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Everything posted by the_laughing_crow

  1. Hello all... I know I'm probably late to this game but I've always controlled my CGEM with the hand controller. Recently I've decided I'd be a lot more comfortable in my living room and do my image capture and scope control via firecapture from in there..... But how??? Basics first: What cables do I need and what gets plugged where? Or if there's a good guide for doing this with the CGEM perhaps someone could point me to it? Thanks for any help!
  2. Following the arrival of our daughter 2.5 years ago the telescope has been stored away waiting for a time when I don't need every single second of sleep and have more than a few minutes of free time. Remembering how to do almost everything telescope related was a task in itself - I have forgotten so much. But I knew that going into the evening and set myself a low bar target of getting one video captured. The settings didnt matter, the quality didnt matter - just manage to get eveything set up and get the camera connected and working. I went out with the scope at 1930 and had a very frustrating time with alignment/goto, then the spot were I set up was too windy for any imaging so I had to move. And then when everything was good to go I had the absolutley bewildering experience of opening firecapture for the first time in 30 months. Its not exagerating to say I have forgotten 100% of firecapture operation. Eventually after much trial and error and guessing I managed one short video with what seemed to be reasonable settings. So I headed indoors. Pretty pleased with the result, its less than what the equipment and conditions were capable of but in astronomy its always nice when it the user is the limiting factor and not cloud/needing new expensive things.
  3. Armed with an IR filter for the first time on an ZWO asi224mc I popped out to get some images of the moon and to my horror realised I had no idea whatsoever how to properly capture the video in mono. Much frantic searching online indicated that all I needed to do was deselect the "debayering" in firecapture. However when I did this I could see the bayer matrix on the final result especially when processed with auttostakkert with the x3 drizzle. The picture here is with x1.5 drizzle and the bayer matrix is still a bit visible in the bright white areas, especially if you zoom in. I am really happy with the image.... but I feel that if the bayer matrix is still visible I'm probably not doing things optimally. So any advice out there on the best way to shoot mono with an asi224mc and firecapture?
  4. What optionsight I have for an SCT reducer compatible focuser?
  5. @Jessun: Moonlites compatibility with a focal reducer on an SCT is wy I'm opting for that manufacturer. What might my other options be and what were the issues you faced? @lightbucket: I think I selected the correct flange in the drop down (3.25" celestron tall large) - price is £244
  6. Ive been considering upgrading the focuser on my 11" celestron SCT, having become well and truely fed up with the mirror slop when imaging. I'd like the option to use my focal reducer - I dont use it much now but can see it becoming more useful in the future if I ever get bored of planetary imaging. So clearly Ive been pricing things up and noticed a very large price differential between FLO and the rother valley optics website [RVO]. Is there a reason for this? Im fairly certain these are the same items yet on FLO it retails at £359 and on RVO at £244 - Im assuming im missing something and would be grateful of people on here could assist! cheers guys, David
  7. OH.... you seem to be right, playing with the gamma got the lines to go away. Thankyou! erm..... where can i learn about this? The phrase "lower than a linear response" is somewhat mystifying to me. Id spent years and years using a SPC900 and wxastrocapture. All the bells and whistles with the new set up are daunting!
  8. Hello, Im just wondering if seeing gaps in a histogram is "normal" [see attached image] This was just with the lens cap off and pointing at the ceiling in the living room - not very bright, not very dark Thanks for any info! David
  9. No Barlow, figured I'd leave that for another day. So much to relearn I thought I'd keep it simple as I thought a Barlow may be pushing it mag wise
  10. Equipment: C11, asi224mc First time back at planetary imaging in a long long time. Last time it was a heritage 130p and a Phillips webcam which got me some great Jupiters, now Ive upgraded my equipment and Im back in the saddle. I seem to be having some learning difficulties getting used to the new equipment as I wouldn't classify the image below as brilliant.... still not terrible for the first attempt in a long time. The asi224mc has SO many options to twiddle with during capture, not like the old webcam... its a bit daunting! I've also managed to forget almost everything I knew about aligning/stacking and processing I've noticed my focus seems to be soft despite using a focussing mask, I do need to shoot mars over housing so Im wondering if heat from the roofs is screwing with me... [exact same thing for venus]. Or is it also that Mars is just difficult right now [low and small]. This was taken tonight [20/01/17] from Oxfordshire. Anyway any help or tips or links to tutorials or interesting threads on capture and processing are very much appreciated!
