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About Robrj

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  • Birthday 05/05/62

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    Southern California
  1. 130SLT

    I use the Stellarium to get me in the general area. Sharpcap's Plate Solving moves it into the field of view if it's not visible.
  2. 130SLT

    I took my Celestron 130SLT with it's ALT/AZ mount a couple of nights ago. ASI224MC. I used Photoshop to crop out field rotation and adjusted the contrast and brightness. I love Sharpcap Pro's plate solving capability. Most solved in under 10 seconds. Flame Nebula (32x8s, 350 gain) This was pretty close to the moon. M31 (32x8s, 350 gain) M32 (10x8s, 350 gain) M42 (42x8s, 350 gain, 250 gain) I started with a high gain which blew out the core for a couple of frames and then dropped it down to 250 gain for the rest of the frames. M76 (22x8s, 400 gain)
  3. Those are amazing shots. I always found it funny when imagers focused on the tiniest details and complain that their images are terrible. I would think to myself, "I wish mine looked that terrible."
  4. Does size matter?

    The 130 would be fine. I have used a Celestron 130SLT and get good results. Some of these are on the AVX mount and some are on the SLT alt/az mount (it's in the details on the image's page). http://www.astrobin.com/users/Robrj/collections/171/ I have other sizes as well. Mostly the difference is going to be the field of view and the detail you can see. A bigger scope will allow more detail on a small object, but will require better tracking. A smaller scope will be better for extended objects. 80mm f/5.9 APO Refractor (Orion ED80T-CF): http://www.astrobin.com/users/Robrj/collections/424/ 8" Skyview Pro f/5 newtonian: http://www.astrobin.com/users/Robrj/collections/172/ 12" Skywatcher Dob: http://www.astrobin.com/users/Robrj/collections/173/ Here's a comparison of the same object with different scopes, same mount, same location: M20 (80mm) M20 (130mm on AVX mount):
  5. Unistella evscope

    They have over $1.6 Million pledged.
  6. Unistella evscope

    It will be expensive compared to what you could set up yourself. I could get similar results with a Celestron 130SLT, a ZWO ASI224MC and a Windows 10 tablet for about the same price as the kickstarter early bird price. But a lot of people would prefer a turn key solution. There's no figuring out different software, picking cameras, setting everything up, etc. You just set it up and it works. But the target market is probably not people like us. The only benefit I could see for myself is it would serve as a nice, compact, travel video astronomy setup. Everything fits in a large backpack and sets up quickly. It would also be good at star parties where other observers don't want the glare of a screen spoiling their night, though that could be mitigated with a standard video astronomy setup. As for upgrading, I'm not sure how much difference a new sensor could add to the IMX224. It's already a pretty low noise and is a very sensitive sensor. The newer sensors like the IMX385 offer a wider view but similar sensitivity. The field of view of any sensor is going to be limited to what resolution they can display in that little eyepiece screen. For example, the highest density screens are about 300 pixels per inch (Some state that's about the limit of the human eye for seeing detail). If the screen were equal to a 2" eyepiece, you're only seeing a screen that's about 600x600 pixels. So even if there was a wider sensor with equal sensitivity (e.g. the IMX385), it may not make much difference in what you could see in the eyepiece screen. So, even with a 224, you're still going to have to pan around to see everything. Any digital zooming will be limited to the pixel size of the camera. One thing to note, the current product isn't slated to be shipped for another year (November of 2018). So it's still a product in development and things could change for the final version.
  7. EAA Field Observing Platform

    They're different. The Polemaster is only for polar alignment. Once you're polar aligned, you would still go through your regular goto mount alignment. After you polar align, you wouldn't use the Polemaster any more during that session. That's why I say try Sharpcap first. If it gets you close enough for your purposes, you don't need the Polemaster. Starsense is for automatically aligning the goto computer of the mount to the sky rather than doing something like an Auto Two Star alignment. It doesn't do anything for polar alignment (it does the same whether the mount is equatorial or Alt/Az). My steps are set up the mount and use the polar scope to get it close. Then I polar align the mount with Sharpcap (this is where you would use the Polemaster), and then start the Starsense auto alignment (here you would do your goto alignment). Starsense slews the scope and maps out the sky so it knows where it's pointing.
  8. EAA Field Observing Platform

    Here's a close up of the hub and the Computestick on my Newtonian. The short small cable is the power from the hub to the stick. The larger cable connects to the hub for devices. The 2nd gen computestick has interferance with the WIFI if you use USB 3.0. So I bought a cheap external wifi antenna and turned off the internal wifi on the stick. The antenna also hooks up to the hub.
  9. EAA Field Observing Platform

    Here is my current setup. The hub is sitting on top of the scope, though it's a bit hard to see. It's held on with 3M Extreme Dual Lock fasteners https://www.staples.com/3M-Scotch-1-x-10-Extreme-Dual-Lock-Fasteners-Clear-RF6760/product_1671400 It's like a heavy duty velcro that clicks together. It's very strong.
  10. EAA Field Observing Platform

