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Found 22 results

  1. I have recently bought a Orion Starshoot Autoguider. I downloaded phd 2, eqmod and ascom stuff. After a small research I found out my mount (exos 2 gt) doesn't support computer acces without firmware upgrade and fancy cables but I have the st4 port so it shouldn't be a problem. In phd I choose camera as Starshoot Autoguider and mount On-Camera. Aux mount and AO are both none. My wiring is one cable to pc from camera and another to st4 port from camera. When I started looping I selected the star with no problem. I choosed the one star alignment option from my hand controller and after centering the Archturus in the middle of view I pressed ok and it was successfull. I started guiding and after a while I get the error: RA calibration failed star didn't move enough.
  2. Hi, I am after some fairly basic advice on getting started with autoguiding. My set-up is as shown in my signature and the Atik One 6.0 with the integrated Off Axis Guider and Atik GP is a pretty new bit of kit which I have had some success with normal guiding, and I am keen to try out Autoguiding (which I have never tried before). Now, I will get onto asking for advice on using software later, but my first question is how do I set things up in terms of connecting the camera / computer / mount to one another? Atik One 6.0 Camera to the OAG Atik GP is via a MiniUSB cable, Ok with this . Atik One 6.0 Camera to the Laptop is pretty obvious (standard USB cable). Now I am lost; how do I connect the Laptop to the Mount. Here is a picture of the guide Port on the mount:- Can someone please give me a link to what cable I would need to connect the Laptop to this Port (I assume that this is what I need to do). Once I have achieved this, I will follow up with what software is best to use for Autoguiding (PHD or the supplied Artemis Capture software via the Tracking function). Thanks in advance, Dave
  3. I currently have a Skywatcher Star Adventurer Tracking mount. I am looking at options to improve my accurate exposure time. My first option is autoguiding. What is an effective autoguiding solution for the Star Adventurer? Or am I better off completely upgrading to a Celestron Advanced VX without an autoguiding solution?
  4. My current setup for astrophotography is an eq5 pro mount with a 200p telescope, using a canon 1000d camera, I’ve been looking at what I could upgrade to improve my astrophotos and my top priority is getting a light pollution filter and it in the middle of a city. But next I’m torn, between getting an autoguiding system and getting a new mount (heq5 or neq6 if I could find one used) I recognise I will need both eventually it’s just about which to get first. I’m that respect if I were to get the auto guider first, I would probably have to find a different way of mounting it because of the weight limit, I found a old thread that referenced mounting the autoguiding system to the counterweight bar which would not increase the weight, I see a few problems with this but for the sake of saving the weight I figure it’s a good idea. Im not sure what autoguiding kit I would get but I’ve seen that the st80 is highly regarded and probably a Astro ccd around the £150 mark. Any advice on which to get first for my setup would be appriciated and what mount and autoguiding system that is advisable. Thanks in advance.
  5. Hello Astrophotographers, Now that I have my CGEM on a permanent pier, I figured that I should get much better accuracy in guiding quality, especially at 2032mm (F10) focal length on my 8" SCT. I spent a bit of time getting guiding results that are at the very least acceptable and thought I’d share my experience with anyone who is looking for info on PHD autoguiding. In the pasten setting up for each astro session and using PHD I was generally getting RMS about 2.2-2.6ish and after stacking and processing, the soft effects were able to be negated to a great point, revealing detail and with results that I was quite happy with (on a good night) imaging at 2032mm using a modded Canon 40D. The stars were round and generally I was able to use most (if not ALL) of the subs generated, even when I was exposing through Halpha or SII for 30-40 minutes per sub. That in it self, I thought, was pretty good for the setup that I'm using... or... I'm just easily pleased. I use a OAG for my exposures so guiding on the same FL as imaging. That said I did spend a bit of time playing with PHD settings, as well as the backlash setting on the CGEM, along with autoguide rates to try to get better guide graph. After a spending a bit of time on both polar alignment as well as tweaking the autoguiding parameters in PHD, I was still getting a graph that showed large jumps, see pics… Nowhere near the near flat line that a few imagers were getting. Although the RMS level at 2032mm did improve, now I’m getting numbers of between 0.83-1.3, so it is definitely an improvement but still didn’t look flat. The test exposures I done at those RMS levels using the 40D at ISO100 on a 40 minute exposure showed round stars and the frame exposure looked good. I decided to investigate to try to improve the graph, and when turning off the guide commands the graph showed large bumps generated by star movement caused by the atmosphere, the graph was very similar, although slightly higher RMS, due to the star moving around obviously due to seeing. At this stage I put my larger graph RMS in comparison to other very flat graphs to perhaps me guiding at 2032mm on a 1/4” CCD and others guiding using a much smaller/shorter FL guidescope where such large seeing related star movements are not picked up at a shorter FL, I base this on the fact that when imaging and guiding while using my 80mm/500mmFL frac where I generally got a RMS of 0.3ish. Using the size of the pixels and CCD on the focal length the results are 0.548 arcsecs per pixel so multiplying that by the RMS I get the guiding is 0.45 – 0.71 arc seconds accuracy (?) which if I’m right, sub arc sec accuracy is OK for AP. I used http://www.celestialwonders.com/tools/imageScaleCalc.html for the calculation. NOTE That until I had decent backlash set on the handset I was still getting intermittent saw tooth like spikes in DEC and RA, and the guide star did spontanously jump large distances periodically. The way I adjusted the backlash on both RA and DEC was by centering a star on the laptop screen and at 1X guide speed moving forward, forward, back, forward, back, back, adjust the backlash and repeat until the star responded instantly. Also my autoguide rate is set at 40% for both DEC and RA. My PHD parameters that seem to give the best guiding at 2032mm are below: RA Aggressive: 50 RA Hyster: 10 Max RA Dur: 350 Search Reg Pix: 15 Min motion: 0.15 Calib Step: 500 Time Lapse: 0 Dec Guide Mode: Auto Dec Alg: Resist Switching Dec Slope: 4.5 Max Dec Dur: 350 Star Mass Tolerance: 1.00 Dither Scale: 0.05 Hopefully some of this helps someone. Also if I'm missing something and anyone has advice to improve that graph, please feel free to share. Clear skies.
