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Space Oddities

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Everything posted by Space Oddities

  1. I was wondering if I could use my Fujifilm X100V for digiscoping. It's a lovely camera but the objective can't be removed. The front has 49mm threads though, so with a simple 49-43mm adapter, I was able to thread it to my Baader 8-24mm zoom eyepiece. I tried it yesterday and it seemed to work fine, although there is strong field curvature and the eyepiece's narrow FOV shows up on the photos at 24mm. It gets better at 16mm and 12mm. At 8mm it is unusable, a white spot is visible at the center. For this setup, I used the following: X100V > 49mm extension (from my lens hood) > 49mm to 43mm step down ring > Baader 8-24mm zoom eyepiece > diagonal > telescope I was able to get this photo of the Moon, with a Takahashi FC-76 and 2x Barlow
  2. You can't go wrong with one of these! They attach to the front of the lens. They're quite fragile; but cheap and easy to replace if you damage the foil. That's the only way you should consider using a solar filter, I don't think drop-in filters are an option for solar. Safety first!
  3. First light yesterday evening for my Svbony zoom, which I received a few days ago. I only looked at the Moon early in the evening. I agree with everything people say about this eyepiece: it's really good! The views were amazing with my Tak FC-76DCU. Sadly Jupiter was very low on the horizon and not visible from my rooftop. I did try through the toilets window, but that wasn't easy I also agree with the minor annoyances, eye relieve at 3mm and the stiffness of the ring. But for 99€, that eyepiece is a bargain and definitely a keeper. I can't wait to try it out on planets once they're back into view! Here is a pic I grabbed (with a Nagler, so that's just for context!)
  4. You refuse to accept the logical explanations above, because you obviously already made up your mind that something is not right in this video. You now have a bias that makes you discard any explanation that doesn't goes your way. Have you even considered that the wind can change speed and clouds can go slower or faster? Or that clouds have different altitude and lower clouds appear to move faster due to the parallax effect?
  5. Postman delivered these 2 little gems, to go with my Tak FC-76DCU. Clouds weren't included so I might be able to test these tonight!
  6. Postman delivered this little guy, courtesy of a french gentleman who had no use for it anymore. Sadly, this didn't dissipate the clouds we've had for what feels like a century now So I havent been able to properly test it. It's basically a stripped down AZ-GTi, with only one function : tracking the sun. It seems very easy to use, just turn it on and it will find and track our star for you. No more messing up with the Synscan app, Wifi madness and everything. It even came with 8 AA batteries, which is perfect for quick grab and go. Can't wait to try it with my Daystar Quark !
  7. I got a small backpack from Lowepro, to carry my newly acquired FC-76DCU. It's a tight fit, but it fits! The backpack is really nice and light, but quite rigid like a shell, and seems to offer a good protection. I could fit the two halves of the scope, as well as my Sightron Alt-Az mount and its handles. There's still some room left for a finder, a few eyepieces, tools, a book or tablet, cables, etc. Oh and the rings and dovetail bar that I forgot to put in here! The tripod can be attached to the side, but that depends on the tripod obviously... Overall I am happy with my purchase. 139€ is a fair price to be able to bring this beautiful scope to remote places and keep it protected!
  8. Thanks Jeremy, it seems to be very good indeed. A bit over my budget though, so I settled on the Lowepro instead - which seems very similar in size. I'll pick it up tomorrow!
  9. Nice setup! That's what I had in mind. What kind of back pack are you using? I was thinking about this one, I've had a few backpacks from Lowepro and they're great: Flipside Backpack 300 AW III, Black - LP37350-PWW | Lowepro Global
  10. Postman delivered quite a few packages today! I was looking for a telescope and mount that can fit in a backpack or small luggage. Looks like I have been hit with Takitis... So happy with my purchase. This is my first Takahashi telescope, and it is a beauty. The craftsmanship is simply amazing, and the first views of distant trees suggest how sharp these lenses are. I followed a seagull in flight, it was a beautiful sight! I chose this telescope (FC-76DCU) because of its weight (1.9kg !!) and the fact it can be split in half for transport. Very convenient. Likewise, I was looking for a good mount that doesn't take much space. My AZ-5 is fine but rather big and heavy. So I went for this Sightron Japan Zero mount, which is also very well built. I tried mounting my ST120 and it handled it perfectly, with minimum vibrations. I love the fact that this mount can be very easily folded down to a small package. And yet, it can take 7kg of payload. It has multiple configurations, the different parts can be placed and oriented in many ways depending on your needs. A very smart design! The mount itself is very smooth and can be tightened at different levels, so it can be used like a Dobson mount. I also added flexible knobs and a better saddle. Of course, all of this came with a storm... I guess first light won't come for another week or so!
