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Everything posted by stevebb

  1. Hi Alan, In the main, I absolutely love it though I do have a problem with water getting in at the hinges as quite a few people in this group also experience. I do know Carole has made a cover to go over the top which negates this problem - Wayne (Mister SkyShed Pod) from across the pond sells them but they are over $400 + shipping/customs etc. In fact, I had a good email exchange with Wayne last night and he shared a video build link that he had put together and it shows the application of the foam around the hinges a lot more clearly. Literally, one hour ago I have redone the foam (neoprene with sticky back 1" in width) and now awaiting an Amazon delivery with some fast setting silicone sealant to hopefully better seal this "trouble spot". Wayne did actually say in the video that this foam will need replacing now and then - I did purchase the pod 2nd hand so I guess that is fair comment. As it is, I do have two buckets catching the rain as it comes in - a half day of rain will catch about a cup full each side - well away from electrics and equipment but I could do with stopping it completely or I will have problems with mildew and humidity. Question is, would I buy another if i was setting up from scratch again and the answer is more than likely. Zenith blockage is all that stands between the "more than likely" and the "absolutely" - even with an offset mount ! Steve
  2. Almost there now with the Muston Observatory (MOBS), the whole assembly is now perfectly balanced and remaining jobs will be lining up all 3 scopes perfectly with each other both in pointing and orientation. Once that is achieved, the auto-plate solving provided by the StarAid "should" negate the need for a further "goto adjustment". Remaining job will be the cable tidy and perhaps another go at trying to fully waterproof the Sky ShedPod at the hinges (a known and very frustrating problem). At some stage I might be looking at a solution for sliding the dome top out of the way. Even though I purposely installed the pier "off centre", I still have zenith blockage on the Veil nebula which is frustrating. With a bit of luck I shall finally be doing some "Live-Streaming" for STEM and other outreach events this winter. The MOBS is now fully remoted back to the house and can be controlled directly either from inside the Observatory or back in the house where it is warm. The new MESH network (Asus ZenWiFi XT8) has seen a massive speed increase from the previous Netgear Orbi MESH which not only provides a more stable connection but faster transfer of files - and the ability to live-stream video from either of the DSLR cameras. It has taken a while to get to this point just a blummin shame that Covid has spoiled things (for everyone) or I would be conducting Outreach from home for the local area. Steve
  3. Ok, to answer my own question, I have just brought it to focus on stars - just a slight gap in the clouds tonight but it was enough .... wow, it certainly did pick up plenty. Interesting it would not see any detail during the daytime !! For others that might be following, I did NOT need the barlow extension and it focused perfectly about 1/3 of the way in using the 60mm guide scope. The "auto settings" were quite grainy but the stars were very pronounced. I did not try guiding as it is far too cloudy tonight. On another matter, absolutely nothing heard from StarAid support. I did hear that they did go quiet during the earlier covid times and that they have now begun responding to tickets. Sadly, not the case with myself. There is a recent software update though (October 2021) improving plate solving/polar alignment accuracy I believe. I'm just wanting to have more faith in the company and hoping development continues that will allow the plate solving solution to progress into an automatic goto function. Really hope someone from StarAid is on SGL and can respond. Best wishes, Steve
  4. Just got round to the "final" (yerr right) piece of the puzzle for the observatory and trying to setup my StarAid with a 60mm guidescope. This being connected directly to the pc. I have been attempting to do this during the daytime using the apps "live view" but I am not seeing any detail whatsoever on the screen even while adjusting gain/exposure. I have even added a barlow (without lens) for extended reach) and no joy. To check I was pointing accurately, I installed my ASI178MC and brought that to focus (without barlow) and then added the StarAid but it will not pick out any detail other than changes in brightness. The first daft question I am wondering about is if the StarAid is optimised solely for night time and using the "live view" during the daytime might not be possible ? I appreciate it is a CCD and it ought not to make any difference but I don't know how the proprietary software works. Other question, has anyone else got a StarAid or used one and if so, is there a specific back focus distance ? I would pull my hair out but I'm way past that point I have also raised the question with StarAid support but already have unanswered tickets dating back almost 6 months unfortunately which is a shame. Regards, Steve
