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Found 259 results

  1. Hello again. I have recently had my passion for astrophotography reignited. I can't help but think it might be something to do with being locked in the house for the last three months, but whatever the reason I'm happy to have new challenges. The last time I did it was ten years ago and through the help of the good people on this forum, I managed to get a decent Orion's Nebula and Andromeda. At the time, I was doing everything wrong. No polar alignment, no guiding, using a Newt with no comma corrector and way over my mount's carrying capacity. It's a miracle I managed to shoot anything at all! On my return, I decided I'd stop doing it wrong and hoping for a result and instead, put my hand in my pocket and stop cutting corners. I left the big Newt in the cupboard and instead dusted of the C80 ED-R and added a .8 reducer/flattener, a guide scope package and an LPF. I had ordered the guidescope package last month (Altair Astro Starwave 50 and GPCAM) so I had at least messed around with PHD2. My results were not great. Mostly (completely) down to me being inexperienced. My guiding graph was all over the place. It looked like seismic readings for the San Francisco earthquake! I realised after some research that my issues were mostly down to a) my ageing CG5 mount with more backlash than an ill-thought comment on Twitter, b) the fact I didn't have the guidecam aligned with the mount's axis and c) an unbalanced OTA due to the limitations of the standard C80 tube holder, a DSLR, reducer and guidescope all pushing the CofG to somewhere near Leeds. I needed a rethink and redesign. I junked the standard OTA holder and instead went for tube rings and a dovetail bar. This made a huge difference and I could now easily balance the setup with an east bias. I stripped down my mount and tried to eliminate as much backlash as I could reasonably achieve. Aligned the guidecam. Purchased ASCOM cablesfor the mount and then waited to see if my endeavors would reward me with a result. I had to wait a while. Eventually, the sky offered me some testing time on the longest day of the year -_-. Oh well. Testing is testing. Did my work make things hugely better? Did I get 10 minute exposures with rounded stars? Nope. It was marginally better though. I shot some random star fields and and I got some random star fields. (I was actually trying to get the Veil, but don't tell anyone). I'd done everything I could reasonably do to the mount and it still wasn't performing. I made the decision. I'd replace it with the Skywatcher EQ6-R. Once I'd made that decision, I figured I might as well replace the DSLR too and once I started rolling down the hill of spending, my wallet gained momentum. After I'd added everything up, I realised it was going to cost me over £3k and I would essentially be replacing everything, including the OTA for a Explorer Scientific 102mm APO. Now I'm not super-rich. These acquisitions will have to be done in parts. I had to decide in which order to split off the main outlays. Which bits would benefit me quicker while I wait for the other bits? I opted to go for image train improvements first, then the mount then in two months I'll get the OTA. So with that being said, I purchased a Tri-band filter, iPolar polar finder and an Altair Astro 183 Pro TEC. Of course, as soon as these items were delivered last week, the storms rolled in over the UK. Sorry about that. However, fortune favours the brave and on the evening they arrived, a window of clear skies miraculously appeared over Yorkshire and I knew I had to at least have a go at setting it all up for the first time. So with all that preamble out of the way, I received and setup the bits I've got so far and realised in one epiphany type moment that all my mount troubles had been down to poor initial setup. The iPolar camera gave me a flawless polar alignment which had the immediate effect of excellent guiding. I pulled off a 9 minute exposure with round stars! As mentioned somewhere above, on my first forays into the summer sky I'd been looking for The Veil Nebula. It was my summer goal, but I have to admit, I'm not familiar with the summer sky at all. I'd always been a winter sky watcher. So I was just blind shooting really. The night I got the new gear setup however, I decided to use plate-solving in APT. I had no idea if it was even going to work, but I tried a plate-solving goto move and after a few minutes, it said it had been a success. I had to trust it. I fired off a 4 minute sub and I was almost convinced that I could see a faint outline of structure, but I wasn't sure if it was just wishful thinking. It was 12:00 am at this point and I was mindful of the fact that I had to be up early and deliver a training course to an Italian company in the morning. I decided to fire off 10x 2 mins exposures. It would suffice as a test of the gear, the guiding, the