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Everything posted by JBracegirdle

  1. Thanks for your replies. My mount is connected by WiFi, it's not supported by EQmod and I couldn't find anyone talking about a way to get it to work. I use the ASCOM SynScanMobile driver. It looks like I'm going to have to stick to manual alignment, it works at least.
  2. I've been reading posts about using plate solving for alignment but haven't really got it to work. I was wondering anyone was using plate solving for alignment with SynScan Pro? I have been doing a rough polar alignment with the red dot finder on Polaris, then using SharpCap's Polar Alignment method for accurate polar alignment through my imaging camera. I don't have a guide camera. I can get the SharpCap's Polar Alignment to be "Excellent" with patience (although I sometimes settle for "Good"). When the AZ GTe mount is in polar alignment I have been using 2 star alignment and the cross-hairs in the video image of SharpCap to center the star. Sometime the alignment is so far I out I have to use the red-dot finder to see where the star is as it's not in the 60 by 40 arc seconds of my image frame. I was wondering if I can use plate-solving to do alignment? I have tried solve and sync in SharpCap and it solves but doesn't seem to re-center after the solve. I have ticked the option in the settings and re-started the program. I have tried AstroTortilla's "Capture and Solve" function with the options "sync scope", "re-slew to target", and "repeat until within 0.1 arc minutes" selected. That seems to work after 5 or so plate solving and re-slew cycles, but it doesn't get much closer than 20 arc seconds and takes longer than manual alignment using the image and cross-hairs in SharpCap. Is there a better way to align when using a video/ZWO camera?
  3. All your setups sound interesting, reflectors, refractors, Maks. I agree binoculars are a fantastic way to start. I started with binoculars and they're still my favorite for visual use, as they're so quick and easy. The difference in light grasp between my eyes and binoculars are 51x more thanks to astronomy.tools. Observing the Andromeda galaxy through binoculars was fantastic. I'd never thought of below 1 second images except for the sun, moon and planets. It may be interesting to test different settings one night. I tend to get excited when I can see an object and spend 5 minutes on one and go onto the next before the clouds roll in or my laptop stops working. I've not really worked out why that happens yet it's a Microsoft Surface (maybe dew).
  4. I'm new to astronomy, I got my first telescope in November (StarMax 90mm f/13), I was really happy with the view of the moon and double stars, but disappointed I could see but barely make out nebula (initially the ring nebula). I also tried to take a photo of the moon with my phone but trying to get a stable shot was too difficult, even with a basic smartphone adapter. I did a bit of research, found about about Video Astronomy/Electronically Assisted Astronomy (EAA) and decided I needed a better mount and took the opportunity to get a faster telescope (StarTravel 102 f5/). I really like the Sky-Watcher -102 AZ GTe with the ZWO ASI 224MC. I've only used it for 4 nights as there is so much cloud about but it's allowed me to take images of things my eyeball wouldn't see. Although my setup is below the minimum specification most would consider for imaging and entry level for visual observations I think I've found a setup that seems to work for me. I like that with SharpCap I can get instant results and the day after when it's back to cloudy I can get a bit more out of the images with Deep Sky Stacker and Gimp. I have tried looking through the eyepiece at the Pleiades, that was a pleasure as well. I can see how observing with a big Dobsonian and amazing eyepieces would be great, but many objects seem better with a camera than eyeballs. The Horsehead nebula wasn't found until astrophotography came into being. The photo above was taken on my first night with the setup. The January 2019 issue of Sky at Night Magazine has a review of the Sky-Watcher StarTravel-102 AZ GTe and they give it 4.5 / 5. Combining it with an Explore Scientific UHC filter seems to reduce most of the chromatic aberration and increases contrast relative to the stars, and light pollution. Video Astronomy/EAA seems to offer a great window into both the visual and imaging worlds of astronomy. As First Light Optics say "Your first telescope is arguably the most important because if the views do not amaze and delight, your interest in astronomy will crash and burn on the runway!" I understand cost could be an issue, but if the beginner had a suitable camera Video Astronomy could be as accessible as a Go-To visual setup, and seems more likely to amaze (especially in the skies of a typical house). My question is why is video astronomy not the first suggestion for beginners interested in both visual and imaging?
  5. Wow I'm amazed. I'm new to astronomy, I've been in Cumbria over 12 years (originally from South Manchester as well). I'm still getting to grips with my backyard and telescopes but your photos make me want to investigate wide field and landscape photos. Really inspirational photos.
