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Found 22 results

  1. Hi, I just want to clarify something before buying my next mount (iOptron GEM28). https://www.ioptron.com/product-p/g281b1.htm On iOptron's website, it states the max payload of the GEM28 is "28 lbs (12.7kg), exclude counterweight". So I'm guessing that with it's 4.5kg counterweight attached, the max payload is then 8.2kg? So for my soon to be 6kg setup (scope, camera, guider etc) this will be ok. I then came across a forum on Cloudy Nights reviewing this mount... They say their setup weighs a total of "9kg. Which is 70% of max payload". He also has two 4.5kg weights (9kg). So would it not be a case of a total weight of 18kg on the mount (5.3kg over the max payload)? Or am I wrong to include the counterweights in the total weight? I currently have an iOptron Skyguider Pro with a max payload of 5kg. My current setup comes to 3.7kg (excluding counterweight) the counterweight weighs 1.35kg which together adds up to just over 5kg. I know it definitely can't take more as it struggles with exposures over 2mins (guided) which makes sense. But to say it could take 1.35kg more seems crazy. Not sure if this is different with a star tracker though so though I'd check with everyone else. Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks, Dean
  2. From the album: DoctorD's Photos

    Photo of Minitower II control board showing revised electronics and surface mount capacitors.
  3. The postman was kind to me today and dropped off a William Optics Zenithstar 61 and Flat61A flattener and the gods smiled on me with clear skies for 30 minutes. It would be a shame not to christen the new toys I only managed 10 lights so I didn't even consider darks or flats. The 10 lights from the Canon 5D MkIV, shot at iso 1600 x 60 seconds, were stacked and aligned in PS, median filtered for some noise reduction and then a few layer/curves tweaks to pull out some basic detail so I could look at the star profiles and and any vignetting. Overall impression is extremely good build quality and the focusing through the mask is ok on very bright stars but quite a challenge on lesser star magnitudes. Very little vignetting through the imaging train so the image circle cover the full frame sensor and it will be simple to either remove the gradients in PS or use flats and sharp stars corner to corner with no obvious colour aberrations. I do need to check where the weird smudges are in the imaging train because they weren't on the camera sensor yesterday, hopefully I'll find them pretty quickly because they are nasty! Screenshots are also included of APT focusing, Stellarium for the imaging area after plate solving in APT and then PHD2 for the guiding with the ZWO ASI120mm-mini camera on a ZWO 30mm f/4 scope (I've no idea if the guiding is good or bad but the polar alignment was achieved with the iPolar camera in the SkyGuider Pro mount I think at some point I'll add an 2" IDAS D2 filter into the imaging train and see if I can counter some local light pollution we have around here.
  4. Hiya, I recently treated myself to the iOptron SkyTracker and tried it out for the first the the other night. I kept getting star trails (which I later realised may have been due to the fact that I had it set to half speed! Silly me!) But I also had a lot of trouble with the polar alignment and I feel that, even if I had had it set to the correct speed, I still would have been getting star trails... These are the steps I went through, can anyone tell me if I am doing something wrong? I levelled my tripod and faced the tracker towards North I set my latitude to around 56 for the UK (Perth)... am I right in thinking that Polaris should then be within the field of view if I just pan my tripod around? This is where I think I messed up, as I couldn't find Polaris anywhere and had to significantly increase the latitude to find (what I thought) was Polaris. Did I maybe not level my tripod properly at the beginning? I was in such a rush to start imaging, that I probably didn't pay enough attention when I was setting it up! I used a polar alignment app and placed 'Polaris' (in hindsight I think it might have just been a random star that I thought looked decent enough ) where it was meant to be... but I just got rubbish pictures... So if anyone has any advice, I'd be very grateful!! Also, if anyone has any images taken with the iOptron SkyTracker and wouldn't mind sharing them, I'd love to have a look! I live in a fairly light polluted area and my first target was Andromeda... not the best combination, but is it still possible to get a semi-decent picture? Thanks!