gain settings and whatever else I'd been messing with. I finally got packed up at 12:45 am and didn't even get a chance to stretch an image to see if I'd got any useful data. I had to go to bed not knowing and work through the morning without knowing. At lunch time, sandwich in hand. I stacked what I had in DSS. No darks, no flats, no bias. I just needed to see. As I did my first stretch in PS I almost cried out with joy. I realise that it it by no means a great shot, but for a moron with brand new gear, I'm pretty pleased with it for just 20 mins of data. In 2024, when the skies will be clear again, I'll add some tri-band data and some more broadband data and see if I can't fill it out a little. I also need to calm down on the gain on the 183 and I'll no doubt be asking a lot of question here again. Anyway, it's great to be back in the hobby and back on the forum and I look forward to looking at all your inspirational images over the coming months. Without further ado, my first attempt at the East Veil. Thanks for reading. Frooby
  2. Friends, I am back with a tutorial video on how to modify your Sky Watcher HEQ5-PRO mount or its American twin, the Orion Sirius EQ-G into a belt driven mount. The benefits of converting to a belt drive is that you don't have to worry about Backlash. The procedure took me about an hour to complete. Link is below https://youtu.be/PjDZiXaN5KM
  3. Hi everyone! So I’ve been lurking on this forum for a couple of months and thought it was about time I made an account as I’ve been back and forth deciding on which scope to purchase. I only got into Astro a couple of months ago when I took my first photo of the moon on the night of the ‘flower moon’, with my Canon 700D. I don’t know why it had never occurred to me to try and photograph it, but I think lockdown prompted me to look around and notice the sky a bit more! Since then I’ve been trying to get photos of the stars whenever there’s been a clear night (rare in Manchester anyway, plus my garden is Bortle 8 on pollution). I’ve succeeded in a few nice snaps but it’s time I invested in this hobby now I think. Having never owned a scope I’m completely new to this so trying to pick something that isn’t massive (for storage purposes), that I can get a good view of the planets but mostly something where I can see and hopefully photograph deep sky objects from my garden if possible. I’ve recently been looking at the SkyWatcher Explorer 130PDS or 150PDS, and want to spend £400 max. I’m leaning more towards the 130PDS due to cost, and based on some photos I’ve seen on here, although I imagine the 150PDS would be better, although appears to need a mount purchasing separately. I nearly went for the William Optics SpaceCat 51 at one point, then realised I was probably trying to run before I could walk! Any help at all would be fantastic. Many thanks, Nat
  4. Hi, Here's a quick shot of last night's moon. I've broken the crayford on my SkyWatcher 130pds so had to hold the focuser tube to get it sharp. Not ideal but I'm pleased with the result. Àny ideas how I can add more colour without affecting the detail? Thanks
  5. Hi guys! My name is Andrew, I only just stumbled across these forums just now! Couldn’t have come across a better community to help me with some questions I have! So I’ve Come to the conclusion that I’m going to be buying a Celestron Nexstar 6SE telescope everything about it appeals to me. I currently own a much older manual celestron telescope and am ready for my first proper telescope! I do plenty of photography and own a DSLR and am aware that with this telescope that it comes with a software that will record video of what you’re gazing at and stack the images if I’m correct? because I’m familiar with normal photography and not so much with Astro photography I was wondering if anyone could help me out. For the stocking software, is that all the process completed within the telescope and no DSLR? Or is that recorded with the DSL are and then the software stacks? What kind of adapters would I need to be getting into AP? By the way I’m looking at mainly photographing the moon and hopefully get some awesome shots of the other planets too! not so much deep AP, as from my research I’ve gathered that this isn’t the greatest for it... anyways. Is it better to use a DSLR and an adapter on the eyepiece for imaging? Or the stacking and what would I need for best result stacking images, especially of planets like Saturn and Jupiter?! Are the individual eyepiece attachments you buy for the telescope, cameras in themselves? What is aci? I’ve got no clue! Haha a lot to learn! I thought I was on the right track looking by myself for equipment and I came across the 10MP celestron Neximage eyepiece or whatever it is? I’m not entirely sure? And also what is a T ring? Is that a Dslr adapter? Does the stacking software come with the telescope or with additional purchases?! Sorry for the bombardment of questions! Obviously I’m very excited to get going and am very keen on getting some equipment! Any answers are much appreciated! Have a great day! Andrew