  11. The picture is a bit misleading, the tube is actually grey. It's the Evolution version.
  12. Postman delivered this beauty today! Ordered on Thursday, it took less than 2 days to arrive from Germany to France. That was fast! I'll finally be able to image small galaxies. It's a whole new territory for me, I guess I'm in for a lot of head scratching and problems I never faced, but I'm very excited to put this to test! It came with a nice Losmandy dovetail bar, but, for the life of me, I can't figure out how this beast can hang off-balance being secured by only 3 M4 or M5 screws... they seem way to frail to hold the telescope. I need to investigate that!
  13. Looks like I'm the only one with a 80PHQ out there! Just a few information, for anyone having the same issues as I did. I never liked the default handle the scope came with: it's not comfortable to use, it looks very thin, and the slit only accepts M6 screws. For some reason it lacks maybe half a millimeter and 1/4" screws do not fit, so you can't use most finder shoes out there (unless you drill a hole in the handle...). Then I saw that Askar sells this finder plate, which is supposed to be the same size (holes 130mm apart). I got a copy of it on Amazon, branded Omegon and 15€ cheaper, but it's the same really. This plate does fit, but you need to be cautious: Since it's flat, there isn't enough clearance for your fingers anymore. You need spacers of some kind The holes aren't really 130mm apart on either the original handle, or the finder plate. There's a half millimeter difference maybe, but enough so, that the 2nd screw cannot be screwed in... For problem #1, I simply got a pair of spacers from PrimaluceLab. This gives enough clearance for your fingers. And unlike the picture on the product page, they do have a central hole! For problem #2, you simply have to open the rings and loosen the screws at the bottom of the rings. Then attach the finder plate, put the scope back into the rings and tighten everything again. Everything will self align. I also got another pair of those PrimaluceLab spacers to put at the bottom of the scope and give more clearance for my EAF. The bracket was actually lower than the dovetail bar, which put pressure on the EAF when the scope is on a flat surface... 10mm gives enough clearance. Now I'm happy And yes, the colors are ugly, but luckily you don't see those at night Hope that helps! Here are some more pictures I took with this great scope!
  14. Those photos are very nice Tareq! The good thing is that you can always come back to your older pictures and process them with the currently available tools/plugins. Sometimes I find some older pictures that were put in the "meh" category and were never processed, but after a few months, I realise they're not so bad after all. A good surprise is always a possibility! Indeed, light pollution filters tend to mess things up, sadly. On paper, they seem interesting, but in practice... it's more complicated than it seems. I find that without it, colors are actually easier to process. Sometimes the trick is, with OSC, to split the RGB channels and process them individually, as if you were doing LRGB imaging. Overall you will always need more integration time to match mono, but with NoiseXterminator and such, you probably get 80% there. And matching mono quality goes against the whole point of using a color camera: it's cheaper and it's easier. I'm always a bit torn between the simplicity of the OSC camera, and the clean files mono cameras create. It's hard to chose between those 2, especially now that modern sensors are excellent and good dual narrow band filters are available. In the end I chose both, and I'm glad I did Generally, like most people I guess, I use the OSC when I don't have much time, or if I'm going to a darker site. For more "serious" projects, especially narrowband imaging, I take my time and use the mono setup, across multiple nights. My 2 cents: I think 1 mono and 1 color setup is the sweet spot. Adding more mono cameras will give you more data to play with, but you'll also multiply your potential problems by 2 or 3. You'll need more setup time, so more motivation. You'll spend more money, money you could be spending on a trip to a dark site, or perhaps a nice eyepiece. Decisions, decisions...
  15. Thanks! I have to admit NoiseXTerminator really helped here. And it made me realise that short exposures are actually viable in 2024, even with average editing skills. I'm still struggling, but each night is a valuable lesson!
  16. I have to agree with Elp. If you can't achieve anything in 2 or 3 hours, I don't think 8 or 20 hours will bring you anything more, and I can't imagine what 4 setups running at once would require in terms of logistics... Just to give you a humble example of what a highly impatient astrophotographer, who is still learning PixInsight, using average equipment from a Bortle 7/8 zone can do. This is 1 hour and 15 minutes worth of exposures at f/4.9 in mono/LRGB: https://www.instagram.com/p/CgYswWes-_0/ This is 1 hour and 40 minutes at f/5.5 with an OSC camera and a dual narrowband filter : https://www.instagram.com/p/CkVkxUKsVPO/ This is a whooping 3 hours at f/4.9 in mono/SHO : https://www.instagram.com/p/CflHsI3M0VW/ This is 7.5 hours in 2 nights, so less than 4 hours per night for each panel of the mosaic: https://www.instagram.com/p/CzCKXRvs_ja/ Now, you might argue that adding more time would improve the pictures. Yes it would if you pixel peep, but not much to be honest. For example, here is NGC7000 again but this time in SHO. Also at f/4.9, just cropped in a bit. 13 hours of exposures in total, but I don't find it any better than the LRGB version that has only 1h15 worth of photons: https://www.instagram.com/p/CgdqYRZs8Aj/
  17. Le postier delivered this nice ASI533MM Pro camera this morning. Courtesy of a French gentleman who is sadly stopping the hobby due to health problems. I can't help but feel a bit like a vulture, when someone sells their equipment due to health issues... At least the camera will be put to good use. I wasn't planning on getting this camera yet, but the seller was offering a fair price, and I figured I could sell my ASI1600MM for the same price. So it's more of a swap, really. Somehow I still consider this an upgrade over the venerable ASI1600MM. The sensor is slightly smaller and square, but with a much better tech inside: no amp glow, better sensitivity, better dynamic range... And less vignette with my 1.25" filters. And easier rotations since it's a square sensor. Oh and farewell, microlensing effect! You won't be missed!
