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nicks90

first ever picture - appalling jupiter

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A truly rubbish attempt, so here comes the excuses!

its a cheapy asda webcam with the filter/lense assembly removed and no IR filter - attached to a clear plastic 35mm film canister with gaffa tape.

the moon is right next door to jupiter and completely washed out jupiter through my eps, so i had little hope of anything good via the webcam,

there was alot of high hazy clouds and a street light less than 10m away on my drive.

but I was being impatient and wanted a go with the 'new toy', so I popped out at 8pm with my 5 year old girl who insisted on 'helping' the whole way through - good father daughter time, but not conducive to getting things right!

Hadnt looked at the sharpcap tutorial and just left everything alone when I started the app and selected the usb cam - so no changes to gain etc

managed a single 15sec avi before my daughter promptly fell over the power cable to the laptop and started crying as she grazed her knees and that was the end of that! So armed with one tidly avi that wasnt particulaly in focus, the first ever avi i have ever captured, i packed away and put her to bed. Downloaded castrator and registax6 and ploughed on - again having never read any of the tutorials.

to say its rubbish is an understatement, but considering I have no idea what the hell i'm doing in sharpcap or registax - I'm AMAZED you can see anything at all, never mind 2 bands!!!

I;m off to clumber park for a few days (nice and dark), so fingers crossed the cloud will stay away and I can have a proper go. Firstly i need to black out the film canister and cellotape an IR filter to the end, then read the sharpcap and registax tutorials, finally put a B/mask on to get focus correct and lastly take several 2 minute avis and pick the best one for processing. I WILL improve and get a good colour photo of jupiter, practice makes perfect etc

post-26554-0-76875100-1361270179.jpg

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I find it amazing that we can even do this at all. That you can even capture something so far away with a relatively small scope and cheap equipment (webcam) is crazy, and only leaves me wondering what we will be able to capture with 'amateur' equipment in another 30 years time...

It's stunning to see all these marvelous DSO images taken on the more expensive setups, but Jupiter/Saturn/The Moon will still continue to blow my socks off, and the fact that you can take a decent image with a rubbish webcam makes it all worth while.

Astronomy really does have a place for all sizes and all budgets.

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better than my attempt mate - how do you focus when even touching the focusser (?) wobbles the scope - or am i missing something fairly major?!

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better than my attempt mate - how do you focus when even touching the focusser (?) wobbles the scope - or am i missing something fairly major?!

You don't need to continually focus - once in focus it will happily stay in focus, so you obviously don't start recording the video until you're all focused up.

I found the best way to focus was with a Bahtinov mask. It's fairly easy to make your own, something that looks like this:

http://sweiller.free.fr/DSO-Canon10D-300D/bahtinovFocusingMask.jpg

Stick it over the telescope, pop your webcam in, and point at a bright star. On your computer screen you will see some diffraction spikes:

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6128/5970466310_82189bf413_z.jpg

The one on the left and right is out of focus, the centred one is in focus. Take your Bahtinov mask off the scope, and start recording what you want to :)

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dont you still have the issue of the scope shaling when you focus? It seems to me that the sweet spot is tiny and it doesnt take much movement either way to go massively out of focus.

appreciate your help

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dont you still have the issue of the scope shaling when you focus? It seems to me that the sweet spot is tiny and it doesnt take much movement either way to go massively out of focus.

appreciate your help

*shaking

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I think getting something recognisable out of a first ever imaging attempt should count as a success. Well done.

James

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dont you still have the issue of the scope shaling when you focus? It seems to me that the sweet spot is tiny and it doesnt take much movement either way to go massively out of focus.

appreciate your help

Yeah, use the Bahtinov (or similar). Adjust a fraction, let the scope settle, view and adjust again if needed. It's just about small adjustments and letting the scope settle.

I don't think people with big scopes have quite the problem as they have sturdier mounts and better focusers, but for smaller scopes it's a case of letting it settle down. You should only need to focus once per eye piece/camera.

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I don't think people with big scopes have quite the problem as they have sturdier mounts and better focusers, but for smaller scopes it's a case of letting it settle down. You should only need to focus once per eye piece/camera.

Motorised focusers are quite common once you get hooked, too. They make life much easier.

James

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Motorised focusers are quite common once you get hooked, too. They make life much easier.

