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Posts posted by AstroKane

  1. 21 hours ago, fwm891 said:

    Great start with your 294MC Pro. I too have one and only recently so I'm learning too. One thing I will say when your processing with PI and 'Image Calibration' - uncheck the master dark: calibration and optimization boxes as they will cause headaches with amp glow showing through. Been there, got the Tee shirt!

    The 294 does respond well to short sub lengths (lots of them) and as you say the cooling and dark libraries help immensely when processing.

    I've previously imaged with a mono camera and filters - not tried the 294 with narrowband pass filters yet.

    Cheers Frances - I have read your threads on the 294! A main reason I went for the 294 was that at the time I was imaging unguided at 60s subs - the 294 seemed to perform well at this, with tracking I wouldn't push much past 180. I am used to stacking hundreds of subs (I recently discovered the Blink function in PI - AMAZING).

    My dark library is ok, my flats and dark flats are useless, I suspect when I get good flats a re-run of the data will come out nicer. We have poor weather this week so I wanted to spend time on calibration data, I just need the kids to give me a free evening 😃

  2. 21 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

    I do see where you are coming from and was in exactly that same position a few months back after spending my first year in AP with a DSLR.  And you are right in that there is no right and wrong and nobody can really help you make that final decision, except to lay out to pros and cons of each and let you weigh them up yourself.

    In the end I opted for a mono. And don 't  get me wrong I love it and am progressing reasonably well with it (I already had the filter wheel 2nd hand anyway and some filters but to do the camera justice also laid out on some nice Badder filters LRGB and NB so an appreciable outlay for me anyway).

    But I do think I may have been better to start with OSC and then progress to Mono. 

    I do not think good results necessarily come any easier  (after all good results is a combination of so many things, good viewing, steady mount, good guiding and good processing) but because there are less steps involved (both in the imaging with different filters, flats with different filters and then pre processing all the different filtered images before finally stacking and post processing) there is less to go wrong and the results come quicker whether they are good or bad results. And it is the results I think that allow you to progress, even if the results are less than what you expect, so long as you learn from them and hopefully the next images are better then you feel a sense of achievement.  And after all any image of something we cannot see, is light years away above maybe haze and an atmosphere that distorts light is an achievement. What some members of this forum actually produce is more than that and that is what we all strive for. 

    However, I think I would always have ended up with the mono, but would have been nice, especially in the UK where often imaging time is measured in hours rather than days due to weather to get some colour images relatively quickly.

    Sorry for the ramble and it is just from a complete novice so it is only my opinion and thoughts not necessarily what it is like for everyone.

    Hopefully for you OSC is the right choice and those images certainly looks that way 🙂 


    Not a ramble at all - I was really leaning toward Mono. Ultimately, OSC just suited my ability and expectations. As you say it is nice to have a recognisable image at the end of the night. They are not award winners by any means but if you look at my very first images compared to the newer ones it like I've hired Hubble 😂

    I am planning to upgrade my mount in 2020 and once that is up and running I would most probably look to include a mono cam and filters. I think to jump straight into that would have been a bridge too far for me.

    • Thanks 1
  3. 22 hours ago, alan potts said:

    I think your M33 is really good, I'm having a lot of problems with cooling I think, the shot I posted here was uncooled, since I turned on the cooling my images have taken a nose dive.


    I have read that the 294 struggles when it is cooled right the way down  - uneven cooling against the sensor. I have so far only brought it down to 0 so cannot comment. I plan to run my winter images at -15 at most. I have also read that pushing exposure time too long can again bring up issues. That isn't a problem for me as I have so far primarily imaged unguided at 60's but only plan to run guided images at 180  - I am using an AVX.

  4. Hi All

     I have the below for sale:

    • Celestron Edge HD 8” SCT  
    • Dew Shield 
    • T adaptor for Canon

    Excellent condition, obvious indents on the dovetail, primarily used for visual and lunar imaging. For the right owner it really is a cracking scope, easy to handle and pinpoint starts across the FOV. Pictures to follow when I finish work.

