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Everything posted by RSM

  1. Thanks Patrick. Clear outside tonight but glaring full moon.
  2. Spectacular. Thanks for sharing.
  3. 3 nights of great data capture and then what feels like 3 months of cloud. Finally got this image of M81 & M82 to the point where I'm going to stop tweaking. Been learning some techniques from Warren Keller's Inside PixInsight which has taken some time to get decent results. Before buying and reading this book, I was always a bit gung-ho to stretch the image, de-noise coarsely and add colour to get a half decent image quickly. Warren walks you through the finer points of linear processing before the all revealing stretch, not to mention Pixel Math which is, quite simply put, brilliant. Anyway, enough waffling, here is the image. Hope you enjoy. Love to hear any critique of my new found linear abilities! Richard.
  4. Based on the above image from wxsatuser of the canon histogram, I would say my best results have come from the histogram being between the first and second vertical lines from the left hand side (think that's 20-40%). At ISO 800 that is usually approx 2-3 min exposurevwith reasonably good conditions rising to 6-10 min with an LP clip in filter. Good Luck.
  5. Hi, that was my method, keep trying, take more images and stack then try to learn what works and what doesn't. Once I bought a tracking mount, I was getting good results from 15 - 30 second subs stacked, now I guide and am up to 10 mins but the images with lots of short subs still look good for the bright targets like M42.
  6. Hi, sorry for the delay, not been on the site for a while. I use a bahtinov mask to achieve focus and use the live view on my camera to check when I'm in focus,not sure what calculation you need. My wait time between images is about 4 seconds but if your camera needs time to process the image, then I guess it may need to be longer. My EOS 500D must have some sort of buffer to allow this to happen. When I run off a set of flat frames, I can take about 8 raw images before it refuses to release the shutter again whilst it saves to the SD card.
  7. Echo cuivenion's comments, impressive with a smartphone. The great thing is that this is teaching you the stacking techniques which you will need to take great shots in future. I did the same with my canon DSLR just on a basic camera tripod and imaged a couple of constellations. Once you get into connecting your camera to the scope, those skills really help and there are some great images taken on this site with no tracking. Good luck!
  8. Hi, I've had the MGEN II guide system for a year now. Once the camera was focussed on my guidescope, the only adjustments I make to the MGEN settings when I'm setting up are: 1. Adjust the gain so that the star it is guiding on is a reasonable size in live view. 2. Always calibrate the guiding once the star is chosen. 3. Adjust the dithering setting, usually random square, pixel move of 10-14. 4. Set the exposure settings, wait time between each exposure. 5. Start it going. 6. Check after an exposure or two that there is no star trailing and also the exposure histogram on the Canon is between 20 & 40%. I have a 200PDS, Canon 500D at prime focus, Skywatcher CC. always worked perfectly without the need to adjust anything else. Hope this helps! Richard.
  9. Two biggest blunders (many others) 1. leaving the bahtinov mask on the end of the scope which then promptly fell off when I slewed the scope to my target and because it was -6 it then shattered. Thankfully I found all the bits and now held together with duck tape and superglue. 2. Perfect set up, quite late in the evening. Put the synscan handheld back in its holder and on the way back up to my feet smacked my head on the counterbalance moving the whole set up sufficient that I lost the target. Went to bed with a sore head that evening. Good luck in 2017 to al! Richard.
  10. Have battled with the same problems from dew. Made shields to go around both ends of my Newtonian reflector which helped from a camping mat. On the primary mirror end it just acts as a bit of insulation. Took the plunge and bought the Astro zap system from FLO. Works a treat for all night sessions. Kept things dew free during the really damp and cold nights recently. Have one on the primary mirror end (8") and one on my guidescope (2"). Bit expensive for what it is, but would buy again if needed.
  11. Hi, I'd run it on whichever is the faster machine. As already mentioned, it's a very processor intensive bit of software, but does pretty much everything you will need. Running it on a fast machine means you're not waiting ages. To learn from scratch, I used two really good tutorials by Richard Bloch on you tube (search on his name and pixinsight to find them) one walks you through calibration and stacking, the other through a processing workflow to give you the basics - they are about 30-40 mins each. Harry's videos are great for learning detail on individual processes and techniques. I used these to enhance what I learned from Richards tutorials. Finally I bought the book, which assumes a level of understanding but takes the image processing to the next level. After that it's just practice, practice, practice. Hope that helps. Richard (not Bloch!?)
