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Everything posted by Uranium235

  1. Hiya, Since being sniped on ebay over an Equinox 80 (boooo), Ive put in a wanted ad for a Skywatcher ED80, but since then ive noticed a couple of others that might do the same job. The primary goal is DSO imaging. Firstly theres the Orion ED80, mechanically inferior to the SW with no carry case and no freebies (and therefore cheaper)... but are the optics on a par with the SW? Secondly, theres the WO Megrez 72. Beautifully built, but it feels like a step backwards in terms of FL... maybe a bit too wide field. No question on the optics tho, will be spot-on. As a third way, I looked at the WO Zenithstar 80.... but I can probably rule that one out as its using FPL-51 glass. As it stands, im still leaning towards the SW ED80.... unless someone else can persuade me otherwise Thanks for any advice!
  2. Lol... just count yourself lucky that your neighbour doesnt light a massive bonfire just as youve started your session, that happend to me once and I was livid! ...lol.. Just keep an eye on the forecast for now, things sometimes change in your favour and you get an unexpected night of perfectly clear skies. Patience my friend
  3. I usually end up watching BBCi on the lappy while imaging - HIGNFY, QI, Top Gear... whatever is funny. Not too loud though because I dont want to annoy the neighbours late at night Music.... hmmm, if I were to do that I would probably stick winamp on random and have kings of leon next to samuel barber next to Stevie Wonder and William Orbit, or something equally eclectic. I could sit there and play, but dragging a piano down the garden isnt an option... besides, my fingers would be too cold to play! There are a few strange noises around at night though.... and a fair few rats - jeez ive seen a few whoppers down there in the dead of night. But I can definitely recommend Pink Floyd... dark side of the moon... fantastic and trippy (esp "Time"). I usually find this track quite inspiring, some may have heard it already.... very astro Cosmos - Part 1 Feel free to download & enjoy.
  4. Thanks blinky! Ahhh, so there is no shortcut around darks then.... well it was worth a try I would go for 6 minutes or so (10min would be madness), but LP starts to take over after about 5 min and my tracking isnt always that perfect. But I'll give it a go next time theres a clear sky and hope PHD can hold it together for that long (whenever that may be!).
  5. Ohhh yes, very important indeed! I had a wee idea in regard to darks.... on inspection, Ive noticed that nearly all of the darks look the same (well... dark!), maybe a few hot/cold pixels here & there but no ampglow. So.... what stopping me from taking 10 good darks, and then just duplicating them to get 20? Its the same data, and just as dark as the others so I cant see why that wont work as a shortcut. It might be even possible to generate 20 from 5... though I wouldnt want to do the same from just 1.
  6. okey doke Will wait until I actually get the scope first tho before looking into field flatteners. Awww... im so looking forward to getting my now sweaty hands on that thing. Hooray! no more collimation!
  7. Thanks Olly, thats cleared that one up then I see, so imaging at prime focus with the 80 isnt so affeted by the mount load... cool. So is the skywatcher FF any good? And if i did get one, would it have a filter thread? Ive never used one, so ive no idea how it fits in the optical train (yet). As far a wind goes, Im pretty fortunate that where i put the scope is sheltered on the E,W and North sides - with a clear view to the south nearly all the way down to the horizon (terraced garden, sloping down).I have it halfway down on the patio, as any closer to the house then I wouldnt be able to see polaris. On a side note, Im going to buy a masonary drill bit tomorrow to drill 3 shallow holes in the slabs to mark where the mount legs should go - that will save me loads of time with moving the mount around while polar aligning - and will avoid the situation of me accidentally kicking the mount leg and knocking out the alignment...lol... done that a few times!
  8. I think i know what you mean, that sounds like an off-axis guider. Its a good idea but finding a cheap one would not be easy because I would need either the Orion (which would only work on the refractor) or the TS OAG which would work on both scopes - but that ones a lot more... twice the price in fact It might be cheaper to just get another dovetail bar so i can mix & match between scopes according to whatever the target is for that session.
