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Everything posted by Martin-Devon

  1. I'm just starting off in imaging and several of the DSO targets have IC designations - for instance the Cocoon Nebula is IC5416, and there are many others like this. Some of these have equivalent NGC numbers as well (which is handy), but many others do not. My problem is that I have a GoTo on my CGEM, and like all GoTo's it will find Messiers, Caldwell, NGC, and named stars etc - but I cannot find anywhere to tell it to go to find an ICxxxc target. Does anybody know how to do this? Thanks
  2. I've had my Ikharus scope (also from Ian King imaging) now for 3 weeks, and so far it's been great - very smooth focuser & pin-sharp stars. I've just started astro-imaging, so am a complete beginner here, but after just 3 evenings of getting used to the scope & kit the Ikharus produced the view attached of the Veil nebula.
  3. I have the 21mm Ethos, and it's fabulous in the CPC800. It couples up very well also to the Antares 1.6X barlow giving you effectively another "Ethos-like" view also at 13mm.
  4. I've found many folks praise the Adam Block DVD for astrophotography called "Making Every Pixel Count- Powerful Processing in Photoshop” but despite Googling cannot find any UK distributors. Does anybody know where this can be ordered from in the UK. Thanks
  5. Go to the Astronomy Shed website - join as a member (it's a great site, and free), and on there you'll see a series of extremly useful step-by-step tutorials on how to set up and use the SPC900 webcam for imaging planets. I was struggling big time before i found this, and then it all became very straightforward. These tutorials also show you exactly how to acquire and process the images - really useful.
  6. Hi Rob - I'm also near Exeter, and am also a member of the Norman Lockyer Observatory - try to pop down on Friday nights (general viewing night) - new folks are very welcome to see what goes on.
  7. I've talked at length recently to Ian King about this scope he markets and he rates it very highly - a very accomplished scope for the price (£575)and giving F ratio of 5.6 with the included reducer/flattener. I've just ordered one with an upgraded 3" Baader steeltrack focusser that Ian installed. Apparently it's excellent for astrophotography and visual use. Ian King has several DSO images taken with the Ikharus 102mm as an illustration of what it can do on his website. There is a waiting list though for new orders due to demand, I gather around 4-6 weeks. Have a look also at the Astronomy Shed forum, where there are also some folks on there with the scope.
  8. I'd appreciate any recommendations on a 240V mains to 12V/4Amp adapter which has a cigarette socket outlet, to power a CCD camera. I've had the Maplins version before and it was horrible - the inbuilt fan was terribly noisy and just a disaster having on during a quiet night under the skies. So if anybody has any recommendations for any alternative (and quiet) 12V/4Amp mains adapters, I'd be very grateful. Thanks
  9. Hi Pete, welcome to SGL - I'm a little further down the road near Cullompton, and am also a member of the NLO; you should pop down on Friday nights (viewing night) to meet folks if you can.
  10. And welcome from another member in Devon - you'll enjoy the SGL site, it's great....
  11. Let me also put in another plug for "Illustrated guide to Astronomical Wonders". Of all the books I have to plan and make the most of my observing sessions - this is the one I repeatedly keep going back to - it's great (you can get it from Amazon)
  12. same question from me -what is the "focusing score" - sounds very handy!
  13. See also the image from SPC900 webcam of Saturn that I took last night and posted ths morning: http://stargazerslounge.com/astro-lounge/135648-spc900-imaging-success-last.html
  14. As a complete imaging newbie, I started off struggling with my SPC800 - the flashing was problematic and did not work as straightforwardly as some of the Stargazer links suggested. However, I finally got there with a flashed SPC900 - and then was bewildered about what to do next - Sharpcap, Registax etc - never seen/used these before. The breakthrough came with a link to the website Astronomy Shed and if you go to the tutorial tab, there are a whole series of incredibly useful videos going through the very basics step-by-step of how to set up a SPC900, how to capture images, how to use Sharpcap and Registax. In one night on these tutorials I learnt more than I had in weeks of googling everywhere else. To see the videos you need to register on Astronomy Shed, but this is no different from registering on the Stargazers Lounge or Sky-At-Night website, and again, I cannot recommend these videos highly enough (at least for beginners). I tried my SPC900 on Saturn for the very first time last night, and "bingo" it all worked - I've attached an image of what I obtained. It's not perfect, but bear in mind this is my very first attempt and there is a lot more optimization of capturing & processing that I need to learn. Just a few things I noticed last night: (1) Centering the image EXACTLY in an eyepiece before putting the webcam in is essential. I used my 36mm Hyperion on Saturn to centre - but this had to be SPOT ON in the middle so that when the SPC900 is put-in then it is on the screen area (the SPC900 images like a 6mm eyepiece, so crucial that the centering is done properly) (2) On my CPC800 I had to back-focus quite a lot to get the image from the SPC900 onto the Sharpcap screen (3) It is crucial that you turn up the exposure and gain to almost maximum to see the image on Sharpcap -for the first 20 minutes I was getting nowhere - wondering if I had centred or not on Saturn since I could not see anything by going up/down with the focus, and then when I pushed the exposure and gain tabs in Sharpcap right up - and then checked centering of focus with 36mm, and then put in SPC900 and back-focussed - there was Saturn shimmering and dancing around! So it was crucial to initially push the exposure & gain sliders right up to just see the image on the Sharpcap screen (4) Once you have the Sharpcap image optimized (I used the settings recommended by Astronomy Shed tutorial), you can back-off some of the gain & exposure a little to make a more balanced image - then capture in Sharpcap (5) This morning I processed the AVI images captured last night on Registax - very first time using this - but used the settings and simple step-by-step recommended by Astronomy Shed tutorial - and it worked first time! Some links you may find useful below. I have to thank Stargazer lounge member “Space Cowboy” also for his very helpful comments in earlier posts. http://www.astronomyshed.co.uk/forum/viewforum.php?f=19 http://stargazerslounge.com/imaging-tips-tricks-techniques/115493-embarrassing-jupiters-webcam-clinic.html
