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mikey2000

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About mikey2000

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

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  1. That's a lot of galaxies! I'm keen to take a tilt at some virgo clusters soon. At the moment, my roof blocks the view in that general direction. Leo is just getting into view at this time of year (unless I stay up all night!). I've been gathering the odd bit of data over the last few weeks. Here are my latest efforts, all crops from APS-C shots through the 150PDS m94 (24x3mins) (Startools managed to find some texture in the galaxy, Noel's actions helped recolour the stars) M3 - again a startools colour extravaganza. 29x2mins NGC2392 - Eskimo Nebula. This is a *heavy* crop! On the full image, it's not much more than a 'fat star'. I 2xdrizzled this one in DSS. Given the graininess of the rest of the pic, maybe the nebula looks a bit fake.... 7x3mins And an old favourite - m51. (14x2mins + 7x4mins) I think I'll revisit this one to try and even out the somewhat blotchy background... I was pleased with the detail in the galaxy arms finally, just for fun, I put my guide camera (QHY5L-ii) into the eyepiece holder and filmed the moon for stacking and processing. I can't wait until Jupiter clears my roof :-)
  2. Last night, I tried aiming at IC443 the Jellyfish nebula under a 3/4 moon. What a waste of an hour! I was going for 3min exposures on my unmodded camera. Even with stacking and extreme processing, there is almost nothing there. I can see something approximating what I was realy after but I'm looking forward to a moonless night..... On a moony night, I'll stick to star clusters - M3 came out quite well on Friday night. ( no time to process properly yet but I have a good feeling)
  3. I'm loving the idea of making a bacon sandwich! With a guide trace that boring, I'd definitely be looking for some food to help pass the time. Since I started using EQMOD autopec, I've stumbled on a tendency for EQMOD to unexpectedly hang, lock up and stop all forms of tracking. That leads to some 'interesting' PHD2 logs and some spectacularly failed subs. Oh the joys!
  4. An excellent answer! I am getting so tied up in the ins and outs of taking pics that I forget the pleasure of simply *looking*. I will put a Binocular request on my birthday list in the meantime, while my camera is busy gathering photons, I sometimes catch up o washing up, ironing school uniform and general box-set fun. i would spend more time outside, if I had the time :-)
  5. A simple question! What do you do while you wait? I'm new to this 'proper imaging' business so I can't help keeping a close eye on the incoming images, stacked with DSS_live and I can't help but look at how PHD2 is doing. It's all set up outside but remote viewing with VNC let's me supervise from indoors. Therefore, in my excitment to see what's coming in, I'm barely watching TV, just looking at a PHD2 realtime trace... It seems to be going well. What do you do? Put the kettle on? How about at those remote dark sites?
  6. I'm a bit of a novice here but I say, "Give it a try". What's the worst that could happen? You could just delete the files in the end :-) I'm finding that this imaging side of astronomy is perhaps somewhat akin to tinkering with an old car. Part of the fun is in the process and the end result is just a pleasant corollary. Unless you need to hoist your kit to a remote location, it must surely be worth a try, even just for the sheer fun and to see what happens, adding to the experience bank...
  7. I think you will have more success than me then! I've loaded my EQ3 with a 150PDS! My main camera is no heavier than my 32mm eyepiece though (what a chunk of glass!) My guidescope is that QHY miniguidescope - it is feather weight but only 130mm. So I'm guiding a 750mm FL scope with a 130mm FL guidescope. I believe that is best described as 'ambitious' :-) I still get occasional DEC glitches but I think that's because my guidescope occasionally jumps a bit - I don't think it's well enough secured. I keep meaning to de-load the mount by trying a DSLR lens instead of a telescope, so reducing the payload by 50% and see how that goes. Maybe one day! I have a 70-400/5.6 which might be quite useful at 400mm for those larger nebulae (they don't all fit in the FOV of my 150PDS.)
