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About Budgie1

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    Weather, Photography, Astrophotograhy.
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    Fort William, Scotland
  1. The Altair Hypercam 294C Pro is only £599, which could be within budget. Thanks for the suggestion.
  2. That would be lovely, but it's about £400 more than I have at the moment. I thought about a modded DSLR but looking at the prices of even some second hand ones I came to the conclusion that going for a dedicated camera of the same price would be a better investment. I am open to second hand, the main thing at the moment is to make sure I get the right sensor for the kit as I don't want to end up with a nice camera and FOV so small that my mount/guiding setup can't handle it.
  3. I'm looking for some advice on the Altair Hypercam 183C PRO. I'll try to cover all the bases here: First the gear - SW EQ5 Pro mount, main scope is the SW Evostar 100ED with a 0.85 reducer/flattener, I also have a Celestron 102mm Wide View refractor. Guiding is covered by a Celectron 9x50 finder with a ZWO ASI 120MM Mini camera. I only image DSO's from a Bortle 2 location. I currently have a standard Canon EOS 2000D DSLR camera but want to take my imaging further. The EOS 2000D is less than 6 months old and I do use it for normal terrestrial photography so I don't want to have it modded. I do want to stick with a colour camera due to available imaging time. I quite often work away or during the evenings, so going for a mono camera with filters is too time consuming and I'm willing to live with sticking to colour. I've been researching available cameras in my price range (about £500) and the best "Bang for your bucks" seems to be the Altair Hypercam 183C. As I see it, it has a large sensor with a good size FOV for the scopes I have. Anything smaller with the EQ5 and the guiding won't cope as well. This has a build-it fan for sensor cooling, where as other makes in the same price range don't. The advice I'm looking for is: Will there be any issues using this camera with my scopes/mount? Will the small sensor pixel size be restrictive with the 100ED with the 900 or 765mm focal lengths? Does anyone have any other camera options to suggest which I may have overlooked? Thanks for any info you can provide.
  4. The last two nights have been clear and I managed to get some good data on M51. This is 36 x lights, 9 x darks, 10 x bias & 10 x flats. The lights were a mix of 3 minutes @ 1600 IOS, 5 minutes @ 800 ISO and 4 minutes @ 800 ISO and I took a total of 45 lights but used 36 of them by the time I'd taken out the ones with satellites in and DSS used the best 90%. The total used came to about 2.5 hours exposure. Mount: SW EQ5 Pro Scope: SW Evostar 100ED with 0.85 field flattener. Camera: Canon EOS 2000D un-modded Guiding: Celestron 9x50 Finder with ZWO ASI 120MM Mini Stacked in DSS and processed in Photoshop CS3, including cropping quite a lot due to the FOV with DSLR.
  5. I went through the same process about 6 months ago and went for the 2000D. The main reasons were it has a slightly larger screen (3" as opposed to 2.7" on the 4000D) and the sensor is 24MP instead of 18MP on the 4000D. Apart from that, there isn't much to choose between them other than price. The 2000D is nice camera and easy to operate. It also works well with APT, if you intend connecting it to a laptop, and the live view with 5x and 10x zoom is definitely a handy feature for focusing when using it on a scope.
  6. I have slightly different setups for both. The field flattener screws directly onto the focus tube with a T-mount between the field flattener and the camera. When I don't use the field flattener, the double thumbscrew adaptor screws onto the focus tube, then the 2" reducer and the T-mount is screwed to the reducer. The result is that there's only a 19mm difference between the focus lines on the tube. When I set the focus with these setups I didn't measure the physical distance from the front lens to the camera sensor. I setup outside, pointed to a bright star, centred with the finder scope. Then got a rough focus using live view on the camera (DSLR) and fine tuned using the focus tool in APT. Once set, I put a line on the tube with a Sharpie. Now I know where the focus will be with each setup but I'll still use the APT focus tool to tune it. I hope that helps.
  7. The focal length of the Evostar 100ED with the Skywatcher field flattener attached is 900 x 0.85 = 765mm. What I've done is; I set the focus outside without the field flattener on, so 900mm, and when I came in after imaging I drew a line with a Sharpie on the focus tube where it meets the housing. Then I did the same with the field flattener attached. So I now have two lines on the tube and I know roughly where focus will be without having to measure each time.
