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Everything posted by Uranium235

  1. Hey... Im the same height and had exactly the same problems (always turning the scope in its rings) until I tried a different way of setting up. Try this: 1) Setup the mount to go as high as poss (and level it) 2) Before you mount the OTA, rotate it in the tube ring until the focuser is pointing down - basically so its in line with your dovetail bar (see photo). 3) Mount it all up, then check the balance (marking the balance point with masking tape for future reference). When you first fire the system up, you obviously wont be able to look through it until you slew to your first target. But once you do - it all becomes clear, perfect height! The focuser might be upside-down sometimes, but dont let that bother you. Honestly, there isnt one occasion where ive had to rotate things to get a better view since adopting this method. The only drawback is sometimes the finderscope gets a bit hard to see through (thats only cos I use the finderscope on the ST80), but the EP should be fine most of the time - and if your GoTo is set up well enough (if you have it) then you wont really need the finderscope. Dont forget the masking tape! An invaluable tool for the AA
  2. I tried mine last night, it worked a treat with the EP. But when I tried it with the cam at prime focus I couldnt see any spikes through the viewfinder. Would it be ok to focus on Mars first, and then slew to my target? As at the moment, Mars is one of the brightest things in the sky from my location. I could just take some short subs with the mask on to judge the focus, but it would be a pain to have to go back and forth to the laptop to check the pattern.
  3. "Diverse" is an understatement Ive found its a mix of quite a few things including: Astronomy, maths, computers, electrics, photography as well as the physical demands it can sometimes place on you (hence the need to automate things). If I get any more bright ideas, I will be sure to bring them here first Share the knowledge, thats what I say!
  4. I managed to get out for a couple of hours last night and test it... lol... it works! In addition I also fitted a switch that was salvaged from an old PSU (as I found crossing wires is a bit risky in terms of accidental triggering). Also Camera control pro worked a treat, its cool for automatically taking 30s subs, darks and bias - just punch in how many you want, start it, then find a comfy chair to rest those weary bones The only downer was the cloud.... hmmm... a black mark for the Met office...fail.
  5. I think youre right peter, the S must be something more than just a temp sensor. I need more info on that tho to be sure if its worth attempting. Mines an EN-EL9... and at the end of the day it might be just less hassle to change the battery (very carefully)
  6. Ive had a look at my battery, its got + - and S. So the "s" is the temp sensor? does this need to be connected to anything to get it to work when using a DC supply? I will have a look @ maplins in a bit to see what adapters are available, there should be something near the 7.4v mark (or variable). Addendum: Found something here, 7.5v 1200mA - should do the job nicely. http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=32754
  7. Ah-ha! Found a solution after a quick look @ google. The Nikon Mall EP-5 Power Supply Connecter Its like a false battery that connects to an EH-5 power supply, not sure how much it would all come to tho - and i cant find a UK dealer (yet).
  8. Youre giving me ideas man.... lol Its one thing to rig a remote control battery, but a its much bigger project to find a way of powering the cam by way of a DC supply. It probably can be done in the same manner, but its not something I would want to screw up There wont be much spare room in the battery compartment for cables either, not unless I can salvage a few ribbon cables from somewhere.
  9. I like the look of that battery grip but maybe a cheaper solution would be to buy some cheap 3rd party batteries for the D60, Ive seen energiser ones that are nearly half the price of the official Nikon battery, so If I get 2 of those - a total of 3 batteries should be more than enough to get through the most demanding of shoots as I will always have one on charge. Nikon EN-EL9 replacement ENERGIZER EN-EL9 7.4v 1000mAh Nikon D40 for 35.99atJacobs Digital Photography & Video Thanks for the suggestions guys Heh heh its a bit mad how the human mind can be so inventive when the need arises! Its that sort of sprit that got us humans to the moon... shame nobody had the guts to do it again.