  5. I bought this mount, from FLO, at the beginning of January 2020. https://www.firstlightoptics.com/ioptron-mounts/ioptron-smartstar-cubepro-az-mount.html These comments are after a month's occasional use. I already have a selection of Celestron & Skywatcher (Synta) GoTo mounts, but I wanted something smaller for a grab-and-go with quick setup. Overall I am very pleased with my choice. The GPS locks in a few tens of seconds, and the mount emits a short "beep" to indicate the lock (the top-right corner of the display also changes from "ON" to "OK"). Provided that the mount is pointing towards its designated starting Az & Alt positions, (see below), the automated slew to the selected target is accurate and, after final centring, tracking is excellent. It is very quick and easy for solar white-light observing when there is a gap in the clouds. The single object alignment (2 and 3 object alignment is also available) is ideal for daytime, when only the Sun is visible. The mount incorporates a holder for 8-off 1.5V AA cells, and there is a socket for a 12V, 2.1mm ID/5.5mm OD power jack. I have measured the current consumption. Initially (no tracking) it is between 75 & 90mA; whilst tracking, between 90 and 130mA; 2-axis slewing at maximum rate, up to 470mA; and 2-axis slewing at 128x standard rate is about 155mA (about 10mA less if only 1 axis). Generally, the standard zinc/manganese dioxide "alkaline" cells have a capacity between 1700 and 2850mAh. The manual indicates a supply range of 10V to 14V and >1.5A (the supplied PSU is rated at 1.5A - so, in theory, out of spec!). The mount has a 3/8" - 16 UNC internal thread (heavy duty tripod), and is coupled to the top of the tripod by a long, captive, bolt. The tripod's legs are locked in position by rotating a plastic tray (with holes for 3 off 1.25" eyepieces) similar to the Synta ones. There are a few areas with significant differences to my other Celestron and Skywatcher mounts, and other "features" of note:- (1) The Cube's dovetail clamp is on the right, whereas on the Synta mounts it is on the left. Thus any Synta OTA is going to be upside down on the cube. This is not a problem with most focusers, but the finder is now bottom right, and A RACI with eyepiece facing downwards, is unusable. The OTA from my Heritage 130p has the helical focuser pointing directly downwards (I believe it is possible to remove and reverse the truss tubes, but then that would make the OTA incompatible with my other mounts). The 127mm Mak from my Skymax system is right at the top end of the mount's OTA-weight range, and I have glued a second finder shoe at 180 degrees to the original, so I can use my 6x30 RACI finder. I have a Celestron C90 Mak. spotting scope, designed to go on a tripod, and this works fine with the cube - the finder moving from top left to top right. (2) The supplied system includes a 12V 1.5A mains PSU. This supply is a small block with a permanently-attached mains input lead. This lead has a "European" small, round-pin, (incompatible with standard UK socket) mains plug. It has similar spacing to the plugs supplied with UK shavers and electric toothbrush re-chargers, but, the pins on the supply are of a smaller diameter. I tried the plug in two plug-in shaver adapters; there was no problem with electrical contact, but it was far too easy to dislodge the plug with a small movement of the lead; easy to disconnect in the dark (leads and supply are black). I cut off the plug and fitted a UK BS1363 square-pin plug. (3) With my Synta AZ/Alt systems, the default starting position is with the OTA pointing North and the OTA level or pointing to the NCP (Virtuoso Dob. mount). With the Cube The default starting position is with the mount facing South, and the OTA/dovetail clamp, vertical. This makes it far more difficult to attach the OTA. With a horizontal dovetail clamp, the clamp supports most of the weight of the OTA, and just requires a gentle push to adjust the OTA's dovetail plate position in the clamp. With a vertical clamp, you have to support the full weight of the OTA + any clamp-to-plate friction. I have found a solution that seems to work for me. Unlike the Synta system, the Cube remembers the mount's position at power-down. So, at the end of a session, I slew the mount to AZ 180 degrees, Alt to 0 degrees, and then power down. The mount seems to accept this as a starting point for the next session. (I have yet to try the Az at zero [= North] end/restart setting). (4) The initial "South" starting point is more difficult than North, (no Polaris equivalent) and the mount has a strong stray magnetic field, so you cannot use a magnetic compass near it. I have found the best method is to use a compass to identify an object (roof/tree/pole) roughly due South, point the OTA's finder at the object, tighten the tripod's mounting bolt, swing the OTA vertical (spirit level across objective end shroud/ dew shield), and tighten the Alt knob/balance weight shaft. Remove spirit level - its a long way down