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About Astro-Geek

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    Star Forming

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    Norfolk, UK
  1. Thanks Lee, I'll certainly give that a read. I do much prefer to use non-manufacturer dependent software like Sharpcap. The time spent learning how to use it is then not wasted if one upgrades their camera to another make.
  2. After further scouring around the Internet, I'm going to try to answer my own question, The main attraction of the Infinity software to me was the ability to stack frames in live view, as I'm still a newcomer to DSO photography. The ability to actually see dim ones gradually appear on the computer screen during the actual viewing session would be great for finding them and gaining experience, (so I believe)... I now find that the newer releases of Sharpcap also enable live stacking, with almost any make of camera, including my ASI294 colour. I know it's not cooled, but it has a very high resolution and large chip size, and is supposed to be not bad for noise. I'm pretty sure the other main feature I cannot recreate outside of the Infinity software is the whole session recording option, for later replay, and subsequent further stacking attempts, due to the video storage format being accessible to stacking software, frame by frame full res. Again, if any of my deductions are in error, please feel free to shoot me down in flames, all comments gratefully received....
  3. It's definitely put me off buying anything made by them with electronics in it, but I'm still a satisfied user of their optics. I was so disgusted with that CG5's "advanced" electronics, I'd have been tempted into a one-man boycott of everything Celestron, but I'm still well pleased with my C8 SCT, (as it's completely devoid of anything electronic that could fail...
  4. ...ah... A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then I'm afraid. I was so disgruntled with Celestron over their abandoning supplying spares to DIY'ers, (let alone the incredible cost), that I cut my losses and sold the CG5 at a loss, honestly describing it as parts only. I finally took the plunge and bought a used Skywatcher EQ5 goto. It has worked flawlessly (thank God), and works happily through its own hardware/software interface and also eqmod with another (cheap) cable. I mostly use it with Stellarium, a really nice combination, and my runaway slews are a distant memory now......
  5. I've tried to make the title of my question thread here as specific as possible, (hopefully ! ) I've been intrigued by YouTube videos of the Atik Infinity live video cam and software. The users seem really pleased with the functionality and ease of use, (especially for beginners), but I'm mindful of it now being a few years old, and how fast the technology gets outdated and hardware increases rapidly in spec with the same or even reducing prices. I already possess a ZWO asi294 non-pro (uncooled) colour camera with a much higher resolution and physical chip size and USB 3 connection. I've tinkered with it in Sharpcap and I can get a lot of the Infinity functionality in live-view, (exposure, gain etc). I think I'm right though, in saying that the Infinity hardware/software has some other attractive functions, like recording the whole session for later replay and further adjustment of the night's viewing, even to the extent that the recorded material can be later processed by other stacking software. For instance, I liked the ability to stack frames in real-time, and see the background noise diminish on the pseudo stills. I realise that the res and chip size of the Infinity isn't a patch on my asi294, and that both are non-cooled so I still wouldn't be in the premier league of DSO imaging with mono, RGB filters, and set point cooling, but I'm wondering if the ability to sometimes sit comfortably at my HD monitor and see objects too dim to see by eye, but still in real time is worth giving one a go ? Or..... is there any other non-hardware specific software that gives the Infinity's live view stacking with newer, faster and higher res cooled cameras ?
  6. A good point Alan, now that it has become more of a DIY thread... I've added the appropriate prefix to the title.......