  12. Love it, such a wonderful part of the night sky and expertly captured.
  13. Nice image. Got a few hours of capture time on M33 earlier this week - not processed yet. Hope mine is as good as yours.
  14. Hi Sean, first things first, it's great to see my old HEQ5 mount feature in your profile picture. I hope all is well with it!? I picked up a couple of power mates second hand (bit like finding hen's teeth, but if you are patient they come up from time to time). I occasionally use them for imaging and when I do I use the 2x more often than the 4x. I get some good results and overall I think that I get images which are slightly better than zooming in on small objects in processing (although I've not done a 1:1 comparison). As already mentioned, you won't need CC with a Barlow (I guess because with a Barlow you are imaging the part of the FOV which is least affected by the coma issue). A watch out with the mount and your comment of a 250PDS, with the camera etc added, it will probably be too much weight for the mount. I have a 200 PDS and with camera, guide scope etc it was on the limit for imaging Every photon counts is a good read and you'll save the purchase price in making the right equipment decisions afterwards. Good luck with the imaging. Richard.
  15. Hah, yes that old space time conundrum. What we see now happened years and years ago I went to the Prof. Brian Cox talk on Cosmology this week and he covered this amongst many other things which in part educated me and at times, blew my mind. Well worth it if you get the chance.
  16. Hi Emil, that is exactly the one I bought for my mount and it works well. I've just tried it on the lacerta guide unit and it seemed to fire up fine. This supply is rated as up to 3A, my Power Tank is rated up to 10A both at 12v. Richard
  17. Hi Emil, I have the MGEN and I run it directly from a Skywatcher 7Ah Power Tank - that's sufficient to keep it going all night. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sky-Watcher-7Ah-Rechargeable-Power-Tank/dp/B007Y9HUIA if you are looking for a stable 12v power supply, have a look at Maplin. I bought a 12v supply from there to power my NEQ6 mount which works perfectly. I'm sure they will have one with the correct power rating for the Lacerta. Richard
  18. Mighty fine image. Love the close up detail, almost looks like it's colliding right now. Thanks for the inspiration. Richard
  19. Great comments from Olly and Swag72. Bahtinov mask is a must to save time focusing when it's cold!!
  20. Hi Emil, that's pretty much the set up I have. I started with a SW200PDS mounted on an HEQ5 and used my existing Canon EOS 500D. Over time I upgraded and now have the same scope and camera but have switched to a second hand NEQ6 mount and added a Lacerta MGEN II, an IDAS clip in LP filter and a SW coma corrector. I used the SW finderscope which came with the 200PDS together with the Lacerta camera to make a guiding system which works perfectly. I'm happy with my set up and with the addition of a couple of second hand powermates, I can take a range of deep sky images. My most recent addition has been the astrozap dew heaters for the main scope mirror and the finderscope lens and have been able to image all night even when it's frosty. The only thing I'm missing right now are clear skies in southern England so I can use it all. Have fun learning all the tricks and I hope you get some great images. Richard
  21. Lovely image, love the detail in the nebula clouds and the almost aurora like banding. Thanks for sharing, inspiration indeed to have another go at this through the coming winter.
  22. Hi, even with 10 second images you can still get a good result by taking lots and stacking them with darks, flats and bias. Doing that will also give you good practice for when you get a more stable mount. The same techniques can be used on longer exposures for less bright targets.
  23. Hi, I have a couple of powermates 2x and 4x (both 2" versions picked up second hand as they are very expensive brand new) and I have had some good results with small DSOs such as the ring and dumbbell nebulae and a star cluster. I have needed to use significantly longer exposure times than usual due to the dimming effect of more glass in the optical train which means accurate guiding is needed. I've been quite happy with the results though... One thing I notice is that the stars are a little more bloated. I'm aiming to reprocess the two nebula images to take that down and also to try sharpening up a bit.
  24. Yes, nice image in the end.
  25. I use Polar Align 6.1 by George Varros for my PA on my iPhone. Very simple and gives you what you need for your location.
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