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About Hughsie

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    Star Forming

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    Football (Spurs), F1, fishing, long walks, real ale and a good book.
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    UK, North Essex
  1. Thank you everyone for your responses. Much appreciated.
  2. My experience to date has been imaging with a 4” refractor but now I am considering stepping up the aperture and I am very tempted by those naughty people at FLO to buy a StellaLyra 8” RC (subject to my good lady’s permission). My question is dew and how to control it? Are there issues with the primary and secondary mirrors fogging up? If so how is that controlled? I use dew straps on my refractor and guidescope but I am scratching my head on how a similar approach would work with the SL RC.
  3. Usually I am guiding between 2.5 - 3s and last week I switched out from using the ASI290mm to a Lodestar x2 camera. I don’t know if this was more to do with the camera change or new PHD2 version but the damn thing kept flashing and pinging away like crazy. In the end I went into the brain setting and on the guiding tab reduced the minimum star HFD pixel size from 1.5 to 1.2 and it merrily went on its way. John
  4. Hi Francis, I use the Sesto Senso on my William Optics Z103 in conjunction with SG Pro. I also use a Pegasus Astro Ultimate Powerbox as well. Some observations about the SS (most of the niggles are around the combination with the Powerbox). I had to pay extra for a slightly larger mounting bracket. That wasn’t a surprise as I had measured up the focuser on the scope already but just be aware that if you go down the SS route then this may be an added cost. The Powerbox came with a temperature and humidity sensor so I have no experience with using what comes with the SS. The power cable for the SS is a slightly different size to the power leads supplied for the Powerbox so requiring an adapter. I have the v1 of the SS and it has an irritating flashing red light. I understand the v2 has addressed this but some electrical tape sorts out that issue. I like the SS as there is no need to figure out how to attach a bracket to the scope. You remove the focus knob on the scope and select the appropriate adapter that slides over the focus spindle. You then slide the SS onto the adapter. The adapter is secured to the SS motor spindle by two grub screws which you can access via an opening in the bottom of the SS. One you have done that you simply clamp the SS to your focusser by tightening a small bolt with an allen key. Smaller grub screws are located around the circumference of the clamp to further secure the unit and make minor centering adjustments if needed. Overall it is a pretty solid connection. You can still focus manually and rotate the course focus knob, something I do not think the Pegasus Focus Cube will let you do. Calibration of the focuser is quick and easy. That is the only time I really use the SS software. However, I have had one occasion when calibration was lost and SG Pro could not focus the scope. As I say it has only happened once but I am keeping an eye on it. SG Pro and the SS work fine. You will need to spend some time calculating the step size in SG Pro which allows the SG Pro focus routine to work accurately. If you go on YouTube, the ’Simplified Astro” channel has a great video on how to calculate this. The SG Pro manual has instructions on how to do this as well but I have never met a bloke who has read any instruction manual in his lifetime! The focus routine settings are also important in SG Pro to get the best from the software and any motor focuser. Chris Woodhouse YouTube channel has a video on this which is worth a look. I initially set up the focuser in SG Pro to refocus every hour or every 0.5 degree temp drop but didn’t really see any major difference so extended the time to 90 minutes or 1 degree. I see from your signature that you have a ZWO ASI294MC but if you are using filters then you will also need to