  10. Ok, ive been doing a bit of "inventing" and ive come up with a solution of a remote control for the ML L3 remote control (..lol). Ive taken the "stones, knives and bearskins" approach and just used what I had to hand which consisted of: 1) Masking tape 2) Double sided tape 3) A file 4) Baking foil 5) An adjustable spanner 6) A curtain pole 7) A few odd bits of cable Its a simple case of rigging the battery so the electrical circuit is only completed when the wires are crossed. The adjustable spanner is the only thing i could find that would apply constant pressure similar to that of a human hand (a small g-clamp would have worked) to the remotes button. Then I just taped the spanner to a pole which can go in the ground within sensor distance of the D60. Ive tested it with a 5m speaker cable and it works just fine Yep, It looks rough - but as long as it works im not bothered
  11. Hiya, Im thinking of having another session in the garden tonight as it should be clear from 9pm-3am (depends how much snow is left out there). The trouble is, the cramped conditions in the shed and hours out in the cold over the past couple of weeks has played hell with my back (not as young as i used to be!), therefore im having to take it easy. So ive had the idea of using a combo of PHD & Nikon Camera Control Pro. Basically, the idea is to first get it tracking smoothly enough, then use NCCP (in time lapse mode) to take a user-defined number of exposures. Once its set up and snapping, In theory I should then be able to go in for a comfy chair, a cuppa and a spot of QI. The limitation of NCCP is that the maximum exposure time available for time lapse mode is 30sec, the "bulb" setting requires the manual use of the remote shutter release. Has anyone else tried this before? Its possible for me to set up NCCP to automatically do 2hours worth in 30s subs (240x30)... but ... but will 240x30s be as good as 120x60s, or 60x120s? Im using DSS to stack btw. Hmmm... I have a feeling im going to need to throw in some longer subs at some point tho - so im having the idea of "modding" the Nikon ML L3 remote so it can be used at any distance. Basically by means of opening one and using its guts to make a wired microswitch remote, or maybe even radio operated (if I can be arsed to get myself over to maplins). The benifit of this is that I wont have to tippy-toe up to the scope to get close enough to use the remote... but thats a whole other project
  12. Yep, can agree with this and FLO. Opticstar are ok too. But as always, call for advice and stock levels before you buy - then you can be sure youre getting the right tool for the job.
  13. I made mine by printing it onto 100gsm card, making the bars/slots wider to aid cutting & strength (with a scalpel). Then make a collar for it so it fits tightly over the end of your scope.... simples!
  14. I thought this might be of some use. Im going to be having a go at eyepiece projection soon so Ive put together a little spreadsheet that calculates all of the magnification factors, focal lengths and ratios for eyepieces (25-8mm) and extention tubes (in steps of 15mm). Have also included the lengths when barlowed up to 2x and 4x.... though its highly unlikely that I would ever take it to a 32,625mm focal length....lol! - that would be for an 8mm EP, 95mm EP > CCD distance, Barlow 4x on a 750mm/150mm newt. All you have to do it load it into Excel, input your values into only the red fields (your scope focal length, apeture and EP sizes), there is enough room for 6 EPs on the spreadsheet, and it will be handy for printing to A4 cards for quick reference (thats my plan for it anyways). Unzip and open, printing is set up for landscape. Let me know if my maths are out so I can make modifications (and apologies!), im pretty sure its right tho Eyepiece projection calculator.zip
  15. Thanks man will try that. Hopefully I can now use more of the data I collect. I think you made a reference to PS (actions), im going to take another look at it later but from what I remember its not exactly friendly for the beginner...lol. Will post any improvements I make, cheers!
