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    Astro Photography!
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    Central CT, USA

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  1. Currently I have a William Optic Zenithstar 73, but I think the combo mentioned above should allow me to put it on my next OTA when I outgrow this one. Also, I do have PHD2 now. bob
  2. Thank you everyone. Today I ordered a ZWO ASI290mm and an Orion 60mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser. I think its good for what I have now, as well as something I can grow in to when I get a more advanced telescope. Rest assured, Ill be asking questions about that too Bob
  3. Thanks @barbulo Thats pretty much how Im doing it now. I just level everything up then visually get 0 to 12:00 and then line up Polaris. Thank you for the confirmation! bob
  4. Im a little confused on something with my EQ6-R Pro. I can polar align it just fine but it doesnt seem to match up what Ive been told or what I see in some videos. My Process: - Level tripod while having it point North - Mount the EQ on it and dial in my latitude. - Loosen RA clutch and extend CW bar and level it to 90 degrees. -- This is where things go loopy for me (at least in my mind). From what I understand, at this stage, if I look through the PA scope my reticle should show 0 at 12:00. It is not, Its at 2:00 and theres nothing I can do to change it. I continue to adjust the green RA dial to read 6, then lock it. -Once I have RA leveled, I lock it and loosen Dec clutch, and level that. Set dec dial to 90, and lock it. - Now I turn the RA to 12:00 on the RA dial and the DEC dial to 0 Im under the understanding that this is now my home position. However if I do all that, now my PA Reticle is showing 0 at 5:00 or so and my OTA is pointing 45 degrees off to the right. If I ignore the numbers on the reticle I can PA just fine but I am pretty sure Im missing something. Thank you Bob
  5. This is great information, thank you all. I am fortunate enough to have a lot of nights of clear skies in relative darkness. Bortel 4 generally but if I get in my car can get to Bortel 3. However the last time I was out that area I got surrounded by coyotes and had to run. To be honest I didnt come away with a clear decision hahaha. I guess thats a good thing though, if the difference isnt that huge, then a rookie like me would never know the difference. Since I do have the good skies and a lot of clear nights, I may lean toward the mono then.... It will be a steeper learning curve and more time but Im ok with that. @mackiedlm you mention the 1600mm is old. Do you recommend a different / newer one? Thank you guys! Good stuff! bob
  6. Im just about to upgrade my gear...I currently have a Canon DSLR as my camera, but its time for a dedicated one. I know the pros and cons of color vs mono. Mono will ultimately get me a better image, but more work, more time, more equipment etc. I get the whole RGGB, CFA etc. all the math and science and white papers aside, whats the general consensus? Have color cameras gotten 'good enough' that its really that difficult to tell? Ive pretty much narrowed it down to the ASI1600mm and a filter wheel, or the ASI2600mc. Final cost is about the same when you get the filters etc for the mono. Im sure it has a lot to do with the OTA too but I dont want to get to that level of detail. Im just looking for opinions from those who have actual experience with each. I know the topic has been beat to death so I apologize. Thank you for your valuable input, it is much appreciated. Bob
  7. @malc-c Thank you for that. It sounds like a nice workflow you have there. Its really not that far off from mine (except you are having success :)
  8. Hi StevieDvd, thank you. I have the tick box unticked in EQMOD in the picture above does that mean it needs to be ticked?
  9. Great video thank you! I went out tonight and spent a couple of hours trying some things out, and had decent success. Im happy to say that I set up the tripod and EQ in the light, leveled the tripod, set my home position and dont you know as soon as it got dark and I looked in my polar alignment scope it was almost spot on. It took 2 seconds to get it set right with the knobs after that More good news: Connected the laptop to the camera and EQ mount, fired up EQMOD and it connected right away. Went into stellarium, and it connected right away. Went into APT and it all connected right away! Click on an object in stellarium and it goes right over to it! Thats pretty much the end of my success. I was unable to plate solve because for some reason I was getting star trails when taking a 20 second test shot. I attached a screen shot. You will notice that on the left window it says Not Tracking. Plus it says Meridian Limit and Im not sure what that means. When I pressed the star icon nothing happens. It doesnt track. I noticed in APT I have the ability to track (guide) too but looks like it whats PHD2, which I do not have. I think this is where a lot of my confusion is coming in. There are 3 places or more to put in my longitude and latitude (EQMOD, APT, Stellarium...), and more than one place to track. Where do I do it from? Do long/lat/alt go in all three apps? Wheres the best place to guide? Why am I getting star trails? In APT, I did make a telescope profile with focal length. Im getting really close, I can feel it. I think once I solve the star trails/guide issue Ill be able to plate solve then take some actual pictures. Thank you all for your help, it is very much appreciated. Oh, one other thing. On the EQ6-r Pro, when I turn on the power, the Polar alignment red LED in the scope defaults to 100% brightness which is way too bright. I turn it down with the handheld but its a pain, is there an easier way? I think Im guessing I wont even need the scope if I can get the plate solve working but I could be wrong. Bob