  6. Wow that's that really helps, the user interface is so helpful and it is much better now I know how to keep the settings. Thanks again for such a great software project.
  7. Thanks to everyone who works on Stellarium it is a fantastic open source project. I was excited for the 0.18.3 release. I have 2 questions about configuration. I was wondering how I can set the default light pollution? Ideally to my landscape file (I really like that I can make one for each observing site), or if not just in the congif.ini file. I have set "light_pollution_luminance = 4.0" but it just ignores that and shows 2. The second question is how do you set it so DSOs are shown by default? I can't see a setting for that in the old wiki. They seem to be off by default.
  8. Thanks for the sub. Did you use any filters and a tracking mount? I'm really new to astronomy. I've only has 2 low cloud nights so far. I'm really looking forward to Orion re-emerging from the clouds. I think it's really awesome what you've taken with a DSLR and prime lens.
  9. Wow that looks fantastic! I only found out about the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex a few weeks ago. Your photo really shows how amazing it is.
  10. Wow I just put it into Stellarium 17:45 at a location that can see the horizon. It looks amazing.
  11. I did a quick search and found HR 8799 has been directly imaged! It looks amazing. The planet's atmospheres have even been observed using spectroscopy. My mind has just been blown! Wikipedia has a list of other directly imaged exoplanets.
  12. Hi Stu, I was surprised how good they came out as well. I have just checked my SharpCap raw FITS for more details to give you. I've updated my astrometry.net album to say they were 15 to 80 sub-frames. As I found 4.4 seconds and 200 gain worked for me on the first night I stuck with it. I've only really had 2 successful nights so far (it's been cloudy other nights) : On 09/12/2018 I captured the Horse-head Nebula with 39 4.4 second sub-frames, and the Flame Nebula with 15 x 4.4 sub-frames. On 12/12/2018 I captured M33 with 80 x 4.4 second sub-frames, NGC7000 with 17 x 4.4 second sub-frames (it won't all fit in my FOV), and NGC 7380 with 36 x 4.4 second sub-frames. As to how I did it, well I'm not really sure I've only been an amateur astrophotographer for 2 observing days. My guess is the F5 of the StarTravel helped as a fairly fast start, the 0.5 x focal reducer brought that down to about F2.5, the ASI224 camera has quite a high quantum efficiency so is sensitive. The UHC filter probably increased contrast, and seems to cut out the wavelengths where chromatic aberration would be worse. The images were also post-processed using Deep Sky Stacker, and the exposure stretched with GIMP. In GIMP I used Colour -> Auto -> White-balance that sometimes stretched it really well, other times I used Colour -> Exposure to get it looking right to me.
  13. Thanks that seems to explain what's happening. I think the ZWO ASCOM driver just produces a RAW output, so that's probably the reason it doesn't work. Considering all the plate solvers that do work and I'm not missing any features I'm happy. I do like ASPS's result viewer, thankfully it works with JPGs and FITS.
  14. Thanks for your perseverance, I think I've gone as far as I can with the simulators and I've gone from just ASPS working with a file to: ShapCap working with the camera. AstroTortilla working with a file or the camera. ASPS still working with a file. All 3 solvers now use the same base Astrometry files, so saving hard disk space. I'm happy with that, there is nothing I can't do with that setup. I'll try a near solve with ASPS when the clouds / storm Deirdre pass by. Thanks again for all your help.
  15. Well if you can't use the camera to solve and it needs a file ASPS is working as expected. But what does the "Click, Solve & Sync" button do if not capture from camera? I have now got AstroTortilla working. It seems as though the Cygwin install file is out of date. I used the latest Cygwin setup-x86.exe and that installed but seemed to break Astrometry. I fixed Astrometry by copying it from the ASPS cope of Astrometry to the C:/Cygwin folder and AstroTortilla works now. SharpCap, ASPS and AstroTortilla are all using the same astrometry files now. SharpCap is working 100% (after setting sigma to 6) - 15 seconds. AstroTortilla works 100% - 19 seconds. ASPS works with a file but won't capture from camera - 25 seconds.
  16. Yes that bit seems to work really well. I used the Index Installation Wizard and the Settings Assistant. Images from file solve fine. I like that you can press "Browse Solved Image" and see the image annotated and the celestial coordinates. It's just the camera connection that seems to be the problem. SharpCap can see the camera and take images in native and ASCOM mode fine.