  5. Lunt LS60THa purchased and imaging is better than expected - no Newtons Rings either on DSLR or the CMOS. I do however get banding issues on the OSC which I am hoping flat flames might cure. Ever since I bought it the weather has been pants !!!
  6. Good morning I am in the market for a solar telescope which I will be using for live-streaming for STEM activities and have a question on connectivity to a modded DSLR. I have a choice of a modded 6D and modded 60D - the latter with the "movie crop mode". I am currently considering a Daystar Scout SS60 and looking at adding a Quark to T adapter + DS interference eliminator and I am "guessing" these would couple directly into the back of the built-in quark after removal of the diagonal. Please correct me if I have got the imaging train incorrect. I am also guessing that the helical focuser would be sufficient to bring the DSLR into focus with no addition spacers required (for this scope/T adapter). Has anyone done any imaging like this or can offer advice please. I also have a ZWO ASI178MC (OSC) which I know would provide better results but when I deliver talks to groups, most are photography groups and the photographers relate more to a DSLR - hence preferring this approach. Many thanks in advance, Steve
  7. Erling, many thanks indeed for your reply .... I did have a brief chat online with the developer as he was looking for a UK supplier. I have provided him with a few contacts including of course FLO. I know it is quite expensive but I do like the simplistic approach as it is something that will fit right in with live-streaming. Only down side will be the customs duties and shipping costs as Pieter suggests himself. Not sure if he would accept visitors but once our current madness is over, it would be cheaper to fly over and pick it up lol Really appreciate your reply Erling and yes, your photographs look incredible Steve
  8. Thanks Peter, I'm in email discussion with the chap now ... he is looking for a UK dealer but having had a positive experience with every UK astro shop I have bought from I would struggle to suggest one inparticular lol That said, I have suggested a couple with FLO being top - if anyone from FLO is reading this then "Pieter" will be in touch.
  9. Good morning everyone, hope everyone is keeping well through this madness ! I am wondering if anyone has any "hands on" experience with the StarAid Revolution. I have done a search on SGL and only see Erling GP as a possible user and I have to say, his results are outstanding. I have an observatory in North Yorks and hoping to go semi-retired this year then devote more time to astronomy together with STEM conducting more "live streaming" events. At the moment, polar alignment is good but I do have to perform plate solving regularly (even after a 2 star alignment). Doing this while live streaming when jumping from object to object while educational, still interrupts the flow. Having something that will auto-plate solve, compensate, then begin multi-star guiding sounds absolutely ideal. Coupled with the added bonus as an ideal portable solution is just the icing on the cake. However, I am not actually seeing many user reviews even browsing t'interweb !! Now I know it is expensive and I know there are lots of experts on here that achieve the above with cheaper solutions. I love Sharpcap but I am backing off the CCD/CMOS approach as most of the hobbyists/clubs I give talks to only have DSLR's. And providing teaching/guidance on a common platform without them rushing out to get specialised gear means less grief from their partners. I have also looked "only briefly" at NINA which looks incredible but sadly, I do need to capture planetary targets also and I appreciate NINA was not designed for Planetary/Lunar/Solar in mind. I have also noticed a "Revision B" has come out slightly cheaper. Everyone has different paths and expectations and in theory, this looks the ideal solution for my situation so may I ask that any feedback/advise is based on actual user experience rather than on the feasibility. Thanks again, Steve
  10. Thanks Stuart, not to bad where I am Bortle 4 (near Filey, North Yorks). Thankyou again Steve
  11. Stuart, that is brilliant, thank you so much for your help. I actually have a set of cards and have done a custom WB on my Canon 6D (from Juan) which is coupled directly to a WO ZS73 through a full frame field flattener (works perfectly). Stuart, thanks for your suggestion of the normal CLS filter (ie not the CLS-CCD). Should the CLS suffice completely or are there other options I might consider ... duobanded or would that be overkill. The one that comes to mind is the Optolong L Pro. Really appreciate your fast answer, thanks again and a very Happy New Year Steve
  12. From the album: Stevebb.com