    If you have something that's compatible with Sharpcap 3.0 or 3.1 beta, you could use it's polar align feature with your primary viewing camera and forgo the Polemaster altogether. It needs to be about a 1° view. Another option is to run your camera on an Orion 50mm Guidescope for the polar alignment with Sharpcap. If your scope is small (e.g. 80mm), you can run the Ultrastar with Sharpcap 3.1 beta for the Polar Alignment as it's supported natively in Sharpcap 3.1, then close it and switch to Starlight Live as it will give you better control for the actual image. You don't really need a guide camera unless you want to do long exposure AP. I rarely go over 60 second exposures with the Ultrastar. If you do choose to guide, PHD2 would be the preferred guiding software. I stuck a powered hub on top of my scope and then connect everything to that. The one I have (Cirago 6 port hub with 2 charging ports) can power a Computestick through the charging port. If you're using it wirelessly, you would only have two wires coming off the scope, one to power the hub and one to power the mount. Everything else can be short usb cables and you can leave it attached to the scope. I've powered an ASI185MC (for guiding), an Ultrastar-C, Starlight Xpress USB Filterwheel, Computestick (gen 2) and the mount through the hub. I've had the Computestick running Astrotortilla and APT for plate solving, Stellarium, Starlight Live and Sharpcap all running simultaneously. I don't do remote viewing so I typically run the computestick on my observing table with a small portable battery and run a long USB cable to the hub. I have a wireless keyboard/mouse that can be difficult to use if the computer is near the mount (blocks the signals), especially when it's slewed opposite my position. For $1K, a camera like the new ASI294MC would give a nice wide view. Even in an 8" f/5, you'd be able to do a polar alignment in Sharpcap. You might need more hd space and memory than the Computestick provides as it's a 12mp camera (or bin). But for $1K, you get a low read noise camera, with a wide view that is capable of doing polar alignment with Sharpcap. Plus, Sharpcap 3.0+ can do plate solving with the addition of a plate solver like Astrotortilla (free). What scope are you going to be using?
  11. What is the current trend for eaa/va

    I guess my first foray into it was with my cell phone (moon and Jupiter). I'm a relative newcomer to it though. My first video astronomy camera was an ASI185MC using Sharpcap 2.8 (around May 2016). Then I won an Ultrastar-C at an OPT raffle (SCAE 2016). I liked Starlight Live so much that I bought a Lodestar X2M and a Starlight Xpress USB filter wheel ($200 used) and started doing narrowband video astronomy. I recently bought an ASI224MC as it was on sale for $250. My ASI185MC is pretty much just used for guiding (if I do it) and for polar aligning with Sharpcap 3.0.
  12. For me, it was a game changer. I started with a 130SLT and as objects became fainter and fainter, I realized I needed to get a bigger scope, so I moved up to a 12” dob to view. My first introduction to video astronomy was at a star party. I had seen someone with an analog video camera looking at the Orion Nebula on a CRT monitor. It looked so blown out, I remember thinking, “Why would someone want to use that setup, it looks better in the eyepiece.” I think if he had it on something a little less bright, I would have seen the wisdom of it sooner. But it initially turned me off to it. After the more spectacular objects, things started looking more and more like fuzzy patches again. So, I had to drive long distances to get away from the light pollution. My wife always thought the brighter objects were pretty cool but I quickly ran out of objects she found interesting. I would find some faint galaxy that looked like a small streak or fuzzy patch. She would look at it and proclaim it a “dud”. It seemed like my only option was to go to a bigger scope but the cost and weight quickly increases for another increase in magnitude. Finally, I decided to try a camera after seeing some of the images put up here and on CN. So I purchased an ASI185MC and started doing video astronomy. It breathed new life into my 130SLT. My wife started enjoying it more as well. I could see things in color with my 130SLT that weren’t visible in my 12” dob. Since I started Video Astronomy, I’ve pretty much moved away from using the Dob, though I still have it. I bought an AVX which greatly improved the views I was getting with the 130SLT. I had an Orion Skyview Pro 8” OTA that I had converted into a mini travel dob, which didn’t see much use. So I put it back together and started using it for EAA. I won an Ultrastar-C in a raffle at OPT’s Southern California Astronomy Expo. I was so impressed by Starlight Live that I bought a Lodestar X2m and a filter wheel to do video astronomy narrowband imaging. Now I have an Orion ED80T-CF which I use on the AVX. My most recent purchase was an ASI224MC (it was on sale for $250, so I figured, “Why not!”). I’ve thought about buying a Skywatcher Goto Upgrade kit for my dob to make it usable with EAA, but I’m not sure yet if it’s worth it or not. It would prompt me to use the dob and the astronomy shed/deck that I built for it for video astronomy and would require less setup.
  13. You have to add the -clouds flag to your shortcut.
  14. You don't need to create a new batch file. You can just add the command line parameter to your existing Starlight Live shortcut. Just add the necessary parameter to the end of the line in the "Target" box of the shortcut icon. Right click the Shortcut icon to Starlight Live and select "Properties" Add a space to the end of the string in the Target box and then add -platform windows:dpiawareness=0 Then click "OK" Your program will always launch with that parameter.
  15. EAA first light with new kit

    If the dust was on the camera sensor, moving it wouldn't matter because the dust is over a specific pixel. It will be over that same pixel regardless of the orientation of the camera (it moves with the camera). Since the camera will readout the same pattern regardless of its orientation (it doesn't know it's upside down), the dust donuts will always line up with the dust donuts on a previous image. If you took another image of M51 where the camera was 90° from the original image, the galaxy itself would be rotated (so it wouldn't stack) but the dust donuts would be in the same position. However, any dust on a a filter would require the orientation to be exactly the same, since twisting a filter can move a dust speck over a different pixel.