  6. Hey all, I made an acquisition and processing tutorial a while back (3 years ago? Yikes!) and it is fairly dated in terms of what I'm doing these days. I've been asked for a long time to make a new one showing what I'm doing these days. Specifically how I'm processing a single shot image for both the surface and prominences and how to process them together to show prominences and the surface at once. I've abandoned doing split images and composites and strictly work from one image using layers. Acquisition does not use gamma at all anymore. Nothing terribly fancy, but it's not exactly intuitive so hopefully this new video will illustrate most of the fundamentals to get you started. Instead of an hour, this time it's only 18 minutes. It's real time from start to finish. I'm sorry for the long "waiting periods" where I'm just waiting for the software to finish its routine, it lasts 1.5 minutes and 30 seconds tops typically at first. The first 4 minutes is literally just stacking & alignment in AS!3. I typically will go faster than this, but wanted to slow down enough to try to talk through what I'm doing as I do it. Hopefully you can see each action on the screen. I may have made a few mistakes or said a few incorrect things or terms, forgive me for that, this is not my day job. I really hope it helps folk get more into processing as its not difficult or intimidating when you see a simple process with only a few things that are used. The key is good data to begin with and a good exposure value. Today's data came from a 100mm F10 achromatic refractor and an ASI290MM camera with an HA filter. I used FireCapture to acquire the data with a defocused flat frame. No gamma is used. I target anywhere from 65% to 72% histogram fill. That's it! The processing is fast and simple. I have a few presets that I use, but they are all defaults in Photoshop. A lot of the numbers I use for parameters are based on image scale, so keep that in mind, experiment with your own values. The only preset I use that is not a default is my coloring scheme. I color with levels in Photoshop, and my values are Red: 1.6, Green 0.8, Blue 0.2 (these are mid-point values). Processing Tutorial Video (18 minutes): https://youtu.be/RJvJEoVS0oU RAW (.TIF) files available here to practice on (the same images you will see below as RAW TIFs): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1zjeoux7YPZpGjlRGtX6fH7CH2PhB-dzv Video for Acquisition, Focus, Flat Calibration and Exposure (20 minutes): (Please let me know if any links do not work) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Results from today using this work flow method. Colored: B&W: SSM data (sampled during 1.5~2 arc-second seeing conditions): Equipment for today: 100mm F10 Frac (Omni XLT 120mm F8.3 masked to 4") Baader Red CCD-IR Block Filter (ERF) PST etalon + BF10mm ASI290MM SSM (for fun, no automation) Very best,
  7. I moved from color (Canon) DSLR camera's to more advanced ZWO black and white camera's with color filters. Now I have to handle gain and offset instead of ISO. In theory I think I understand very well what it's about, and took notice of the literature. In practice at the telescope I have to rely on trial and error with test exposures. Can someone point a (reference to a) cookbook-like procedure to me, which lead to the optimal setting of gain and offset? Johan, Netherlands. [C14/Hyperstar, with a ZWO-183, and with a lot of light pollution.]
  8. Hello! What with all this locking down business and home schooling my ten year old son, I have dusted off my TAL-1 and created a slightly less than ideal setup in his room. The westward facing window has been providing great views of the moon and venus over the past week. Obviously doing this indoors is not great (the floor is pretty solid, as is the TAL stand!) but it does mean we get to use the scope every evening, rather than going through the process of carrying the whole rig outside every day. I have a T-mount converter for my old-ish Pentax k-M DSLR, but have quite disappointing results with the camera, when compared to the observed image using the eye. The eyeball view is nothing less than banging - crystal clear detail with a 25mm eyepiece, strong contrast - it's spectacular. I add the camera with an eyepiece inside a tube, and can't replicate the same result, or anything like it. It's OK, but not good enough. I've cleaned the eyepiece today and collimated the scope. The primary mirror looks fine other than a couple of tiny dust particles, no scratches or weirdness on the coating. The camera is working pretty well as far as I can tell. Apart from a little clumsy-ness with the adjustments, the clarity in the eyepiece suggests it's all working fairly well. Photo attached of best result from last night. My question is: is this a focusing issue or some sort of aberration? Should I expect focusing to be difficult in the camera eyepiece? What's going on?! Does anyone have any other tips I can try to get this working better?