  10. You guys are the best! Success!! It looks like it was a few things that went wrong that you helped with! - I had the baud set wrong, it was set to auto. When that didnt work, I went to 9600. However taking malc-c 's advice, setting it to 115000 worked! - The latest version of stellarium has a bug where it wont accept a configuration for Telescope control. I had to use a back version. -When I connected stellarium to the eq, it said port not available. I had to quit eqmod (since it was using the port?) and that worked. Now, at least in my living room, I can see where my scope is pointed in stellarium, and then slew to any DSO I select. Im pretty sure I yelled out loud when it worked! Of course my mount was randomly placed in the living room so it wasnt near polar aligned, it was too cloudy out. Hopefully tomorrow it will be clear and I can try it out. Of course this is just half the battle...getting it to find DSO's. Photographing them is another challenge which I cant wait to experiment with. I cant thank you guys enough, very very very helpful, and Im pretty excited right now! bob
  11. Hi Again. I just wanted to give an update, and cry on your shoulders a little. Ive had absolutely zero luck so far. hahaha. Im not giving up! I have watched a bunch of excellent videos. Two of the best were this one for ADP and plate solving https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=dpYXoYEKFpA and this one for stellarium/ascom etc : https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=mYTD7RuF3x8 Take out the space in the .com to watch, I hated the way int inserted the video into this message. Anyway... Just because I watched them didnt mean I had good luck. Holy hell, I installed a dozen apps while I was following him along and in the end it didnt work. It seems in order to control anything I need to have my PC recognize the the EQ mount which doesnt seem to be happening whatsoever. I installed the ASCOM stuff, as well as going to skywatcher and getting the drivers for both the mount and the syncscan handheld. I even installed syncscan for windows and that doesnt recognize my mount either. I took a USB cable from my laptop and plugged it directly in to the USB slot on the mount, and no luck. Then I read that I either need a special usb cable with some drivers in the cable, or a regular usb cable which is what I had, into the hand controller. Still no luck. At this point Im at a loss. Do I really need to install all those apps just to get this to work? bob
  12. Thank you everyone for the excellent advice. Im going to start with APT and my DSLR using plate solving for alignment at this point, since I have the camera and a laptop. When my ASAIR plus comes in Ill get a dedicated cam for that to make it a little easier. Ill report back on how it goes!
  13. I just ordered an ASAIR Plus but it wont be in for a month or so, whenever they get shipped. Im looking for a recommendation for a camera for auto guiding and/or polar alignment. I have a DSLR attached to my Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro but having a rough time aligning so I figure this would help. I read the manual on the ASAIR, and it looks like I have a USB connection to my DSLR so it can use that for plate solving and polar alignment (Please correct me if Im wrong), but then I was thinking of getting another small/cheap ccd camera that I can dedicate for autoguiding. Or should I not bother? If I dont get a ccd camera, is the ASAIR app good enough? Should I use PHD2? Other? Thank you Bob
  14. GoldTop57, thank you for that, I was thinking of something exactly like that, I didnt know it actually existed. Thats perfect. Im all for using an ASI Air Pro to do alignment with if it helps. I know that now means I have to lug a laptop around with me but thats not the end of the world. What alignment camera do you recommend? bob
  15. HI All. New here and this is my first post. Id like to preface this with saying Im REALLY new to this whole thing but not a complete virgin. For the last couple of years Ive used my skywatcher star adventurer pro, and absolutely loved it. I have had excellent results with it, and its easy to set up and use. Now... I recently picked up a new EQ6-R Pro and have had far less luck. I can polar align (Northern Hemisphere) no issues at all but thats where my success ends. Right now, I have a very basic set up: -Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro mount and tripod -William Optics Zenithstar 73 -William Optics 73a Field Flattener -Canon 1DX Mark III DSLR The first issue Im having is balancing the optical gear. I can balance the camera gear to the counterweights (Sorry, I dont know all the terms yet), but balancing the camera gear wont happen. Its a heavy camera and its not much of a lens so that part I understand. Ill move to a CCD at some point. I have it all moved as forward as it will go without the focus knob hitting the dovetail mount. Secondly, After I polar align it, it asks me for a 1,2 or 3 star calibration. I figured Id start easy with 1 star. I picked a star close to polaris and hit enter, then it says "Now center the star in the view using the arrow keys". Nothing happens when I hit the arrow keys. And I assume its still talking about the polar scope I aligned NCP with? If so, that wont move with the arrow keys. So Im stumped. Another oddity Im having is if I have my retical aligned with 0 at 12:00 in the polar scope. all my camera gear is upside down, and it hits the front elevation bolt. I cant believe Im the first to ever have a DSLR on this things so Im betting Im doing something wrong. I have spent (literally) days on youtube and google looking at every video I can on it, but nothing I have found so far tells me about the 1,2 or 3 star alignment. Oh and some describe setting the home, which I did but didnt see what that did for me at all. Following the instructions it came with talk about using the dials but not setting them etc, so Im not sure what good they do me. Im not giving up, I love learning and cant wait till I understand it all. Thank you for any insight to my dilemma! Bob
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