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About mikey2000

  • Rank
    Star Forming

Profile Information

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

    EQ6-R owners club

    Once again, happy to help! If I may be so bold as to offer some more advice.... Go out and get the cable now. You can end up spending rather longer than you want getting it all to work and all of that preparation can be done way before winter, even in broad daylight if you like. Getting it all operating is non-trivial... I had all sorts of USB issues just getting things to connect properly. Then after that, getting PHD2, APT and EQMOD all working together nicely was a bit of a job too. PHD2 will happily guide under less-than-perfect skies. In fact, you can still get decent pics even under summer skies. I'm smack in between Milton Keynes and Luton (UK) and it doesn't get astronomically dark here at all in July. But from 11:30pm to 2:30am or so, it's nautically dark and if aim high in the sky, I can still grab things like this: I can't find the name of this one but its at 19h59m RA, +15deg 18' Declination. In the constellation Cygnus, not far from the Crescent Nebula (this mystery nebula shows quite clearly in Stellarium..
  2. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    No problem. its a learning curve and I'm happy to help I align via eqmod, the synscan handset stays firmly in my drawer.... Plate solving is where you take a photo and then use software to calculate the exact center of the photo (RA/Dec). Most plate solving can then work out how 'off' your alignment is then nudge the scope in the right direction. I use APT to control my imaging camera and if you install the right 'extras' then it can plate solve. I seem to have more luck with 'astrotortilla' - a standalone application. It has a better success rate but was a fiddle to set up. I expect if I worked a little on my APT settings, it could be equally good. Without platesolving, here is how I get my alignment working. 1. Polar align. (by built in polarscope then fine tune with software - 'sharpcap' is my favourite polar align tool) 2. Use Stellarium to slew the scope to a nice obvious star somewhere roughly where I want to start imaging. Invariably, the first slew is not very accurate. (Choose a star in stellarium then press ctrl-1 to start the slew) 3. Use eqmod to center the star in my scope view 4. Go back to stellarium and press ctrl-3. This sends a sync command to eqmod and adds an alignment point to the eqmod pointing model. I then repeat that another time on another nearby obvious star. EQMod seems to only need 2 or 3 stars maximum to generate a reasonably accurate pointing model for that patch of sky. As I tear down and set up for each sesssion, I don't bother saving the model. With a rough alignment, you give platesolving a little head start. It helps the platesolver immensely if you hand it a photo that is quite near where you think it should be. In APT, the Goto++ in the 'pointcraft' section is very good. 1. With a good polar alignment and rough pointing alignment as per above, open Pointcraft in APT 2. Choose a target from the built in database and tell it to GoTo++ 3. Automatically, it slews to where it thinks it should and takes a pic. The platesolver calculates where the pic really is then sends a Sync command to eqmod and re-slews to counter the pointing error. It repeats this until the target RA/Dec is dead-center in your pic. it's blimmin handy, especially on multi-night sessions. It takes a while to figure out how to install and configure but is such a time saver, long term, that I *highly* recommend it!
  3. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    How I guide my eq6-r: Ingredients: EQ6R QHY5L-Cii guide camera QHY mini Guidescope Windows 10 Laptop Powered USB Hub EQ Direct Cable guide Software: EQMOD, PHD2 Ages ago I tried ST4 guiding and connecting to the mount via the handset for slewing etc. I found it to be most unreliable on my old EQ3 and splashed out £25 on a proper USB EQ-Dir cable. So, I have a reliable setup now. Physically, I connect the mount to the usb hub via the EQDIR cable (I've not even unpacked the synscan handset....) I also connect my guide cam (and imaging cam) to the same hub. The hub then connects to the laptop via just one cable. I run EQMod on the laptop. This lets me turn on sidereal rate tracking (or lunar rate if I'm looking at the moon). PHD2 talks to the mount via eqmod by enabling 'pulse guiding' on EQMOD. In this setup, PHD2 monitors the guide star then sends commands eqmod to speed up or slow down RA for a short 'pulse' It also controls DEC in the same way. It seems reliable and after some tweaking, I'm satisfied that I can't really improve it much. I have also enabled EQmod AUTOPEC to flatten out the mount's very small periodic error. This only works with pulse guiding. One otherr big advantage that I see is that eqmod allows for much easier sync/alignment. I found the synscan star align to be most cumbersome. EQMod makes it a breeze, especially if you get some kind of plate solving software.
  4. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    @@Luna-tic - yes you are a member! It's the EQ-6R owners club, and you own one. You are most definitely *in*
  5. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    Shelster - that looks pretty close to my results.... For the scattergraph, I prefer to zoom out a step or too and set it to "400" It gives a nice idea if the guiding is sort of symmetrical or not. I thought "wow - the main guide graph is really flat!", Then I saw that you have Pixels instead of ArcSeconds as the Y axis. To allow comparisons between different setups, the ArcSecond measurement is more relevant. I have a feeling that most people's final image pixels are approx 1ArcSecond or so. Heres a PHD log view of a 1 hour session.... 0.65" total RMS. Nice and round too - look at the scatter graph. With my suburban/near country setting, I'm probably at the limit now. Even if I bought a million-dollar mount, the seeing and LP would be invsible shields, stopping any better results. I'd so dearly love to try my mount in a proper dark site on a decent seeing night.....
  6. mikey2000

