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discardedastro

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Everything posted by discardedastro

  1. For me, PI was night and day compared to a lot of the other tools out there. You will need "Inside PixInsight" as the missing user manual, but it does exist and a wide range of excellent tutorial content is available online also. It has a steep learning curve but is definitely best in class for the low-level bits (from calibration up to integration) and I would argue is best in class for a lot of the "post" processing like colour calibration, deconvolution, etc. It's definitely the tool to use if you want to make every little bit of your data work its hardest! Photoshop, Affinity etc are
  2. That's a good starting point for sure. Something like the iOptron SkyGuiders (iPolar is nice to simplify setup) are worth looking at for a decent tracker, or the Star Adventurer from Skywatcher. Basically this lot: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/star-tracker-astronomy-mounts.html You may find a dew heater useful for your lenses if you're outside for any length of time - cheap and cheerful ones will do fine with a 12V supply from a power tank or any old 12V battery. Guessing you'll already have a good solid tripod but if not definitely worth getting one. A Bahtinov mask can be a really h
  3. The most important thing to answer this question is what do you want to take photos of? Deep space objects will require tracking, and moderate FLs, and will normally involve long exposures. Planetary requires plenty of aperture and long focal lengths. These are frequently incompatible so you're looking at different scopes for each in all likelihood! You can do a lot of AP without a telescope at all, just a tracking platform for your existing camera and lenses (the R5 isn't ideal for AP compared to the R6 owing to smaller pixel size, but is still a superb camera for it). This can be i
  4. The good news is that if you're imaging, sodium line filters are much less problematic than white LED filters, and even for visual should work better. But direct light intrusion still sucks, for sure. Regardless of what your local councillors are, politically speaking or otherwise, it never hurts to write to them (or your MP) on occasion to raise awareness. If you have specific actionable things to discuss then all the better but making them aware that there is at least a proportion of their voters interested in the matter will certainly make more of a difference than doing nothing!
  5. Are you doing CosmeticCorrection before integration? Best to remove hot pixels before you do integration in PI, at the very least the obvious ones. With a master dark plus/or a 3-6 sigma automatic removal you'll clear up almost all the hot pixels before you hit the integration stage. Dithering doesn't actually get rid of hot pixels in subframes without some logic. The reason being that you're moving the observing field. The camera stays static to "itself", if that makes sense, so the logic has to be that if you see the same "hot pixel" in different positions in the sky it's probably wrong
  6. To add to this, run the star-cross test in PHD2. This is a basic test, but will show you if you have any PHD2-driven mount motion issues. It's quick and easy to do and will rule out any obvious configuration (i.e. rate mismatches etc) or mechanical issues.
  7. Thought I'd give this a go, but a slightly different approach - a positive pressure ventilated enclosure. My initial bodge job is below. The entire system runs at 5V rather than 12V since it's native for the Pi. Not anticipating any local storage - the Pi is configured to keep everything in RAM so the SD card won't see many if any writes. There's a 5V PWM fan which is PWM-controlled from the Pi and a simple I2C-controlled switch which toggles the circuit with a 25W power resistor on and off. I'm definitely going to affix a much larger heatsink to the resistor, since right now it does
  8. Glad that you've figured out the cause of your woes! The image looks great! The mod I made to mine - an acrylic cover for the rear - can be had quite cheaply and the SVG file required for laser cutting via RazorLabs/others is available at
  9. I've been using Close Brothers for insurance of my (stored outside, not within an observatory) telescope for a couple of years now - about £9/mo I think. You never know how well these things work till you have to claim, of course, but they seemed quite competent and used to dealing with AP requirements. They do insure against weather damage within an observatory, but can't without some kind of structure. Definitely better to get it on the household insurance if possible from a cost perspective, just need to be sure they'll actually cover it in the stored conditions etc.
  10. Here's hoping it makes it through the UK border/customs/logistics handling. Took me 7 weeks to get an item from a warehouse in Essex to Oxfordshire as it got stuck in an endless loop of paperwork! Ironically, after week 5 I gave up and asked for a refund and parcel recall, bought the same thing from a UK supplier (fortunately the other parcel with the hard-to-get bits had arrived by then) and 2 weeks later the thing turned up. 3 weeks later and I'm still trying to get it back to them for a refund. Of course we've now dropped out of all the EU consumer protection stuff - so things like ref
  11. Last week I spent 30 minutes trying to work out why I couldn't get scope to focus (remotely, sat in the warm) before realising I hadn't actually taken the dust cap off... Bahtinov mask on the scope all night I've definitely done before (one of the main reasons I moved away from Bahtinovs for imaging - hard to spot on some targets!)
