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About cjdawson

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  1. Hiya. The rule that I followed for guiding is that the F ratio of the guide scope is equal or quicker than the main scope. In my case, I have a Meade LX-90 (f/10) and use an ST-80 as the guide scope (f/5) As the guide scope is quicker, that means it will show more "seeing" related issues. Which means that if I get the autoguiding setup and tuned so that I'm not "chasing the seeing" the main scope will take a lovely stable image. Apart from the F ratio, just make sure that you mount whatever guide scope so that it's pointing in roughly the same direction as the main scope. Make sure that it's secure and does not move as this will throw off the guide software.
  2. Here's some pics of the power box that I built a couple of years back. It's not small, but it does the job fantastically. I've got 4 marine style 12 sockts on the front, and 4 USB sockets too. On the side is a port for expansion, my idea was to be able to add a second battery, but it's not really needed. Also I have put jumper terminals to allow me to connect it up for charging. On the side, I have a volt meter and ammeter, with a switch. In addition, there's an XLR socket, this is what I use to connect power to my telescope. The socket has a lock on it, so there's little chance of it unplugging by accident. The box is itself is from the JCB Site system, was available at B&Q. In addition to the box I have a number of cases, which all stack neatly on top. Makes carting the stuff about really easy. Inside the box, I added a 300W inverter. For those rare times when 240V is needed. I don't normally need that though. Everything is fused. I've each socket has a 10 Amp fuse, the USB sockets have 5 Amp fuses. I think the red one is a 20 amp for the external battery. The wiring itself is rated for 50 Amp. The crimps are rated for 10 Amp each. In total I don't think I've ever pulled more than 10 amps with everthing plugged in and working. The electrical tape is there for extra protextion from short circuits. Can't be too careful ;-) The XLR socket has a cable that connects to this box. It contains my dew heater controllers, and also the 12v and 6v feeds that go to the scope. I'm thinking about adding an 8V feed to power a DSLR at some point. That box in turns connect to this one, which distributes the power out to the devices. The reason I chose that modular design is to allow things to be split down better. There's only one cable that needs to travel from the scope to the control box. The control box, lets me adjust the dew heaters without touching the scope no vibration if I adjust during imaging. Having the control box connect to a seperate battery means that I can power the setup from a completely different power supply. I recently bought a caravan, so rather than power the scope from it's own battery there's nothing stopping me from powering the telescope from the caravans 12v or even the 240v electric hook up
  3. Dates are one thing. My immediate question would be about the rest of the logistics involved in getting to the IOM in the first place. Where would the party take place? What facilities? What's the ferries like? What would the costs be (campsite, ferry, etc)?
  4. I love this shot. Just shows what you can do when you put your mind to it
  5. I'm planning on staying the whole week like last time. Gives a better chance of useable observing nights.
  6. Would it be possible to publish the times of things ahead of the date. Last time, people (including myself) were arriving and the curry had already started. Would be useful to have the schedule of things posted on the website ahead of the event, so that no one has to go hunting.
  7. I got a HP Pavillion I5 with SSD specifically for PHD2, seems to work without any issues for my starlight express superstar. (windows 10)
  8. First and foremost Welcome to SGL. Here's the short answer to your question. The features that you'll most appreciate on a DSLR, as the following.... 1. Mirror lockup. This helps to stop vibrations, meaning camera shake isn't an issue. 2. Live View. This will help to make focusing much easier. Just remember not to use it for long periods of time. 3. A tilting display. Those flip out displays can make it much more convenient when lining up a shot, there's no need to bend over double to frame a shot. Other than those features, pretty much every dslr will have the rest of the required features. As for what most people go for. It tends to be that Astronomers go for the Canon range of cameras. Especially as there are the cameras like the 60Da that are specifically for astrophotography. However, the Newer Nikon's are probably just as good.
  9. Run away. Get out now! Oh wait, it's been a while since the origional post. In that case, too late. Welcome to the dark side, are you enjoying the cookies? Joking aside, AP can be a money pit of a hobby, but the rewards are priceless. Once you have a good setup all sorted out, the costs stop. It's the initial outlay that's daunting.
  10. Airfix glue. UHU will work, use it sparingly so that you have enough for it to attach and secure the joint. After that, use a nail file to remove the excess on so that the corners stay nice and sharp. you only need to do that bit between the blades, to allow a clean light path.
  11. looking at those blow ups, it does look to be that the focus is ever so slightly off. It's close, very close. I suspect that the cause might be atmospheric, that is turbulance caused by the seeing. With a single image, this is always a possibility. This is why it's worth while taking a series of images - say 2000, then stacking the best 100 of them, throwing the rest away. Also, Depth of field is very much an issue on the moon. Whilst it's 250,000 miles away, it's spherical (ish) an so the limb is further away than the terminator, The difference is 1000 miles. Again, this won't shift the focal point by much, but it will shift it a little. That little may be enough to register on a camera, so I'd not discount it completely.
  12. The Raspberry PI simply put is a computer that runs on an ARM processor. The chip is similar to one that you would find inside your mobile phone or tablet. The main operating system that runs on it is Lunix. But here's the cool thing... The Raspberry PI will cost you about £50 to get one up and running. That's the rough cost of a PI3, power supply and memory card. What makes the PI So cool? The linux operating system for it is free. I've got a few of these at home. Currently, I'm making use of three of them. 1. Raspberry PI 2 - This one I use to control my home network, it has a GPS on it to set my home network time. Also has other software to assign IP Addresses and the names of the devices on my network. In addition, it runs a VPN (Virtual Private Network) so that I can connected to my devices at home securely from anywhere in the world. 2. Raspberry PI 3 - I call this one PiVan. It runs a program called KODI which is media center software. Combine this with a 3TB Hard drive which I have put my entire movie collection on and we have video player which will play any film whenever I want. It's great in my caravan. 3. Raspberry PI 3 - This one, I'm tinkering with. It's got a touchscreen added and I'm playing with electronic circuits for light detection, motor control and will eventually include a camera shutter release too. all in all it's a fantastic little device, very powerful for it's size. But yeah, it's not one for those people that struggle to do things on computers.
  13. HDR = High Dynamic range. In the case of M42. Take three separate image stacks - short exposure for the trapezium region. Longer exposure for the inner nebula and really long exposure for the outer nebula. Place each image over the top of one another - using layers in Photoshop. Make sure they are aligned properly. Next, use the layer mask to hide the parts of the image. The idea is to cut out the part of the shortest exposure to reveal the longer exposure on the layer below. Then repeat the process for each layer. Rather than using a hard edge on the mask, use shades and you can blend seamlessly.
  14. All I can say is, add some short exposures to those images, then combine them all to create a HDR image, I'm certain that the final image will be amazing.
  15. @Daz69 This doesn't sound like a waste of time and effort to me. Allow me to for a start you'll get to understand the electronics of the heater devices. As you already mentioned you'll be able to transfer some if not all of it to a new scope. You'll have more knowledge about how to make a working heater setup. Also, you'll quickly understand and appreciate that having separate controls for each heater element is worthwhile. And finally, over time, there will be others asking about heaters, at that time, you'll be able to share your knowledge and save someone from having to do it the hard way. Just like you are saved from doing it the hard way because of this thread.