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A Trio of DSOs (QHY5L-II Luminance)


SnakeyJ
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Last night was rather stunning, but I was easilly distracted by the Perseids and forgot to capture R channel on M27. However I added two new target notches to my belt with M2 and M33. Sadly I missed a run for the M74 SN as this had just dissapeared behind trees when I found it. All these targets are imaged with the QHY5L-II M on my Exp 200P @ 1280x960x12bit, 30 secs unguided, 101 gain, F4.5/900mm (with SW Coma Corrector), Darks and Bias, stacked in DSS.

M33 first (bigger fov/chip required):

med_gallery_26731_2695_437752.png

M27 (forgot to crop):

med_gallery_26731_2673_156528.png

M2 (Also forgot to crop!):

med_gallery_26731_2694_132820.png

More processing (and crops) to follow, but the detail in these is much better with the longer exposure and lower gain. Guiding trial tonight to try and improve star shapes. M2 got a little chopped due to some high cloud.

Really pleased with M33 and think I'll revisit this in colour despite the restricted fov - perhaps even a 4 panel mosaic if we get a good clear night.

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Which software did you use please?

I have the same camera, and I do get a complete washed out picture when I do long exposures ie 30sec+

I'm using it behind an old M42 lens, maybe it's my f stop.

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Hi Gonzo,

I'm using Firecapture 2.3 beta 13 - has to be this very latest version as it has an updated api for the QHY5L-IIs that fixes (or works around) some seriously frustrasting LX issues (frequent hangs)! I would have thought the 8" F4.5 (with CC/FR) would get more light on to the chip than even quite a fast photographic lens, but not an area that I've really got in to (though I will try at some point in the not too distant). Do you get good images at shorter exposures? If so probably best to drop the gain quite low, but the histogram and preview in FC make this pretty easy to achieve the right settings and get focus. Perhaps the widefield rig is also more affected by LP and stray light? I use DSS for the stacking, but currently limited to Gimp for the post processing - which is currently a bit limited, though more by my own lack of experience. PS would certainly be a lot simpler as there are far more tutorials and tools available.

What are you up to with the Rasperry Pi? I'd be interested to hear how you are using this - I've mainly ventured down the arduino route for small projects, but the PI should make a great control/monitor platform for automating some of these. I'll have to investigate.

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Now you're really gotten into gear Jake. When do we need to distract the wife so you can sneak away and get a DSLR or full CCD?

Cheers Carl - desperate to get something with a bigger chip (pref CCD), one of the KAF8300M cameras would fit the bill very nicely - but might have a go at DSLR modding if I can find a bargain EOS. Though I'm enjoying the speed/sensitivity of this little CMOS at the moment and it is producing data to play and learn with, while I do some saving. Then there's the bigger mount for the obsy, C11 for planetary and perhaps an MN190, or 10" imaging newt - Just so many things I could buy in this hobby. Then of course I'll need a bigger observatory ;)

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Would be interesting to see what your current setup could make with some RGB filters.

Carl,

I've got a set of the Baader CCD LRGB filters (1.25" with a manual filter wheel - which is yet another upgrade waiting to happen!) I've had some nice results with these on the ring and dumbbell, and reasonable results on M13 - shot everything but the red channel on M27 last night, so might have to look out some old data to complete the set. Guiding I think is my main challenge at the moment, need to get beyond 30 sec exposures and want less wasted subs to improve the SNR with this camera.

Just off out to play with EQMOD and CDC - guide scope all mounted ready to go but want to crack this before PHD.

All small steps at the moment, but should get this all up running this week.

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Nice results :)

I have same camera, but couldnt' even start up FC. No matretr what i try, nothing happends when i try to start it, lol.

I'll give it anotehr try at a different computer and see how it goes.

Would it be possible to do the same LX with EZPlanetary? It seems to have a LX mode as well?

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Hi Gonzo,

I'm using Firecapture 2.3 beta 13 - has to be this very latest version as it has an updated api for the QHY5L-IIs that fixes (or works around) some seriously frustrasting LX issues (frequent hangs)! I would have thought the 8" F4.5 (with CC/FR) would get more light on to the chip than even quite a fast photographic lens, but not an area that I've really got in to (though I will try at some point in the not too distant). Do you get good images at shorter exposures? If so probably best to drop the gain quite low, but the histogram and preview in FC make this pretty easy to achieve the right settings and get focus. Perhaps the widefield rig is also more affected by LP and stray light? I use DSS for the stacking, but currently limited to Gimp for the post processing - which is currently a bit limited, though more by my own lack of experience. PS would certainly be a lot simpler as there are far more tutorials and tools available.