  17. Thanks for your replies. I have the indexes and I have the focal length (with the focal reducer) from astrometry.net, solving doesn't seem to be the problem. It solves when given an image file, it just produces an error when it tries to capture an image from the camera via ASCOM. What's extra weird is I can't find the the error it produces talked about on the Internet at all. I downloaded the program again, un-installed and re-installed it just in case the files had become corrupt, but it still produces the "Camera array data unsupported" error.
  18. Hi David, I'm new to astronomy in West Cumbria as well - I'm in Whitehaven. I have only been stargazing for a month. I have a Sky-watcher StarTravel 102 on an AZ GTe Wifi mount (EQ mode) and an Orion StarMax 90, so much more modest scopes than yours. My light pollution is probably much worse than Greysouthen especially as I'm in the down centre and a LED street-light shines almost directly on my scope. But I'm happy with the photos my ASI224MC has managed in the short time I've had it.
  19. Good afternoon, I'm still new to astronomy in general, my setup is explained in my previous post. I am trying to get plate solving working. I can get results from Astrometry.net, and I can get All Sky Plate Solver to solve when given an image file, but I am trying to get it to work with my ZWO ASI224MC direct. When I try "Click, Solve & Sync" I get an error "Camera array data unsupported." I have my camera connected with ASCOM as ASI Camera (1). The Image Type options are Raw8, Raw16 and Y8. Raw16 is selected and seems to be the default. I have tried the others and they all produce the same error. I've tried it with and without MonoBin. Binning is set to 1 and Subframe to 100% (50% tried). Filter is blank. I can connect to the camera in SharpCap via ASCOM (although it warns that it prefers native drivers). I've also tried the SharpCap native Plate solver with the astrometrics install from ASPS, it tries to solve takes a while, but can't find a solution. I also tried AstroTortilla, that reads from the camera but just returns "No solution in 0.0s". I've tried a Google search for the ASPS error but it doesn't find anything. I have checked only one application has the ASCOM camera at once. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  20. I thought I'd feedback what I found. The mount swaps from "left handed" to "right handed" when the EQ firmware is loaded. This is great for EQ mode, but means the telescope is upside down in AZ mode. It's not really a problem, the focuser works in either position and the red-dot finder can be viewed from a long distance back to it works fine upside down in EQ mode. I just use it in EQ mode with a Star Adventurer wedge and a counterweight. I've been using it with a ZWO ASI224MC camera with the red-dot finder for initial course alignment and Sysnscan Pro on Windows 10 and StellairumScope for everything after that. I use SharpCap to view the output. With a Windows remote desktop I can leave a laptop outside and view and control from inside with all the lights on full. My First Astrometry Album I'm sorry if I'm reviving an old post, but I've been waiting for the clouds to clear for testing and learning.
  21. Thanks for your replies. I think the problem was my starting positions. I thought the start position for the AZ mode with the Dual AZ/EQ firmware would be the same as the standard firmware but it doesn't seem to be. I also thought CNP was 0 RA / 0 Dec but I found out it's 90 Dec.? ops, that explained EQ mode. Thanks for your help, hopefully I'll get better as I learn.
  22. I'm new to the forum and astronomy in general. I have just bought a Sky-Watcher StarTravel-102 AZ GTe. After some help from FLO I'm all set up and ready for the rain/clouds to pass. I also have an Orion StarMax 90 on a table-top/tripod mount and have done some observing with that. I really like observing the moon with my little Mak, but thought adding tracking would help a lot as trying to keep Mars in view was tricky. I bought the Sky-Watcher StarTravel-102 AZ GTe as it seems to cost not much more than the Sky-Watcher AZ GTe mount. The telescope seems to complement my little Mak and they're both fairly cheap as starter scopes. I'm sorry if the introduction was a bit long but I thought it may be useful to introduce myself. The reason for this post is to ask if anyone has managed to get the EQ firmware to work on the AZ GTe. I know it's unsupported and just a bonus. I managed to get the AZ GTi EQ firmware loaded on the AZ GTe, but it kept pointing to the ground instead of the sky for all objects. It did this in AZ and EQ mode in the Windows version of SynScan Pro. I saw a forum post from January about the AZ GTi pointing downwards but there was no solution. Does anyone know if the EQ firmware works on the AZ GTe, or if pointing downwards has been a problem with the AZ GTi as well? I was running the 5 November 2018 Right Arm Dual AZ/EQ firmware version 3.16. I reverted back to the AZ GTi stock AZ only firmware and it works fine and points at object in the sky as expected. John
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