    I would like £950.00 (RRP £1,280.00). Collection ideal (I am based in Essex) however I can arrange courier at added charge.

    Clear Skies

  5. 4 hours ago, philhilo said:

    Great shots with short integration times - from someone with a busy life in an urban sky - makes me think that an astro cam is the way to go.


    Thanks! I was using a canon 700D before I got the ZWO. It took me a while to get the hang of the new camera but I do think it is the way to go. A couple of major benefits right off the bat are that you can cool the camera and also create calibration libraries. Rather than for example shooting darks at the end of your session.

    • Like 1
  6. Hi All - I thought I would throw this post together as I like many people spend hours trawling through forum posts when I am deciding to invest in a new Astro toy.

    After following the well trodden path of DSLR imaging, spending some fabulous nights taking pictures of the night sky  you come to that split in the road.

    A dedicated astro cam - OSC or mono!? 🤔

    The respective camps will come together and argue this way and that about the good and bad of each - OSC useless under moonlight, mono you have to take calibration frames for each filter etc etc.

    It can be quite daunting deciding which path to take and where to put your hard earned cash. I opted for the OSC in the form of the ZWO ASI294 MC pro. My reasons, at this stage in my journey I just really want an easy to set up and go experience. I have many years ahead of me enjoying imaging and trying all camera types.

    As I have said I am a relative novice and with a 2 month old son and 20 month old daughter, evenings and time to myself is a luxury. Last weekend in the UK I was blessed with two clear nights and two sleeping children so I decided to dust off the scope and use the ZWO in anger, the first real time since I picked up camera. As the moon was 99.9% illuminated I didn't really have a plan or any high expectation of any decent outcomes. I image in bortle 8 skies to boot.

    In the end, I spent a big part of the night imaging and going between a few targets and I was processing the images as soon as the image run finished. My images have been processed in PI and again, I am really new to that too. I was imaging through a SW ED80 on an AVX mount unguided at 60 second subs (you can see I am a newbie yeah!) 

    So what did the ASI manage to produce:

    I first picked out M33 and spent 1 hour on that


    I then went to M45 and spent two hours on that


    and finally with dawn not too far away I spent 20 minutes on Orion


    I was really happy when the images were coming in. For me the ASI294 has proven a good investment, I have learnt a lot about imaging from it and I still have a very long way to go before I think I will out grow this camera. It has been a big learning curve from DSLR. I cannot wait to see the kind of image it can produce under new moon conditions, better calibration frames and processing.

    I guess what I am trying to say is these images are not going to win awards, they are not going to be the best I have ever taken but they did really help me appreciate that in astro you have to set your own bar otherwise you can get lost in all the other data available. 

    Hope this has helped anyone wanting to make the jump from DSLR to an Astro cam - happy to share any other info I have learnt from the transition.

    Clear Skies


    • Like 8
  7. Cheers mate.

    On 16/09/2019 at 17:51, Rodd said:

    Its taking shape.  To answer your questions....a lot depends on the skill of the processor. 

    Crikey we may be in trouble then! Hopefully it comes out nice. To be honest, I have never imaged M33 and considering the conditions, no tracking and my beginner level gear - I am already quite happy!

    When I have a finished data set will keep in my re the colour.

    Clear Skies

  8. Over a fully moon lit weekend in bortle 8 skies, I managed to get 4 hours unguided data on the Triangulum Galaxy - I think my expectation was so low that I am actually quite happy with the end result. I will attach both nights images below.

    Scope: SW ED80. Camera: asi294 (cooled to 0) Mount: AVX. Subs stacked in DSS and processed in PI.

    I have two questions:

    (1) I wonder how many hours under the correct conditions would really bring this image to life? I know the rule of thumb is as many as possible..but I wonder what other imagers use as a ball park, I was thinking 15-20.

    (2) I went to an OSC  (asi294 pro) from DSLR and I am at this point happy with my decision. But, I am thinking to invest in a mono (asi1600 pro) so that I can combine my OSC data with Luminance and Ha. Have other imagers had good results from this method? 