adjust the exposure time to ensure that you capture enough stars e.g. my luminance filter is set at 10s but my 3nm Ha filter is set at 25s. Another setting to not miss is how much of the focus image SG Pro uses to calculate HFD. I apply a 20% crop as I do not have a totally flat field and this ensures the routine ignores any egg shaped stars in the corners. The SS unit is on the heavy side and this may cause concerns around balancing the scope and guiding as it protrudes out the side of my scope but so far this has not been an issue for my EQ6-R Pro mount. I have not experienced any problems with focus slipping from the SS unit. Finally, when it comes to mounting the SS just have a thought about meridian flips and your RA limits. It is a large piece of kit hanging out of the side of your scope with cables sticking out so you could run into problems with snags if not positioned correctly. Hope this helps, John
  5. NGC869 & NGC884 the Double Cluster in Perseus Having spent the last few months imaging nebulae and removing stars from images, it makes a nice change to concentrate on the stars. One of my favourite star clusters is the Double Cluster in Perseus which is now rising nicely in the North East sky. The Double Cluster itself is made up of two open clusters, NGC869 and NGC884 that are some 7,500 light years away. Analysis of the stars spectra show that the light is blue shifted meaning that both clusters are moving towards Earth. NGC884 has five prominent red supergiant stars though the star clusters themselves are young with an age of c12.8 million years. This suggests that both clusters formed from the same interstellar gas cloud. This image was captured on 9 October 2020 from my garden. It is made up of the following data; Red/Green/Blue - 18 subs @ 300 seconds for each filter. Luminance - 30 subs @ 180 seconds. Calibration frames - 50 separate darks, flats and flat darks. Equipment used; William Optics Z103 refractor. ZWO ASI1600mm Pro Cooled camera. Chroma 1.25” filters LRGB. SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro mount. Sesto Senso motor focuser. Data was processed on PixInsight; After calibration of each filter set, the master LRGB images were created and a crop was applied to the edge of each master to remove stacking artifacts. Gradients removed from each master image using DynamicBackgroundExtraction. MureDenoise applied. RGB masters combined. MaskStretch applied to L master and RGB image. L master and RGB image combined using PixelMath in the following ratio, 75% RGB, 25% L Master. Star reduction applied to the smallest stars so as to highlight the large stars in each cluster. Colour added to stars and background colour adjusted with a star mask applied. Curves adjustments and colour tweaks applied. Small amount of noise reduction applied using TGVDenoise. Image size resampled and plate solved to create a separate star chart shown below. Clear skies.........
  6. Could someone pick my jaw up please, it’s over there on the floor. A-Maz-Ing.
  7. I got this error when I forgot to turn on sidereal rate on EQMOD. Soon as switched on the tracking the error went away.
  8. IC 1396 brings to a close my tour of the region of Cepheus and Cassiopeia for 2020. Having previously captured NGC 7023 (Iris Nebula), NGC 281 (Pacman Nebula) and NGC 7380 (Wizard Nebula), IC1396 represented the most difficult challenge for processing as the nebulosity covers the whole image. Presented in the Hubble Palette (SHO), this image is made up of 5 minutes subs in Hydrogen Alpha (55 images), Oxygen 3 (59) and Sulphur 2 (58) with a total integration time of 14 hours. The images were captured using Chroma 1.25” 3nm filters and the ZWO ASI1600mm pro cool camera set at a gain of 139 and offset of 30. Other equipment included; William Optics Z103 refractor and field flattener. SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro mount. Sesto Senso motor focuser. ZWO 8 position EFW. Pegasus Power Box. William Optics 50mm guidescope and ASI290mm mini guide camera. PHD2. Sequence Generator Pro. PixInsight. Thank you for checking in. John
