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About JEM_svca

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    Simi Valley, CA, USA
  1. Hi Steve, Sorry I misunderstood. As already discussed, it would be nice to be able to create a bad pixel map for the guide camera. Regarding the DSLR, it seems like it would only take a small tweak to the Eagle Core firmware to delay uploading the image until after the in=camera long exposure noise reduction is finished. The camera itself is able to do this when not connected to the Eagle Core.
  2. Hi Noah4x4, Just to be clear all my comments are with regard to the Eagle Core and do not suggest any limitations for the Eagle 3. You can't load any image processing software or any other software into the Eagle Core like you can with the Eagle 3. With the Eagle Core you are limited to the functionality built into the unit. Hi Steve, Regarding dark frame subtraction, this is done in my camera when you turn on the log exposure noise reduction feature. I wasn't expecting the Eagle Core to do this for me. I was hoping instead that it would simply be intelligent enough to display the end result. Unfortunately it doesn't display any image when the LENR feature is used. The camera however, still records the image. I just don't have any way to see it unless I disconnect the camera from the Eagle Core and look at the image on the camera display. This is a real nuisance.
  3. Hi Noah4x4, The Eagle Core is designed to take photos through a DSLR or comparable mirrorless camera that store all photos internally. It is also designed to allow guiding with typical guide cameras. However, I found that when I tried to use Eagle Core to guide with my ZWO asi178 (3096 x 2080 px) it reported that the camera resolution was only about half the actual pixel count in each direction. I don't know if they were using a smaller portion of the sensor or binning the pixels. When I asked PLL about this they said it was necessary to prevent overloading the processor. Unfortunately this was not mentioned in any of there spec sheets or the manual. This was one of the reasons I don't use the Eagle Core software for guiding. I use the Eagle Core camera control software with my DSLR (24 mpix) to control exposure time and the number of photos taken at each exposure. When an exposure is completed the camera downloads a copy of image to the Eagle Core through a USB connection and then displays it wirelessly on my ipad. The Eagle Core only stores the image temporarily until it is overwritten by the next image or the unit is shutdown. It takes a few seconds before I can see the image after the exposure is completed. I suspect that the delay is mostly due to the wireless data transfer. This is not a problem since my exposures are generally long and I have plenty of time to view images between shots. I can also zoom in to see if I have round stars.
  4. Hi Steve, So far I am the only one in our group using the Eagle Core. Most of the members are doing visual observation with dobs. Other members of the group who do Astro photography are using wired systems. Since I am close to the scope when doing my photography I haven't had any wireless connection problems with the Eagle Core, but I am only using it for goto and camera control, not guiding.
  5. Hi Steve, Thanks for sharing those images. Amazing how much you were able to capture by using mosaics. I hear UK is overcast a lot so I can appreciate your problems with the weather. I am surprised that quite a few people there have telescopes and do Astro photography. While it doesn't rain a lot in California, it rains pretty hard when it does. The biggest problems are cloudy or overcast skies, light pollution, wind, and atmospheric turbulence. I think we all have problems waiting for days where all visibility factors are good simultaneously. There are two dark sites I go to. One, Chuchupate, is about 75 miles from home at an elevation of about 5500 feet. The other, Camp Ferguson at White Mountain, is about 265 miles away at an elevation of 7200 feet. Our astronomy club rents Camp Ferguson (a primitive camping site) once or twice a year and we usually spend about five nights there. We have to make reservations six or more months in advance so we are stuck with whatever weather we get. I have only tried mosaicing once. I used a 17 mm lens, and several 30 sec exposures without tracking, to get the Camp Ferguson location shot shown below. The Andromeda shot in the previous post was taken from Chuchupate, which has a nice parking lot (without lights) to set up in. The Eagle Core works very well for me in a portable wireless setup for finding targets and taking pictures. I used to push the camera exposure button by hand timing the exposures with my watch, and often lost track of the time. I was looking for an intervalometer but a good one was expensive. I found that the Eagle Core provided more capabilities and a wireless connection for around the same price, so I decided to give it a try.