  8. I use it with my EQ5 mount. I got an EQDIR cable from FLO, which connects to a USB port on the laptop and replaces the hand controller on the mount. It just plug into the hand controller port. With the ASCOM drivers installed for your mount, you then install EQMOD and PDH2 will guide the mount direct using the HEQ5 setting for the mount instead of using the On Camera setting if you use the ST4 cable. The other advantage to using ASCOM and EQMOD is that it will also talk to APT and CdC or Stellarium. I use CdC which connects to the mount via EQMOD, slew to a bright star close where I want to image so I can focus the camera (I'm currently using a DSLR). Then start APT and take a shot so I can Plate Solve the location and get APT to slew to my target. Once on target I start PHD2 and get it to calibrate and start guiding, then start the image plan in APT and go and have a coffee.
  9. I had another go at M101 last night, this time with the field flattener attached and the dew heaters set correctly. 20x 5 minute images again at ISO 1600, stacked in DSS with 10 flats, 10 bias and 5 darks. I'm still trying to work out the light area at the top of the image. I know it's caused by the flats because when I took the flats there was a dark area at the top of each but I don't know what's causing it. Anyone any ideas, is there a miss-alignment in the optics on the scope? Anyway, much more detail in it but I think I'll have another go at processing when I have more time.
  10. I'm please with Pleiades, Mark, especially as it's only 5 lights in there. I didn't expect to see that much nebulosity with so little data. If it stays clear tonight then I'll have another go at M101, only this time I'll put the field flattener on and remember to turn the dew heater to medium.
  11. We had a nice clear night up here yesterday and, now I've got used too APT, EQDIR, CdC & PHD2 and getting them all working together, I had a few hours in the garden. I wanted to go for M101 so set up and got 20 x 5 minute lights, then ditched one as there was a nice satellite running rough through the centre. Unfortunately, although I had a dew heater on the scope it wasn't turned up high enough and I only noticed the light dew in the centre of the lens at exposure 17, so the focus is a bit out and I don't know how many were effected, but I stacked them and did the best I could. Camera: Canon EOS 2000D @ 1600 ISO Scope: SW Evostar 100ED (no flattener this evening) Mount: SW EQ5 Guiding: Celestron 9x50 finder with ZWO ASI 120MM Mini After taking the darks and bias images, it was still good so I went for 5x 5 minute exposures at M45, just to see what I could get, and for 5 images stacked with the same dark, bias & flats, it hasn't come out too bad. Lastly, on the 18th Sept, I had a go at the North American Nebula with my un-modded Canon EOS 2000D as an experiment, just to see how much nebulosity it would capture. This is 10x 5 minute & 2x 10 minute exposures at 1600 ISO, stacked in DSS and processed in Photoshop CS3. The next purchase will be a dedicated astro camera! Hopefully I can get some more it tonight. Thanks for looking.
  12. Not a newbie question at all and well worth asking. It shouldn't have any effect on the electronics in the mount, they are not waterproof but will withstand high humidity. My mount was covered in dew last night. You could put a thin towel around it to soak up an moisture in the fridge.
  13. Clear'ish up here tonight. Some thin high cloud but Milky Way is visible with the naked eye. Just having a coffee before heading back out there. Enjoy your trip!
  14. I understand it better but it doesn't help. I was hoping there was a bold head you could get hold of but it looks like the part which threads into the mount is a stud, rather than a bolt. Normally turning either the mount or the adaptor anti-clockwise would unscrew it, unless the clutch is turning with the adaptor. One thing I did think of; I see you're in Spain, what's the temperature where the mount is at the moment? I'm wondering if the metal has expanded and cooling it may release the mount. Something like putting it in the fridge for a while? If it's around 20-25°C then this probably isn't going to work, but you never know.
  15. I'm not familiar with the adaptor but can you release the adaptor from the tripod, or have you done that? It may make it easier to work on. Does the bolt go right through the adaptor plate so you can get hold of it from the other side?
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