  7. Sorry IMD, I thought the chances of swapping my pods for plain panels was pretty slim after no takers on here, so I persevered and modified my decking slightly to accommodate all three of the side pods, (and they were green anyway, not white I'm afraid.) I'm glad I did, because Carole was quite right, the storage space they give is almost essential. Although I've only just set mine up, I'd say they're definitely more prone to condensation, if they're the basic unlined ones, like mine. The single HDPE skin, though very tough and fairly thick (about 8mm), dripped with condensation from the inside of the top sloping section. I understand that they also allow a lot of UV light through on sunny days too. However, that's very easy and cheap to cure, simply by lining them with ally skinned bubblewrap insulation. I used a 10 metre by 1.2 metre roll of triple wall bought from Amazon for £39, and stapled it on with stainless steel staples, (short 1/4 inch ones, to avoid creating holes on the outside). The whole idea came from the Skyshed Forum, which is full of tips and photos on them. It's completely stopped the condensation and I'm quite sure it will also block any UV light penetrating in the Summer. I haven't taken a photo of my lined pods yet, but I'll post it on this thread asap. It'll also show how I've filled the three PODs, one with my sliding PC workstation, one with a pedestal filing cabinet for my small accessories, and shelves in the third, for my flight cases with the OTAs in them. ps...... It's just occurred to me that I'll have to change my Avatar from the POD image a grabbed from Google, when it was just a pipe dream, to a picture of my own one...
  8. Thanks for the toolchest suggestions, very neat, as you say. Before I bought my Skypod, I used something similar for my eyepieces, a flight case with drawers. (picture attached) Now that they will be kept in the Pod though, I wanted something a little less "grab and go" . The thought of a casual "shed" type opportunist burglar taking off with my entire collection of eyepieces and diagonals was quite a concern. (call me paranoid...) I thought a small filing cabinet would be less attractive to carry off than a tool chest, being much more bulky and heavy. I was fortunate to pick up cheaply secondhand a good quality metal Bisley pedestal unit with 4 drawers, three of them being an ideal depth for astro bits and pieces....
  9. I'll probably have one of those in there as well, for things like leads and dew heaters etc..
  10. Thanks for the prompt reply Pete. I'd certainly prefer metal to wood anyway, I must admit. I can appreciate your thoughts on most domestic Burglars not realising that many (small) eyepieces are worth a great deal more than a lot of (large) expensive looking OTAs. I'm therefore avoiding keeping a nice posh case in there loaded with a collection of eyepieces that would be so easy to "grab and go"...
  11. At last I have my permanent observatory, (the Pod in my Avatar is no longer wishful thinking ). I'm aiming to get a pedestal type drawer unit to store my eyepieces and other bits and pieces in and I wondered what experience people have had with Wood versus Metal as regards condensation ? I would line the drawers carefully with closed cell foam and dividers and the Pod has good ventilation around the dome as standard. I'd prefer metal for security (it would be locked), but could revert to a wooden pedestal if people's experiences proved them condensation-prone.
  12. I scoured ebay for a used flight case that would fit my C8. I found someone selling old plate camera flight cases that were a perfect fit after the removal of an internal partition. (They still seem to crop up occasionally). I made a padded plywood cradle to support the C8's OTA and re-lined the whole thing with 8mm thick black foam cut from an exercise mat. The whole thing cost just under £40.......
  13. Binoviewers are clearly a Marmite subject on here ! I've had two pairs and can only echo most of the comments so far. It depends so much on each individual's eyesight and it's crucial that they are well collimated and that the interpupillary adjustment is set perfectly, not just "ok". If either of these are the slightest bit off, then the brain starts to compensate for them, re-aligning the two images, resulting in eyestrain and headaches. It's bad enough with daytime terrestrial viewing, but nighttime stars and planets are much more reluctant to fuse back together in one's brain. Whenever I look through any Bins I always draw my eyes back from the eyepieces to separate the images and see if any horizontal objects are aligned vertically. It's surprising how often they're not, even with brand new pairs. I've had two pairs of Binoviewers, my first were Astro BC&F and my current ones are BST Starguiders, (apparently the same as Acturus). The BC&F were fine, but the nose piece had no provision for a short integrated Barlow, so I had to use a conventional Barlow, which extended them out quite a long way, hanging of the scope's focuser. The Starguiders came with a plain nosepiece and two interchangeable integrated Barlows, which enable infinity focus on any of my scopes without increasing the physical length. They also have self-centering eyepiece clamps, rather than thumbscrews, which also helps to retain collimation. I also have a pair of Revelation 20x88t right angle prism binoculars which have a screw adjustment IPD control which enables them to be set perfectly.
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