  8. it seems the objective measure of a pic SNR is a bit impossible then. I noticed that DSS assigns a score to each pic (it seems to concern itself with star shape, mostly) (If I remember correctly) There are also columns for FHWM and Sky Background. Last night I tried a very quick test. With a half moon up, I aimed at the Whirpool and compared 12x2mins with 6x4mins. After stacking and PP to get similar looking results, the 6x4mins is noticeably noisier. I didn't take any darks though. Maybe that would make a difference. I was going to get 4x6mins as well but then eqmod crashed, wrecked my PEC/worm syncronisation. PHD2 got all wobbly after that so I gave up a put the whole lot away in a huff. I suppose a better test would be to get at least an hour of data then repeat with different sub lengths. Then do the same on a moonless night, a half moon night and finally a full moon night. Then I'll know my own personal skies a bit better. Having never seen the milky way from my garden, I have a sneaking suspicion I'll be looking at 2 to 3 mins as optimum. I get a fair few spoiled subs due to planes flying over and fairly frequent PHD2 hiccups (I only have a 'cheap' eq3pro and it's loaded up to max weight - I've only got myself to blame!)
  9. Thanks! I had to do an awful lot of PP - you can still see plenty of red dots in there - I couldn't get them all :-) I'm using a Sony A6000 unmodded (mirrorless APS-C 24mpix) and a baader corrector and neodyuim filter. I'm pleased!
  10. Thanks Wim, I'm using DSS to process my raw files then into Startools. I used Photoshop and Lightroom on the end result. I did once try a trial of Pixinsight but it expired way before I had a clue what I was doing. I was really astounded to see the rosette nebula - I thought I'd need much longer! This whole DSO imaging thing is a fascinating learning curve. Right now, I'm gathering some Whirlpool data to compare 2min vs 4min subs under a half-moon sky with a Baader neodyium filter to investigate the SNR differences between 'short' and 'not so short' subs.
  11. I've revisited my astrotools processing. I think I can get control over the saturation problem. I finally got around to processing some pics I took a few nights ago while still battling with autoguiding. I found 'C50 Satellite Cluster' in Stellarium in just the right spot in the sky for me and fired off 10x3 mins and was delighted to discover the Rosette Nebula. Totally unexpected at just 30mins with an unmodded camera. (Image stretched to pieces....) And to finish up. M44 - The Beehive Cluster
  12. I'd be rather pleased with these! What were the exposures here? Are you under nice dark skies?
  13. Fascinating discussion! Lots for me to take in here... is there an an objective way of measuring the signal to noise ratio of a single raw file or a DSS output .fts file?
  14. Now I've finally got a reasonably stable guiding setup, my thoughts wandered towards the issue of the optimum length of subs. Apologies if this has been discussed ad-infinitum but it's new ground for me. In simple terms, I was wondering: Is 20x3mins better than 3x20mins? I stumbled across this article.... http://dslr-astrophotography.com/long-exposures-multiple-shorter-exposures/ It's fairly mathematical but if my understanding is correct, the conclusion is that under typically light polluted skies, once you get to 2 or 3 minute exposures, it's just the total integration time that's important; stretching to 10+ minute exposures confers no SNR benefit for the same total integration time. (However, under a properly dark sky, longer exposures still give more benefits) So, I'm happy to stick to 3 mins and reduce the risk of wrecked subs :-) (I live under mild LP - I never saw the milky way from my garden....) The only spanner in the works might be that I use a LP filter. Does that move me into dark sky territory???? I feel an experiment coming on: 16x2mins vis 8x4mins vs 4x8mins then stack 'em up and compare noise :-) Wish me luck or am I wasting my time?
  15. I'm probably being thick but can you expand on how to process two different versions, one for Luminance, one for RGB? I suppose that means starting from one .FTS file (ie, a DSS output file) and making two different versions? Then re-layer them in photoshop? I have a Photoshop CC subscription - I'm sure I could try Noels Action (but I think it's only available as part of a package) I wonder if there is a trial version - I will find out for sure!