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About alphatripleplus

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  1. alphatripleplus

    A trio of Hicksons

    Very nice, Martin. Wild's Triplet is one that has been on my list for a while, but I haven't captured it yet. Thanks for the view, and all the best with your software efforts. Errol
  2. alphatripleplus

    How do we define Video Astronomy

    I have to agree with Don about the benefits of EAA or Video or whatever we call it as an outreach tool. I want to add one other thought - lots of us are challenged to get any kind of a decent view through a telescope visually. It could be failing eye sight because of age or disability, or it could be just that you live somewhere with awful light pollution. For anyone challenged in these ways, Video/EAA is a real godsend. I had pretty much given up amateur astronomy until about two years ago when I saw what Don and other were doing with their Lodestars and Ultrastars in this forum and on the CN EAA Forum. From then on I was hooked. As for the rules for what constitutes EAA, I would not worry too much. Things change quickly, and there is definitely an ongoing convergence between EAA techniques and AP imaging. Errol
  3. alphatripleplus

    Multiple Focal Reducers with C6 and Lodestar x2 mono

    To get f/4.0, I have a distance of 63mm from the sensor to the back of a T-adapter that is screwed into the back of the rear of the two f/6.3 reducers. I haven't measured the thickness of the T-adapter, but I think it adds perhaps 15mm. So a total of about 78mm from sensor to the rearmost reducer to get f/4. As Jim mentions, the two reducers are screwed into each other.
  4. alphatripleplus

    Multiple Focal Reducers with C6 and Lodestar x2 mono

    Jim, Nice to see you trying this. I've been using twin stacked Meade f/6.3 reducers with my C8 for a while, and it works pretty well at f/4 down to about f/3.3 with more aberrations the faster you go. I ran out of focus travel before I could get to f/3.0. From my testing I think that if you decrease the sensor to reducer distance by 10-11mm from your current spacing, you will probably go from f/3.4 to f/4. Look forward to seeing more of your results with the C6 and twin reducers!
  5. alphatripleplus

    StarlightLive V3.3 Released

    I'm wondering if anyone has been able to successfully use saved darkframes from a previous session in vsn 3.3? I know some people have had this difficulty and it has been mentioned previously - I'm not sure if Paul has been able to reproduce the dark subtraction issue. For me, if I create a dark frame, I can use it during the current session, but if I start a new session or attempt to restore a previously saved dark frame in the current session, I find the Display Processing sliders do not work and I pretty much have to take a fresh dark. For most viewing, I will just forgo darks and use the defective pixel removal tool, which works very well (Thanks Paul). However, for H-alpha captures I find that darks are very worthwhile, and it would be great if I could use saved darks from previous sessions. I don't see the darkframe issue listed on Paul's Bitbucket site, so I am assuming that we may still face this issue in vs 3.4?
  6. alphatripleplus

    Alternative to Hyperstar

    Don, As I mentioned on CN, I am very grateful to see you doing the Hyperstar vs Freestar comparisons, as this exercise has been a real eye opener for me. It's great that you enjoy the testing and are game to try and objectively test different people's suggestions with regard to the Freestar. I'm sure we are alll learning something useful from the exercise, and I'm hoping that in the future when others do camera comparisons, for example, they are just as objective as you are in this evaluation. Looking forward to seeing more results. Errol
  7. alphatripleplus

    Is there a FWHM filter used in Starlight Live Stacking?

    Hi Paul, Thanks very much for considering this idea! One complication that may arise is that if the image suffers from significant aberrations, e.g. due to aggressive focal reduction, then the star shapes in the outer parts of the field of view will exhibit some eccentricity (comet or egg shapes) and would probably skew the overall value of your metric of mean roundness across the field. Maybe just concentrating on stars in the central part of the FOV would get around this potential issue. Anyway, I think it's fantastic that you are open to looking into these sorts of suggestions. Makes me very excited to be a user of the software.
  8. alphatripleplus

    Is there a FWHM filter used in Starlight Live Stacking?