to a concrete paving slab when the mount slews! (5) The Cube mount relies on a level tripod for its initial accuracy. However, the little bubble level incorporated in my mount was not well aligned. With a leveled tripod, using a "good" builder's spirit level, the mount's bubble was off-centre, with one edge of the bubble touching the black line. I got round this by putting a Tipp-ex white blob on the level's glass, positioned to just cover a properly-leveled bubble, and leveling is now just a game of "Hide the bubble". (6) Some of the advertising photos show the handset as though it is attached to one leg of the tripod. There is no way of doing this with the supplied kit. The handset has a little lanyard, and there is a small raised "button" on the North face of the Cube. The lanyard slips easily over the button, and is a reliable "dock" for the handset. However, both the lanyard and the button are black, so in the dark, it is difficult to find the button, and ensure that the lanyard's loop is open and correctly positioned. I made a tripod-leg docking clamp, similar to the ones supplied with the Synta tripods. I find the lanyard is best for daytime solar, and the (home made) docking clamp for night use. (7) The Alt axis drive is from a sleeve on the main Alt shaft. The coupling is performed either by the locking knob, or by the end of the balance weight shaft. In both cases, the drive is through metal-to-metal friction with the end of the drive sleeve. There is no compliance in this coupling, so a minor release movement completely unlocks the drive. I have added a thin fibre washer (of a type often used in plumbing joints) to absorb any minor changes due to temperature or a nudge on the OTA. It's still not the same as an adjustable clutch, but it seems to stop inadvertent release (and associated loss of alignment). When I have a few suitable photos, I will add these as an edit. Photos now added. 90mm Mak from Virtuoso system and Ioptron-supplied 1.4kg counterweight. Note "glow-in-the-dark" tape added on mount's lanyard attachment button, handset, eyepiece tray and tripod legs. DIY docking clamp for handset - in dark, easier to use than lanyard. Skymax 127mm Mak and 3.5kg counterweight from SkyTee mount. Note, extra finder shoe (the black one) on OTA, so RACI finder works. 127mm Mak in "zero" position. Note that you are fighting gravity when sliding the OTA into the dovetail clamp. Cosmos 90mm refractor and 1.4kg counterweight. Note upside-down position of RDF and focus adjustment shaft. Heritage 130P OTA showing focus tube facing downwards. Geoff
  6. Hi, I'm new to this whole auto guiding thing so bare with me! So I have a iOptron SkyGuider Pro with a WO Zenithstar 61 and recently bought a ZWO ASI120MM Mini and guide scope to have a go at auto guiding. I followed tutorials online step by step (installing drivers, and changing the settings in PHD etc.) and managed to connect the camera and mount in PHD, start looping exposures and select a star. But when I start the calibration, it counts to 'west step 61' and comes up with "RA Calibration Failed: star did not move enough" I have tried reinstalling all drivers/software, using a different laptop and solutions other people have found do not help. Guide scope is focused and it's not trying to track a hot pixel. The star is supposed to move up and down as the mount moves during the calibration although nothing happens. So this makes me think there is something wrong with the mount or the ST4 cable from the camera to the mount. Cable securely clicks into both ends. I have heard the term "backlash" with mounts and not sure if this could be the cause? Not sure what this means or if this is possible with a star tracker? I can't seem to manually control the mount in PHD although I'm not sure what I'm doing. I can however, manually press the buttons on the mount itself and it moves fine. I've attached pictures of my setup along with the 'Guide Log' that people often ask for - PHD2_GuideLog_2021-08-23_225305.txt (Also, the total weight on the mount is 4.7kg and the max payload is 5kg for imaging so this should be fine?) Any Ideas? Let me know if you guys need anything else. Thanks, Dean Setup: iOptron Skyguider Pro WO Zenithstar 61 ii Guide Camera: ZWO ASI120MM Mini Guide Scope: 32mm F4 (focal length - 125mm)