  9. Wow, an amazing image and focus to keep at it. Which constellation is it located in?
  10. Below is my rendition of the open star cluster discovered by Caroline Herschel, NGC 7380. It is also included in the Sharpless catalogue and is designated sh2-142. Most of my imaging over recent months has been concentrated in the region covering the constellations Cepheus and Cassiopeia in the North and NGC 7380 is located in the former. Like a lot of nebulae, this has its own modern name, the Wizard Nebula, just in case sh2-142 doesn’t immediately roll off the tongue! Narrowband data was captured in Hydrogen Alpha, Oxygen 3 and Sulphur 2 using 3nm 1.25” Chroma filters and the ZWO ASI1600 monochrome cooled camera. The three images representing these ionised gases were combined adopting the Hubble Palette and chucked into PixInsight. I will be revisiting this target again if the weather allows as the Sii was very faint and I feel there is more ‘red’ to bring out. Plus there is extended nebulosity coming from each side of the nebula that appears faint in this image. From a processing perspective I did something I haven’t done before...I turned on the computer....no, seriously I removed all the stars from the colour image using the Starnet module and just concentrated on emphasising the nebulosity and colours without worrying about the stars. Once I was finished with the nebulosity, I added the stars back. As I said, I feel there should be more of a reddish colour to the lower part of the nebula and I have also ‘blown out’ a small bright region. So with more data I will return to this and see if I can bring out the colour and the more fainter regions but overall it was a useful experience processing in this way. Equipment William Optics Z103 refractor. SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro mount. ZWO ASI1600mm Pro Cooled camera. ZWO 8 position electronic filter wheel. Sesto Senso motor focuser. Pegasus Astro Power Box & climate sensor. William Optics 50mm Guidescope & ZWO ASI190mm mini guide camera. PHD2 used to control the guiding of the mount. Sequence Generator Pro used for acquisition. Data Hydrogen alpha 47 x 5 minutes Oxygen 3 48 x 5 minutes Sulphur 2 47 x 5 minutes Gain 139, offset 30 Thank you for dropping by. John
  11. NGC 281 is located in the constellation Casseopeia and is a bright emission nebula. At it’s centre is a an open star cluster, IC 1590, an area of star formation contain very large, bright hot stars. It is thought that the radiation and strong solar winds are causing the concentrated interstellar gas to glow. This image was captured across three nights using narrowband Chroma filters. These filters allowed me to capture light emitted by ionised Hydrogen alpha, Oxygen 3 and Sulphur 2. The data was then combined to form the ‘Hubble Palette’ assigning Sulphur to the Red channel, Hydrogen to the Green channel and Oxygen to the Blue channel. Data Overall 17.5 hours of exposures was gathered; Ha 70 x 5 mins Oiii 70 x 5 mins Sii 70 x 5 mins Equipment used William Optics Z103 refractor. ZWO ASI1600mm Pro Cool camera, Gain 139, offset 30 and cooled to -10 degrees centigrade. Skywatcher EQ6R Pro Cool camera Chroma 1.25” 3nm Ha, Oiii & Sii filters Sesto Senso Robotic Focuser ZWO 8 EFW Sequence Generator Pro for managing the capture of data PixInsight for processing. Thank you for checking in. John
  12. Hi Rob, What I can say is a 12.5 inch planewave astrograph would cost me my marriage to buy! I took 5 minutes subs, 15 in Ha and 14 in Oiii. ITelescope calibrate all your subs as the image run progresses so processing was such much easier not having to create master flats, bias and darks. You might think that you are charged for the calibration time but the company are pretty fair and only charge for the actual exposure time so 29 x 5 mins. The data was a delight to work with but lots of masks were needed. I wanted to try and bring out the faint outer shell of the gas region and it’s a fine balance between too bright a background and no outer shell. More data should hopefully fix that.
  13. I have always wanted to capture an image of M27 but my location at home makes it difficult being at the bottom of a hill with houses and trees in the way. So, earlier this year I joined iTelescope with the aim of being able to capture those targets not accessible from home or the UK. This is one such image. Captured on Friday 4th September from the Astrocamp observatory in Nerpio, Spain using a 12.5 inch Planewave corrected Dall-Kirkham Astrograph and SBIG Universal camera (equipment I can only dream about). 15 x 300s Ha Bin 1x1 14 x 300s Oiii Bin 1x1 Processed in PixInsight. This colour was achieved using the following combinations in Pixelmath; R channel - 100% Ha G channel - 50% Ha + 50% Oiii B channel - 100% Oiii Thank you for checking in. John
  14. I used to use APT but moved over to Sequence Generator Pro. I see mentioned here that you need to input your focal length for your scope which is correct but I want to clarify a point. It should be your focal length taking into account any reducer/flattener in your image train. So my scope has a f/l of 710mm and a 0.8 x reducer. So the focal length I should record is 710*0.8=568mm. If your focal length is recorded incorrectly it will never platesolve. Select the ‘Tools’ tab and at the bottom you will see a box called object calculator. Here you can record your focal length, camera pixel size and sensor size all of which will be needed to ensure platesolving can work. Hope that helps.
  15. Thank you to everyone involved in the project. M 16 is one of my fav targets but I would struggle to capture it from my location. Off to have a play with the data. Cheers John
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