    Comet Neowise above Filey Country park
  13. stevebb


    A few photos from here and there
  14. From the album: Stevebb.com

    Currently a 6 screen setup with two further screens to the right. An IP camera sits on top of one of the telescopes so I can see the walls of the observatory and will know if I need to go outside and rotate the dome a little more. Also provides immediate notice if the weather turns bad.
  15. From the album: Stevebb.com

    Just doing a bit of an experiment and decided to do a negative image of the Orion Nebula
  16. stevebb

    The MIG

    From the album: Stevebb.com

    Muston Imaging Group, nr Filey, North Yorks
  17. Good morning everyone I am taking delivery today of an astro modified Canon 60D that appeared for sale on another forum with the following modification originally performed by Andy at Astronomiser: “Rear Filter Removal with Sensor Repositioning Modification” I visited the Astronomiser homepage to try and better understand exactly what this modification entailed, if an additional piece of glass was added (possibly not) and the "possibility of star bloating". While I do understand that this filter partly removes UV/IR and colour correction, with the first filter still in place I am wondering if I still require an additional filter within the imaging train to help overcome "muddy images". Then apply a custom white balance - appreciate the raw image will be ok but I will be doing "live streaming" so want to try and keep the image close to normal. My imaging train consists of the camera, nosepiece with an Ikharos field flattener (ideal for crop sensors, not so for full frame), coupled to a SkyWatcher Equinox ED120. I did read the star bloating may or may not appear and is dependent on the quality of ED glass. With just a single filter replacement, would I be looking at a CLS option or a CLS-CCD or indeed something entirely different again. I have no intention of using EF-S lenses so will be considering a clip-in filter solution. Main reason for selecting this camera is for the "movie crop mode" for planetary imaging and only 3 of the Canon camera's offer this. I did try to email andy@astonomiser but the email was returned undelivered with a "mailbox full" message and I am not sure if he monitors SGL. I was set to proceed with a brilliant online dealer that I previously bought a full frame 6D from but the 60D just appeared out of nowhere and the cheaper option might mean the "bank of wife" may still allow me to retire next year Many thanks for your help. A very Happy New Year and I hope it is a better one for all of us. Steve
  18. Happy Christmas A quick question on the Prima Luce Eagle range of astro computers please. Can it control multiple cameras simultaneously ? I have 2x DSLR's which I would like to run with Backyard EOS and an ASI178MC that I would like to run with Sharpcap. I have done a little googling to try and find a multiple camera setup but struggling to see confirmation that it can. I had considered other solutions from other vendors and indeed the basic Prima Luce Eagle Core and I only see 1x DSLR and/or 1x CCD/CMOS and in some instances, the latter can only be used as a guide scope. If the Eagle S or Eagle 3 are unable to fulfil this role I might have to go to the Intel Nuc and Pegasus Pocket Powerbox solution instead. Thanks for your help, this is the final stage for remoting my observatory Steve
  19. Does anyone on here use the above filter in their setup and if so, what are your thoughts ? It is currently on special offer and I'm struggling (against the "bank of wife") to justify spending £200 for the EOS XL CLS-CCD. I have a full spectrum modified Canon 6D and looking to put this on the end of the nosepiece into a SkyWatcher Equinox refractor. Also considering putting my Ikharos field flattener in the optical path but that now might not work with full frame. I have looked at a few photos on Astrobin and I must admit, it looks pretty good but is it really a bargain or a near miss ? Steve
  20. oh wow, thanks Carole and everyone - those are brilliant ideas
  21. I have a leaky Sky ShedPod at the usual two spots that a few others have been experiencing (ie at the hinges). Followed a few suggestions and put some neoprene strips along the edge and even put silicone around the area to form a "dam/run-off" but I do live in Yorkshire and get some very wet weather Does anyone know of "covers" that might go over the dome, got to be neat'ish or "her ladyship" will kill me !! I have seen photo's of some home brew solutions but could not find an email address to chase up. Steve
  22. Hi, I am about to take delivery of a full spectrum modified Canon 6D and know it will require a UV/IR cut filter. I had considered the XL size clip filter but think I will go with the 2" screw in filter instead but I am stuck between 3 filters at varying prices ! IDAS LPS D1 Altair Astro Premium CLS-CCD UV/IR Astronomik CLS-CCD I will be imaging both emission nebulas and galaxies and because of the latter I have ruled out both Duo and Tri band filters. I will probably save up for a set of narrowband filters at a later stage ... once the bruises have healed over after the "bank of wife" found out I require a filter in addition ! The cheaper Altair Astro (half the cost) immediately springs to mind but I do not know if this works with a full spectrum modified DSLR (full frame). I do want to avoid vignetting if possible. Many thanks in advance, Steve Muston Imaging Group
  23. I have tried to contact Juan via the website as he has a used Canon 6D which I am looking at purchasing (subj to availability and shutter count). Juan, if you are reading this or if someone could tip him off I would be extremely grateful. Best wishes, Steve ps he may be on holiday
  24. Hi Pankaj, I rewrote my website and need to upload this guide again short term. I will be rewriting several guides and creating new ones as I have acquired more cameras and software. I will try to find time this week. Once complete they will be here ... http://www.stevebb.com/astronomy/
  25. About time I updated this blog as a lot has happened over the last few years. I left my rental in Hackness after work offered me a permanent position. So I searched and found a lovely house with a 1/2 acre garden in a semi-rural area just outside of Filey. I have continued to deliver talks on Astrophotography to clubs & societies and general outreach including schools both at home and abroad. I was also privileged to present to Prof. Brian Cox, an awesome and genuine gentleman who's advice ("slim down your other hobbies and concentrate on astrophotography") where brought up in conversation with the "bank of wife" begging for permission to progress this hobby to the next level. Permissions were granted and work began on a pedestal in the back garden and a Sky Shedpod came up for sale in Manchester. It is amazing how many nice and decent people you meet in this hobby. The gentleman who sold me the obs invited his family around to help left the obs on the back of a flatbed. I could not believe how heavy the top section is. Of course the Sky Shedpod was too wide to fit down the side of the house so had to be lifted over a 7' fence (I'm getting too old for this lol). Eventually, we rebuilt and parked it on the pedestal, rotated into place, ducts for the electric were spot on (within the concrete). And most of the pod is shielded from the kitchen window so no hassle from the boss !! I have recently acquired a Skyfi and a modified Sony A7S to replace my Canon 450D. The latter I was exceptionally happy with together with Backyard EOS but I needed something a little more sensitive for the milky way. I replaced the WiFi range extenders and bought a MESH setup with one satellite which has increased the range into the garden. A signal test on my tablet is very encouraging so it looks like remoting is going to be possible. I have been asked if I could provide basic workshops and tutorials on astrophotography. Once I am happy with the setup and comfortable in using it (I am a little rusty), then I will begin with these. I cannot finish this blog entry without giving a shout out to York Astronomical Society (YAS). There are several members in this club that continue to offer help and provide inspiration. There will be a thank you BBQ organised when the nights become a little longer. Here are a few photos on the progress - need a better photo of the unsmiling "old git" though Best wishes, Steve
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