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About JBracegirdle

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    Whitehaven, Cumbria, UK
  1. I have a similar setup with a similar mount, the AZ GTe in EQ mode with a wedge and counterweight. I started off using the ZWO camera to do a static polar alignment with SharpCap's polar alignment feature. Then I aligned 3 alignment stars using Synscan Pro on a laptop connected my Wifi to the mount and USB to the camera. I used the reticule feature in SharpCap to get them in the centre. Then I use the latest version of Stellarium with ASCOM support to move around the sky. I've not yet managed to get it that accurace, it's accurate enough to get targets in the frame, and tracks well for live stacking, but not enough to get them totally in the centre so I've got something wrong. I'm not worried about backlash, as I'm sure Synscan Pro takes care of that, but I am worried about other mechanical issues, my mount is the AZ GTe so doesn't have clutches to tighten up, and I'm using the Star Adventurer wedge so that is probably over it's weight limit, the Sky Watcher tripod has a bubble level on it but so does the AZ GTe mount and they don't agree. It's hard for me to balance the AZ GTe mount as it doesn't have clutches, and I'm not sure where to measure the zero points for RA and Dec so all that is probably putting me off more than my alignment. I think I will upgrade to the AZ GTi at some point. It seems to be working well enough, and I'm going to try to make it better as I learn more. I tried Synscan Pro's align on sync command with SharpCap and it didn't really work as I expected. I think it will work if you look at the 3 stars Synscan Pro want to align to and do a plate solve near them. I'll try that on the next clear night. I did try getting it working with EQMod. I can connect EQMod to the scope over a Wifi virtual serial port that seems to get a good connection, and be able to send and receive commands but something is well off - probably the gear ratios, as the mount crashed into the central tripod post when commanded to move just a few degrees off celestial North. EQMod will support easier alignment by plate solving. Hopefully EQMod will be updated to automatically detect this mount soon, as the AZ GTi and EQMod combination should be portable, easy to use, and accurate.
  2. I think the difference between what a camera and our eyes can pick up in low light is astounding. I've found the EEVA/EEA approach to astronomy really helpful. I agree that seeing what is visible with eyes was disappointing at first, but live stacking my first image made up for it. I'm happy to compare my images taken with 10 second exposures over 5 minutes to the spectacular research grade images. I can admire the skill and dedication of others and enjoy my own learning. I happy that I've spend a tiny fraction of the time and cost of research grade images, and I can still glimpse what the eye can't see. When it's cloudy I can use the time to stack my images more carefully, and submit them to Astrometry.net to see if there is anything else in the image I didn't spot. http://nova.astrometry.net/user_images/2617900 I think after 24 months I get more enthusiastic about astronomy all the time. The good news is that Cannon cameras are really will supported for astrophotography, so you should be able find people with the same gear and see what they have done.
  3. Thanks for your comments and encouragement. I'm sorry I posted this in solar observation instead of imaging. I have posted my second attempt here: Could this post be moved to the solar imaging forum?
  4. This is my first solar image taken at home. The first light of my Daystar Scout was taken on a layby as I knew I couldn't see the sun at this time of the year. I had problems with the focus and exposure settings, but when I got home I realised I could see the sun setting out of my bedroom window. This image was taken through my open bedroom window. I'm not sure what the orientation of the image is, as I could not identify any features that are common to my image and the GONG image for the time. The image was taken as clouds were passing, I think some clouds are shown at the bottom of the image.
  5. JBracegirdle

