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    Motor Sport, Predator Angling, Scuba and Amateur Radio - Oh, and trying to find fuzzy things in the night sky!
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  1. Truly inspirational work by all three of the top entries. Well done James on your winning image.
  2. Just under two weeks and I'll be in Fuerteventura for seven nights, I'm really looking forward to taking my camera with me to try and shoot the Milky Way and some widefield scenes whilst there. My equipment - Nikon D 7000, Tokina 11-16 AT-X Pro f2.8, stopped back to f3.5 to try and help with coma and a Manfrotto 755XB tripod that would support a small bungalow. I'm lucky to know the Island quite well and have some targets in mind already, there is one piece of the jigsaw that doesn't quite fit and I'd really appreciate your help and comments on it. My plan is to shoot multiple exposures focused on the sky/stars, stack them and then layer mask with some foreground exposures stacked too. I have seen a way to do this in Nebulosity in the video below from Dylan O'Donnell, it looks like you can click on a star in Nebulosity and use that as an anchor point, but it has thrown a couple of questions into my head. 1) If I shoot four images at 28 seconds each at 11mm (using the 500 rule with crop-sensor adjustment of 1.5 applied 11x1.5 =16.5, 500/16.5= 30.30 rec) to allow some headroom, won't the sky have moved significantly enough to cause the software issues in stacking the view accurately? 2) The moon will be waning and go down below the horizon at around 22:49 but will be a 33% waxing crescent, will this affect my chances of shooting the Milky Way? Thanks in advance for any help.
  3. Don't do what I did and think that it's a simple upgrade from photography - It's a totally different animal and takes time, patience and some amount of money to get good results. If you are going to buy new, expect to budget (without a camera) at around a £1000/$1200 for a good mount and telescope. STAY AWAY FROM EBAY - until you understand a little. A good way into it is to buy a (good) mount and use your DSLR with a long lens on the mount, once you put a telescope on it, things start getting more and more involved. Do NOT scrimp on the mount, buy once, buy well. As others have said, Making Every Photon Count is a great book, familiarise yourself with your local sky by buying a star chart. Either that or obtain one of the excellent free programs such as Stellarium or Cartes du Ciel. I find a star chart easier to use just sitting there and looking at the stars. As a newcomer myself, I'd recommend you look at a refractor to start off with, they are easy to use and take very little maintenance - be wary of buying an inexpensive achromat version though, as you will suffer from Chromatic Aberration with a lot of them. The size of the scope and auxiliary equipment you will eventually use all depend on the mount you select. The HEQ5 is (as stated) the advised entry level mount, you can get away with an EQ5, but you can only expect so much as the mount has a lower payload. Why do you need a good mount over a telescope to begin with? Depends how well you want to track the object you are imaging in the sky. It is all down to cost and what you want from your images. If you want a relatively inexpensive way into the hobby that will get you up and running - and give you OK sort of images, search EAA (Electronically Assisted Astronomy) this is a little bit easier to get to grips with as you can use an Alt-Az mount at first to get you going. The other mounts mentioned are GEM (German Equatorial Mount) and your images will not rotate as much with them. Long-winded post, but I really hope it is useful, this forum and the majority of its members are brilliant, they have helped me immensely and I 'm sure they will help you too.
  4. THIS!!! Great to read @vlaiv how do you explain to a newcomer about the RF of light and what is captured in camera? But for me as a very, very simple beginner, what would be a simple narrowband system?
  5. Folks, excuse my complete noobiness... Just what is Narrowband imaging?
  6. Really looking forward to going back to Corralejo in January 2019, this time I will be armed with my Nikon D7000, a Tokina 11-16 f2.8 and a 200 mm Tamron. Do any SGL members have any experience of the Island and structures to image around, please? I know El Cotillo and Toston very well, but I'm looking for more remote sites with abandoned houses/features etc to capture from. We'll have a hire car whilst there so I'm hopeful to do at least two nights out of the seven.
  7. Thanks for the replies and advice folks, @stash_old I don't know if my laptop will be fast enough for Astro Toaster, only one way to find out - if and when the beeping clouds shift! @Howie_Oz wow, great set of images, if I can achieve half that quality, I'll be made up.
