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Everything posted by pwalsh61

  1. The view you see through the viewfinder of an SLR (film and Digital) camera is obtained by a mirror reflecting the light coming through the lens up to a prism which then directs it to the eye: If you take the lens off your camera you'll see the mirror. For an image to be taken, the mirror needs to be lifted out of the way so that light can fall on the sensor. Similarly, for Live View to work the mirror needs to be moved out of the way. It's this movement you hear when taking an image or switching to LV. Unfortunately, this movement causes vibration, so there's an option to lock the mirror up first, wait a few moments for any vibrations to subside, then take the image. I can't recall off the top of my head which menu option it is on the Canon but the user guide (which you're advised to read thoroughly) will say. When mirror lock is enabled, you half press the shutter release to perform the lock then press it fully to take the image. Hope that helps
  2. Great image and gives fellow novices like me hope!
  3. EEK! No! They'd come up with something as stupid as "Lighter Later"
  4. I'd go with the focus too. The knurled end does, indeed, unscrew to adjust the focus. What I did was aim a laser pointer at my garage door (inside, that is) then make sure I could focus on that and see the polarscope reticule clearly. Also, you don't need it to be completely dark. I managed to see Polaris through the 'scope when there was still some light in the sky. The setting circles on the EQ5 are woeful compared to those on the HEQ mounts. Take a look Here for my guide to setting the mount's HOME position without using the circles (and their inaccuracy). If you haven't already, take a look at Complete Setup A to Z Most of what's shown can be applied to the EQ5. However, in the tutorial on polar alignment, the presenter describes how to use the RA circle to position the mount so that the polaris indicator of the reticule is in the right location for you to then line up with Polaris using the Alt/Az bolts. As the RA circle on the EQ5 has a tendency to slip, I'm currently working on an Android app to help you use the SynScan's "Show Position" function in conjunction with the RA movement keys to get the locator into a fairly accurate position based on the Polaris HA time shown on the hand controller after setup. The screenshot below shows the app running in an Android simulator. I found out the other evening that the AX2 position goes from 0 to 180 00' 00" then switches to counting down from -179 59' 59" to 0 (in the same way that longitude does) - hence the negative number
  5. The loss of mirror lock may not be an issue if you use Live View (as the mirror's locked out of the way for that anyway). For AP you'll need to add the SynScan upgrade to the mount. At first you'll probably use the in-built tracking of SynScan but may want to move on to more advance computer controlled tracking which is another kettle of fish (yet to go down that road myself)!
  6. Having tried simple (i.e. Lunar and a stab at planetary) photography with my Meg72 on a camera tripod I can certainly recommend going for the biggest sturdiest mount you can afford. Trying to focus was a nightmare as there was too much movement and the slightest breeze or vibration from the ground meant it take a while for vibrations to settle. I now have an EQ5 and (though I've only been out ONCE in the past couple of months - and that was only for observing, no AP) can thoroughly recommend it for stability. Rock solid without any trace of vibration when focussing. I'm looking forward to getting set up for AP as there are one or two targets I'd like to try while I have the chance (Albireo being the first).
  7. Yes, the Bahtinov works visually - I tried mine out when I last got the chance to get set up and it works brilliantly. Haven't yet tried it with camera (DSLR or webcam) attached but looking forward to hopefully getting better images.
  8. As we all know, one of the laws of Astronomy (perhaps the 1st Law) is that purchase of astronomical kit is immediately followed by cloudy nights. Could this be self-perpetuating? Up and down the UK there must be astronomers who, when faced with yet another cloud-out, seek solace in browsing magazines and internet sites, eventually placing an order for more stuff which, when it arrives, causes further cloudy nights.... How about we select 2 days of the year: 1st May where everybody places their orders. With lighter evenings, the loss of observing time brought on by all the new kit has less of an impact 1st September where every astronomer refrains from ordering anything, in an attempt to guarantee clear nights By the way, this is meant to be tongue-in-cheek (before anyone begins to take me too seriously!)
  9. Two resources which may prove useful: Complete setup A to Z and (ahem! ) Setting the HOME position on an EQ5
  10. True, but the RA scale on an EQ5 is next to useless. Whereas the HEQ mounts have the lockscrew go through the scale, on the EQ5 the lockscrew is positioned outside of the scale. The only thing it seems to do is lock the scale at 0 and prevent it from moving. A quick way of getting the polaris indicator in the right position is to use a piece of software called PolarFinder which is available Here Simply configure it with the date/time and your location and it will display a graphic showing you what position the indicator should be in at that time
  11. As far as I'm aware, they're identical - perhaps SW thought it'd be better for mounts to be painted white - easier to see in the dark!
  12. The SynScan gives you two figures, HA and Clock. Given the vagaries of the setting circles on EQ5 mounts, the Clock figure is the one to use. Looking through your polarscope, imagine the little circle marked polaris is the tip of an hour hand on a clock. Having pointed the mount North and levelled it, you rotate the RA axis so that the circle is in the position (more or less) indicated by Clock on the SynScan. For instance, if Clock said 09:00 you'd rotate the RA axis until the Polaris circle was at the "9 O'Clock" position - off to the left. THEN you use only your Altitude (latitude) and Azimuth adjusting bolts to carefully adjust the mount so that Polaris is in the little circle. Once you've done that your mount will be pretty well polar aligned. You can then return the axes to the "Home" position, load up your scope and move on to alignment. Do take time to watch the tutorials I mentioned earlier - they'll be a great help.