  6. Perhaps DIYers will be interested in a low cost guiding setup for EQ2 mounts. I'm not sure if this approach has been tried before, but it's relatively straightforward to implement and is certainly low cost. In early 2016 I purchased a Meade Polaris 130 scope, complete with EQ2 mount and Economy RA (clockwork) motor drive with the intention of trying out astrophotography at a low entry cost. Very quickly the prime focus problem arose - so the scope was shortened by 40mm. With this mod 30 second exposures very not too difficult, with 60 seconds sometimes successful. Of course the problem was tracking. Rather than spend time taking lots of 30 second exposures and knowing that longer exposures were really the way forward, I decided to investigate the Economy RA Motor to see if it could be modified in some way for guiding. The answer soon became apparent - yes it could (with very simple mods) but I had no idea how well it would work. Next steps were to look for a way to guide the motor - an Orion mini guide scope and Microsoft Cinema webcam (modified of course) plus a Raspberry PI with Lin_guider were relatively painless to get going and the results were good. However, DEC drift could still cause star trails, so a bit of thought came up with the idea of using an Economy RA Motor as a DEC motor, again to be controlled by the Raspberry PI. This evening the setup was given its for test for dual axis guiding (5 min RA guiding had been successful previously). Not the best sky - very bright due to the moon and clouds appearing. Still, taking no time for polar alignment other than to point the scope slightly to one side of the pole star, a guide star was found, guiding started, guiding gain etc adjusted and a couple of images taken before the clouds got in the way. Results - no doubt as seasoned astrophotographers would expect, DEC guiding just needs a bit of correcting from time to time - the gain of Lin_guider had to be brought down to stop oscillation. RA guiding takes much more frequent corrections, again with a low gain for my setup. My aim with the mods was to see if such a low cost and basic setup could be made to guide - also at a low cost and with simple equipment/mods. On the face of things it is not too involved and I hope that it will be useful to those who don't want to jump into the expense of more mainstream equipment. It could also be a low cost learning curve into guided astrophotography for those who have already purchased a scope with EQ2 mount. Next steps for me is to find (hopefully!) some clear skies for a chance at decent imaging. Weight hasn't been added to the mount as yet - this should improve stability although the short 650mm focal length is a help when it comes to stability and guiding errors. Below is a 5 minute (bright) single image taken this evening with dual axis guiding (at 100 ASA due to the moon). The central star seems reasonably round, though coma affects other stars towards the edge of the image. I've also attached diagrams of the setup and another earlier 5 minute single image taken with RA only guiding.
  7. Hi all! Yesterday evening I finally was able to have a success with my new setup. Since february / march I have been struggling with getting autoguide up and running, but due to various mishaps and lots of bad weather, I haven't been able to produce a single image, up until now. This is what came out: M13. As you can see the stars are not very clean... So guiding apparently wasn't as good as hoped for... I also used flats, but there still is a bit of a gradient, but a lot less than previous. These are 180 sec exposures at 800 ISO, so I guess I have to be at least a little bit happy with this result, because without autoguide I could go up until 90 secs, approx. Any thoughts on what can influence good guiding? FWHM was around 5, so not perfect... maybe that could be better, but I never seem to be able to go below those numbers, and often in the past it was way higher... yesterday morning I wanted to set the focus point on the guide scope, so I pointed the moon during the day, and focussed it as best as possible, and marked that on the scope. this night, focus was in fact very close to that mark. But FWHM says it wasn't perfect... I also did drift alignment beforehand, and the guide error graph in Maxim was pretty nice, after initially having to redo the calibrate, because "guide star faded". There were no clouds, however, and the images from the guide scope showed good clear stars (I use a dew shield on the guide scope)... Any idea what this could indicate? I collimate every time, so that should not have been a problem either... Any thoughts much appreciated!! :-) Gerhard.
