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Posts posted by Maideneer

  1. Just installed my brand new ZWO 224MC and downloaded Sharpcap and ASI Studio.  I have experience in absolutely none of it 🤣 and have almost no idea how to go about any of this.  Just for reference, I have an AZ-GTi and a little Travelscope 70 which I know is the weak link in my chain.  The most I've ever done is taken a picture with my iPhone through an eyepiece so this is understandably daunting.  I've watched every Youtube tutorial I can think of (I almost feel more lost after that because of info overload) so I think the best thing I can do for myself now is just get out there and see what I can or can't do.

    Figured I'd ask here first though...what the hell do I do haha?!

    • Like 1
  2. 48 minutes ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

    "Making Every Photon Count" has very little to say about planetary imaging.

    A C8 or C9.25 would do nicely for planetary imaging. While an Edge HD would be very nice, IMHO you don't need this  for planetary imaging as the actual fields of view you will be working with are very small (except for the moon).

    Likewise you may not need a CGEM II - the mount requirements for planetary imaging are not exacting, and I found I could get images with the alt-azimuth SE mount which were just as good as with a CPC fork mount.  But the SE is awful to use for imaging while the CPC is very pleasant to use - easy to set up, rock steady, low backlash.  If you do not intend to do deep sky long exposure imaging, you can dispense with an equatorial mount and also dispense with the aggro of polar alignment, meridian flips etc.

    If you do intend to image galaxies.  the EDGE HD and CGEM II will be more appropriate.  Be warned that by all accounts imaging small galaxies with a SCT is NOT a beginner activity. (and check the price of a EDGE HD focal reducer 🙁).


    As for cameras and workflow, for planets use an ASI224MC + ZWO ADC, and capture .ser files with Sharpcap and process with Registax6.  For DSOs, I don't even try using a SCT.

    Right so you make great points here.  The reasoning for the CGEM/SCT is because I want the future flexibility to get more into AP if I choose and not have to go back to the planning board and re-buy another scope, mount etc.  So it's my sort of hedging the bet here on the front end in case I eventually change my mind.

    The 224 is in my cart as we speak but thanks for the ADC note, didn't know that existed.  For this instance, what would connect to what?  224->Barlow (if used)->ADC->Scope?

  3. I currently have my humble little set-up so far (see signature) as I try to learn the basics of things and so far I have to say I'm getting pretty good.  I can align my mount/scope in 90 seconds but as you can see I'm only working with beginner level equipment and taking some crude pics from an iPhone through whatever EP I have attached at that moment.  So far I've seen all the popular beginner stuff - Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Moon, Polaris, Arcturus, Vega, you get the idea.

    As I continue on this journey, I do believe I have my eyes set on some things to get to the next level.  I think I've settled my AP intentions as the following - I want to do planetary & lunar imaging mainly with a light touch every now and again on DSO (M16, M51, M101) but nothing groundbreaking, intense or obscure.

    The problem I face now is that I feel very overwhelmed with how to proceed and I need some kind of support to bring me back down to the ground and explain things to me like I'm a 2-year old.  It's interesting, I didn't just jump into the most expensive/biggest/best end of the pool which I have seen tends to happen to beginners...but the more research I do and the more knowledge I (think) I gain, the more lost I feel.  I almost have information overload where the things I have studied over and over again begin to not make sense and since I have no practical application of these products yet, they remain as just theory to me until I take the plunge.

    I know that I want a Celestron 8 or 9.25 EdgeHD on a CGEM II - that much I have solid
    But as far as all of the other accessories and necessities, I feel almost lost because of this info overload I'm experiencing.  I do think I want to go down the ZWO path though, they seem popular and reliable.

    I'd appreciate if someone could guide me and let me know exactly what the hell I need to get started in AP according to the parameter I mentioned above.  Guiders, focusers, cameras, ASI Air's, Registax, etc etc - I almost feel like I need to see a workflow charted out in front of me to see exactly how things connect to where and what they do.  I'm trying to avoid making expensive trial-and-error mistakes and I feel my brain has turned to goop. Cheers.