  9. Ahhh thanks! That pic shows me it can be done then. Im already using the second counterweight since using the piggybacked guidescope, but theyre both right at the top of the bar at the moment, so theres room to move. Im just hoping that at 10.5kg, the guiding will be ok - at least I should get tons of good guide stars from the newt Ive thought about a side by side setup, maybe thats one for the future though becuase it would add another £130 to the bill (unless i can get one 2nd hand).
  10. Hiya, For a while now ive been tempted to go over to the dark side in terms of owning an APO. But, one thing needs to be cleared up before I can say "go for it" in terms of actually buying it.The plan is to replace the ST80 with an Equinox 80 or ED80, which will probably add another 1.5kg to the load.The CG5 GT is max rated at 35lb (15.8kg) and the overall setup should be about: 150P = 4.9kg Equinox = 3kg 1000d = 0.45kg Misc (tube rings, bars + guide cam) = 1kg Total = 10.57kg (67% of max load) Thats about bang-on 2/3 of the load capacity. Now ive read some posts that the max for any mount (for good guiding) is 1/2 of total - some others say 2/3. Im not really up for buying a new mount, and Id like the chance to use the newt and equinox together (newt guides, equinox images). I know i could just have the ST80 and the Equinox on the mount no problem, but that seems like a bit of a waste of a perfectly good newt to me. Is 10.5kg too much for good guiding? Thanks muchly in advance for any advice.
  11. did you take enough darks? At first, I used to be a bit of a cheapskate and take 15x30sec dark for every 20 light frames (of any length). Its only now that I have the "set up and walk away" method of doing darks that the 1000d offers that im getting better results. Basically, after all my light frames are done (eg: 30x3min) I take the OTA with the cam still attached into the basement and set it up to do the same amount in darks (same ISO, same sub length) while i go to bed. It switches itself off after a while so no need to worry about burning loads of leccy. Get up in the morn, stack it.... jobs a good un
  12. To get the colour into the finished result, the RAW settings are with both white balance boxes unchecked and black point set to zero. When stacking I use RGB background calibration (not per channel), and I usually choose not to align the RGB channels in the final image. When the final image is processed mine too are B&W - but first do your curves as normal - then flick over to the saturation tab. Setting that to about 30% is enough to bring the colour back, if its a bit too red just shift the red channel slightly in RGB/K Levels. Its best to just test the settings on a zoomed-in selection first, just to save you the time of applying the adjustment to the whole picture. You will know its worked because all of a sudden you will see the orange, blue or white star colours. Heres an example of M44 that I used that method on.
  13. lol.... Just found this while mooching on Ebay Might need a few of these!
  14. If you have the spare cash you could try an Astronomik filter. I have the Baader filter.... its ok but nowhere near as good as these. Astronomik -Photographic CCD Filters- Made in Germany, so its as good as it gets.
  15. Youre not wrong about the contrails! While I was out getting the paper this morn I couldnt help but notice how many trails littered the sky, far more than usual. The seeing was more or less the same last night, slightly hazy. Im quite inclined to think it may be dust up there now because quite a lot of cars around here have a noticeble amount of that fine, brownish ash on them. There has been little wind, so its probably just hanging around up there. Good job I didnt have the scope out i guess, it would be a nightmare to clean that stuff out of a newt.
  16. Its been lovely out in the sun this week might even have a bbq tomorrow but I wish I could say the same for the state of the sky after sundown. Its not just the moon being a thug, but there seems to be a lot of very high cloud (or dust... cant tell) thats getting illuminated by the moon. I tried a few subs last night and the results were total pants. I think we need a bit of wind and/or rain to clear things out. Looking at the moon, you could see a definite halo around it covering quite a lot of the sky. "Milky" would be the best way to describe it. Lets hope it clears up soon!
