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About mikey2000

  • Rank
    Star Forming
  • Birthday

Profile Information

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

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374 profile views
  1. It wasn't even fully dark and the seeing was somewhat 'wobbly' This is with my Skywatcher 150PDS, QHY5-Lii on cheapo 2x barlow. Best 500 of 1000 frames then PIPP, autostackkert then registax wavelets
  2. great idea! Unfortunately, working at home is definitely not an option for me :-/. Sometimes I think about setting the whole rig up, set it going then head off to bed. I worry though about something "happening" such as rain, excessive moisture, fence jumping burglars. And who would keep an eye on the PHD graph...
  3. My shots from last night.... I started a bit early, so this first one was taken against a sky that wasn't completely dark. Almost impossible to drag anything out of the data: M81 (Bode's Nebula) Then an easier target, an old favourite of mine - M13 The Great Cluster (just 5x2mins here). No artficial dffraction spikes here - it's all real! And last of all, M57 The Ring Nebula. I tried a bigger set of pics, hoping to try DSS 2xDrizzle so I could crop in a bit on the ring. In the end, I think it just makes the stars look too big...
  4. Clear skies here tonight! but it won't be truly dark until 11pm and I have to get up for work at 5am. Drat
  5. Wow, that guide graph photo shows RA and DEC rms not far from 0.5arcseconds! I wish i could could achieve that accuracy with my eq3! i suppose it depends on the imaging scale/scope magnification. With my setup, I end up with 6megapixel photos on a 750mm long telescope, which works out at about 2 arc seconds per pixel. So, my guiding doesn't need any more accuracy than that. Maybe you are imaging a much tinier patch of sky and therefore need more accurate guiding. the PHD authors can offer specific help if you post on their google group Also, the PHD support site has links to several troubleshooting guides. Well worth a visit!
  6. I'm excluded from most of the 'proper' capture software as I have a sony A6000 camera. Lovely APS-C sensor (no banding and v. low noise) but sadly Sony hasn't given out a camera control API for other developers to hook into my camera. It's a canon/nikon world out there.... So, I bodge it up a little. I use an ebay intervalometer to operate the shutter. I save pics in raw+jpg to an eyefi memory card. During capture, the previous sidecar jpg flies through the air to the computer and I can have fun with DSS Live watching the stack build up. When done, I just put the memory card into my big computer for stacking the raw files. If DSS Live can see something with the jpg files, then DSS Proper can definitely get a decent result from the raws. For setting up and aiming I use astrotortilla. For this, I need to physically visit the camera to change settings. 15s at ISO1600 is usually enough to get astrotortilla something good enough to plate solve. Then I reset to Bulb mode and ISO400 directly on the camera, let it settle a for a few minutes guiding (touching the camera sends PHD2 haywire...) and press the Go button on the intervalometer and off we go! I'm investigating a little hack I found for the Sony Remote Control software. As it comes, the Sony software is limited to 30s exposures. The hack (MarksAcquisition, found on can trick the software into longer exposures. Cool! The direct cable camera remote control is much quicker than eyefi and allows adjustmens of camera settings without touching it. All for free! (Except the eyefi card)
  7. Tonight, the seeing seems good, guiding is working well (<1arcsecond RMS in RA and DEC) so I've tried a little time on Bode's Nebula, The Great Cluster (in hercules) and a few attempts to find the Ring Nebula. I was surprised to see Vega rising so soon! It seems only recently that it dipped below the skyline. Isn't it frustrating waiting for it to get properly dark! (While waiting for full darkness, Jupiter is now in full view so I showed my oldest son the stripes on Jupiter. He was suitably impressed!)
  8. Thanks for those side-by sides. Very interesting! My astro camera is also my 'normal' camera so I'm reluctant to have it modified. I wonder how much for a second hand modded camera....
  9. Amazing! 2 clear nights! The forecast here is promising tonight.... The nebula looks great! I'm wondering how much of the red is down to the modified camera (when compared to an unmodded one.) i managed the rosette nebula and a hint of the horse head nebula but since then, every red neb that I've tried has come out unusably faint :-( is the rosette nebula especially bright compared to other nebula or did I just get lucky with a moonless night on that occasion? Does the moon wash out nebulae like it does with faint galaxies? Should I be thinking about a modified camera?
  10. Some fun from last night. I mixed 8x5min with 10x3min (+darks, flats + bias). I was curious to see if I could manage 5 mins with my (occasionally) wobbly guiding setup.. Seems ok! M63 Sunflower Galaxy And before that, having seen the previous sombrero pics, I aimed at it too! I have a small window of opportunity for this one. I think from about May 1st to mid Jun, I get a view of this one between my neighbours roof and their tall trees. I only managed 4x3mins for this next one. I actually took 45mins worth but somehow managed to slew the scope and totally miss for most of the unattended session. Oops. And it was a bit out of focus, so forgive the heavy processing here. (Focusing on Jupiter doesn't mean the camera is focussed properly - I didn't use the bahtinov mask to confirm my focus. oops again) I couldn't resist adding some extra diffraction spikes in Startools. A bit OTT, I think and the whole pic has a somewhat dreamy look. I will revisit this target soon, I hope!
  11. I'm constanly impressed by these x30s photos! You must have king-sized polar alignments.... I've read a few comments here with folks saying their PC can't handle raw. How so? Are the raws too high resolution and so DSS crashes? If that's the case, there is a patch you can run on DSS to allow it to address more memory. I patched my DSS .exe file and it can handle 24mpix raw with ease now. It still takes a while though!
  12. I've been sitting on this pic for a few weeks now. I think it might be my best yet.... I nailed the focus and managed to get some decent guiding going and the moon was far, far away.... 27x3mins +darks, flats, bias.
  13. Peco4321 - that looks good! nice round stars and a very interesting shaped galaxy.
  14. This thread has gone all quiet! I really hope you have all been enjoying some fine clear nights! Not so here - I had a run of clear nights a few weeks back but it's been grey-grey-a-go-go for a while now and nothing decent forecast until next week. Jupiter is just clearing my neighbour's roof at the moment - I really want to have a look!
  15. I rather like daytime moon shots. The contrast is a bit less than full night; it makes it a bit easier on the eye. I'm impressed with those crops - such detail!