  4. 5 minutes ago, Astro Noodles said:

    This is a very silly thread. Does SGL always get this silly in the summer months?

    Look - no one in the UK should go armed to their preferred dark site, or anywhere else for that matter. There are no dangerous wild animals, and no-one is going to rob you for your astro kit. Robbers want cash or things they can sell quickly, not high end scientific equipment with a limited market.

    In other countries where there are bears, wolves and other wild animals, the situation may be different. Those people should probably contact their local wildlife authorities for advice as to what is considered sensible.

    It is interesting what obstacles there are for astronomers around the world. Here I'm mostly concerned about the cloudy weather and light pollution. I have enough of a job just getting my kit to work, so I am glad I don't need to worry about what wild animal is stalking me or the armed maniac lurking in the bushes.🙂

    I didn't mean for anything to get silly, but as I'm learning this is a very UK-centric board where there's not much to worry about.  Seeing as I'm not from the UK, I wasn't aware those lands were blessed with the privilege of such a level of safety.  Over around these parts, there sure is a larger variety of harmful animals.  Loose bears, fox, raccoons (which are rabid), deer, coyotes, etc. + human beings when let's face it, after midnight the only ones out and about isn't little 5-year-old Sally walking her poodle.

    Didn't realize it was such a silly question to more experienced people who may have had further insight, my apologies.

  5. 7 hours ago, Stu said:

    I’m guessing the OP is more worried about animal interference than human. I. The U.K. that’s not something we need to worry about; being mauled (well, grunted at) by a marauding hedgehog is the worst that’s happened to me!

    I think US based members are most likely to be of help here but please note we are not a gun forum and are family friendly! 👍👍

    I've had run-ins or near run-ins with both lately.  And thanks, I wasn't specifically referring to guns but more of anything else really...mace / pepper spray, a hunting knife, etc etc

    From the sounds of it, many are saying wild animals are not a UK problem, is that really true?  I presumed most of every country has issues with whatever is local to them.  I know around my area, coyotes are sometimes a problem, there have been reports of stray bears roaming around, definitely lots of deer, and who knows what else.

    I do appreciate the other advice though about joining a club and going in packs, that's a good idea.  My problem is I am a bit of an introvert and suffer from some social anxiety, so sometimes I have trouble being with other people and I figured astronomy was a good hobby for loner types like myself.

  6. I’ve sat in my new found favorite field for many hours now, and the things I hear around me can be terrifying lol. Coyotes, weird howling, shrieking, buzzing etc. Hell, even people show up sometimes and have no idea I’m sitting there…that’s worrisome to me in case they see a dark shadow moving and decide to investigate.

    I guess it depends where you are but does anyone utilize some level of personal protection when out in the field? I want to make sure I’m not being paranoid and this is like a totally legitimate thing to do.

    • Like 1
    • Haha 2
  7. There was finally a clear night last night so I took my little TS70 out to the best dark site I could find (I'm in Bortle 6) and did some stargazing at first.  Once 1-2am rolled around, Saturn and Jupiter came up and I managed to view those objects for the very first time by myself and I even snapped a few photos of both (dreadfully horrible pics using only an iPhone because that's all I have right now).

    What is amazing to me is when you're doing general stargazing, the amount of distant "shooting star" and/or "comets" you come across that blaze across your FOV in the blink of an eye. The fun part is attempting to grab your mount controls in time and trying to manually follow it before it disappears.

    • Like 4
  8. 11 minutes ago, Stu said:

    I don’t see too much benefit in getting the 40mm. It would give you an exit pupil of 7mm vs 5.6 for the 32mm, but to be honest the 32mm is probably all you need unless using narrowband filters like an OIII. Which other eyepieces do you have?