    First night - 1 hour


    2nd night - 4 hours data


    Clear Skies

    • Like 7
  9. On 28/05/2019 at 17:11, Thalestris24 said:

    Also, you need to adjust your reducer spacing so that it's 55mm between the reducer and sensor plane (won't affect the colour as such but, yeah).

     Thank you again Louise for making me revisit this - I hadn't factored in the 294 has 6.5mm of back focus already. So I was indeed out!

    Corrected now 😊

    • Like 1
  10. 2 hours ago, Hughsie said:

    I have just started using the ASI294MC pro cool. I started at unity gain and recently went as high as a gain of 300 (my Iris Nebula picture posted earlier today shows this with an IDAS light pollution filter).

    You will benefit from taking calibration frames as already pointed out. I generally take 100 light frames using the tool in APT then 100 dark flats ( same gain/exposure as flat but with the lense cap on).

    The darks can take a while to capture but as you are using the cooled version of the 294 you can create a dark library on cloudy days. I have a library of darks at -15 degrees, unity gain over 1 to 5 minute exposures, say 50 frames at each time.

    As for DSS, I find stacking in PI is better. Also I tend not to use the batch processing tool having had mixed results in the past. There are some great tutorials on the Light Vortex website. This is the workflow for calibrating your flats, darks and dark flats and then stacking together.

    It’s a long process but really helps you to understand how the calibration frames help improve your image https://www.lightvortexastronomy.com/tutorial-pre-processing-calibrating-and-stacking-images-in-pixinsight.html

    Keep at it, it’s a great camera!


    Hi John - I am based in Essex too so encouraging news you are having success with the Camera. I have no doubts it is a capable piece of kit, once I get it up and running. My previous gain setting was 200 which was resulting in Mono images.

    I haven't added any calibration frames as I only wanted to see if I could get some data that produced colour - Looks like lowering the unity gain solved that. Now to collect better data when the Moon isn't so obstructive. I had a dark library for the winter (-15 same as you) but now we are getting in to the warmer months I need to redo for the summer season (a job on the to do list).

    What temp do you push your 294 during the summer? I imaged the above at 0 and didn't imagine I would go much lower.

    Clear Skies

  11. 2 hours ago, Thalestris24 said:


    You need to take calibration frames, especially flats. Also, you need to adjust your reducer spacing so that it's 55mm between the reducer and sensor plane (won't affect the colour as such but, yeah). Pixinsight gives good options for colour processing which you may need to investigate further :) . If you don't already have it, 'Inside Pixinsight' by Warren A Keller is a good reference book. Also, you might benefit from a good lp filter such as an IDAS one.


    Hi Louise - Thanks for your feedback much appreciated. Totally on board with calibration frames. The only reason none are included here is I was just testing to see I could get  the image to produce colour. It certainly looks like for my location setting the gain lower was the key. The outing prior to testing on Cocoon (selected purely on it's position) I imaged Vega and ended up with a lovely mono star.

    Two questions if I may re the highlighted above - How can you tell the spacing is out? I will have to re-check this as I thought it was ok - is it something in the image that suggests this? I will definitely look into the IDAS filter - I have LED street lighting, assuming that helps block those.

    Clear Skies

  12. 1 minute ago, Adreneline said:

    Sorry - misunderstood. If you're looking to pull out colour specificaly I've found ArcSinhStretch works really well - again used incrementally.

    Good luck.

    No worries, I was confused because I knew I had selected the correct Bayer in DSS so couldn't fathom why I was getting Mono images from a one-shot colour. Hopefully the gain adjustment solves this - IC5146 seems to be quite a bright object so hopefully it is now just a matter of getting the data, 4 hours is perhaps not enough. And then of course proper calibration frames and processing.


    Clear Skies!

    • Like 1
  13. Cheers! I'll be sure to play around in processing when I collect some good usable data! This was just a process on the fly to see if I finally managed to pull out any colour.