  15. Hello Thabo - warm welcome me too - I also live in Devon, 10 miles NE of Exeter
  16. I see that Astronomiser are selling these modified SPC800 NC webcams anywhere between £90-£200 each! See Astronomiser - Automated Astronomy and AstroImaging Solutions
  17. Does anybody know of a good UK supplier of the Antares 1.6x Barlow? I've done Google searches, but there are very few UK sources, and those that list them seem to be all out of stock. I've seen these advertized on a couple of USA websites, but would prefer a UK source if possible. If anybody knows of a supplier, I'd be pleased to hear - thanks
  18. OK - sorted it now. Bizibilder was right, since I right clicked everything I could find where the SPC900 was installed, re-ran the troubleshooter tabs several times, then rebooted. Much to my amazement it then worked. It's odd though since the message at the bottom of my Sharpcap screen now says "Camera driver cannot report capture information" - remember, before it said it could not "capture" the information so this has changed somehow to cannot "report", however, when I now click the Start Capture tab it works, I can capture a video and it plays back OK. Have no idea really exactly what I did, but thanks again to Bizibilder for pointing me in the right directions. Now, after more than 12 hours to get to this stage, I can now start the tricky bit, downloading Registax and then trying to get to grips with all of the settings, and trying to see if I can get any of this to actually work via the telescope. If anybody has any tips on what settings to use to get good image capture of the Moon or Jupiter I'd be very grateful; as you know when you up up Sharpcap there are dozens of settings you can tweak and what is right for daytime imaging is probably totally different from night-time telescope planetary imaging - so any settings information would be much much appreciated. Thanks everybody
  19. Hi Bizibilder - I did as you suggested, right clicked on the webcam under device manager, selected the troubleshooter tab and ran it, but this did not cure the problem. It says the SPC900 driver is working properly, but although I can see the images I still cannot capture them.
  20. Finally managed to flash the Morgans supplied SPC800 to become a SPC900 on an XP run PC. Loaded Wcrmac and Sharpcap onto my Windows 7 run PC, then downloaded the driver for the SPC900 from the link supplied by Morgans computer website. The webcam works - I can see images fine on the Sharpcap screen - but it absolutely refuses to capture any images. At the bottom of the Sharpcap screen it says "Camera driver cannot support capture information" and when I press the "start capture" button it just comes up with error. Sharpcap is fine though with the inbuilt webcam on my PC and will capture images - the problem is just with the SPC900 webcam. Any tips or ideas how to solve this would be much appreciated. It's taken me hours to get to this stage & I'm completely stuck how to fix this. Thanks, Martin
  21. I also bought the SPC880 + adapter from Morgans - came in 2 days. Their website refers to several links and you must read and follow these very carefully. Some folks managed to flash the SPC880 --> SPC990 easily (needs Windows XP though), others had problems - including me! It's really not that straightforward unless you know your way around .inf files, .bin files, where to locate on your PC downloaded files & drivers, and I found certain things that some people may have found obvious were not written down and I overlooked them - took me hours to flash it to 990. Once done, I then transferred it to my Windows 7 PC, the cam works but refuses to capture and store images - looks like I'm going to have to reload the drivers/reboot yet again to see if this will fix it. You'll see the Stargazers link on Morgan computers website refers to 23 pages of feedback, as I say the process is easy for some, and not others - I'm definitely in the latter category. Since lots of members are buying these SPC880s, it would really help for a complete 'dummies' guide on how to rig these up, and how to then actually use them. Russ's website post was very helpful, but not enough if things don't work as expected which happened to me (and it seems many others). Good luck....
  22. Any idea of what price these heated insoles from Blazeware come in at? FLO do not state a price - you have to phone up to see what the cost is apparently.
  23. Thanks Bizibilder - this works great. I'm sure others will find this useful as well. It's easy to flip the image as well in Stellarium so you see exactly the same orientation as through the eyepiece using the scope - so when the colours are then also inverted as described above and printed - it make a great detailed star map for a particular area you want to view at night.
  24. As you know the images on the screen with Stellarium are on a black background, and I want to zoom in & create my own star maps for observing sessions by inverting the colours so that I can print the screen shot with the stars as black points on a white background (otherwise my black ink cartridge will be used up very quickly). I've found that Stellarium does have an invert mode - under Configuration, then Tools, where you can tick a box and enter a file path. However - even when this box is ticked, my screenshots (cut & pasted) are still as usual on a black background, and as yet, I have not found a way either to send the screen images to the file path entered. I've tried cutting/pasting the screenshot image into Powerpoint, and this also allows you to view in reversed greyscale so the image looks like what I want - but when I then print this it comes out on a black background again! So, any "idiots" guide to printing Stellarium images as black star points on a white background would be much appreciated. Thanks
  25. Agreed - avoid planets for alignment - for some reason my CPC800 refuses to align if I use Jupiter as one of the selected objects
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