    I've got my 32mm Omni Plossl, 8-24mm Zoom, 20mm stock Plossl, 10mm stock Plossl, a 3x Barlow, and 2.3 X-Cel for some newbie impulse reason smh

  9. I don't yet have a 40mm EP but do have a 32mm EP and wondering if there is a substantially large difference between them (yes I know, 8 mm ha ha ha).  Going to AstonomyTools site I can't notice that much of a change between them but would appreciate some insight from those who have used both.  I'm operating a little Travelscope 70 + AZ-GTi mount (for now).

  10. I'm not some big environmentalist nor am I indifferent to the destruction of the earth, but I'm having two, old dead trees removed from my backyard tomorrow and my very first thought was "what a fabulous opportunity, now I'll have the ability to view more of the sky" but I also maybe want to plant a couple trees somewhere to offset the loss.

    Has anyone ever PURPOSELY removed bushes and trees at home purely for astronomy purposes?

    • Like 1
  11. 8 hours ago, StevieDvd said:

    Okay based on the responses above it does seem that the firmware can be changed to allow the scope to be mounted on the right-hand side. Easy to test this theory with your mount have the scope pointing north but the mount 180 degress than you had it in the video. That would put your finderscope on top and hopefully align properly. If that works but you want to mount as stated earlier (scope on left) then a firmware flash should resolve that.

    By the love of all things holy I think I got it. I updated ALL firmware once again which was step 1. Step 2 was doing as you said so that I reversed the position of the scope again so that the finder scope was on top. It’s a partly cloudy night so I can’t see Polaris or Vega but I can see Arcturus which is good enough.

    I attempted to North align to Polaris and Vega so I did that blind and hoped for the best. The first good sign was that the scope started to point to the sky rather than the ground. After I “aligned” it I directed the scope to pointer Arcturus which I could see still and off it went and successfully pointed there. Next I went to try Dubhe and once again it worked.

    I can’t thank you enough for your help and I’m going to try it again once it’s another clear night just to confirm everything is OK but this is leaps and bounds better than where I was for the first 2 weeks with this mount. Cheers to you and to you all!

    • Like 5
  12. On 27/05/2021 at 09:53, StevieDvd said:

    With the mount in front of you, like in your picture and with a scope fitted on the left-side and facing away from you. Level the scope and point the telescope North (use a compass). So your picture the arrow is pointing West, not North.


    See here where there is a video to explain all this and more.


    Another frustrating night tonight. Something is definitely wrong with a certain setting and for the life of me I cannot figure this out. Essentially what is happening is that when I attempt to align anything, let’s say doing a north level alignment I balance my scope out and point it north (I use a compass app to make certain).

    I tell the mount to point to Vega for example, and it proceeds to head in an entirely different direction and starts pointing down to the ground, almost like it’s inverting the Altitude axis thinking it’s pointing at the sky when in reality it’s looking at the grass.

    I literally have zero idea how to troubleshoot this and don’t know where to turn.

  13. 4 minutes ago, NGC 1502 said:

    I find seated observing suits me fine, far less tiring for long sessions, I personally feel that more can be seen with a steadier head.  However some find that seated observing doesn’t work for them.

    If you could say what type of telescope you use that’s relevant and affects what type of seat is good.  For my Dobsonian scopes I use an adjustable height drummers stool.  I have several Dobs and having adjusted the stool height for that scope then no further adjustment is needed for that session.

    For my refractor I need a different seat height according to whether I’m observing at a high or low altitude. When observing overhead the eyepiece is low to the ground.  I use one of the many dedicated astronomy seats that can rapidly be adjusted for height.

    Hope that helps, Ed.

    I have a little 70mm refractor (for now) until I upgrade to an EdgeHD at some point.  I feel like I could grab any sort of chair for now as a budget option because what I'm noticing in the marketplace is that as soon as you slap on a label of "astronomy", it's license to triple the price because there are a certain sector of people that will automatically buy into the idea because it's marketed that way.  This happens in a lot of industries mind you :).