  8. I was out imaging on Saturday night and faced an image shift problem for the first time in 3 years. Description is below: I had three targets in mind. Horse head, M51 and Pinwheel. The scope to be used was my GSO RC6, camera was my Canon 500D, mount was my HEQ5-PRO guided with PHD and finder guider. I had made sure that there was no drift when the scope pointed Southward near the Celestial Equator. I forgot to check the Eastern Horizon. I setup the exposures and after an hour found that the object had shifted Westward in the frame. No shift North or South, just Westward. Also, time and again the guider seemed to be loosing the star as I could clearly see that the mount was tracking intermittently. The entire night was an absolute waste. Any advice on solving my problem would be greatly appreciated.
  9. Hi all, Im living in a fairly light polluted area, and have a Skywatcher 200p on an eq5 pro mount (which does have a synscan hand controller which has an autoguider port) and ive got a webcam which ive converted to fit in a standard eye piece. My question is, when i connect it to the finder scope what wires do i need to buy to use it for autoguiding, i figure i need a st4 to usb cable, but everywhere ive looked has said i need a GPUSB device, im planning on using PHD guider but have also heard i may need eqmod and would just like some clarification on what i actually need to purchase thanks Daniel
  10. Hello all Ive been through this a few times but I thought I would look at what other people think on this. Is the time spent on dithering really worth it? Or is it better to use that time to get more subs? It seems to me in my experience that im spending at least 2 minutes between shots for dithering. When I look back through my pictures when I wasn't even guiding they look much better. One thing I have changed is not using darks anymore. I used to always use them. Now I use flats and bias shots but they seem noisier than my older shots. What sort of times are others getting in dithering? Is there a way to speed it up? I'm using APT. EQMOD PHD2 eq6. Many thanks Gerry
  11. Hi, I am planning on my 1st autoguiding session tonight , I wondered if anyone could help me with a few questions. My setup is 9x50 guidescope, ASI guidecam, EQ5, 130-PDS, and EOS 1000d with CC and LP Filter. I have a good view of the north, west, south, and south-southeast. 1. Polar Alignment. Should I use PolarFinder and my polar scope, or should I use Sharp-Cap to do polar alignment using the guidescope and camera?1. Considering the moon and my limited view of the west , what is a good target I can attempt an imaging run on? 2. Things I should prioritize in testing and mastering, and the best way to do this? 3. Considering the moon and my limited view of the west , what is a good target I can attempt an imaging run on? (M31???) I have reasonably clear skies, with a bit of higher cloud forecast later (1-2am) on Clear Outside, BBC and satellite images are more optimistic though. (Streetlights go off at 12 midnight ) P.S. Tips on keeping awake until early hours also appreciated . Thanks for looking, John
  12. i am looking for a list of brand names of the webcams along with their model names/numbers which are compatible with PHD2 guiding software. The more latest the model, the better.
  13. Hi all, This is my first post (apart from the one in the welcome section). If my question is not cristal clear, please tell me and i'll turn this differently. Does anybody know about PHD 2's logic to autoguide? Indeed, considering it is often advised not to send corrections too rapidly, e.g. at the same frequency as those high fps camera, because we would end up autoguiding on seeing disturbances and not actual mount errors (e.g. low freq P.E.). So, when setting the correction interval to say, every 1s, what does happen in those autoguiding softwares? I currently foresee two cases: 1) do they calculate the centroid position of the star only on those very shots (every 1s)? 2) do they still calculate the centroid position of the star at the freq. of the camera (say, for 50ms exposure, we'd have an image every ~50ms) and average this over 1s to send the correction every 1s (again, here, 1s is just an example)? In PhD2, the only setting related to this is the "time lapse" in the camera setting. The name of this mode tend to suggest the former case, while I would hope that it would do the latter. Does anyone know what it actually does? And is there any other software that uses the method in case 2)? (which I would prefer) Thanks
  14. I had a 2nd attempt at autoguiding on m31 tonight using my synguider on my travelscope 70, with my imaging setup an HEQ5 with Equinox 80 and a modded EOS 300d. I had shutter lockup on and delay set to 3s. This is the (frustrating) result of my 15m subs... Anyone got any good ideas? All of my 10m plus subs seem to have similar Z or s shaped star trails. I know I'm doing something wrong, but not sure what... Thanks for your help, Dan
  15. I connect my mount to PHD2 using ASCOM and most nights I have the error "Star did not move enough" as well as "Suspicious blah blah, axis may not be perpendicular". This does not happen when I connect the mount via ST4 cable. I read somewhere that I can do a Calibration Sanity Check in PHD2. I am however unable to find that function in the software. Is it some pop up feature or does it have a location in the settings/brain icon? Any help will be highly appreciated.