  6. Hi Steve, I live in California and do my Astro photography at dark sky sights were I don't have access to mains power. I use the Celestron Lithium power tank to power the mount directly. I have been very happy with it. It is lightweight and never seems to run out of juice. It also holds its charge over long periods of inactivity. I power the Eagle Core and my laptop with a Yeti Goal Zero 400 watt hr lithium ion battery/inverter combination which I recharge with solar panels after each nights use, and I use it to recharge the power tank when necessary. So far I haven't had to deal with dew heaters. If I had to use dew heaters I think I would need to get a bigger mount and I would mount the Eagle Core with the scope because of the extra wiring. Attached is a photo I took of Andromeda, 4 light frames, no darks or flats.
  7. Hi Steve, I verified that I could make slews or goto's with the AVX keypad without affecting subsequent wireless goto's made with SkySafari from the ipad through the Eagle Core and vice versa. Attached is a picture of my setup using the Eagle Core.
  8. Hi Steve, That is a good disposition. I hope it works out for you. It would be nice to control everything wirelessly and only need one tablet or laptop.
  9. Hi Steve, When you use the gain adjustment process are you still able to find a properly unsaturated (i.e. not over saturated) star for guiding. I don't think the Eagle Core app gives you any information on star saturation. The guide star image intensity profile should be a smooth curve otherwise it is more difficult to determine the center of the star for tracking purposes. PHD2 will show the star intensity profile so that you tell if it is over saturated (flat top profile). I suppose lowering the gain is less likely to produce over saturated stars, but some can still be very bright. It is still nice to be able to see the profile to make sure.
  10. Hi Steve, Let us know how your guiding with the Eagle Core works. One of the things I noticed was that the Eagle Core did not have any way to build a bad pixel map for the guide camera. This was one of the features that I appreciated in PHD2. This supposedly helps to prevent choosing a hot pixel as the guiding star.
  11. Hi again Steve, Forgot to mention that I don't use the Sky portal device. All wi-fi commands from SkySafari app and the Eagle Core app on my ipad are handled by the Eagle Core unit.
  12. Hi Steve, My experience guiding with the Eagle Core has been minimal and took place on a night that had particularly bad seeing conditions so I can't really make any informed comments on the Eagle guiding process. I just felt that I had more options with PHD2 considering that the AVX is not what I would call a precision tracking mount. PHD2 also gives me features that I can use to examine mount behavior. I also love the fact that I don't have to recalibrate the guiding for every target, I just tell PHD2 the new DEC angle which is listed in SkySafari under target info. I am surprised how well the AVX does at pointing and tracking when I have good polar alignment. I use a 714 mm FL main scope and the guide scope is supported at 3 axial positions, one at the guide camera to reduce the effects of focuser flexure. Total instrument weight is about 22.5 lbs. The Eagle core is mounted on the tripod underneath the mount. The moving Scope components connect to the non-moving computer components through a single mesh-sleeve enclosed cable bundle routed from the scope down through the altitude pivot hole in the mount. This bundle includes: USB from DSLR to Eagle Core, USB from Guide Camera to laptop, ST4 cable from guide camera to mount guide port. I replaced the original tripod leg tubes with stainless steel tubing 2x thicker and made them a little longer so I don't have to use as much extension. A friend of mine crushed one of the inner legs on his tripod when he overtightened the leg lock. The thicker legs keep the legs from denting and increase the tripod stiffness. The extra weight makes the whole setup more stable, though some would consider this a disadvantage for portability reasons. With a 6 point goto alignment done through the hand control and the camera in live view mode I get very good pointing accuracy. The skysafari 5+ goto command works very well wirelessly through the Eagle Core. It nails the target position. This is good because I have no way of seeing it when the cameras is connected to the Eagle Core until after I take a picture. On the minus side. the slew buttons in SkySafari don't seem to work very well. There is too much delay. The scope takes a while to start slewing and keeps going after you take your finger off the button. I can't remember if you can make a pointing adjustment with the hand control and see how far it moves in SkySafari without messing up the initial alignment. I think you can, but I will have to give it a try next time to make sure. If this works, it would be a good way to tweak the framing even though the target would move off center in the SkySafari view. The camera control in the Eagle core is simple to use and works well but doesn't have many features. I wish it would work with the camera long exposure noise reduction feature. I wonder if there is any software that does.