    image sizes in pixinsight

    And a worthy result too!
  7. mikey2000

    Jupiter from RGB

    25th June. Seeing was quite good and that’s about as high in my sky as Jupiter ever gets... next stop, Saturn!
  8. mikey2000

    Jupiter from RGB

    I had to work hard for this one! I have 750mm focal length on my 150PDS and I thought I'd try a jupter pic with my ASI1600mm. I think I need smaller pixels or more focal length.... I shot 3000 frames in R, G and B then used PiPP to get the best 500 of each. Stacked them and drizzled to 3x in autostackkert then RGB combine + detail extraction in PI. Finisihed in Registax. Phew!
  9. mikey2000

    First Saturn Image

    I've never managed a pic of Saturn at all! I'd be most pleased with this one
  10. Nice! The glory of narrowband is that it seems to cut through terrestrial and lunar light pollution like a knife through butter. Image all month long! As it stand, I've only got a Ha filter but I definitely want the other two. Your photo is driving my need-to-buy a little bit more
  11. mikey2000

    image sizes in pixinsight

    Sounds odd. I use APT to operate that very same camera. The pics come out the same full rez for every pic I ever took, but I set binning to 1x1 in APT. Definitely worth a check If you have loads of very good subs that you'd rather not lose, perhaps you could resize them in PI so they match? 2360x1780 is still quite hi resolution compared to most computer screens...
  12. mikey2000

    Anybody Do This?

    Was that the pic you meant to upload? Looks like a nice dark site though....
  13. So, a few years back, I got my first telescope and immediately starting wondering how to attach my flashy camera to it. This process led to the ultimate purchase of the ZWO AS1600 mono camera and filter set for my EQ6R guided mount. All very nice and i'm definitely happy with the results. I sometimes wish for a wider view though.... My 150PDS is 750mm focal length and there is no way I'll fit a Heart Nebula, or Rosette, Andromeda Galaxy So, I am looking at my flashy DSLR camera lenses and wondering how I can attach them to my astro camera with the EFW. It seems ZWO sell adapters for Canon and Nikon lenses that allow for the EFW and also for Sony E and Micro 4/3 but without the filter wheel. (Oh dear - I don't want mono unfiltered data...) The catch is that my lenses are all Sony A mount (ie, the Minolta AF mount). I have a very nice SAL70-400Gmk2 that cost me more than I dare admit and it is wonderfully good as a photographic lens. I wonder how I could attach it to my astro camera. I'm half thinking of buying an dead A-mount camera and the Canon ZWO+EFW adapter and making a DIY modded adapter. But I'm wondering if it is worth the effort... Will a photographic lens be any good compared with a 150PDS? I'll inevitably be disappointed by the light gathering - the lens is F5.6 at the 400mm end and only therefore 71mm wide (comapred to 150mm on my scope). Will I be disappointed with the sharpness (I could test this myself by taking a star pic with my normal DSLR, I suppose)? Or should I just buy another telescope with a wider view? All advice gratefully received!
  14. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    abdel - sorry I can't help directly. I use an 'eqdir' usb cable. Are you connecting directly to the mount or via a serial connection to the syscan handset? There is a very helpful eqmod yahoo groups support group, run by the eqmod authors. I urge you to post your problems there...
  15. mikey2000

    EQ6-R owners club

    polarscopes: Mine's a bit off too. it seems nicely centered but rotated. (but the rotation doesn't really bother me). I use an iphone app called 'PS Align' which has settings for skywatcher polar scopes. You feed it your lat/long then it shows you where to put Polaris for a rough'n'ready polar alignment. The rotation isn't important as I can sort of visualise where 'straight up' is then I can visualise where to put polaris on the circle. Centering *is* important or else the whole thing won't really work. You can check centering like this: Unload the mount (no scope, no weights). Use the alt/az adjusters to aim the polar scope at a nice bright star. Release the RA clutch and spin it 90 degrees plus. If it's centered, the star will stay dead-center. Mine was close enough, straight out of the packing box. I have no idea how to adjust it if not.

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