  11. Thanks Neil, Using this adapter, I would insert it into the 3.25" click lock, then screw on focal reducer, then...... I'd then need another 2" click lock to insert the diagonal/camera into. So two click locks, instead of one. I just don't see what the 3.25" clicklock brings to the party except for limitations.
  12. Thanks for the responses! I don't think this affects aperture at all. Both versions of the baader clicklock have at one end an opening of 2" in diameter where the 2" diagonal will go. At the other end one clicklock is 2" and the other is 3.25". So regardless they both limit aperture to 2". I've borrowed a non 3.25" click lock to check the system works and it does: With reducer and diagonal: The disk at the top of the first image is the standard adapter that ships with the scope. Essentially the 3.25" clicklock seems to be a 2" clicklock combined with the baader version of that adapter in a single unit. The drawback being that the 3.25" clicklock has no threads. So if I to want to use a focal reducer with a click lock these are my options: 1. Telescope>adapter>focal reducer>2" clicklock>diagonal/camera 2. Telescope>3.25" clicklock: No threads!!! So have to remove 3.25" clicklock replace original adapter, screw on focal reducer screw on a 2" click lock (!!!!), the insert diagonal/camera
  13. Yeah but the one for the 8"/9.25" will fit onto an 11" SCT. 11" SCTs have a stock back on them which is 2" across... eg this is what you screw the standard focal reducer onto. The one specifically for the 11" requires removing this stock back. That means you no longer have threads to screw a focal reducer onto. That means using a focal reducer requires removal of the 3.25", replacing the stock back, screwing on focal reducer and then screwing on something else other than the 3.25" click lock - which is incompatible with a focal reducer. The smaller click lock which does fit onto an 11" SCT is however compatible with the focal reducer. You screw on the focal reducer first, then the click lock.
  14. Having thought about it I'm feeling fairly confident that the best option is actually the standard 2" click lock as it avoids having to change the visual back to use the focal reducer. I actually cant see any advantages of the 3.25" click lock, only disadvantages. Anyone out there using these on an 11" SCT?
  15. Hi I've got a 11" celestron and have decided to get a 2" baader click lock. It seems I have two options: the standard 2" baader click lock which would screw onto my existing visual back: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/adapters/baader-click-lock-2-for-celestron-meade-sct.html OR the click lock which would replace my existing visual back: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/adapters/baader-planetarium-2-clicklock-adapter-for-large-325-sct-thread.html So as I see it the first option which screws onto the existing visual back has the benefit that if I want to use my focal reducer I just unscrew the click lock and screw on the focal reducer. The second option which replaces the visual back would mean id have to unscrew the click lock, put on the old visual back and then screw on the focal reducer. So one more step. Any one have any thoughts?
  16. Just to update on this: had the scope out last night and all auto alignment, tracking etc seems to be fine
  17. Yeah I was using the celestron + 7 key to fire it into boot loader mode and had seen the little connection wizard window. Googling has shown a lot of people complaining about the flakey CFM software
  18. Just wanted to share my experience with the current version of the celestron firmware manager [CFM] in the hope that the experience may help others. Equipment: CGEM mount, StarSense hand controller, StarSense camera, Celestron LiFePO4 battery, usb - serial connector, celestron serial connector, Windows 7 enterprise laptop [8gb RAM, intel i5]. For reasons best know to myself, even though my mount and starsense were doing great, I got it into my head that I should update the firmware because "it'd probably be a good thing". So I ordered a usb - serial connector from Amazon and off I went. I connected everything up as in the diagram and opened up CFM. First Problem: CFM complained that it couldn't save firmware packages and that maybe I should move it to the desktop. It was on the desktop anyway. This was odd as I had downloaded it the night before and it seemed to initiate fine the first time round and downloaded a shed load of packages. Solution: Anyway, I'm aware that Windows 8 does some bloody odd stuff with file permissions so I thought maybe CFM was attempting to overwrite existing files form the night before with "new" ones it was downloading now. So I re-downloaded CFM and overwrote the existing folder with the new one. I opened CFM and this time it was fine. I subsequently realised that you can also get around this problem by closing CFM, deleting