  16. Just a couple of quick questions on long exposure subs. The other night I was experimenting with a few crazy sub lenghts on M42 to see how far QHY5/PHD would go before cracking up. Using the 2" Barlow & Skywatcher LPF, I took a series of 10 minute subs @ ISO 800, one of which I will attach below. In the end it felt like time wasted with 10 min @ ISO800... its tracked reasonably well, but god those stars are a bit bloated. Anyway, I took a series of 4 and 2 min subs (also @ ISO800) to mix it up a bit - but when I put them through DSS, it didnt stack them - it only seemed to stack the long exposure pics (it registered 16 but only stacked 6). Its not the first time thats happened. So my first question is: Is there a way to reduce bloating on the stars? I was thinking of setting a limit of no more than 4 or 5 min for any light sub... maybe 10min was a bit too OTT. The only catch is the filter, yes its cheap but I cant operate above 2min without it here due to LP, trouble is that is seems to block a bit too much and the stars lose their nice diffraction spikes - forcing me to go for longer exposures. My second query is about making DSS stack everything i give it when using a mix of long & short exposures - Ive set it to use 100% of subs / Mosaic mode, but that still doesnt work. Am I missing something, or should I try other software? Here is one of the 10min subs (unprocessed, coverted from RAW to JPG), not sure what the patches are in the corners... maybe I should make a longer dew shield to block unwanted lights.
  17. Looks a ton better than what I managed that same night.... nice one Hmmm.... 3min subs? I think I will try that too. Which scope did you use?
  18. I made it until about 10.30 until the cold got me...lol was pretty chilly out there. Managed to get a few good 5min subs in tho
  19. I suggest everyone gets out here asap its going to be clear all night Im out in the garden at the mo, things are tracking nicely.... and as a bonus - my neighbours security light has broken!!! Hohoho! A good night all round Just getting my first ever few subs of M31 now before it drops behind the trees. Happy hunting!
  20. Cool, thanks just as I suspected. I did build a bahtinov mask, but I havent tested it yet. Not sure if it will work though as Ive only cut it from light card with a scalpel (a long job indeed) so its a bit wobbly
  21. Ive been having a think today about how to capture galaxies such as M81/M82, objects too feint for the eye but well within the range of a DSLR. The problem is, how do you make sure its going to be in focus when you take the sub? When looking through the viewfinder at objects mag 8+, I see nothing. I dont have the benifit of live view so I find myself squinting through the viewfinder desperately trying to focus very feint objects (not much fun for the neck & back as im quite a tall bloke). Its easy to get M31, 42 & 45 as they are already so bright, but the feinter stuff.... thats proving a litte more tricky. Will focusing on the nearest, bright star, then slewing back to the target be good enough? Whats the best tactic for achieving correct focus on feint objects? I wish someone would invent a low light cam that you can attach to a viewfinder to bypass all this annoyance and enable me to do it from a comfy chair damn... wish id brought a cannon now.
  22. just had a quick go at re-processing it, but ive had to throw the 5min subs because of the cloud.
  23. unfortunately, I didnt have time for flats last night. If you were to see the RAW images, they are well washed out because of LP (I wasnt using any filter). But I know where I went wrong now. So next time I will be able to pass the 5min barrier. The things was, I couldnt find a way to use the 2" LPF without the barlow as I needed a 2" filter thread. Ive got lots of 1.25", but only one 2" - which was part of the 2" barlow. Imaging M45 with a barlow is a no-go, so while in bed last night I unscrewed the filter, then the black lens part - leaving just the barrel. To my surprise the filter screwed straight into the barrel - problem solved. So next time I should get better results. Wish id have thought of it earlier though... but time was of the essence. Setting up & dodging clouds didnt leave much time for taking pics! This is the raw image of a 290s sub, with no filter... its a bit of a shocker. Seeing conditions were not exactly great too, as there was a bit of high cloud drifting through the shot - which probably accounts for the large white patch in the final image.
  24. I had a short 3 hour window in which to set up and get a few subs of this tonight. For a while I was clueless as to why PHD wasnt making enough corrections in DEC (it would lose traking after about 30 seconds), at first i thought it was my polar alignment, but after 3 re-alignments - i figured that wasnt it. So I poked about in the advanced tab and bing! No probs after that. Wish I had taken more (and longer) subs as I was starting to get a hint of nebulosity when I put it through DSS. But given the probs experienced earlier, I didnt want to push my luck. Also found the need for a coma corrector now as it shows towards the edges. Worth keeping (until I manage something better...lol) 5x2min, 3x3min, 3x5min 10 dark 10 bias
  25. It certainly is!! I got one a couple of weeks ago and it was worth every penny QHY5 makes guiding so easy that it should be illegal....lol.
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