  13. Was the cable supplied with the camera? I was under the impression that remote shutter control of a 350D by a PC was done using a jack plug to DB9 serial cable plugged in to the PC's serial port (or a USB to serial converter if the PC doesn't have a serial port). The USB cable supplied with the camera should be a mini-B to USB-A type, used to transfer images from the camera to PC. A computer controlled setup would (presumably) require both cables to be used, with software such as DSLRFocus or AstroPhotographyTool (APT) being used. Later models such as the 1000D are supplied with EOS Utility software which enables remote shutter control via the USB link, so only one cable is needed. Hope that helps
  14. Don't lose heart. Take a look and all will be revealed!Also, for those of you who tire of scrabbling around getting damp knees/bad back, This might be the answer for you. The (moving) picture definitely paints a thousand words!
  15. You might find it difficult to achieve focus as the 0.965"/1.25" adapter moves the EP lens further away from the focal point. It's been a while since I tried using mine but I seem to recall I couldn't achieve focus with 6, 12 or 20mm EPs (which, coincidentally I bought with the adapter from Scopes 'n Skies a couple of years ago. If you send me a Private Message you can have mine for free as I'm only likely to use my old 60mm refractor for webcam work Paul
  16. I should know by now that nothing's ever quite as easy as it seems! Last night in the garage I thought I'd have a go at hooking up my Dell laptop running Ubuntu 10.10 to my EQ5 Pro using the serial cable that came with the mount and the handset in PC Direct mode. Having seen the problems others have had with USB-serial converters I though I was on to a winner having a proper DB9 serial port on the Dell. So, I connected it all up, powered on the SynScan...setup..etc then selected PC Direct mode In Stellarium I configured Telescope Control (see attached screenshot), selected the telescope and clicked Start. The Telescopes tab showed 1 Connected local,Stellarium New telescope 1 So I thought "Good, it's connected to the SynScan" I then selected Vega, hit Space to centre it on screen and then pressed CTRL+1 Nothing, not even a twitch from the mount. Tried CTRL-0 and manually entering co-ords to slew to. Nothing. I've now noticed that Stellarium will say "Connected" even when nothing's plugged in to the serial port! Am I missing something here? Why do it? Curiosity mainly. Most of the time I'll only be using the hand controller but I just thought it'd be fun to try. Has anyone managed to get Linux + Stellarium + serial port (not USB-serial converter) + SynScan to work? If so, how?
  17. I'll second BiziBuilder's response. I have the 1000D with 18-55mm IS lens and a 75-300mm III Good enough for my mediore photographic ability and I've had some reasonable Astrophotography results too. The new 1100D has a 12MP sensor as opposed to the 10MP one of the 1000D and also has the faster DIGIC IV processor.
  18. Fair enough! The money you get for it can go towards getting more kit
  19. Don't sell the lens. You can get quite decent wide field images of constellations with it. Set the focal length to 18mm, f/4.5 ISO800 then autofocus on a distant streetlight (or the Moon) then switch IS and AF off. Point at your target (Cygnus / Summer Triangle's good at this time of year) and take a 30s exposure. Yes, there'll be a bit of star trailling (less at 18mm than 55mm though) but it's a good start to astrophotography. Oh, and if you time it right and point in the right direction you can get the ISS passing through, leaving a trail.
  20. If you're concerned about the EP hitting the mirror/prism, how about using a parfocal ring Such as here? I found to my horror that my 6mm EP doesn't have a "shoulder" on it so when I first popped it into my 1.25" - 2" adapter it dropped straight through and hit the prism of my WO 2" diagonal. Fortunately the mark it made appears to be outside the FOV so I consider myself rather lucky. Parfocal rings are useful if you're doing some webcam astrophotography as, with a bit of trial and error, you can use them so that when you've focused on an object with the EP and then replace the EP with webcam the object should be perfectly in focus. Well worth having, considering how comparatively little they cost!
  21. Difficult to say really as you'll find opinion divided. The 1000D has a slightly lower resolution compared to the 450D (10.1MP as opposed to 12.2MP). Both are very capable DSLRs for astrophotography, with the 1000D body weighing 475g as opposed to the 450g of the 1000D. I've had reasonable results with my 1000D and hope to have better ones now I have a decent mount. You may even want to consider the new 1100D as it has a greater ISO range (100-6400), higher resolution (12MP) and faster (DIGIC IV) processor. Paul
  22. Thanks! Skys The Limit has just been bookmarked! Another suuplier for me to consider. I know it's all rather subjective as to which finder is the "best" but what's the general consensus of opinion with regards to the RDFs mentioned?
  23. Those of you who own an EQ5 (either manual or SynScan/upgraded) will be aware that the setting circles leave a lot to be desired -especially when compared with those of an HEQ or NEQ mount. Part of setting up a SynScan mount involves setting the "Home" position to which the scope+mount are parked at the end of a session. This is so that the SynScan has a known starting point for the next session. The more accurately this position can be set, the better. There's an extremely useful set of video tutorials on YouTube accessible via Astronomy Shed which show the setting up of an equatorial (actually, an HEQ6) mount. Inspired by the method used in part 1 of the "Complete setup A to Z" tutorial, I've devised a method to accurately set "Home" on any SynScan mount, be it EQ3-2+upgrade, HEQ6 or anything in between. I've posted it on my infrequent blog Here for anyone who's interested and have attached a PDF. Please feel free to comment/advise as appropriate. EQ5-Home.pdf
  24. As you'll see from my signature, I have a WO Megrez 72. I'm now looking to get a finder for it. I've narrowed the choice down to: WO 6x30 finderscope - £109.99 from Ian King Rigel QuikFinder Compact Reflex Sight £34.00 from FLO Telrad finder £39.80 from Modern Astronomy It seems to me, from reading this and other forums that the Rigel/Telrad are the ones to choose from. I've read an online review where they appear to be fairly comparable, with the Rigel being approx £5 cheaper. My main question is this: Will either/both the Telrad and Rigel fit onto a WO Megrez 72 without modification?
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