  13. Hi Steve, I use the Eagle Core with my AVX mount and Nikon DSLR to enable wireless control of the mount and camera through my Apple ipad pro tablet. I use SkySafari 5 plus (installed on the ipad) to find targets and issue GoTo commands, and use the built in Eagle Core image acquisition software to control camera exposures. I do not use the Eagle Core guiding software. I use PHD2 instead with the mounts guide port because It has more features and I have a better understanding of how it works. I turn DEC guiding off because my mount has a lot of DEC backlash. With a careful polar alignment I can get by without DEC Guiding. I calibrate guiding using a star near the meridian and celestial equator and use PHD2's "ask for coordinates" feature in the Aux Mount Setting, so I don't have to recalibrate for every different image target. When I tried to set up the Eagle Core initially I could not get it to connect properly following the instructions in the manual. I tried using both the Serial port hand controller with various USB/serial adapters and the newer USB hand controller. Neither worked. I was able to get it running by connecting everything after (rather than before) powering up the Eagle Core, but this led to other problems which I don't need to get into here. I also had a problem with the led lights always being on and not functioning as stated in the manual. This made upgrading the firmware dicey because the instructions depended on light sequencing. Despite this I managed to get the version 2.6 firmware installed. I was then able to connect with both hand controller types and all the software seemed to work properly. The led lights however were still not functioning as stated in the manual, but this didn't seem to have any effect on system performance. Currently the Eagle Core camera control will display an image after it is taken which is very useful. However, it will not display an image if it is taken using the camera's long exposure noise reduction feature which involves taking a dark frame exposure immediately following the normal exposure. I sent an message to PLL pointing out this issue but they never responded other than to say the message was received. To get good imaging results with my AVX and the Eagle Core I use the following procedure: 1) Carefully pre-balance mount with all supported equipment installed and camera in focus. I use small spring scale to measure force in both directions. Record counterweight and scope positions for future use. 2) Rough polar align tripod, level tripod mount face using torpedo level, attach mount, rough polar align mount head. 3) Manually align mount index marks. Lock clutches. Attach and position counterweights and scope. Connect hand control, Celestron GPS, and mount power source. 4) Power on the mount. Perform accurate polar alignment using Polemaster (laptop required). Power off mount. Loosen clutches, return mount to index marks manually, retighten clutches. Disconnect/remove Polemaster. 5) Connect the Eagle Core to the hand control and Eagle Core power source, but don't turn on the power to the Eagle Core yet. Power on the mount. Use HC Menu to View Time-Site. Wait for GPS to finish linking. If it doesn't link, open the utilities sub-menu and make sure the GPS is enabled. Once linked, turn on camera live view display and begin 2 star alignment procedure, followed by 4 calibration stars. When finished, turn the camera off. Use the Goto command in the utilities menu to home the mount.. 6) Connect the Eagle Core to the Camera USB port, turn the camera on, and finally power on the Eagle Core. Link the ipad and the SkySafari app to the Eagle Core WiFi according to instructions. In SkySafari go to Scope/Connect. Once connected you should be able to go to any objects listed in SkySafari and permitted by your mount altitude limits. After reaching your target you can switch to the Eagle Core app and start taking pictures.
  14. I found that my Eagle core would not work with Celestron AVX mount until after upgrading to firmware version 2.6. I found technical support from PLL to be very poor. Many of the e-mails I sent them regarding issues I was having went unanswered.
  15. DRT, I was able to get infinity focus with my Evoguide 50 using the Baader T2 32 mm prism diagonal with the Baader screw-lock eyepiece holder. The optical length of this holder is about 3 mm shorter than that of their twist-lock holder. The diagonal was attached directly to the T2 thread on the end of the focuser as shown in your photo. That being said, I get a lot of stray light bouncing off the inside wall of the focuser tube when there is a strong light source outside the field of view. This seems to cause a significant reduction in image contrast. I would like to be able to paint the inside of the focuser with a matte black paint to reduce the light reflection but I can't seem to get the focuser unscrewed from the end of the tube. I was wondering how you were able to remove it. Did you find any adhesive on the threads?
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