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About mikey2000

  • Rank
    Proto Star

Profile Information

  • Interests
    DSLR and mirrorless 'terrestrial' photography, space, telescopes and now astrophotograpy
  • Location
    Leighton Buzzard UK
  1. mikey2000

    First Successful Autoguiding!!

    Its a good feeling! It seems to be an exceptionally difficult thing to get set up in the first place, what with drivers, USB connection issues etc etc etc. But then it all clicks into place I suspect you will be saving up for a coma corrector next, to ensure nice round stars all across the frame, not just in the centre. (See how they look elongated towards the edges, all pointing towards the centre?)
  2. One of my little christmas treats was an Oiii filter to go with my R G B and Ha filters. Here's the first proper attempt, with several different combination techniques (borrowed from the LightVortexAstronomy tutorials... I wonder, is it normal to get the halos around the narrowband bright stars? I use ZWO filters. The Ha seems more prone to it and the Oiii is the Mk2 which is supposed to be less prone to halos but still shows them. Anyway, here's the first one (16x30s each of RGB leading to Synthetic L, 11x300s Ha and 12x300s Oiii) And now some narrowband combinations, named according to the narrowband tutorial on LightVortexAstronomy Simple Bicolour: Synthetic green channel: And finally, the most fake looking but strangely attractive... Blended Channels:
  3. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    I'd suggest starting a new thread about choosing a guide cam - the range of choice is vast and a lot depends on the guidescope/main scope focal ratios. It's a bit beyond me! My instinct with teh QHY5R-IIc is that it's a bit too low resolution to decently guide a 1000mm scope through a 180mm finderscope. I guess it would be OK through a longer focal lengtg "proper" guidescope though. Choices, choices!
  4. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    Welcom OJ87. I'm sure you will love the mount. That is a very serious telescope! At F4, you will need to pay careful attention to the collimation (do you have the right accessories/skills to check that?) At 1000mm focal length, I'm quite sure you will be buying some guiding equipment. Unguided, the eq6-r seems to have about +/- 6arc second periodic errors, repeating over about 8 minutes. This will give you long or egg shaped stars once you start to go past 30 second exposures and you will need spot-on polar alignment. I guide my 1000mm focal length scope with a small guide camera inserted in the 9x50 guidescope (with suitable adapter) and it works a treat. If you are a true beginner, I'd probably suggest a smaller, less demanding scope (eg 150PDS) and save a few euros to see if you need to buy some guiding equipement. (guide camera, laptop, EQdirect cable, guidescope/finderscope adapter etc).
  5. mikey2000

    My First Encounter with Frost and Dew

    Interesting stuff, Mikeyj. It seems that I've had my first serious frost encounter! My finderscope always freezes or mists up but I don't really use it much. I used to have problems with my guidescope but a cardboard tube added to the front has kept it clear. I had just assumed my main scope would be ok. How wrong! So, I think I need to build a heater for my secondary. I wonder if I can build something simple with just a little 12v battery? I rarely have my set up out for more than 3 or 4 hours as I need to put it all away before bed time...
  6. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    Droogie - I'd say your Dec guiding is reasonable, if a little spikey. The RA could do with some tweaking. Definitely set 0.5x guide rate in EqMod (its the default) then use the New Equipment wizard in PHD2 to start a brand new fresh setup. Make sure you get the correct details (pixel size, focal lenght etc) then do a calibration near Dec=0. For what it's worth, in my suburban location, I get best results from a 3s exposure and the following settings. I used the PHD2 Guide Assisant (leave it running at least 5 mins) to suggest the minimum move values (and then lowered them further to 0.08 from the suggested 0.1 ) I tweaked The hystersis and aggression settings and this seemed to smooth things out a bit. RA guide algorithm = Hysteresis, Hysteresis = 0.250, Aggression = 0.600, Minimum move = 0.080 Dec guide algorithm = Resist Switch, Minimum move = 0.080 Aggression = 50% FastSwitch = enabled Those exact settings probably won't work for your AOG setup (I use a 180mm focal length guide scope) but it shows where you could try makeing some adjustments. If you are feeling really fancy, you can enable autopec in eqmod, to cancel out any PEC in the mount. It's hardly worth the bother though - my copy of the Eq6-r has only a few arcsecs of periodic error and it's easily guided out over a long, lazy steady error cycle. (Unlike my old EQ3 with had a 19 second periodic sawtooth error - nasty!) If you get really stuck submit a guide log (preferably including a calibration run and Guide Assistant run) to the PHD2 support group (on google groups). They are *very* knowledgeable...
  7. mikey2000