  7. FLO sent me this beast of a mount for review, and after a few months use I've finished said review. If you don't want to read, then scroll to the bottom to see the video. If not, let's go. From the top, the dual type Vixen/Losemandy type puck, and at the back of mine it had 3 5521 type power ports for powering equipment, and 3 USB ports (2 powered) for connecting to the internal USB hub network. Whilst I didn't exactly use this network, it's still very handy to use, especially being on the puck - it means you don't have to worry about any slack on your cables and they won't pull. A handy feature. The power ports seem to be of a different type to 99% other astronomy hardware though, which means you'd need to get different connectors, a major inconvenience which still will make itself known later. The mount includes an iPolar system, which is absolutely awesome. Sure the UI looks like it's straight out of Microsoft Paint but it's certainly function over form as it's quick and uses plate solving to align. This means you can polar align even with a semi-obstructed view to the pole. It's powered by a USB2-B port at the back of the mount with no need for external power. There is no manual polar scope on the mount so a computer is a must for polar alignment. The carry capacity of 31.8kg is a hefty amount, though it's advised to not exceed 21kg for astrophotography. I never loaded it up with this much equipment however the sheer build quality and performance of this mount leads me to have no concerns whatsoever about using that much weight, or even all the weight. It's always advised to use underneath the stated maximum capacity anyway. The altitude adjustment knob is a hefty coarse worm gear style affair. Embossed with the iOptron logo. It's a nice way of adjusting, especially when coming from GEM mounts where you have to undo/do up two individual bolts. However on my mount it was let down by an abhorrent squeak it made when raising it whilst the mount was loaded up. When going down in altitude sometimes the gear would jump a bit and let the mount down even further than I wanted. Azimuth adjustment was fluid and great. The control panel includes its power port, power switch, hand controller port, ST-4 port and the USB port. The USB port can be used to control the mount via computers, and is also the other end of the internal USB network. It is USB2-B. A major issue I found was the power port. It wasn't the standard type DC centre-positive tip style that all my other astro equipment used. IT's also a standard female type port, whereas I would've liked to have seen a screw type connector for this price point. But yes, the biggest gripe was the different style port, which meant I couldn't power it using my power box (without getting more cables), and had to use the supplied plug. The carry case is a substantial and very sturdy box. It's foam cutout and very tight in holding the equipment. All but the counterweight goes into this box and I believe it could really survive quite a harsh fall. It's very well built. Slewing with the CEM70 was quick and fluid, it was also quieter than I was anticipating for such a large bit of machinery. Using its own dedicated software through the laptop was intuitive and there was little to no learning curve. The axis clutches, whilst using a small switch, feel solid and substantial with a nice meaty clunk when engaged. One lock position is the EQ Home position which makes life a lot easier. When guiding, I was regularly getting values of 0.4-0.6" total error. This enabled me to take extremely long exposures if I so desired, though I mainly did 5 minutes, I was able to do 10 under testing. Unguided (just sidereal tracking) I was only able to achieve 2 minutes before trailing was found with my Evostar 80ED (reduced to 510mm) and ASI 071mc Pro. Now in full admittance the mount was unbalanced as the Evostar package was too light for the mount. The counterweight, if moved too high up the bar, will strike the body. So you would need to buy a lighter weight if you wanted to balance a lighter load on the CEM70. Also when attaching it to a tripod or a tri-pier, you do need to bolt down 2 spring loaded bolts down with the supplied allen key. Now this is a bit fiddly and adds several minutes to the setup and tear down times. Though I suspect iOptron made this mount with a permanent setup in mind so if you're putting this into an observatory then this won't be a problem. For me, who setup and torn down the rig each night when using it, became a bit of a chore. Overall I found the CEM70 to be an extremely capable mount with a lot of features. Whilst there are niggles that detracted from the user experience; the altitude gear squeak and the non standard power ports. Other features improved the quality of life and user experience enough to vastly outweigh the drawbacks. The iPolar system is particularly capable and excellent, the carry capacity, build quality also and guided performance, as well as the internal USB hub. I think this would be a nice investment if you were looking to mount larger scopes on, or decking out an observatory. I can't afford one but if I was making my own permanent setup I would severely consider buying one. If you're interested you can find more information at the links below (if you did buy through these links, I'd earn a few pennies to help support these reviews). iOptron CEM70 w/o iGuider: https://bit.ly/CEM70 iOptron CEM70 w/ iGuider: https://bit.ly/CEM70iGuide iOptron Tri-Pier: https://bit.ly/CEM-Tripier Thanks for reading everyone. What are your thoughts about this mount? I hope my review has been helpful for you clear skies all, keep looking up and keep them cameras clicking.
