anyone else." Yep, BTDT too.
  10. Cheers Tinker. I have a modded Nikon D5300 on my radar which has a swivel screen. And I never even thought about stopping down. Derr me ! Thanks Shelster, I'll have a look at BYN.
  11. I've had a good look through the 'Imaging with the 130pds' thread and have been very impressed with the images. I have a NEQ6 mount and a DSLR camera. What else do I need to start imaging nebulas etc? PS: I should have mentioned at a reasonable cost.
  12. Well I swapped the 2GB RAM stick for an 8GB one, fitted a 120GB SSD and did a clean install of W10. Wow, what a difference. Loaded CC CS6 to see how it ran and it's not all that much slower than my desktop. And W10 without all the Toshiba bloatware fires up in about 15secs. All in all a productive exercise at about 1/2 the price for the same performance from a ready made unit.
  13. Hi all, I'm starting my astro photography journey with a Nikon DSLR and various lens. I'm currently using a D800 and when mounted on my tripod, with many short exposures, I'm getting encouraging results. I can focus using either the optical viewfinder or Live View. However, and isn't there always a 'however', mount the camera on my modded EQ6 and it's a different kettle of fish. Not being as flexible as I used to be, read 'old fart' here, I find it nigh on impossible to see through the viewfinder, or get a clear look at the Live View screen when the camera it pointing toward the heavens, as there always seems to be a tripod leg in the way and I can only crouch with my head at a right angle for a very limited time. To make focusing easier I bought a laptop (which will come in handy when I move on to a 'scope and something like PHD) and have tried several tethering programs, one of which was very flaky, and am currently trialing ControlMyNikon which seems much better. This will be used purely to obtain good focus as I'll then disconnect it and use my intervalometer for timing. I tried it the other night but could not get pinpoint stars on the screen, more likely operator error than the program. Am I on the right track with this or is there a better method to get sharp focus?
  14. Thanks everyone for sharing your whoopsies. I can also claim to be in the 'Seniors Moment' age bracket, although I figure that experience should have taught me better. I guess when you've finished shaking your head, if you can have a laugh at yourself, and promise not to do it again, it has been a useful (?) exercise.
  15. Didn't take long. Last night I was so worried about getting everything right with the laptop, I forgot to take the lens cover off.
  16. I bought the laptop purely to run a tethering program. I'll look at increasing it's memory from 2Gb to 4/8Gb and also replace the 5400rpm drive with a SSD. All my image processing is done on my desktop.
  17. I'm trying TetherPro tonight. I'll see how it goes.
  18. Thanks Frank. That link looks rather interesting.
  19. Cheers Ken, I was actually using a Nikon 300mm f4 with a 1.4 T/C, but it didn't matter what was mounted because I couldn't see through the camera viewfinder, or see the Live View screen, because the blinking tripod legs were in the way, stopping me from getting a half decent look at either. I actually got a shot of the 'Saucepan' with some red showing in the Nebula, but it was way, way OOF. I can't do a polar alignment as I'm blocked to the south so hence the alternative 2 star alignment. If that isn't up to scratch I'll try a drift alignment. Anyway today I bit the bullet, so to speak, and bought a cheap laptop (Gawd, how do people live with them on a day to day basis, slow as a wet week) and also acquired a tethering program, so I now have a 14" screen to use for focus instead of the tiny little screen the mobile phone offered me. I've only recently returned home from a trip to the Local to see my footy team get rolled, so I think I'll postpone any serious testing till tomorrow night. Thank you for taking the time to comment, and I'm sure I'll have many more frustrating moments. PS: And I've bought a Bahtinov mask.
  20. Tonight I tried to capture M42 with my Nikon D800 mounted on my upgraded EQ6, using Helicon Remote to view the camera's Live View screen on my mobile phone. Total waste of time. Glad it only cost me the price of an OTG lead. Too small to see anything big enough to focus on. Glad I've got real short hair as it resisted my attempts to tear out handfuls of it. OK, Plan 'G', or is it 'H' ???? Let me say at this point that I'm not a cheapskate, just not flash with cash, being retired, and am saving for a 130PDS and a guide scope, which is months away. In the meantime I'd like to take some photos. First up I realise I need a laptop, and I'm looking at several S/H units tomorrow. I can then tether my camera to the laptop, zoom in to my hearts content, and have something on the screen big enough to focus the camera on. I can then use SynScan to guide the mount, or possibly even EQMOD. So my proposed scenario is to do a 2/3 star alignment (nil visibility to the South Celestial Pole) with SynScan, or whatever EQMOD offers, and I'm assuming I can connect all the components together. I'm way out of my depth here so any help would be greatly appreciated.
  21. Cheers Mate. I only have scattered cloud here at the moment, so fingers crossed for tonight.
  22. Hi all, I have an EQ6 upgraded with the kit (Stepper motors with SynScan v 4.05.17) and am wanting to do some imaging with a Nikon D800 DSLR and a Nikon 300mm f4 lens. Ultimately I'll get a laptop and use something like EQMOD. I'm in the SH and can't do a polar alignment due to obstructions, so am trying to do a 2 star alignment and have worked through the initialisation and get to "Polaris Position in P.Scope = HH:MM" which seems a bit obtuse to me seeing as I've entered all the coordinates and time for the Southern Hemisphere. I just hit enter (?) and continued to alignment. Didn't seem to stuff things up too much as I was in the ballpark with where the mount was pointing. I couldn't proceed any further as I couldn't get a decent look through the camera's viewfinder, or at the live-view screen, because of the position the mount was in. Hopefully I've overcome this issue by downloading the Helicon Remote App which gives me Live View on my mobile. Fingers crossed. So, should I concern myself with the above reference to the Polaris position, or just ignore it? If Mother Nature is kind, and gives me some clear skies tonight, perhaps I can try it all out.
  23. Congrats, I think you did very well. As far as pushing your exposure times with your 'GoTo', I guess it's a trial and error thing. Next time get some shorter exposures to soften the highlighted core, stack them, and then blend the two results. This link on the process was posted in another thread. http://www.astropix.com/HTML/J_DIGIT/LAYMASK.HTM PS: I'm impressed with your result because I tried for my first M42 last night with my 300mm f4 lens and it was a disaster, not even proceeding past the alignment stage. Hopefully I have sorted the problem.
  24. Thanks guys. I'm sure there will be many more as I'm still 90 mins away from mounting the camera.
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