  17. Hiya, For the first time last night i broke the 1hour barrier for imaging, I wasnt sure how long the battery lasts on a 1000d so I settled for 1h 20min on M106. It was virtually overhead, but the moon was being a bit of a thug (as usual) and I had to toss the first 4 subs because it wasnt properly astro dark when I started. Hmmm I expected more for such a long time, but its done now - time to move to the next target! Will be out there again tonight cos were set for glorious weather all week heh even booked a day off work tomorrow so i can stay out all night tonight! Got a great PHD graph too (for a change!) 20x4min Light, 20x4min Dark, 15 bias, 10 Flat
  18. Like the man above says, you will only see a few DSOs directly through the EP. If you want to see any further, you need a new set of "eyes" ie: a camera (since your real eyes are limited in what they can see "live"). Best to wait until the moon has gone away too as it washes out any nebulas. You can try M45 (even though its a bit late in the year), thats an easy target - you should find it low in the west at about 9.30 pm. M42 is way too low now, so you wont see that again until Nov/Dec I reckon (same goes for Andromeda). But the beauty of the hobby is that you will see different things at different times of the year... personally i cant wait until M16 pops up in a couple of months
  19. Thanks Peter, I was thinkin about that again earlier becuase I was taking a look at the cone nebula and thinking whether an unmodded 1000d will pick that up or if I needed to have it removed to do any kind of H alpha work. Also need a list of interesting targets that the 1000d will happily do without modding, so I will work on that a bit later.
  20. Ahhh, youve got a big scope then Your ISO is right and your graphs are ok.. hmmmm... maybe youre right in that you may have reached the limit at your current location (if you live in an LP area) or flex is coming into play. I try not to worry about coma tho, I get the same from my newt and its easily removed by cropping the image to the area of interest. Not unless you want to fork out £120 for a coma corrector, which would come in handy if youre going for a big target. Did you take any flats? That would make a noticeable difference to the end product.
  21. Wow... you should have got more for 6 min what target is it BTW? And what scope are you using? ISO setting on cam? Are your tracking problems coming in RA or DEC? The hysteresis is used to average out RA tracking to stop sudden changes, the higher it is - the smoother it is. The max setting is 50. But like I said earlier, choice of guidestar and polar alignment are just as important (if not more) than messing with the PHD settings. Use the star profile window to choose one that shows as a sharp spike which isnt bloated, if you have adjusable guidescope rings (very handy) you can choose the best star on screen and move it to the bullseye area before performing PHD calibation. Dont worry, plenty of time for practice next week cos there is going to be a lot of clear sky and fair weather (wed-fri hopefully) Addition: Just a thought - If youre having problems with one target, try another spot in the sky and see if the problems go away or reduce - try not to sit there getting really angry (like I do...lol). I had a problem getting M101 once, so I just slewed round to M3, tried again and it was perfect (that told me it was a balance problem).
  22. Yep, Deepskystacker will do it. If you have any darks use those too. Congrats on your first piccy anyways Must have been pretty dark there, thats a lot of stars for 30 sec!
  23. In PHD: RA Agressiveness = 105 Hysteresis = 50 Dec guide mode = Auto Max dec duration = 300 Calibration step = 1000 Exposure time 0.5 - 2sec (depending on availablility of good guide stars) On mount: Anti-Backlash RA and DEC = 0 You can try that (the settings i used last night), but if youre still having problems after that it could be something do do with either your choice of guidestar, polar alignment or balance... or all of the above!
  24. Thanks Peter! Looks like im eating humble pie for Sunday lunch...lol... Lukebl, im using 15x3min subs for both of them - with 10x3min darks too. I didnt want to push the exposure length too far given the dec problems ive had recently (less wasted subs). I can understand the hassle youre having, mine was eventually solved by polar-aligning twice and finding a better guide star (wish id done that at the start of the session!). The camera is new and straight out of the box (unmodded), its unlikely its ever going to see a real camera lens so Im mulling over whether to have it modded or not. Which leads to to a question, if I had it astronomized is it better to have a filter change, or the filter removed totally?
  25. Just finished stacking last nights results and in conclusion, the Canon 1000d knocks the socks off the Nikon D60 when it comes to taking long exposure subs. Focusing was a breeze with live view over USB, and the control software is fantastic too (set up & walk away). No sign of the volcanic ash cloud either (yet). I managed to get remote assistance up and running too so I could watch it all from the basement In the end though the guidescope kept dewing up every 5 min so PHD lost tracking (something like 3am that was). Despite some polar alignment problems that took a while to fix, i managed to get 45 min on M82 (I cropped out M81) and M3 AND get some proper darks and flats done (at sunset). Proper darks & flats are worth the hassle. Canon Rules..... Nikon Drools! 15x180 sec Light, 10x180sec Dark, 10 Flat, 10 Bias
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