  8. Hey all, I'm considering and tempted by an iOptron CEM25P. Just wondering if there's any owners (current or former - for any reason) who can share their experiences with this? I intend on buying it new, so a substantial wedge to drop. Many thanks
  9. Hello to all, I have got a chance of going for a IOptron CEM25P that I want to use in my back garden. I also would like to take it on my travels around the UK and possibly abroad. I have organised a deal for this mount together with an 80 mm triplet refractor and guide scope. I can order the mount with 1.5” or 2” legs; weight difference is about 3kg for the heavier version, extra cost about £100. I just wondered if anyone could advise if the 1.5” legs would be good enough and stay stable in the wind? Does anyone own this mount and have either of the two sizes of legs? I would love to hear your experiences before I finally put in the order. May I thank you in advance if you can offer any help. Cheers!
  10. Hi. Has anyone used this mount. Sky at night magazine gave it very good review, but elsewhere I read stories of tracking issues. How would you rate it compared to an heq5? If have an 80 mm Ed scope most likely to be used for AP, but I would like option to observe visually with an 8" newt. I Suspect the latter would overload it? Thanks Mark
  11. I bought a new CEM25P and just spend two nights trying to get it to track. I've had many GEM mounts over the last 30 years, so I thought this would easy. But it seems that either I have a problem with the mount, or I am getting old. I leveled, balanced, and polar aligned the mount well. Then I attached a guide scope. I did NOT attach the cable from the guidescope to mount. I also did not attach the mount to my computer. This way I could watch stars drift and get an idea of was going on with just the mount. I checked the CEM25's tracking rate, and it is set to sidereal. LAT/LONG and perfect. Time accurate. Next, I watched stars drift on my laptop using PHD. When the mount is turned on, and tracking turned ON - the stars move somewhat quickly in RA. Like they are slewing slowly. When I turn OFF the tracking (zero key) they still drift, but a little slower. When I turn off the power to the mount, of course the stars drift, but at slower rate still - normal sidereal rate. When I turn the power back on the stars drift a little faster. Turn the tracking back on, and they drift faster still. But when I set the slew speed to 2x, and press and hold down the left arrow key, and the stars STOP drifting. Perfect tracking. Thanks for any advice! CF
  12. I have recently bought an iOptron GEM45 (from FLO) and I am a bit mystified by the Zero Position. The hand control gives you the options of "Goto Zero Position" and also "Search Zero Position", but they appear to do the same thing! Does the mount have sensors like the Home position of a Paramount, which sets the axes to an exact hardware position, or is it something else? I guess this is the same for other iOptron EQ mounts so maybe a skilled user can enligten me. Many thanks Chris
  13. iOptron has improved what was already my favorite portable AP mount. The CEM25P now actually guarantees a periodic error of less than +/- 10 arc sec, which guarantee, as far as I know, is unprecedented for this category/price (£799 currently at Altair Astro). You can read my full review here, although with the winter weather I have only managed a couple of decent sessions. Overall, it includes some improvements over its predecessors ZEQ25 and CEM25, while retaining the amazing lift/weight ratio it is known for and my unit does actually show a PE that is well bellow the specified +/- 10" (less than 2 cycles were recorded, so if I record more to remove non-PE noise it might be even less):
  14. I recently took delivery of this mount, having until now only used an Alt-Az mount for imaging. So this is a whole new experience, and as such I’m not really in a position to give a meaningful performance review. Nevertheless, here are my first thoughts. I wanted a mount that could be set up for each session, and light enough to allow my ageing frame to be able to carry it from inside the house to outside. It also had to be able to successfully carry a load currently around 6-7kg without complaint. So this is what attracted me to the GEM45. I bought the version with the case and tripod, non-EC. I don’t guide it as yet, so I can’t quote chapter and verse on its guiding performance. Here's the set up raring to go! I've left the tripod trousers on! First impressions. It seems a solidly built, well finished, precision machine, unlike what one would expect from a mass-produced object. The axes move smoothly and I