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  1. Hi All, I am wondering what might be the best next purchase for my setup. I currently use a skywatcher explorer 150p on an heq5pro mount (controlled through StellariumScope) and an unmodified canon 450d (controlled through APT). I've also got an SP900 but haven't used it in years since it doesn't seem to go well with the SkyWatcher. This week I got plate-solving working in APT, which I am very happy about. I have a couple of hundred pounds burning a hole in my pocket right and was wondering what to spend it on... On AstroBuySell, there is an Orion Starshoot all in one for £180.
  2. Hi All, I currently use an unmodified canon 450D on a Skywatcher Explorer 150p and HEQ5 Pro. I also have a phillips SP900 I have not used in years. I'm thinking I would like a more dedicated CCD and see someone is selling an Orion Starshoot on AstroBuySell. Looking at reviews, specs etc, it seems the StarShoot would be an improvement for solar system over the SP900, but would it be any better than the SLR for deep sky? I am also tempted to try autoguiding and it seems like it would be a good solution for that. So, planetary: improvement over SP900. Autoguiding: improvement over nothi
  3. Hi All, I am after some advice on getting a games controller working again... When I bought my SW150P and HEQ5pro off Astro-buy-sell, the previous owner also gave me the Saitek wired game controller he used with it.. I then bought a wireless controller with a USB dongle, get it all set up in EQMod and used it for a couple of years without problems. Then we moved house and I've only just started using the rig again. I think the wireless controller is actually dead so I tried the original wired one. No luck. So I bought a generic controller off ebay. Again, no luck. Device Manager says it i
  4. Interesting idea. Does the extension tube go before the barlow or between the barlow and the camera?
  5. My birthday is coming up and I am thinking of asking for this: https://www.tringastro.co.uk/celestron-x-cel-lx-3x-barlow-612-p.asp It would mainly be to get closer in to the planets for webcam imaging and visual. I currently have a Skywatcher Explorer 150p (which I gather is not great for planets), a Philips SP900 and an x-cel 2X barlow but this combination does not get as close in as I used to get with my old TAL-1 and its stock 2X barlow. Would this 3X barlow help or would it be too much for the scope? What would you recommend, without buying a different scope: I'm working on
  6. Hmm, I have created an image container and added all my raw images but when I go to scripts->utilities->CanonBandingReduction, it says "No active window. Terminating script". So how do I apply the script to the images in the image container?
  7. Interesting, I tried the CBR script in PixInsight on my stacked image and it has significantly improved the banding, but of course that has then allowed other problems to show through, notably some linear diagonal noise and also a little vertical banding. I wonder of running CBR on the individual subs prior to stacking might help further. As to the diagonal noise, would dithering reduce that? I've noticed some people saying that the 3 minute exposure might be causing more banding than shorter subs and that the warm nights might also be a factor, both of which make sense as I normally only
  8. Thanks for these suggestions, I will definitely try the Canon Banding Reduction in PI on that image. I don't have Photoshop at the moment, so those plugins are a backup option. Will they work with PS Elements or would I need to subscribe to the full Creative Cloud? I have had a quick look at the dithering options in an APT manual and that does indeed look very do-able. I like a setting that you can configure once and then forget. Not knowing much about ASCOM though, will it work alongside my current use with Stellarium through StellariumScope? I guess I will just try it and see what happe
  9. I have noticed some annoying horizontal banding that is totally ruining my shots and was wondering if any one could diagnose it. It's not an artifact of the stacking, I can see it in the raw subs and stacking just makes it worse even though it is also visible in the darks: surely subtracting the darks should then remove it? I have seen it before but its not normally got in the way, the last few sessions it has really dominated my images. Last night, I took 1.5 hours of 3 minute subs of M106 at ISO800 and the stacked result looks awful, as you can see from the PI screenshot! I am taking li
  10. I think something like that must have happened. I never move anything between taking lights and flats but maybe the camera got knocked slightly. Thanks for playing with it.
  11. I spent several hours running through the stunning lighvortex preprocessing tutorial. Unfortunately, I realise now that I should have adjusted the numbers in the weighting expression, and also, because I had not yet upgraded to 1.8.5, could not use the 'local normalisation' section. Anyway, the result is shown below and is still full of noise and banding, both of which I think must be the result various issues at the scope. I think I need to re-check my alignment and gather new data, rather than continue with this image.
  12. The ISO and sub lengths are as in the example shots, it's no typo. Again on this forum, I have been told that the ISO for flats does not need to match the other frames since their purpose is the removal of dust bunnies etc and the measurement of vignetting and other effects of the optics rather than anything to do with the sensor. So I have gone to ISO 100 since that evens out the flat field: the LED lighting panel I am using to generate my flats refreshes at something like 50 or 60Hz (mains frequency?) so I need to expose for significantly longer than that to get an even flat image and the ea
  13. So over the weekend I had a few goes at imaging objects in the Virgo Cluster, and I can't get anything good out of the results. This is using an unmodified EOS450D through a SkyWatcher 150P on an NEQ5-Pro without guiding. There seem to be two main problems. 1. After stacking in DSS, the resulting image has obvious horizontal banding. I use Darks and Flats taken on the night, with Bias frames that I took a few months ago. I tried stacking with none of these calibration frames and the stack came out much better (with regard to the banding anyway. 2. When I pull these into PixInsight, c
  14. Thanks for those suggestions guys, I have plumped for this StarTech one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00SCE4E0I/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I am considering keeping it indoors between sessions, like I do with the observatory laptop after everyone's comments about the environment. Also, this ACF50 stuff sounds quite miraculous, do you recommend spraying the mount and other components as well? When I get to guiding, I fully expect the observatory laptop to need replacing, at least with something that has USB3 and maybe at that point I will also consider a 2nd hub
  15. I currently have a laptop in my roll-away observatory, connected to a powered USB2 hub on the pier, from which I then power and control the various bits and bobs on the rig. This is now the 2nd USB hub that has stopped working. Can anyone recommend a reliable one? I have seen a few threads mentioning USB hubs but none actually recommending a reliable one. The laptop only has 2 USB sockets so although my cables will reach it, without the hub I can only connect 2 things at once, one of which has to be the mount. All the stuff in the observatory is powered via an extension cable from the ho
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