the folder "packages" and then reopening CFM. Either way it seems t be a permissions issue and whilst on my laptop CFM could download packages, it was unable to over write them. So every time before I open it I have to delete the "packages" folder. Second Problem: The update process got stuck on the 2nd package (2 of 6) it was installing, which left me with what appeared to be a useless handset which displayed "Boot loader serial Invalid pkg: 0008" everytime I tried to initiate it. Solution: I noticed the updating of packages would always hang on package 2 but it was hanging in different seemingly random places (eg sometimes 18%, sometimes 30%, sometimes 54%). So I just kept hitting the update button after ever crash. SOmetimes CFM would immediately just say the handsets memory was corrupted but I would just again click "update" and after a few goes it would start uploading package one and then start on package 2. Then after about 40 minutes of repeatedly failing at <60% it got all the way to 98% on package 2 and then froze again. Well I kept at it. Then eventually it got through installing package 2 and finally got to package 3 . Then 4 . Then it got to package 5 and failed at 91% . Still onward I ploughed. I then went through half an hour or so of failing at package 2 again. Then oddly it stopped recognising that the starsense camera was attached. I restarted everything and it re-recognised the camera. Onward. Again it kept failing at package 2, then it stopped recognising the camera and this time restarting everything didn't get it to recognise the camera. Sod it, lets see what happens without the camera I thought. It did package 1, then 2, then got to 90% on package 3 and froze, but instead of crashing out like all the other times it went back to the start of package 3 and tried again. This time it got all the way through, then package 4 and then package 5. And then it got to package 6. I watched the progress bar like a penalty shoot out. ANd to my relief it finally got through all the updates. The whole process took about 2 hrs and god knows how many attempts, but it got all the way through eventually. I disconnected the laptop and plugged it into the mount as normal, fired it up and everything seems good. Im yet to go out and use it [cloudy] but at least the handset isn't bricked now. Jesus Christ what a piece of junk CFM is!!! Anyway the moral of the story is, keep trying.... its probably a lot faster than getting Celestron tech support to help you.
  19. Just purchased m my first ever 2" eyepiece. Good lord it's massive. Had to take a picture. Interestingly the saved image had a much larger FOV than was displayed on the phone screen when taking it.
  20. Hello! I was very kindly given and Orion 2” twist-tight diagonal for Christmas. http://www.telescope.com/mobile/catalog/product.cmd?productId=116405&gclid=Cj0KEQiA7qLDBRD9xJ7PscDCu5IBEiQAqo3BxFawpbZDHE7x6r89b2oxUdhuMpfvIzQRI1-gohdVWrgaApkQ8P8HAQ I have a celestron C11 so I'm assuming I need a 2" visual back so I can use this diagonal. Does anyone have a recommendation? Thanks!!
  21. Moonshot The heritage is a very special wee scope. Recently upgraded to an SCT. Will upload a pic of that in due course
  22. Thanks everyone for your responses! I've no intention of doing deepsky AP (at least not seriously anyway, I may give it a spin just for laughs though). I bought an SCT for planetary imaging as that's what I found most fun over 6 years with my heritage 130p (manual tracking was a right pain). So having made the transition from alt/az to Eq, I was just curious as to the rationale for doing the mount and not the scope. I think I now understand!
  23. Granted. So in a perfect world, with perfectly manufactured mounts and a telescope perfectly aligned with the mount's polar axis is it true to say that doing polar alignment with a polar scope provides nothing at all versus polar aligning with the telescope (using the mount lat/lon adjustments)?
  24. Accurate mount polar alignment can't be THAT critical for tracking. Tracking works if you vaguely point the mount north and do a multi star alignment. Now yes, I get that deepsky astrophotography requires very precise tracking. But why precision of mount alignment and not precision of zeroed (ra and dec) telescope?
  25. Yeah. All the stuff Ive read explains about using either the polar scope hole or a polar scope.... but I don't have a polar scope and polaris isn't exactly the brightest star in the sky. So I figured that If my RA and DEC are set to zero then the telescope is pointed in the same direction as the mount's polar axis. If my mount my telescope is out of alignment with the mount then wouldnt that mean that by aligning the mount but not the scope, then the views would be a few degrees out each time? So I suppose the question is: Why polar align the mount and not the scope?
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