  9. Hello, I noticed the sky was clear enough to get the telescope out for the first time tonight since getting it for Christmas (newbie), my phone mount to take images properly hasn't arrived yet but with my Note 9 pointing straight upwards I took a few photos (max 10 second exposure, F1.5 and ISO 800) and believe I have captured M45/Pleiades and California Nebula, please correct me if I am wrong though. Thought the second photo was also cool. Feedback and tips would be greatly appreciated. Spencer
  10. Hello, I am an amateur astronomer that wants to get into deep-sky astrophotography. I already have a telescope which is Celestron Nexstar 127 SLT but it doesn't meet the requirements to take photos of wide field nebulaes/galaxies, (Ex: Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy). I need some help on what to use and afford! It has to be under £550. I need a 70 or 80mm optical tube, with a mount that does polar alignment and can be attached to the optical tube then I need a Canon camera that can take long exposure high ISO photos and last a filter or two to help reduce light pollution and contrast the nebula/galaxy more! This is just for my birthday, I do not expect the best! I just need a beginners setup.
  11. I have a nexstar 6se and I love it. I've only had it about a year and it's my first proper telescope. Every opportunity I'm out in the garden both looking through it and attaching my dslr to the back for fainter objects. I'm noticing I'm getting movement in the longer exposure photos and after a bit of googling I think it's the mount. So I'm looking to upgrade. I'm thinking something a little future proof but I'm not made of money so decent, reliable, cheaper end but good enough for astrophotography and with the possibility I might continue to add bits and pieces. What do I need and how much am I looking? Help thanks in advance.
  12. Hi! I've recently acquired a new Astromodified Canon rebel XT and I've tried to take pictures of nebulas using it but I've noticed that there are these weird black artifacts that keep appearing in my images. Would like to know if anyone has experienced this before? Or are these dirt/dust specs on the camera, filter, and telescope glass? I've attached some of my edited and raw pictures for your reference. The black artifacts can already be seen in the raw image of the horsehead nebula and after stacking I think it got amplified. Anyway, advance thanks and I hope everyone's doing well.
  13. Hello everyone, QHY5-II (MONO) - as new with original box and acessories. Great guiding camera! Check some photos at Astrobin or Stargazers Lounge under "paulobao". I just quit the hobby and sold all my gear (FS102, G11, QSI532, etc...). Price 70 GBP shipping included.
  14. Hi everyone, I'm looking to get a reasonably portable astrophotography set-up, using a 60-100mm refractor, with a suitable goto mount. I spotted the Explore Scientifice exos2-gt with pmc-eight goto system, which looks like quite an elegant solution, and wondered if anybody in the forum owns this mount, and what they think of it's performance & usability?
  15. Hi, I'm keen to buy a small good quality refractor primarily for astrophotography of galaxies and nebulae. I'd like to use my Pentax K1 full frame DSLR with the telescope. Reviewing YouTube & Google the; Altair Astro 72 EDF deluxe & William Optics 71GT look like they might be good models to go for. I'd welcome the community's views on both, and any other alternatives people recommend.
  16. The Rosette Nebula taken in Cathedral City, CA I've wanted to image the Rosette nebula for some time now, but with my Celestron 6se telescope it was not really feasible due to the large focal length of the scope. The Rosette nebula is huge! I decided to give it a try with my new Orion ST80, and I could not be happier with how it turned out. It is certainly not a Hubble image, but I did the best I could under light polluted skies, and man does it look beautiful. 5 hours total exposure time Canon 450d Orion ST80 Orion Skyglow filter Celestron AVX mount Stacked in DSS Edited it CS6 and LR http://coachella-astronomy-astrophotography.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-rosette-nebula.html
  17. I lefted astronomy, sold my G11, FS102, QSI532.... From this site https://www.widescreen-centre.co.uk/starlight-instruments-feathertouch-focusers.html in UK, all these will cost 1147 GBP! I am selling it for...basically free. Everything in "as new" condition (actually one digital motor was never used). Very precise...MADE in the USA. You can see my work in astrobin or Stargazers Lounge as "paulobao". Thanks for seeing it. I can send you more pics, references, etc. Price: 250 GBP shipping included.
  18. Nadine2704