  18. Looks like a nice mount! But for the life of me, why do they keep selling these saddles that will drill holes in all your dovetails? It's 2023, you can't do that anymore!
  19. Something that comes to mind - although I have no experience in running an observatory - if you use a cloud storage, you would have each file uploaded as it becomes available. Each file should take a few seconds to upload, and the next one would be available a few minutes later, depending on how long your lights are. So you wouldn't monopolise the whole bandwidth for hours. Besides, I believe most cloud storage apps have a bandwidth limitation setting for upload and download. This could be useful if you're not in a hurry, and want to have the files uploaded in the background, without impacting the bandwidth too much. You can see the bandwidth using Fast.com or Speedtest.net, and opt for a fraction of the maximum available bandwidth. Are they charging you with the electricity you use? A more powerful PC would also be consuming more power, so that might be worth considering as well in the equation!
  20. Out of curiosity, why do you want to transfer only the master files? Do you have a bandwidth limitation at the remote site? I was under the impression that most people were using a service like Google Drive or similar, to synchronise the subs in real time to their cloud, and then sync/download everything to their main PC for processing. This way, they don't need a powerful PC at the remote site.
  21. You skip UK's VAT indeed, but you pay your country's VAT plus a custom fee. But sometimes that's actually cheaper than some EU suppliers. I recently got a Daystar Quark from FLO and it was cheaper than EU suppliers. And in stock! Sadly the package contained clouds... If you're in EU and purchase from another EU country, you pay the VAT of the shop's country. So purchasing from Italy to a German shop, and you get a 3% 'rebate' Here are a few reliable suppliers I purchased from: Teleskop Express and Astroshop from Germany, Teleskop Austria. You also have Tecnosky and Artesky in Italy. In France I've had a great experience with Pierro Astro, Loisirs Plaisirs (good prices !) and La Clef des Etoiles.
  22. Lovely setup! I have received my own SkyTee a few Moons ago as well and I like it so far. It's been carrying my 8" Cassegrain, but found that it was slightly wobbly at this magnification. I also had to upgrade the saddle to a dual Losmandy/Vixen one, which is a nice upgrade IMO. I like the fact you can mount 3 scopes on it. I purchased a little saddle you can mount to the counterweight bar. It looks like an anti aircraft cannon! But pretty cool for a star party
  23. I find it hard to recommend any equipment without knowing a few important things that, in my own experience, can be limiting factors or bring a lot of frustration in this wonderful hobby. I would tend to go with the setup that brings the less frustration for a beginner. One of these factors is portability. Does he need a nomad setup, to be able to go to dark sites easily? Or is it a more sedentary setup for his backyard? Traditional mounts can be quite heavy, someone with back problems might not want to drag such setup outside and might get discouraged after some time. Or use it less often, which means learn more slowly, and feel he's not making any progress. A small refractor on a small mount is more forgiving for a beginner. You're less impacted by polar alignment inaccuracies, periodic error, etc. And at 300-400mm, you have access to some nice targets like, M31, M42, NGC7000, the Heart/Soul... The Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer GTi is a great little mount for this, and if he ever upgrade to a beefier setup, he can always keep the mount as a secondary or portable rig. You can't always bring an HEQ5 and Newtonian telescope with you! A Newtonian is a formidable tool, and I love my 130PDS, but he'd need to get into collimation at some point, which means yet another thing to learn in the whole AP process, as well as some extra accessories. Collimation is not particularly difficult, but it's always good to know before! And you need a beefier mount, too, which is more future-proof... As for the camera, a DSLR or mirrorless camera would be my recommendation. It's simple to use, there are a billion tutorials online on how to use them for astro. And the used market is full with these camera. Websites like MPB.com have a lot of choice, and you know what you're buying. If he wants to upgrade at some point or finds that AP isn't for him, he can always sell it back and get most of what he paid for initially. A dedicated astro camera is nice, but you need a laptop, install software, drivers, learn how to use them... That's a lot of things you add on top of everything else you have to learn. I wouldn't even bother until he fills he's more confident and wants to continue. Hope that helps!
  24. I have heard only good things about this zoom EP. Would be interested to have your opinion on this!
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