  8. Well, that was another interesting night! Was it a success? In some ways, yes it was. I managed to get rid of the little seagulls that I now realise were down to the temporary EQ3-2 Tripod I was using. I'd mounted everything up in daylight and got the new EQDir cable I had purchased fired up, a simple com port change was all it needed and I was direct to mount. Polar alignment was a two-stage thing, firstly, ball park with the Polemaster and then onto Sharpcap for a final tweak, the QHY camera DID NOT!!!! Want to play at first and left me scratching my head. I'd put a USB extension cable on to relieve some cable pull and it really wasn't happy. After removing the extension it was all sweetness and light, reported PA error on Sharpcap was 20 seconds, very happy with that as the PA error when I started was 5 minutes 50 seconds with Polemaster. Being close to Polaris, I tried to set that as my first sync star in Stellarium, this threw a hissy fit and wouldn't accept the co-ordinates and crashed on sync. I swung over to Capella and lined that up, plate solved for confirmation in APT and tried to sync, again, Stellarium crashed. Tried again and this time it worked, for now. I wanted to to attempt my first EAA in that area and slewed to Pleiades, this synced first time after a very short plate solve and I thought things were looking up. As a confirmation I slewed back to Capella and the result was way off, I had to find the star with my finderscope and then re-sync, it just wouldn't have my CTRL+3 commands, I platesolved in APT and tried to sync in that, it came up as success but something wasn't right as every time I slewed, the system wasn't storing co-ordinates - except for Pleiades. I set Sharpcap running and got some data from 6 second exposures that live-stacked in front of me, a sort of result. Slewing to the Double Cluster nearby, Stellarium reported it was on target and by this time I was getting cold and grumpy so started a new live stack sequence going. The following images are what appeared, after sending them through astrometry.net it seems I was a way off, but these are a stack of 20 images of 27 seconds exposures which seem to have come out ok, I hadn't properly focused the camera as all the other faffing about had taken my eye away from that. I didn't capture anything whizz-bang super duper, but I have now seen my first 9th and 10th magnitude stars from my red-zone polluted back garden. The wife came out and shook her head in dismay as I huddled over the laptop screen, dew forming and me muttering that I couldn't feel my feet, it was time to call it a night and have a look what my first, fraught EAA session had given me. Has it put me off? No. Has it made me want to do more? Yes. I'll be really glad when I get the pier sorted, it's being welded together shortly and I will have to lay the concrete slab for it soon. I can't wait to have a permanently mounted system that I can place a scope on and go
  9. It's just what I intend to do, Neil! I'm on the Sharpcap Pro License and will be aligning before I try anything. Short session planned for tonight, will post what did/didn't work out along with the images, hopefully. Kev
  10. Martin. Thanks for the reply and info, tomorrow is being shown as relatively clear up until midnight, fingers crossed.
  11. I agree with you Neil. However, with the very limited time I have at the moment and until I have a permanent mount outside, EAA may well be just what I want to do.
  12. Cheers all.. The 178 has been my camera on my previous scope, a WO ZenithStar 71. When funds allow then I'll buy a more suitable camera, but for now! I could always put my DSLR on the setup, but then I would be at or around the mount's weight limit. Let's see. PS, I have Steve's two books and re-read them regularly, still loads to learn. Kev
  13. Hi, Louise. I think I've been struggling with the mass of information this extremely technical hobby requires, to be honest. That and the cloudy nights and set-up / take-down etc etc... I'm not giving up as I am just about to build a pier to allow me to be ready within five minutes or so, that will help I'm sure. I don't have a cooled camera as of yet, that is down the list after saving for an EQ6R, one thing this hobby and indeed, this forum, has taught me is that to get good results you need to invest a fairly sizeable chunk of money. The coma corrector will have to wait for now as it will divert funds from the EQ6R although I do understand how necessary they are with the 130 PDS. My difficulties with DSO are integration time from a Bortle 8 site and actually getting good calibration frames, the flats are especially difficult not having a temperature set point for now. Kev
  14. Good evening, @vlaiv I've just been reading one of your replies to a post in the forum, this looks very interesting indeed. Kev
  15. Hello. I've been trying, rather unsuccessfully, to image various DSO and globulars. I came across the Video Astronomy section of SGL by accident and it piqued my interest. My set-up is as follows, tuned EQ5, SW 130PDS and ASI 178 MC camera, guided by a SW 50mm Guide Scope and QHY 5 Lii C. I have SharpCap Pro, APT and all the usual suspects for stacking/processing Would my setup be suitable for Video Astronomy/EAA (is that a correct term?)? I don't want to capture APOD's but I would like to view (and save the images) for my own use and enjoyment. Thanks in advance for any help. Kev
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