    Orion Nebula

    From the album: Astrophotography

    Taken with my iOptron Skytracker and Canon 70d with 300mm lens.
  19. From the album: Mike's Images

    Cat's Paw Nebula - NGC 6334 ( aka Bear Claw Nebula ) An emission nebula in Scorpius (near the scorpion's tail) RA 17h 25m 39.6s ; Dec -35deg 43' 48" . 7th August 2015. Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian. Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount Orion 80mm f5 guide scope and auto guider - PHD2. Baader MPCC Mark 3 Coma Corrector, UHC-S 'nebula' filter. Nikon D5300 (unmodified). Field of view (deg) ~ 1.35 x 0.90. ISO800, 14bit NEF, Long Exp. NR on. 28 x 200sec (starting at zenith) no moon, 3deg C, 70%RH, moderate LP. PixInsight

    © Copyright Mike O'Day 2015 - all rights reserved

  20. From the album: Mike's Images

    Blue Moon - 31st July 2015 Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian ("full moon" dust cap in place). Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount Orion 80mm f5 guide scope and auto guider - PHD2. Baader MPCC Mark 3 Coma Corrector, UHC-S 'nebula' filter. Nikon D5300 (unmodified). ISO200, 14bit NEF, Long Exp. NR off. 487 sub exposures @ 1/50th Subs taken over 45min period covering Full Moon @ 10:42 UT (8.42pm local time). Processed using Registax and Photoshop

    © Copyright Mike O'Day 2015 - all rights reserved

  21. From the album: Mike's Images

    Cat's Paw Nebula - NGC 6334 ( aka Bear Claw Nebula ) An emission nebula in Scorpius (near the scorpion's tail) RA 17h 25m 39.6s ; Dec -35deg 43' 48" . 7th August 2015. Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian. Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount Orion 80mm f5 guide scope and auto guider - PHD2. Baader MPCC Mark 3 Coma Corrector, UHC-S 'nebula' filter. Nikon D5300 (unmodified). Field of view (deg) ~ 1.35 x 0.90. ISO800, 14bit NEF, Long Exp. NR on. 28 x 200sec (starting at zenith) no moon, 3deg C, 70%RH, moderate LP. PixInsight

    © Copyright Mike O'Day 2015 - all rights reserved

  22. From the album: Clusters

    Ahh, the Double Cluster... I cropped the image down so the clusters would be right in the middle of the image. Just as beautiful as it is when viewed in the telescope where the stars brighten up the eyepiece and you get countless amount of stars in a nursery brighter and hotter than our sun I took this at ISO 400, an Exposure time of 20 seconds (Could have done 15 seconds to prevent trailing), lastly an aperture of F/3.5. This was taken Friday the 27th October 2017, facing North-West at around 19:18. P.S: I know this isn't exactly the Double Cluster people were expecting, but it's the wide field shot, until I can get a better mount and something to move the telescope without disturbing it, it will be wide field shots. But it shouldn't be too long until i get a device for it
  23. From the album: Mike's Images

    The Lagoon Nebula ( Messier 8, NGC 6523 ) in the constellation Sagittarius - by Mike O'Day ( https://500px.com/mikeoday ) The Laboon Nebula ( M8 ) is visible to the naked eye under dark skies from most latitudes except the far north. Seemingly covering an area about three times that of the full Moon, M8 actually covers an area somewhat greater than 110 light years and is around 4300 light years from Earth in the Sagittarius-Carina spiral arm of the Milkyway galaxy. Links: https://500px.com/MikeODay http://photo.net/photos/MikeODay Details: Messier 8, NGC 6523 - Lagoon Nebula. also contains: NGC 6526 NGC 6530 NGC 6533 IC 1271 IC 4678 7SGR 9SGR Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian telescope. Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount. Orion auto guider - PHD2. Baader MPCC Mark 3 Coma Corrector, UHC-S 'nebula' filter. Nikon D300 (unmodified) (14bit NEF). Field of view (deg) ~ 1.35 x 0.90. 20 x 120 sec ISO400. 26 x 30 sec ISO 1600. 23 x 240 sec ISO 200. PixInsight and Photoshop. 2 August 14 . re-processed 24 April 2016 to include the additional subs ( the first version only made use of the 23 x 240 sec ISO 200 subs ) and putting use the processing lessons I have learnt over the past year.

    © Copyright Mike O'Day 2016 - all rights reserved

  24. Hi, I'm totally New to this hobby and i'm having trouble understanding something in stellarium. I have ordered (not recieved) a Sky-Watcher Explorer 150PDS, which has a 25mm eyepiece 50degrees FOV as a default. I also have a Nikon D810. I wanted to get an idea of what my field of view would be with the 25mm eyepiece (30x on 750mm focal length), and also what it would be With my Nikon D810 mounted shooting prime Focus - no eyepieces. What surprised me was that it wasnt much difference between the frame and size of the object i get with 30x magnification (25mm eyepiece), and what i get with the Nikon D810 mounted. I dont get this. What magnification do i get With my DSLR mounted with no eyepiece?
  25. Hello, I own a Vixen ED-80 refractor which is used with a custom focuser by Telescope Service. (pictured below) A Celestron f/6 SCT reducer corrector did not provide decent images either because it is not appropriate or because I did not maintain the correct distance. I am thinking of buying the Sky-Watcher .85x Reducer/Flattener instead, as it is made for similar ED80 telescopes. I do not know what is the correct distance of the SkyWatcher reducer for my setup and more important, I do not know if it will focus with the custom TS focuser. Do you have any similar setup that you have used successfully? Clear Skies! Paul
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