haven’t noticed significant backlash either by ‘free play’ or other than instant response to commands when lining up objects. However nice the looks, performance is everything of course, though it does give confidence. The first thing I needed to do was to swap the latitude adjustment from the low position to the high position, as I live in the UK. It is worth noting that for where I live, ~51° N, I need to wind back the altitude to ~40° with the altitude adjuster (not re-set the setting from high to low, fortunately), each time I need to get the mount into the foam cut-out of the case. Initially I had trouble locating the bolts with which to bolt the mount onto the tripod, the Azi Locking Screws. Thanks to FLO that was simply resolved, but I found that one of the bolts was slightly bent, enough to bind a bit in the thread, again resolved by the excellent services of FLO. Also, these bolts are meant to be used with the provided washers, but only one could be located. These are little perishers, as it’s easy to drop them when assembling the mount, as I discovered. My wife’s eagle eyes managed to spot it on the patio; try doing that in the dark! It’s a pity that the bolts don’t have a winged- or star-head for finger tightening to make life easier with repeated setting up, but there isn’t room beside the mount to allow that. The bolt shown here is a make-shift arrangement and is not the proper bolt and washer. The same could be said for the Lat Locking Screws, since they have to be slackened off and re-tightened before and after setting up/Polar aligning. However, these could reasonably be replaced with hand operated bolts, rather than rely on the Allen key, as there is ample room. A note re. the tripod, is that it has an alloy top plate and I do wonder how resilient it will be to the repeated attachment of the mount. However, I also bought the Mini-Pier and the threads on this are inserts pressed into the alloy and look to be made of a more bolt friendly material. I plan to leave the Mini-Pier on the tripod. Tracking As I said I don’t guide so I can’t offer any figures. So the best I can do is provide some subs from my recent tests. You’ll need to bear with me on this as I’ve not many examples to date. My first examples are of M3 showing different sub durations of 90s, 120s and 150s. Unfortunately I was having trouble with my optical train and have got out of shape stars towards the edges anyway so that may confuse. Here they are for what they are worth: 90s 120s 150s. My second offering is a sub from an attempt at M81 shot at 90 seconds: The full image is posted here https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/352345-m81-m82-with-gem45-unguided/. In summary then: Pros The iPolar is a doddle to use, though does need a laptop to be set up for the alignment process, but that can be put away afterwards. Far better than kneeling on the floor and craning one’s neck. I’ve found tracking to be good enough for me up to about 1½ minutes, though possibly beyond that to 2 minutes or more, without guiding, with a FL of ~560mm and load between 6-7kg. Depends on how purist one wants to be about ‘round stars’. It’s quiet whilst tracking but slewing is by no means silent. I’m always concerned about disturbing neighbours so perhaps I’m being unduly critical. It’s quite difficult to judge how loud these things are in the middle of the night when you are standing next to the source. Then again, I’ve not used other mounts to compare it with. The hand controller seems fairly logical to use. Assuming I’m setting up everything correctly, I’ve found that the homing in on alignment stars to be somewhat ‘out’, and have always needed a significant correction to align. I do a 3-star align and I find this to be the case for each star. However, when I come to align on my target I found that it centred the object very well. May be I have significant cone error which will only be corrected for after the 3rd align, if I understand correctly. Cons The need to reset the altitude setting to around 40° in order to replace it into the case. Fiddly washers beneath the mounting bolts which are easy to lose. A touch of grease might help them to be retained by the bolt. Having to use the Allen key on the Lat Locking Screws. When aligning, the stars offered are in magnitude order, which from one point of view is logical, but is a bit of a pain when one wants to find particular stars. It would be good to be able to change your preference on star order. That's it for now, and I hope that it's been of some use. Ian