    Hi Paul, Thanks again for implementing the FWHM filter in v3.2. I have been using it for a while now and it is a big help with automating the process of rejecting low quality subs. One interesting observation I have made is that occasionally a sub in which the stars are definitely oval shaped will pass the filter and not be rejected, even if I tighten up my FWHM threshold. This tends to happen when I hit a bad part of my worm cycle. If I tighten the threshold even further to eliminate such subs, I end up rejecting a lot of perfectly good subs as well. I'm sure the filter is working as advertised, but I wonder if there is some way to refine the FWHM filter so that it additionally looks at the ratio of FWHM in the directions of an elliptical/oval shaped star's principal axes for perhaps the two or three brightest stars in the FOV, and then rejects a sub for stacking if the major/minor axis FWHM ratio is significantly above 1.0? For perfectly round stars, the major/minor axis FWHM ratio would be 1.0. I have no idea how hard it would be to implement something like this, but I suspect that the computational overhead could be managed if it was only applied to the 2 or 3 brightest stars. Just a thought for your consideration .
  9. alphatripleplus

    First H-alpha views with Lodestar X2M

    Thanks, Brandon. This wide-field EAA stuff is fun, but I do like your narrow-field planetary nebulae EAA captures!
  10. alphatripleplus

    First H-alpha views with Lodestar X2M

    Thanks very much, Peter and Jim. I'm beginning to appreciate the wide field of small refractors and telephoto lenses on the large emission nebulae. As soon as my tripod mount adapter (suggested by Dom) arrives, I will give the full IC1318 region near Sadr a shot with a 135mm telephoto. Should be fun.
  11. alphatripleplus

    First H-alpha views with Lodestar X2M

    I took out my Orion ST80 for the first time last night with a 7nm Orion H-alpha filter and Lodestar X2 mono and Antares 0.5x reducer for views of some of the brighter emission nebulae. With the reducer and the X2 mono, the ST80 operates at exactly f/3.0 and yields a FOV of 1.5deg x 1.2deg. I think the views are sharper with the ST80 than with the Celestron Travelscope that I've also used, and I see a small degree of aberration in some of the corners of the field. Considering this is only an achromat, I'm happy with the views. I used the latest 3.2 version of Starlight Live, took darks but no guiding, and I stayed with fairly short exposures - 30sec and 45sec subs -with no total exposure over 9 minutes. Towards the end, with the Veil Nebula pics, I was getting tired and battling a couple of clouds and mislabeled these as ICs rather than NGCs in the caption. Also oriented the pics so that north is up. NGC281 (Pacman Nebula); 12 x45s: IC1396 (Elephant Trunk Nebula); 12 x 45: NGC7000 (North America Nebula); 12 x 30s: IC5070 (Pelican Nebula); 15 x 30s: IC1318 (Part of this huge complex surrounding Sadr in Cygnus); 12 x 30s: NGC6992 (Eastern Veil Nebula); 12 x 30s: NGC6960 (Western Veil Nebula); 8 x 30s - clouds rolled in:
  12. alphatripleplus

    Starlightlive dark frame troubles

    Hi Paul, I mentioned a very similar problem using restored darks in my post on H-alpha captures with the Lodestar X2 mono. These are the steps that I follow which have got me into trouble with restored darks - hopefully this might help. I won't be able to send you FITS data at the moment though, as I haven' t saved any. (Sorry): 1. Start application, set exposure to 15sec, for example, and switch to dark frame acquisition mode. 2. Take a sequence of dark frames (20 usually). 3. Save the master dark, but save and specify a specific file name. 4. Switch to image acquisition/start light exposures, stack images use mean stacking, linear processing, adjust white level, black level, contrast sliders and (usually) export image as .png after stopping exposure. 5. Change exposure to 30sec - not sure if I always do this step and start taking lights, or just move on to step 6 6. Restore a previously named and saved 30sec dark as the new master dark, usually saved in a previous session or earlier in the current session. 7. Repeat step 4 - image acquisition with 30sec subs, and the contrast level slider will not widen the histogram, which stays a narrow spike. The black level, white level and brightness sliders work. I nearly always use linear processing mode, and have the problems mentioned in step 7. The main difference I see between my process and yours is that I explicitly change the exposure length between taking darks and using them, and I always name my saved dark files. Hope this helps.
  13. alphatripleplus

    Is there a FWHM filter used in Starlight Live Stacking?

    Very much appreciated, Paul. I'm really looking forward to trying it out
  14. alphatripleplus

    First H-alpha views with Lodestar X2M

    Funny you should mention that , Peter, as I do have an old 58mm f/1.8 SLR camera lens that I have been able to mount the H-alpha filter behind. That would give a considerably larger FOV. The old reason I haven't used it yet is that I have to securely mount it to my scope or mount. I'm working on it, but it may be a while before I'm ready to shoot. Will definitely give it a try though.
  15. alphatripleplus

    Is there a FWHM filter used in Starlight Live Stacking?

    Hi Paul, That sounds like it would work really well - much appreciated.

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