    No calibration frames bar the 5 darks. My primary goal was to collect some data that showed colour. I am hoping the switch in gain from 200 to 127 is the answer and then I will build in the calibration frames along with more data.

  14. Hi All - Just looking for some advice/guidance.

    I swapped out my DSLR for a ZWO camera and I am finding the switch tough. I am getting used to APT as an imaging package and now really rate it's features. My main issue is the camera. I opted for the one shot colour as it suits my time and circumstances - however lots of my test shots were coming out in Monochrome, at that time I also added a guiding system which was just not working at all. A little disheartened, I downed tools for a few months. I am now back at it. I have taken the guiding system off for the moment as I find the camera is so sensitive that anything longer than say 120 blows out the image with my locations light pollution.

    Removing the guiding has enabled me to focus more on the camera, I realise now that perhaps the gain settings were too high (set to 200) I then changed this to 'Unity Gain 127' and finally success 😊my image has produced some colour (for a long time I thought it was DSS even though I knew I had the correct Bayer Filter).

    So my questions, the image below (as well as full spec) is 4 hours on the Cocoon Nebula with very little processing and calibration frames...Am I on to something here and now it is just a case of getting the time in and adding calibration frames before I end up with a good data set? Is this a hard target to image from the northern hemisphere in light polluted suburbia? Any other users of this camera have any tips or tricks picked up during testing, gain settings for example?

    Scope: Sky-Watcher ED80 with 0.85x Focal Reducer

    Camera: ZWO ASI 294MC Pro

    Mount: AVX

    Moon 71.7%

    Lights: 240x60

    Darks 10x60

    Processing: Stacked in DSS, processed in PixInsight: Background Neutralisation, Geometry crop, Screen Transfer Function on the Histogram.



    • Like 6
  15. On 15/09/2018 at 22:23, wornish said:


    First your image captures are great, and I don't want to criticise, just share  what I have learnt over the last few years of this hobby.

    I don't  know the AVX mount or even  if its controllable via ASCOM  I think it probably is but not sure ?

    If you are only using the GOTO functions of your mount to get to your target for astrophotography then yes you should use its time consuming alignment routines, but I am certain they don't get your target spot on when you slew to it, perhaps close but not perfect.

    I now use APT software which uses ASCOM control and plate solving to get my mount to go to the target I want. I know other software like SGP or KStars  have the same capability.

    It really makes a huge difference and saves so much time.

    I use a Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 GoTo mount.  Once the mount is accurately polar aligned and the scope is in the parked position  I use APT to send it to the target I want. I don't use the mounts GOTO capabilities at all, I just switch it to computer control.

    APT knows where the mount is and where the scope is pointing. It controls the mounts movement using the RA/DEC coordinates of the chosen target, it then uses plate solving to do the fine adjustments to get the target spot on in the centre of the view.

    I have wasted so much time using drift alignment and the mounts two or three star alignment routines only to find that it misses the target when I just use the mounts GOTO capabilities.  The move to ASCOM and APT changed everything and I now get more time actually take pictures.

    I know a lot of people still do it the "traditional way"  but I am lazy and like to use technology to help make it easier, hope this makes sense.  



    Hi - Sorry to distract from the thread. I have just switched over from DSLR to a ZWO OSC. Which means I am now learning APT. I would love to know a bit more about how to use APT and plate solve to get me on target. Could you DM me some pointers or links with some info? I use an AVX but have ASCOM for guiding etc.

    Thanks in advance and clear skies!

  16. 3 hours ago, Sunshine said:

    Now i realize why i don't have time to get into DSO Ap, that looks like an hour to setup, another half hour to calibrate before a shot is started, awesome though!

    To be honest, it doesn't take terribly long and once you have your routine down, I actually quite enjoy the setup. As opposed to the remaining hours of doing nothing whilst the subs are acquired.

    But yeah, if my rig puts you off, then defo swerve DSO ap! My setup is very much a rookie rig...I still have to add a mono camera, filter wheel etc.

    Clear Skies

    • Like 1
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