    But a drummer stool is a good idea!

  14. Let's have a seat, friends.  I believe this falls under the category of "Equipment" but I don't see it talked about much.

    Are there such things as ergonomic seats/benches/stools made just for telescope observing? Can anyone recommend something nice that you have used over the years or has a simple white hard plastic porch chair served you well?

    I'd like to observe in relative comfort but being new to this hobby I haven't yet found anything that works for me.

  15. 1 minute ago, StevieDvd said:


    Don't be so harsh on yourself, there is little in the manuals to explain how to do this with an AZ-Gti.

    The only text in the synscan that helps a bit for new owners is:



    • Mount tripod is leveled as indicated by its bubble level
    • The telescope tube is leveled and points to true north

    By this one could assume that the telescope could be on your left or right as long as it points true north. Hopefully the mount software can handle that. However, I used the illustrations in the manual which show the scope on the left just in case that's the only side that works.

    Eq mode is easier in this respect.


    I guess I missed that bit and here I thought I read through it all.  I am thinking about getting the counterweight bar and transforming to EQ with it since I downloaded the new firmware anyway.  Maybe I'll just try these methods first before I keep spending money🙂

  16. 3 minutes ago, Swoop1 said:

    I had issues getting used to my equatorial mount where GoTo would point me in the opposite direction to which I wanted. 

    I soon twigged that I was mounting the scope the wrong way round in the saddle. I got a sticker and marked it with an arrow which represented the direction I needed to mount the objective lens.

    Every day is an education!

    I think that's one of my two problems...mounting it wrong.  It's one of those stupid simple things that makes you slap your head when you finally figure it out.

    • Like 1
  17. 1 minute ago, Cornelius Varley said:

    Aligning the mount north would naturally point the telescope north as well.

    Not in my case because I'm a bozo lol.  I tried to show in my picture that I presumed the actual front of the mount needed to be facing north, which would cause the scope to be perpendicular (east-west) and I also got confused at the left-right facing scope thing which I think I can rectify now.

  18. 1 hour ago, StevieDvd said:

    With the mount in front of you, like in your picture and with a scope fitted on the left-side and facing away from you. Level the scope and point the telescope North (use a compass). So your picture the arrow is pointing West, not North.


    See here where there is a video to explain all this and more.


    I was under the impression my mount had to be facing north, I didn't know the scope had to be facing due north.  . Cheers for the info friend, I'll try and apply it tonight.

  19. For the life of me, I cannot figure this out.  Got to take out my setup last night for only the second time as it's been cloudy for weeks and I've been trying in vain to align my Skywatcher AZ-GTi mount to no avail.  I'm using it in ALT-AZ mode for now, and I've probably researched every article and watched every Youtube vid I could find and still nothing is working...I feel like I'm stupidly dense or something because there is something just not clicking in the cranium.

    I thought I was supposed to point the dang thing north to start so that's what I did, err, I think anyway.  Am I pointing the wrong end north? See picture.  Also, I'm reading that the actual scope has to be mounted a certain way on the mount correct?  Which way would that be?  I've read all of this left/right stuff and those directionals mean nothing to me as it depends on someone's viewpoint.  When I aimed north to start, I attempted to align by directing SynScan to go to the Moon first, and that took it so far off course it wasn't even close, it was basically pointing at the ground.  I reset and tried again with another start (Vega I believe)...again, wasn't even in the realm of close.  I made sure my location settings were correct in the app so that wasn't the issue.

    Here's how I got something to "work".  I had it track to the moon and when it was essentially pointing at the ground and who knows how many degrees from my actual target, I picked the whole thing up, turned it around, manually aligned to the moon and then clicked OK on the app.  I felt like a ridiculous clown doing that but somehow it actually managed to do the trick but something tells me that isn't right on a long term basis.

    I'm thinking about getting SkySafari to control the mount but I should probably master the basics first.

    Tips/tricks appreciated.


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