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About Hallingskies

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    Star Forming

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    Rochester, Kent, UK
  1. Suits an EQ6 tripod or equivalent. There is some scope (no pun intended) for adjustment, maybe out to 120 cm leg span. I used to keep my astro-imaging set-up permanently on it and just wheeled it all out of my garage, absolutely ideal. Nice big pneumatic tyres smooth the bumps out. Trolley weighs about 20 kg so collection would be best. £80, cash on collection.
  2. We actually didn't feel too badly disposed towards Thanet's finest at the time, despite their initial brusque approach. They have a tough job and had probably had a bad shift. After a little bit of explaining (10 kids, a few parents and a teacher in tow gives you quite a good alibi - as well as back-up) they backed off and were actually quite interested in the constellation tour I was doing! We were about five miles from Manston airport and a few weeks or so after 9/11 so sensitivities were probably quite high, but I still think it's best not to use laser pointers in public even if there are no planes about. Nut jobs have given them a bad name, to the point where anyone seen using one is automatically assumed to be causing mischief, at least on this side of the pond. PS: Just noticed you are Texas-based, Louis. There is a world of difference between US and UK policing styles, I think, sorry for any misunderstanding!
  3. Sorry mate, but I was in a field with a teacher friend and some of his kids when a couple of HM constabulary rocked up, aggressively demanded to know what I thought I was doing and tried to insist I hand over the pointer I was using. I said nothing about them seeing it - I assume someone else saw us and phoned them. Spin on your own axis if you like, just sharing my experience....
  4. From personal experience I would not use a laser pointer. The use of laser pointers in the UK is not illegal but you will find that your local police will just assume that you are a moron and will give you a hard time if you are seen. And given that the majority of the Great English Public do seem to be pretty moronic these days, who can blame them?
  5. +1 for Pegasus hub. Not cheap by any means but reduces cables off mount to one data and one power. Dew heater and focusser control as well. Have had one for a year and don’t know how I managed without it. Actually, that last bit’s not true. I had a rats nest that kept getting snagged or had cables disconnecting every time I moved the mount. So definitely worth thinking about the Pegasus or equivalent if you have the budget. Oh, my mount is an NEQ6 by the way. I would also be rather jealous of your CEM60 (super bit of kit - and I’m sure the earlier “bragging” comment was in jest, which is how I read it, anyway) but I’ve just picked up an Avalon Linear second-hand....
  6. Looks really good, though I went the whole hog and got the Pegasus ultimate hub that looks after the USBs and focus control as well. Touch wood, it’s all worked very well so far... Just make sure you keep the power leads, particularly the dew heaters, away from the data cables as far as you can. I did suffer from what seemed to be a bit of interference pick-up on my camera (noise came and went with the dew heater cutting in and out on the auto-control provided by the hub. Problem solved by moving and shortening dew heater lead).
  7. I use an old version of Paint Shop (v7) but if it helps anyone, I've made a few notes on the "workflow" I used for this image here...
  8. The only time I have ever seen Zodiacal light was in NZ. Wonder if that natural sky glow is what’s showing up here?
  9. Unfortunately I use a very old (v7) version of PSP that bears little comparison to the new one. One day I will have to get to grips with it. I believe many of the tools in PSP are similar to those in Adobe however, so I would point you at Steve Richards’s “Black Art” book available from FLO. In terms of “workflow” my own limited experience suggests every target is different: tricks that work for some don’t work for others because of differences in star density, contrast and colour. I normally just do stuff until I get a result I like. I keep telling myself I should write things down as l often get a good result and then can’t replicate it!
  10. Haze = noise, no doubt. I even posted a “show us your subs” thread because of a run of really noisy subs, which then magically cleared in our recent run of clear skies. I thought I had a dodgy camera, but it just turned out to be dodgy skies.
  11. Olly: Thanks for the suggestions, which were spot on. They were rather obvious errors - I think I had been looking at the screen for too long! I have now fixed the weird blobby corners (you were right - I had used the "clarify" tool in PSP on the Ha layer, which was a bit of a sledgehammer for upping the contrast. It didn't actually need it as all it did really was blow the corners out...) and added a slight Guassian blur to the stars to soften them up. It definitely all looks better for it. Rather than clutter the forum with iterations of the same thing, I've just updated the image I posted in my blog if you (or anyone else) are interested.
  12. Olly: thanks - you are right, the central stars are a bit hard now I look at them. Nothing a bit of selective gaussian blur can’t fix. See what you mean about the corners, think there may be something in the RGB stack. Will have another play. I think one lesson I am learning is that you shouldn’t spend too much time working on the same image - you start not seeing your own self-inflicted artifacts after a while. Fresh eyes really help. My crummy suburban skies (and achromatic optics) should really limit me to narrowband but I’ve never been comfortable with the associated colour pallets - they seem so artificial. Nonsense, of course, because all astro colours are fake, really, but I keep coming back to HaRGB (with a bit of Olll thrown in occasionally) because nebulae “look right” in them, to me, anyway. Still, if B****t drives me abroad then maybe it’ll be to somewhere with good skies...
  13. Oh right, thanks. I’m self-taught as no-one has ever written anything up for PSP (maybe I should) but I normally adjust my background in each channel to about the same neutral level (15:15:15) using curves - so that sounds like same thing! I found it took out the weird green blobs I used to get in dark backgrounds. Old versions of photoshop are like hen’s teeth (and renting it is a rip-off) and I care not for the jargon that goes with PI. Over the years I’ve found PSP can do most things that Steve Richards now spells out in his excellent book. I wonder who else is out there using PSP?
  14. Sorry, I don't use Pixinsight, like I said. I kno knothing about zis "background extraction". Sounds painful...
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