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After some trial and error I'm getting some very good guiding results with PHD2 now. 60mm guidescope and ASI290MM mini camera. The M42 image taken late March was 12 x 15 second exposures taken manually with my dslr / C8 and a stopwatch. Stacked in DSS and played with a bit in GIMP. On the night I couldn't get APT to register the camera - turned out to be the mini USB cable (although later trials point to the socket in the camera being a bit loose too).
Bought an iOPTRON iPOLAR that arrived on Friday and had a play with that which has resulted in near perfect polar alignment. 2 star alignment and an additional 2 calibration stars on my Advanced GT mount means I'm getting very accurate GOTOs now and PHD2 (through the ST4 port on the ASI camera) seems to be guiding very well. Last night after more cable faffing I managed to get everything working together to the point where I felt confident enough to leave it running by itself for an hour and a half (45 minutes of 180 second exposures plus 3 minutes each exposure to save the file - I've since found out I shouldn't have noise reduction switched on in the camera - DOH!) so M51 is 15 x 180 second @ ISO 800 lights and 5 x 180 second darks. A little manipulation in GIMP and I think it's come out very well. Obviously still have a lot to learn and I'm going to have to start taking much longer exposures but I'm quite pleased with these 2 pictures.
I've been trying to image a couple of galaxies per night, one pre and one post flip. On early Saturday morning at 1:30am I changed over to M82, and acquired 63 x 3 mins subs, OSC, totalling 3 hours and 9 minutes of data.
Camera: ZWO 2600MC at -10 deg C, gain 100, offset 50
Telescope: Skywatcher 250PX (blue tube), 1200mm F4.7
Mount: Mesu e200
Guiding: ZWO OAGv2, 290MM, PHD2
Software: APT for capture, APP and PS for processing
I havent really had a chance to get much use out of this camera since I bought it in December, and I havent processed many OSC images before. I've a bit of work to do, but still very happy with the quality of the data for just 3 hours of integration time. I would like to add some Ha to this, but purposely didnt bother during the recent clear spell, as it was moonless nights and I gathered some broadband data on other targets instead.
So I've finally gotten round to setting up APT and Sterallium (via ASCOM) on my laptop for controlling my mount EQM 35 pro. (I got PHD2 working on it a while back). I followed a tutorial on youtbe about doing this using simulators in Sterallium, when doing this pressing control + 1 on the keyboard moves the simulated telescope and everything seems to update in ATP and work fine.
The (small) problem I'm having is when i successful connect my own mount in Sterallium (after doing the same in APT) I click on an area and then press the short cut Ctrl + 1, nothing happens, my yellow telescope icon doesn't move to the location, but when I do it in APT, sterallium obviously updates to show the new position.
Any idea why the short cut in Sterallium isn't working when connected to my mount?
For what has seemed like forever, the clouds finally parted late last night and the Orion constellation was very clear from my balcony.
I had a brief window of opportunity earlier this week and had difficulty focusing on stars at all using my DSLR (Canon 450D) and APT.
Last night was a breakthrough; I was able to capture starlight in APT liveview and even bring the stars into (significantly better) focus!
I now face my next challenge; I am unable to focus sharply on any of the stars. Using my telescopes focusing wheel I seem to get only blurry spots of light coming through, despite very carefully adjusting the wheel for quite some time.
At the risk of embarrassing myself, I've attached the images of Rigel and Betelgeuse I captured last night (on both long and short exposures, details of ISO and exposure are detailed in the image titles). This is as sharp as I can them.
Is there anyway I can fine tune the focus? I've seen AP videos on Youtube where jam jar lids have been glued to the focus wheel or motorized focusers attached. Are these gimmicky or do they make a significant difference?
I should mention that I don't yet have a tracking mount: I've eyed the Skywatcher AZ-GTI wi-fi as good candidate for my first meaningful mount (with the EQ wedge coming shortly after). Having emailed a number of retailers it seems these are in very short supply, here's hoping stock replenishes post-Christmas! I think this will let me get to grips with the equipment I have right now, definitely would like to get a sharper image, even if I'm only capturing star trails.
to capture the images shown below I used:
- Celestron 100AZ (100mm Aperture, 660mm focal length)
- Canon 450d
- Barlow lens x2 (Celestron)
- APT (connected DSLR directly to laptop via USB)
- Stock Celestron Alt-Az Mount
All the best.
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