  16. I have recently purchased an Orion Mini guide scope and I'm keen to start autoguiding using my Altair GPCAM2 224. However, I have a MacBook and it's not playing ball. I've managed to get BETA versions of Atair Cam and PHD2 drivers on my Mac but the frame rate on Altair capture is horrendous and PHD2 doesn't recognise the camera. Therefore I'm resigned to having to shell out on a windows based laptop. I'm looking to the second hand market at the moment but all I want is the minimum specs I need to capture. I will use the Mac to process images. Altair states minimum requirements are : Windows PC Hardware Requirements: Minimum CPU: Equal to Intel Core2 2.8GHz or Higher Minimum Memory: 2GB or More USB port: USB2.0 High-speed Port It doesn't say if this is IntelCore2 single, duo or quad. I'm presuming single here. Even still is that the minimum for just capturing data? What are others using. I'm really reluctant to start shelling out another £100+ on a used laptop just for autoguiding. Chris
  17. I have recently acquired a heq5 pro and a 200dps newt from skywatcher. What type of mounting kit do I need to mount an orion 50mm guide scope? Or should I take the finder scope out and use that mount. Thanks
  18. Hey guys I am curious. I'm about to get myself some auto-guiding kit however I don't have a laptop to run the Backyard EOS or the auto-guiding software. I know a lot of people like to run cables to the inside of theri home and hook up tech there but where the fun in that?! Due to the freezing cold temperatures and dew this time of year, what laptops (if used outside) do you guys rock with and if you do, how do they handle with the cold temperatures. Cheers for any advice. - Tom
  19. Hi can anyone help me with some basic settings in the software for PHD2, ive used it for some time now, but I dont think my settings are right. And on top of that im still trying to get better polar alignment. Im guiding long focal length, (piggy backing my w/o zenithstar to my mak newt, to aliviate the issues on my images), ive been trying to use the drift alignment tool, but im finding that my trendlines are to erratic (another reason I feel my settings are wrong). So the mak is at the moment my guidescope which is 1000mm, and im imaging through a much shorter focal length zenithstar. My settings at the mo are (on PHD2)............. "Guiding".........search region pixels...15, enable mass star detection with a tolerance of 50.0, focal length 1000mm, once in calibration its... pixel size micron 7.40 (guide camera is atik 16IC mono), calibration steps 15, calibration declination, degrees 14, calibration steps, ms 350, then in algorithym tab.........RA...hysteresis 10, aggressiveness 20, minimum move 0.40, max RA duration is 2645, and then DEC hysteresis 10, aggressiveness 20, minimum move 0.90, backlash comp 0, max dec duration is 2500, dec guide mode is auto. My mount is a losmandy G11, (standard not go-to Gemini), and my guiding rate is 0.5.....which I put in the PHD2 settings. my camera exposure durations are set to 1.5 sec as well. If anyone can help me to get at lease some of my settings better then I would be very grateful. If I can get my settings right then I can maybe go back to the drift alignment tool and go from there to get better PA. Many thanks.............
  20. I purchased a used Logitech Webcam C160. Turns out that the chip is from the Quickcam SP4. 640x480 1/8" sensor. Would anyone here know which CMOS/CCD is it based on?
  21. Has anyone been successful at autoguiding a Celestron NexStar Evolution SCT? It doesn't seem to have an autoguiding connection on the mount. Some articles mention a way to do this through a PC, but fail to go into further detail. I'm aware that a wedge is needed for this, I just can't seem to find anyone that actually did autoguiding on this type of scope...
  22. Or, what happens when you leave your autoguiding setup unattended. The other night (28 dec, actually) I thought I try my hands at the Iris nebula (NGC 7023). Set up, aligned, etc, etc. Got guiding to work (Lin_guider on Raspberry Pi) and started a series of 20 12 minutes exposures. Sometime during the third exposure clouds rolled in and spoiled about 4 exposures. But then it cleared up again. I was quite unaware of this, sitting inside and doing other stuff (like haning out on this forum). When I got back outside after 4 hours, it had clouded over and I packed it in for the night. Examining the night's catch, I noticed that only two subs had the Iris right in the center. All the other exposures had just an unknown starfield. Just for fun I stacked the images and sent them to astrometry.net for solving. Here's what the sky looks like at RA 20 h 41 mins 31 secs, DEC 72 deg, 27 mins, 4 secs, right between Draco and Cepheus. A whole lot of nothingness. And I wasn't going for a Hubble Deep Field either. Enjoy! Happy new year to all.
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