  15. Hi all, I've had my new CEM70 for about a month now and getting good results unguided so far. The only issue I have is the Latitude adjustment clamps are very stiff and hard to turn, so much so that the Western side one no longer tightens enough. Before I start fiddling and spraying WD40 has anyone else had the same problem and solved it? Many thanks and clear skies. Andy
  16. Hi guys, hoping you can help with the tracking problems I'm coming across with my astrophotography setup. I've been using it since August 2020 and have kind of put up with the problem until last night where I think it's getting worse... Specs below (let me know if you need anything else): William Optics Zenithstar 61 II (360mm F6.1) - Zenithstar 61Adjustable Field Flattener iOptron SkyGuider Pro Camera Mount Full Package K&F Concept Aluminium Tripod with 2kg weight Canon EOS 250d (cropped sensor 1.6x) The problem: I take roughly 40 pics with each being 1 minute long at 1600 ISO and stack them on DeepSkyStacker. From a few people I know on the internet, it seems as though, with a very similar setup and same focal length, they can get around 3 mins of exposure with no problem. And that's without a guide camera. With my 1 minute exposure, roughly 10 of 40 images are reasonable but the rest have star trailing or double stars (see attached downscaled, unedited pics of Orion nebula) What I think it could be: My first idea was the tripod, it's not the best but it's not cheap plastic, and it should be fine for a 1 min exposure. Then I thought it could be the iOptron tracker that could be faulty? Every screw has been tightened, there's no play in any of the adapters/mounts. I thought I'd post this here to see if anyone else has the same problem or has more experience/knowledge that could help. Also to see if there's an obvious problem before I spend hundreds on a new tripod or send the tracker back for a replacement. Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks, Dean
  17. I’ve been having issues with platesolving using Platesolve2 and my Ioptron IEQ30PRO Mount, I’m connecting using the Ioptron Commander Ascom driver. I’m using Maxim DL5 to locate and image via the Planetarium section. When the Maxim platesolving fails, especially when I’ve just started in a new location, I need to use Platesolve2, which is installed as an add on. Unfortunately I can never sync once it’s finished platesolving as the telescope disconnects at some point in the process. I only use the above setup at Star parties. At home I have an observatory with Eqmod running an eq6. I don’t have any problem using Platesolve2 in a Maxim. I was wondering if I should be connecting using POTH in between Maxim and the telescope driver. I don’t generally connect a planetarium programme now I use platesolving but I want to use The Sky6 to help with camera orientation in the future. As I understand it Eqmod will act as a hub allowing this but Ioptron Commander won’t. This may be why I have issues when using my Ioptron Mount. Can someone confirm that I’ve understood the process correctly, please? Anne
  18. Hi all, this image is my 1st light using my recently acquired iOptron Photron RC6 , never used an RC before, anyway after quite a bit of trial and error figuring out which adapters were required in order to achieve focus with the Canon 600d and then getting it balanced ( quite back end heavy with the extension tubes and camera on ) it was time to put myself to the test as well as the kit. It ended up just being a short run . the set up consisted of : EQ6 Pro pier mounted iOptron RC6 Canon 600d (modified) ASIAir Pro (for the wizardry stuff) ASI 120mm Mini guide camera mounted to 9 x 50 finder scope 20 x 120 sec lights. or ( 40 minutes in old money ) Calibration files were also used ( not to good effect i might add ) Stacked in DSS with slight adjustments then transferred to Photo shop for final butchery, Levels and curves adjusted and cropped slightly. Overall i'm quite happy with the outcome for such a short amount of data, Any feedback is welcome, or any tips to help me improve with this scope so here it is M82
  19. Finally received my QHY5l-II from Astronomia so had a go at setting up PHD2 last night/this morning.Finding stars with this camera was easy compare to the SPC900! Equipment used: iOptron ZEQ25GT,SW 200PDS with an Optistar AR80/QHY5l-II piggy backed,default settings in PHD2.Once locked onto a star it all then went pete tongue,the graph below tells the story of my 1st attempt,the RA just dropped off the scale! So after this I altered the counter weight on the mount which gave me this graph,maybe get the balance better on the mount? Then the dec went 'off course' for some reason? Managed a 5 minute sub with this but compared to some graphs I've seen this isn't right! Any tips etc much appreciated!