James

Actually I was just wondering if they beat the manual ''careful'' focusing?

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Actually I was just wondering if they beat the manual ''careful'' focusing?

Modding my Mak to add a motorised focuser made a huge difference to my imaging. Probably more than any other single thing I have changed. When you can sit at the laptop with the preview on screen and tweak the focus back and forth whilst the image remains perfectly steady (allowing for atmospheric effects, which always make it a bit more tricky than I've made it sound :) you feel so much more in control. Prior to fitting the motor I would fairly quickly reach the point where I'd decide the focus was "good enough" because improving it any further was so hard. Now I can sit there for five minutes rolling the focus in and out trying to tease out the best possible view if that's the mood I'm in.

James

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Modding my Mak to add a motorised focuser made a huge difference to my imaging. Probably more than any other single thing I have changed. When you can sit at the laptop with the preview on screen and tweak the focus back and forth whilst the image remains perfectly steady (allowing for atmospheric effects, which always make it a bit more tricky than I've made it sound :) you feel so much more in control. Prior to fitting the motor I would fairly quickly reach the point where I'd decide the focus was "good enough" because improving it any further was so hard. Now I can sit there for five minutes rolling the focus in and out trying to tease out the best possible view if that's the mood I'm in.

James

Even for manual focusing, sometimes it gets tedious and end up accepting a ''reasonably good'' view - even though you're totally aware there's more to do. A motor for a lazy ''focuser'' like me could be the next step. Thanks, James.

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you can clearly tell its jupiter so dont be too hard. all things considered its a nice image ;)

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Even for manual focusing, sometimes it gets tedious and end up accepting a ''reasonably good'' view - even though you're totally aware there's more to do. A motor for a lazy ''focuser'' like me could be the next step. Thanks, James.

Having looked at the focuser, it seems in its raw set-up the motor will have you kiss your manual focuser goodbye...Not sure that a good idea... :(

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That's probably true with the standard Skywatcher focuser, yes. Because I had to mod mine anyway I made it belt drive and if I need to move the focuser by hand I just slip the belt off:

http://www.tanstaafl...ive-conversion/

James

Well, it seems like a straightforward piece of gadgetry. Assuming I have the time, I would modify it. I'm sure a lot of other people took this path. I just can't get my head around the fact that Skywatcher don't seem to make things easier with the accessories they provide.

Edited by emadmoussa

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As people have said, that's a great first image. Why not have a go with a Barlow? I would try a 2x first. Some put two 2x Barlows together. I use a 4x Imagemate with my 200P but one guy got a much better image with two 2x Barlows together! Just goes to show. Mind you, I'm not techie, but some might say a 4x would be too much for your scope. Have a go though. Good luck!

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I'd be way less hard on yourself. Just finding it, focusing it and getting any sort of image is a great start.

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thanks guys, its nice to actually get an image with my first ever go with such difficult seeing and with such distractions - plus only having 15sec of data!

As for focussing, i cheat. When I am observing and using higher powered eps, the sweet spot is really small. What I do is get it lined up central in the ep and focus more or less right, I then put a long clothes peg on to the focusser wheel and then do fine tuning with the peg. Having the focusser wheel effectively extended by 4" means a small 1-2mm movement at the end of the peg results in a fraction of a mm movement of the wheel. Also because i am not touching the wheel directly and the peg has a degree of "wobble" or freedom of movement independant of the telescope, the shake is much reduced and I can get better focus. Before using the peg technique. I used to stick a golden syrup lid on to the focusser with blutack - again to extend the wheels radius and hence get finer control. That didnt work too well though, as in the cold the blutack would go hard and the lid kept falling off. :laugh:

finges crossed the clouds will stay away and i can have a proper go at getting the focus right and some decent length avi's - now I know the technology works!

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The clothes peg is a useful "hack" to help. I used it on my Mak, but I didn't know it was possible on dobs and 'fracs.

James

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The clothes peg is a useful "hack" to help. I used it on my Mak, but I didn't know it was possible on dobs and 'fracs.

James

Clothes peg? Mmm...I was thinking of something more complicated..

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Pretty much anything that extends the effective diameter focuser knob will help because control is much finer and with a lever you don't even need to grip it -- you can push it around with a finger which helps reduce vibration. It's not as good as a motorised focuser, but it definitely does help.

James

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