  12. I've been running the smaller version (which is a linear PSU rather than switched-mode - linear wastes a lot more heat) for a while now in a similar Dribox. I prop one end open (so it's got rain cover should the worst happen, but can "breathe") while using it, with the other end clamped down. It gets really quite hot during operation in a near-sealed box, so caution is advisable. You'll probably be fine with the SMPS version you've listed above as it'll dump a lot less waste heat. Edit: Since I have it, here's a "photo" of my power supply box about 10 minutes after putting my telesco
  13. Well, bit of a mixed bag with acquisition the last few weeks, but I got enough data together to feel I had the start of something. Acquisition was my usual setup: Sky-Watcher 200PDS on an EQ6-R Pro mount, OAG guided with an ASI174MM Mini, Baader LRGB filters, Steeltrak focuser and Sesto Senso focus motor, Tele-Vue Paracorr coma corrector, ASI183MM-Pro at -10c as imaging camera, KStars/Ekos and INDI software. Postprocessed in PixInsight, with a pretty "standard" processing workflow - I used local normalisation and as an experiment processed entirely as 64-bit floating point data. No deconv
  14. Most retailers are accepting refunds - one of the audio firms I purchased from on the 3rd Jan delivered the end of Feb (after I'd requested a refund and they accepted it) due to UPS not understanding the recall request, and are now trying to sort out a recall through UPS. So yeah, 1-2 month delays certainly "normal" at the moment. We're seeing similar things with work, despite having an entire team of logistics and customs people prepared for it all. General consensus is that at least for 2021/22/23 this isn't liable to improve dramatically; a lot of import checks were unilaterally waived
  15. I'd 100% spend money on guiding before you start mucking around with concrete. You can probably do better than that on your PA, too, depending on your imaging scale. PHD2's drift alignment is pretty much the gold standard in PA but a Polemaster will get you close enough for rock and roll, especially guided. You'll get a huge amount more value out of guiding and accurate polate alignment than making a super thick patio - guiding corrects for a lot more than movement of the ground, such as mount errors and mechanical inconsistencies more or less anywhere in your system. Polar alignment done
  16. You don't have to go mad on concrete to make a pier - a hundred quid or two and some shovelling, or another hundred to pay someone to shovel, and you can make a fairly shallow but functional pier foundation. Concrete chemical anchors or pre-set rebar and you're set for a pier mount (which can literally be a steel tube, optionally filled with sand/concrete, right up to fancy anti-vibration models). Alternatively, use a wide pad with moderate thickness (say 10cm) and plonk a free-standing pier on it. This will generally perform better than a tripod and be a substantial improvement. Antivibr
  17. Alright, so a very limited dataset (bit of a theme of mine lately as I go hunting for new targets - I think this one's going to get some more hours) - total about 59x120s for a total of about 2 hours imaging time on my 200P/183MM-Pro/EQ6-R setup, mostly shot over warm rooves and relatively low down. Processed with PI; the usual manual processing steps I do (cal, cosmetic fix, subframe selection, alignment, stacking, crop, DBE, linear fitting, channel combination), but I used R/B/L as a superluminance given the small dataset (green was unfortunately badly focused so ignored it). DBE'd a se
  18. Well, did a manual calibration bang on the equator/meridian intersection and got similar wonkiness alerts. But only the second time. Backlash as measured by the guiding assistant appears fine (450ms correction pulse). So thinking some mechanical still. I'm not sure what a wobbly OAG/guide camera might look like but that's one possibility (though the revised ZWO one is pretty solid, with grub screws cinched down) and beyond that it's got to be something more fundamental. Maybe this is the year I get the courage to do a rebuild and replace bearings etc. It has sat out in wet and unpleasant
  19. My optical train goes: Baader Clicklock 2" focuser, Paracorr, T2 adapter, ZWO tilt adapter, ZWO OAG, ZWO Mini EFW, straight onto the camera - flange distance is different on the 183MM. I can't remember the spacers/threads off the top of my head but I do have a shim or two on the back of the EFW. Going Paracorr to M48 rather than to T2 would likely help on vignetting, no doubt there - more relevant for the 071MC which has a slightly bigger sensor than the 183MM. The OAG could also go further away from the sensor's light path, which is another consideration to avoid vignetting. I do wa
  20. Hm, I'll try manually calibrating. I'm running with the Ekos/KStars scheduler most nights, and for some reason this seems to recalibrate before each imaging sequence (even with "Auto restore calibration" checked in PHD2) - which naturally means I'm not usually calibrating near the equator.
  21. OK, question for the mechanical wizards... I've been getting (for a few weeks now, but given sky availability, maybe longer) some odd calibration results and associated warnings in PHD2 about orthogonality of axes. Some calibration results (all from one night) are shown below: These are obviously not "quite" at a right angle to each other. Guiding appears to be working okay though in some cases room for improvement. My question is - is this likely to be mechanical (or should I be looking at e.g. my OAG?) and if so where should I start for diagnostics? I did go throug
  22. There's been occasional bugs with KStar's meridian flip stuff getting stuck in the wrong state. Is this with indi_eqmod? I'd recommend grabbing whatever logs you have (and if you can reproduce the fault, do so with debug logging enabled for the mount etc before you start and connect devices) and filing a bug with the KStars team at https://invent.kde.org/education/kstars/-/issues Shouldn't really matter what side the saddle bolts sit on, though bolts on the left are I believe "correct".
  23. Pretty much all astro software is hard to use - it's just degrees of difficulty! If you're just looking to start using as a basic "visual" setup I'd start with something Windows based like SharpCap and EQMod. They're very simple, will let you leverage experience with Windows drivers etc to get you going while you understand the mount/telescope/camera side of things, so are a good entry point (and low cost!). Active USB cables to feed a hub might be OK but I'd want to use a powered hub and run mains/12V out to the hub to avoid it trying to bus power stuff off a long extension lead (which w
  24. Given this is for solar, I would really recommend that you don't take chances and instead stick to the well-known brands like Baader. The price difference really isn't that significant and it's your ability to see you're safeguarding. From a quick check they're almost the same price as the Baader stuff from FLO.
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