    Solar Images

  6. JBracegirdle

    Lunar Images

  7. There was a short break in the clouds here in Cumbria on Monday and I managed to get my first image on the moon with a mono camera.
  8. Thanks Valiv, Your explanation is great. I did some experiments today with a 1.25" Antares focal reducer and my Orion StarMax 90. I tested it on a road 1km away. It worked really well at 0.65x to 0.43x at 0.35x it got a bit soft round the edges, but I thought still acceptable. I've not uploaded the images as they are the front of people's homes, even though they are on Google Street View. I think your project is a great idea and hopefully will help many beginners.
  9. Your test setup is really interesting, similar to what I'm trying to achieve. I tried eyepiece projection on the moon using my Meade Zoom eyepiece as it already had a T thread, and would allow variable image scale. But I found it only really had one really sweet spot, maybe it was a focus problem but it didn't seem to offer anything over prime photography. I'm wondering why use eyepiece projection?
  10. Happy New Year everyone! I finished last year with the first light on my first solar telescope. I had problems getting the focus and exposure right, and never really got there, but we live and learn. Using the video below I think I found that instead of changing the exposure I should have set the exposure to 10ms and used the gain to see the chromosphere or prominences. I couldn't see the granulation at all during capture and could only see it after processing. I didn't see any prominences, I think due to overexposure. I did take some captures for prominences but it just shows a white disk. I also went to a fell-side road to capture the images to get a clear view of the horizon, it was impromptu for outreach, two groups of people came to see what I was doing. When I got back I noticed that I could see the sun from my to floor, I think that could be a good site with the window open for winter sun and the garden when the sun is higher.I know it's not recommended for night time due to air currents, but during the day they may be less if the inside/outside temperature is closer. Does anyone capture from an open window? I know the sun is quiet the moment, but hopefully as I get better the sun will get more active.
  11. I think your photo looks great, maybe not what you were hoping for but it's better than clouds. I've not seen any hydrogen alpha images that have included a landscape element before.
  12. I use the AZ GTe on the Star Adventurer wedge. It's similar to the AZ GTi but without clutches. I think the wedge works well, but I've not got anything to compare it to. Positioning the wedge in azimuth is smooth, but in altitude I think I'm probably overloading it. However in both directions it's easy to move and align using SharpCap polar alignment. I can get good alignment easily, and excellent alignment with patience.
  13. Hi Everyone, I was thinking of adding a mono camera to my collection. The 174MM seems to be the preferred option for solar, but I don't think it will give me a full disk image with 930 effective focal length, and with a focal reducer will be undersampling. I like the option of the Solar Scout 60 -> Astro Essentials 0.5x 1.25" Focal Reducer -> ZWO 178MM it seems to fit my budget and get the full disk with a good pixel size and ok frame rate. I like that it could also be used on my 90mm Mak for the moon. What do you think? My other thought is the popular ZWO 1600MM that wouldn't need the reducer, but is much more expensive, and doesn't have as high a frame rate. I also like the idea of saving something like the ZWO 1600 for later down the line as it could be used for DSOs, lunar and solar, but I'm not ready to upgrade my mount just yet.
  14. About a year ago I bought a 90mm Mak on a table-top wooden mount (like the Heritage-90 Virtuoso) although mine doesn't track. I really enjoy looking at the moon with it, the red dot finder is really easy to use for the moon and bright targets. I've never used my telescope on a table-top though I put it on a heavy duty photographic tripod and that works well. I have seen some interesting videos about people making their own table for astronomy. I bought a barlow lens with my telescope and it really make viewing easier for me. I tend to use use the 25mm with the barlow for detail rather than the 10mm that came with the scope. I think that's partly because I use glasses. The detail is similar to the videos Vlaiv posted, it's really amazing, and with the moon light pollution isn't a problem as it's really bright. The 90mm Mak telescope has inspired me to buy more kit, especially when I realised a lot of the delights of the night sky are really hard or impossible for the eye to see and are easier to detect with a camera, but for simplicity and relaxation it's hard to beat looking at the moon with my 90mm Mak. I hope you and your daughter have many enjoyable hours with the telescope.
  15. Thanks for your reply. I'm using a Skywatcher AZ GTe instead of an AZ GTi but would have thought it would work the same. It's been working with Synscan Pro in EQ mode for a year. I just thought now that EQMod supports the AZ GTi I may be able to setup without having to do a 3 star alignment and could use just EQMod and plate solving. I've downloaded the beta version of Stellarium and used the built-in ASCOM connection. It's a great new feature. I have my AZ GTe setup in EQ mode on a wedge, with the AZ/EQ firmware version 3.20. I think this setup is still a bit experimental and not tried and tested yet.
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