  20. Now this is the way to ring in the New Year. I took advantage of our unseasonal like crystal clear skies we are enjoying and forgo the traditional festivities and spend it under the stars. I was finally able to make another dream come true and at last image the Orion Nebula with my iOptron Zmount and AT65EDQ. With an amazing 5 hour session that wrapped up at about 3 in the morning here's the results. Let me know what you think of the processing. 15x5 seconds, 15x30 seconds, 15x120 seconds, 15x300 seconds. Each series went thru DSS and then blended together in PS4 and tweeked in LR4. The ORION Nebula by Leveye, on Flickr
  21. I have been loving my Celestron Nexstar 8SE scope for viewing the night sky and am starting to think about getting my next scope to use for imaging. I bought a copy of 'Making Every Photon Count' a week or two back and have just finished reading it (very well written book ) and I am now thinking about what my options are. I have already ordered an INOVA PLB-MX Mono planetary camera to have a play with on my Nexstar to see how things go with imaging the Moon / Jupiter / Saturn & Mars. This camera should arrive tomorrow. I have also ordered and received a set of LRGBC Baader filters and filter wheel. I am hoping that these items will give me a good indication to if I am going to enjoy doing this sort of thing, or if it just going to irritate me that I can't get the computer software to work . I spent over the odds on this camera as if I do enjoy doing this sort of imaging, this camera should be a reasonable starting point for some DSO with my new scope (see later), and if I get really serious about things, it should hopefully proved to be a good investment as a auto-guiding camera. So, on to what I need to get; the mount and scope. First thing is I want some thing which is portable and pretty quick and easy to set-up. As I have already got a filter wheel and a decent set of LRGBC Baader filters, the scope must accept a 1.25" adaptor, as I do not want to re-buy this sort of thing in 2". My idea of a good night would be to spend 30 minutes setting up the imaging scope / camera / laptop and leave it taking some photos while I set up the 8SE next to it and spend 2 - 3 hours viewing the night sky. I then pack up the lot and spend the next five cloudy / wet nights processing the images I have taken. With all this in mind, this is what I have though of as being a good option which should (hopefully) keep me going for a fair while:- Mount - iOptron ZEQ25GT. This seems to have got some good reviews, fits the portable bracket and is not too expensive (in the grand scheme of things). The one thing which concerns me is not all that many people seem to have one, which could be because it is fairly new and not all that well known, or it could be because it is not that good? What do people think of this mount, and what else should I be considering? Scope - 80mm F6 Super ED Triplet Apo 80/480 Altair Wave Series 2014. I have seen some nice images taken with this scope, and logic would say that it was a good match for the iOptron mount. Again, it fits the portable criteria, but I am sure that there are lots of other scopes which also do this. Does this seem like a reasonable choice and what else should I be considering. So, these are my thoughts. I am in no real rush as as I have said, I want to see how I get on with some planetary / luna imaging over the next few weeks before I take the next step; assuming we get some breaks in the clouds that is. Do my initial choices seem reasonable and how would you do this different, assuming a max budget of £2k (looking to buy new, not second hand). All views / comments welcomed. Cheers, Dave
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