    My First Encounter with Frost and Dew

    I did think about that but I've never seen anything like it before. I thought my 200PDS (big Newt Reflector) was 'dew proof' although the outside of the tube got a little frosty (it often does...) I had a peep down the tube and the main mirror didn't look obviously misty. I didn't think to look at the secondary. I suppose it's nearer to the fresh outside air, being at the end of tube. I even whipped out the camera before putting the whole lot away and couldn't see anything visible on the image train (I could see the sensor clearly through the coma corrector and L filter... Is dew/ice a problem on bigger reflectors? I'm quite new to this scope... I've never seen such an issue on my old 150PDS. I've used my 200PDS a few times and brought it indoors with frost all over it but last night was a few degrees colder than usual, with a thin coating of old hail/snow on the floor. I'm hoping it was just more humid than usual. I'd find it a right pain to have to get into heaters etc
  8. I'm not sure if it was me having a bad night or if there was just a little bit of barely visible haze spoiling things a little. It looked like a starry enough night so I set things up for a quick session. Very disappointing! My usual 5 min subs on Ha were very 'grey' and washed out, not much to see at all (compared to the usual punchy contrasty images). So I gave up on nebula stuff and decided to try a few star clusters. I've not seen this before: weird star shapes. Normally they are round with the customary 4 diffraction spikes (200pds...) Here's a center crop at 1:1 zoom. The stars sort of look like the coma on a Cheap DSLR 50/1.7 lens at the corners, wide open. (PHD guide graph and scattergraph suggested I could expect round stars, perhaps better than usual guiding at around .6"RMS, imaging at 0.78" pixel size) Is this the sort of thing that can be caused by thin moisture in the atmosphere? I have other subs from the last night that show round stars on Ha subs but just a distinct lack of anything Ha to see. Hopefully I can write this off as a bad night but I'll check my collimation again before any further attempts... Onwards and upwards!
  9. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    Droogie - congrats on the new mount! Definitely get the EQ direct cable as soon as you can - my old method of PC-Direct through the handset seemed to be prone to unexpected and random problems, all cured with the proper eqdirect cable. At this point, the synscan handset can safely be put into long term storage the AstroBits box that we all have somewhere in the garage. So, don't worry about Synscan alignment. EqMod can do all this for you. If (like me) you tear down and store the mount after each session, you'll need to realign each time you set it up. Eqmod makes it easy and entirely replaces the synscan alignment routine. The catch here is that you must always have your astro-laptop to do this. Synscan handset is more of a standalone solution. Eqmod alignment seems top class and also opens the door to pulse-guiding instead of ST4 and PEC (not that my eq6r really has much periodic error anyway....) Here's what I do to align. 1) Polar align (whatever method you prefer). Then set the mount to your preferred home position (mine is pointing straight at the celestial pole, weights down) 2) Connect EQMod to the mount to a nice bright star and have a planetarium app running too. (I use stellarium) 3) Pick a target in the planetarium app and tell it to issue the slew command (Ctrl-1 in stellarium) 4) It will probably miss by a long margin. There are two ways to proceed here: i)You can now platesolve and issue a sync command via your platesolve app or ii) use EQMOD to manually slew the mount so it is pointing at the original star. Then use the planetarium to issue a sync command (ctrl-3 on stellarium) That's eqivalent to a one star alignment. Repeat steps 3 and 4 as many time as you like. I find EQmod's alignment algorithm gets very accurate, very quickly. I usually only need one 'manual' sync somewhere in the (very) rough area I intend to image then it's sufficienly accurate that the platesolve completes the rest in just a few iterations. It takes just minutes. Either way, you can see a list of sync points being added in EQmod if you use the expanded interface. (I asssume you are familiar with EQmod) if your platesolving app is good enough, you don't even really need to use bright stars. Any old target will do for the aligning/sync I prefer a bright star as the AGP imaging app I use seems to struggle with platesolves if you are way way off target and also a bright star is handy for setting up focus with a bhatinov mask. Here's a link with more technical stuff http://welshdragoncomputing.ca/eqmod/doku.php?id=alignment_overview (at the top, you can link back to the rest of the eqmod documentation contents pages.) I hope that helps!
  10. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    I'm just south of Milton Keynes, at the edge of a small town. Sky glow is a bit of a problem generally speaking (I never saw the Milky Way from my garden) I'm extra happy with the guided performance of my Eq6-R. I'm currently loading it up with a 200PDS, ASI1600MM + filterwheel and guiding with a converted 9x50 finderscope with QHY5L-iiC. With just a few minutes of SharpCap Polar Alignment tool and EQMod guiding via PHD, I routinely now get Ra or Dec RMS inside 0.6". My pixel scale is 0.78" so I'm happy! I'm aiming at the HorseHead Nebula tonight, only a few degrees from the celestial equator and it's still perfectly happy. (0.4"RMS RA and 0.6"RMS Dec after about 40 minutes) I'm still not over keen on picking the damn thing up though!
  11. mikey2000

    M42 with just 27 mins total

    vlaiv, I see what you are saying. I just used figures near to the sharpcap suggestions, to see what happens. It seems the algorithm tries to get you in a place where you just meet the point of diminishing returns, noisewise. I can see how many shorter subs has an advantage in plane trails, satellite trails etc, providing you stay beyond the marginal gain point. It was just an experiment to see how I fared with 30s R/G/B and 60s NB in place of my usual 60s R/G/B and 300s NB. Of course the other side effect of shorter subs is the amount of extra data and processing time! Ouch! I read this article to try and understand it all a little more. It's quite maths heavy https://forums.sharpcap.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=456
  12. I recently acquired a 200PDS scope and after barely a clear night, I got a clear patch in the vicinity of Orion. I've not really tried M42 before.... I'd also read the sharpcap manual a bit closer and discovered it can produce sensor data for my camera by taking several test shots. After that, it can take sky brightness readings to estimate the light pollution and recommend an exposure duration. I was surprise to see a recommendation for 20s subs with my ASI1600MM so I compromised and rattled of some quick R G B Ha and Oiii subs (30s for RGB and 60s each for the narrowband). I suppose the theory is that the read noise is low so short subs will allow the signal to sit above the read noise then shoot as many as possible to get smoother stacks. Enough background, here's the result.... ( 9 each of 30s R G and B, 6 each of 60s Ha and Oiii = 27 mins grand total). Pixinsight processing. I think the bright star it "Hatsya" - I find the Ha and Oiii haloes to be rather interesting!
  13. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    Yep, that's better! Thanks. I wonder where I was going wrong? I'll try 'Edge' instead of Firefox next time to see if it makes any difference..
  14. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    AAargh - sorry for the double post of the screenshot. I'm trying to edit it but it won't seem to update. oops
  15. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    Just a quick update - I tried again on the last clear night. the Dec Backlash is a lot less than yours. I spent a few mins making sure the scope was well balanced in dec before this run.

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