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Trying to run before I can walk


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Well finally got the polar alignment spot on, 3 star align perfect, tracking really impressive, staying on target for well over an hour.

Thought I'd have a go at my 1st DSO, now I know I'm doing summat wrong, but I think Bern has put me right.

I think I need loads more subs.

Now no laughing ..............bet you can't guess what it was supposed to be.

Trudie

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Hope you had a nice Birthday yesterday Trudie.

Don't worry, We have all produced images of M31 like that one. At least my attemts with film years ago looked a lot like yours initially.

I eventually got some decent ones that I was happy with, but even then, they were nothing like the goodies we see regularly on SGL.

It's a learning process, and we will get there in time. Just keep on, and don't get despondent. Before long you will be winning SGLPOTW with your images.

Best Wishes.

Ron. :(

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A good start. As Ron said " my first M31 looked at bit like yours". The central core is very bright and is often the first bit of M31 people capture.

It just needs more practice to master the various techniques needed.

John

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Hi Trudie, really pleased that you got the alignment sorted ok.

The 'tracking' is good, and yep, that's M31 alright.

Definitely longer exposure time needed, to bring out the outer regions of the galaxy. Multiple subs are good for giving a final image with a good signal to noise ratio (SNR), which will withstand processing with too much degradation. However, only individual exposure times, will capture the fainter detail.

The stars are showing clear signs that the focus is a bit out.

However, nobody is laughing, and for a first go, you should be really encouraged by that result, well done!!!

A great start Trudie, now just keep at it, and your imaging will go from strength to strength.

BTW, happy birthday for yesterday. :(

Dave

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Thanks for the birthday wishes guys, I had a terrific evening on the patio with the scope, being brought regular cups of tea, and even cheese on toast!

I even chose this over being taken out to dinner !!

Now back to my image, a couple of bits of advise if poss,

Am using a Meade DSI, with the ED80 on a HEQ5

1. How long exposures should I be looking at, and how many?

2. Should I just let the Meade stack and process automatically?

3. If no to last question, what would you suggest to stack and process?

I probably have loads more questions, but one step at a time

Thanks

Trudie

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Trudie, If I could just tell you about Matt Taylors video on the DSI. He stated when he first used his to image M51, he prepared everything, and then started the exposure. He went on to say that he fell asleep, as he was very tired after a long and busy day. When he awoke, and looked at his laptop screen, there was M51 staring back at him, and I fine looking image it was too, if that was the one he showed us.

You can download those vids. from Meades website. They are not brilliant quality wise, but I think you will glean something from them.

Ron. :(

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Hi Trudie

I've never used my DSI for imaging, but I would think that for M31, probably 30 secs exposure for each sub, would be a minimum through the ED80 with a focal reducer in-line.

This is something that you'll need to experiment with.

The Meade Autostar Suite, is quite good at sorting and stacking images, but my personal preference would be to use alternative software for this, and then finish off in P/shop.

To make to focusing easier for, make a Hartman Mask out a piece of stiff card. Place this over the end of the scope, and with the star out of focus, you will see three stars. Adjust the focus until the three stars merge into one, and that's it, focus done.

Dave

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M31 is actually VERY hard to image.

I would suggest as many subs as you can get - but a minimum of say 50 x 30seconds. M31 is also IMO one of the hardest DSO to process - because the core is so much brighter than the fun stuff.

But rest assured my first M31 was about the same as yours... and I was chuffed to peices with it :(

and just to prove it - here it is... :D

m31.jpg

Ant

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Hi Trudie,

Did you remember to draw a box around a star or the image? this is important to remember as in my experience with the Meade DSI, it won't stack accurately otherwise, also i would stack at least 100 of varied exposures, and let envisage do the work in "combine all images" until you get used to it.

Jeff.

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Just had another thought about the focus issue Trudie.

The ED80 focus tube is prone to 'creeping' out, under the weight of the attached camera, if the locking screw isn't done up tight enough.

I've experienced this myself, and the result is that the image gradually moves out of focus. Its more pronounced when the scope is pointing up at high declination angles. So you may have started out correctly focused, then experienced the above effect.

In my case, with a motor focuser, I have to set the lock screw just tight enough to stop the focuser creeping out, but no so tight as to make it impossible for the motor focuser to move it. In your case, once focused, you can lock the focus tube in-place.

Dave

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Trudie, I hope you will forgive a small hi-jack of your thread for a question to Dave.

Dave, I have a JMI NG5-S electric focuser, and although it has it's own controller, I was wondering if plugging it into the APM Module would risk damage of sorts, or would the focuser be controllable that way from Maxim DL.

Ron. :(

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Good question Ron, but the honest answer is that I don't know, and its not something that I've thought about doing.

I just extended the cables of both JMI Motor Focusers (one on the ED80 and the other on the LX) , and have the 'Handbox' controllers in the warm-room.

As this works well for me, I've not seen any reason to do anything different.

Dave

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OK Dave. I suppose it's half a dozen and six really. I don't have the luxury of a warm area yet, and I won't even consider making one, until I am sure I can make all this stuff combine and work in a satisfactory way.

Cheers mate, I am sure it won't be the last question I ask you. When it gets a bit wearing, just let me know. :(

:D

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Aha just got back from my weekend away , i see you on the first step of the ladder then Trudie, now comes the pulling of hair out lol , getting those dust lanes to show no problem , just let it run for 45 secs i reckon, or ,maybe a min ,dont forget the colour camera is not as sensitive as the mono, so longer exposures you will have to get , as everyone has said M31 is hard , but then most galaxies take a bit of practise , either cant get the outer lanes or the core is over exposed, they all take a while to master. keep at though . take more time on focus , even if it takes 15 mins to do , a failed in focus shot is not worth the effort , get it right before commencing,

Rog

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Thanks All,

Dave, yes the IR filter was in place, and I will make sure the focusser is locked.

Jeff I have to say in my haste to get going I forgot to draw the box round a star.

Barkis Thanks for the Link, have watched it makes it look easy.

I don't think the purple colouring is LP ( although I am probably wrong) I am fortunate to have a very dark garden, no lighting and not overlooked.

I think I need to be patient and get many more longer length sub.

That is when we get another clear sky

Trudie

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Sorry Trudie, I have come to this thread a bit late but this is a good step on the ladder for you. The key to this object is Focus and lots of Subs - you cannot have enough subs for M31 and between 30 seconds and 60 seconds exposure will be fine for your DSI.

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