What are you up to with the Rasperry Pi? I'd be interested to hear how you are using this - I've mainly ventured down the arduino route for small projects, but the PI should make a great control/monitor platform for automating some of these. I'll have to investigate.

Hi SnakeyJ,

Thanks for the Firecapture version, I'm going to try this tonight is weather permitting. Yes I can take some good pictures with a short exposure up to 20 sec, anything higher and the pictures get washed out. I do use CCDcap.

I have set the gain to 12%, that's something I need to play with as I still don't quite get that gain thing...

As for the Raspberry PI, it will be used on my new mount that a friend is currently building for me. I'll use it for polar alignment and plate solving. I bought an LCD shield for it.

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Nice results :)

I have same camera, but couldnt' even start up FC. No matretr what i try, nothing happends when i try to start it, lol.

I'll give it anotehr try at a different computer and see how it goes.

Would it be possible to do the same LX with EZPlanetary? It seems to have a LX mode as well?

Jannis,

I have used the EZ Planetary program for some LX, though I found the U/I rather odd in comparison to FC - it was also rather more inclined to crash in LX than FC. It lacks some of the nice features like file naming for filters and saving capture logs for each run. Though this said I haven't looked to see if there's a newer version available.

For me it'd be a choice between Firecapture or Robin's excellent Sharpcap software. I got hooked on the FC because of it's excellent Point Grey support, but many feel it's a bit of a resource hog, particularly on older laptops. Functionally they offer very similar feature sets, but are orientated more towards planetary/solar imaging. Nebulosity, Pixinsight and MaximDL seem to be the software of choice for serious deep sky imaging.

Re the problems getting FC to run, it is dependent on the Java RTE - so might be worth checking you have an up to date Java runtime installed/working. It's also quite useful to load up the Dummy Camera to start with - if this fails to work its worth sending a copy of the log.txt to Torsten (or the yahoo firecapture group) - he's very proactive.

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Hi SnakeyJ,

Thanks for the Firecapture version, I'm going to try this tonight is weather permitting. Yes I can take some good pictures with a short exposure up to 20 sec, anything higher and the pictures get washed out. I do use CCDcap.

I have set the gain to 12%, that's something I need to play with as I still don't quite get that gain thing...

As for the Raspberry PI, it will be used on my new mount that a friend is currently building for me. I'll use it for polar alignment and plate solving. I bought an LCD shield for it.

I didn't realise that CCDcap actually worked with the QHY5's and haven't had a look at this, but will have a quick look this week - even if only dark frames at 20/30 secs.

Very interested in the Rasperry PI project - and have just found your thread on Open PHD and Indi. All sounds rather frustrating, but some excellent contributions and information on this. I'll look out the earlier thread 'A slice of pi' - the plate solving would be rather useful to build in.

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I had a few quite minutes at work this evening and took another look at the M27 captures in L, G&B - this data is much cleaner/deeper than my previous efforts on this target, helped I'm sure by the lower gain and longer exposures (and good seeing). Still have quite a high wastage rate on the subs at 30 secs, so think there is still some work to do on refining the polar alignment and balancing the scope. Great pity I missed out on the red channel - I did have a go at using some older data for this, but nowhere near as good. I will have a look at making a red channel from the L, G & B channels tomorrow - sure I've seen a few posts on how to do this at some point in the past,

The weather looks a bit crook for the next few days so will give me something else to play with before moving on to guided subs.

I've also been looking at getting a copy of Nebulosity, which should handle the camera via the ascom driver and give me a much better platform for processing - 80USD looks a pretty reasonable price.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Gonzo,

I'm using Firecapture 2.3 beta 13 - has to be this very latest version as it has an updated api for the QHY5L-IIs that fixes (or works around) some seriously frustrasting LX issues (frequent hangs)!

Resurrecting this thread for a moment, where did you get beta 13, Jake? I see a reference to build 008 on the FireCapture website, but that was released quite some time ago.

James

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Resurrecting this thread for a moment, where did you get beta 13, Jake? I see a reference to build 008 on the FireCapture website, but that was released quite some time ago.

James

Aha!  Never mind.  I found it.  I had to open the settings dialogue window and check for updates.

James

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Hi James,

Glad you found - a very nice feature in the 2.3 beta.    Torsten's about to release the beta 14, that will incorporate the new SDK and temp logging for the QHY5L-IIs and also increased exposure limits (currently 60s, going to 600s I believe).

I've been experimenting with Neb3 for capture, though the camera control is rather limited with the Ascom driver and FC has many more useful features including the file naming, filter and focuser control.    Think I will stay with FC until I can afford that attik and venture down the Artemis route.     Though Neb 3 has some great image processing features and is very quick to use and scriptable (though only had a cursory look at this), though not convinced by the alignment and stacking which I am still doing in DSS.

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