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luminova11

Skywatcher Star Adventurer

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Plus the Star Adventurer has settings for panoramic photography. It can also act as a basic intervalometer with the addition of a simple cable.

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You mean the Polarie?

Ha, yes. That be the one I mean.

I do like the fact that the Adventerer has everything build in and don't have to sell a kidney to buy the extras you need to get good length exposures.

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I've said this before and I'll say it again... the accuracy of the polar scope in the Star Adventurer is pretty darn good. I was pleasantly surprised.

It was better-aligned out of the box than my PASILL (Astro-Physics) polar scope.

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That's it, I've just put one on back order with FLO.

Just hope there isn't a shortage of any of the extras this time when they ship them over.

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I had a very quick test of mine last night from my urban, light-polluted back garden.

I mounted a Canon 50D (with extra battery grip) and a Samyang 14mm f2.8 lens (also a first light for this lens). I bodged a counterweight using a long 8mm bolt and a counterweight off another portable rig. The whole ensemble was mounted on a fairly wobbly Manfrotto 190 aluminium tripod. A cheap eBay intervalometer was used to set 30 x 1 minute exposures. Polar alignment was fairly rough and ready, just using a phone app to get the approx. Polaris position. To be fair, a 14mm lens is never going to stress the PA!

First thoughts:

  1. You are never, ever going to PA this thing and then mount the camera afterwards. There's just too much movement in the tripod for that.
  2. The clip on polarscope light is rubbish. I need to come up with a way to attach it when the L-bracket camera head is mounted. There's a decent sized slot in the bracket to give an unobstructed view if you use a counterweight  to slide the bracket out of the way. I',m sure niothing nire than a bit of velcro will sort this bit out.
  3. I have no idea of how to set the polar alignment using the date circles. The manual is, at least, confusing. Being used to robotic mounts, having to start polar aligning by scrabbling around on the ground, peering through a poxy polarscope made me feel like a blooming caveman. Give me technology anyday!
  4. Using the locking clutch will almost certainly move the PA.
  5. A half decent tripod is a must for this thing. I've ordered a Velbon DV-7000 to see if that's a bit sturdier and will report back on this when it arrives. The DV-7000 is supposed to be a fairly sturdy little tripod of under £90.

The results aren't going to win any prizes. This is the stacked image straight out of DSS with no post processing. The camera was pointed in the general direction Cygnus, though I paid no real attention to where it finally ended up. All the subs were fine, so the little mount had no problem here.

The Samyang lens looks pretty good, with half decent star shapes (the focus could be better, mind). There seems to be a pretty severe off-centre vignette. Some flats would sort that though.

Next steps:

  1. Test a better tripod.
  2. Test it with my 70/200mm f4 lens. This will give a much better idea of what the mount is capable of.
  3. Make a right angled viewer for the polarscope. I have a couple of RA viewers for camera viewfinders kicking around. I might be able to bodge one of them on.
  4. I wonder if I can extract the polarscope and replace it? I have a pretty expensive (for what it is) Losmandy polarscope, which has a superb polar alignment method. It'd be great if that could fit into the mount.
  5. I have no idea how to process extreme wide-fields in PS. I had better do some reading!

14831420034_c289fe59d5_b.jpg

Star Adventurer

Hi,

Just wondering if you had done any more testing with the DV-7000?

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Hi,

Just wondering if you had done any more testing with the DV-7000?

Hi there,

I only had one chance to test it (the first clear night in ages,,with a New Moon and I was away! grrrr ).

Unfortunately, I mad a mess of the focus, but this shows that the tracking was spot on. 80 seconds exposure at 70mm. 70/200f4L lens on a 1000d camera. I shot 50 frames and everyone was bang on (apart from cocking the focus up!)

post-9007-0-45298100-1408998406_thumb.jp

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I had a chance to try my TSAPO65q on the Star Adventurer... Well, used to the 300 f/4 focus and framing has been a pain... But in the end i won the fight. 

Pointed at NGC7000, i took 1 hour worth of subs, wasted around 20 mins because i put sincro-x instead of bulb after a fast look at subs from the lcd, and in the end i got only  14 subs with round stars. 

I can't so tell about "good subs/total subs" ratio.




(White balance and a slighty shift on curves only on Capture NX2)



(14 Light, 47 Dark)


First develop:

get.jpg




Unmodded Nikon D610 camera, all unguided (obviously).

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To stack widefield images I used to use Dss or PI but recently I've been using PS with good results. Use the automate script to load the stack of images into one layered image, lock a reference image typically in the middle of the stack and then use the auto PS alignment. Convert the aligned stack to a smart object and then use the Median stack mode to blend all the layers together. The noise reduction in this method is surprisingly good without using darks

sent from my Sony Xperia Z2

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To stack widefield images I used to use Dss or PI but recently I've been using PS with good results. Use the automate script to load the stack of images into one layered image, lock a reference image typically in the middle of the stack and then use the auto PS alignment. Convert the aligned stack to a smart object and then use the Median stack mode to blend all the layers together. The noise reduction in this method is surprisingly good without using darks

sent from my Sony Xperia Z2

That sounds great but not exactly sure what you mean (i only have CS2 at the moment) any chance you could post more details at some time.

Thanks

Alan

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That sounds great but not exactly sure what you mean (i only have CS2 at the moment) any chance you could post more details at some time.

Thanks

Alan

I'm not sure cs2 has the functions needed. There are some good online tutorials for the technique I'll dig one out when I get on my laptop

sent from my Sony Xperia Z2

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It looks like the functionality came in with CS3 extended :( The technique can be read about here http://petapixel.com/2013/05/29/a-look-at-reducing-noise-in-photographs-using-median-blending/

This is a quick comparison between a single Canon 5D3 3200iso x 40 second image on the left hand side and 11 similar images processed with the Median stacking in PS CC. The raw files were converted to Tiff via Adobe Bridge and Camera Raw with no adjustments applied at all. The image below is the centre 1000x667 pixels save as jpg with no adjustments.

1-vs-11-nr.jpg

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Got one on order with FLO so hope it performs, probably only be using it with 200mm lens for quick trips out to somewhere dark so hope I can get some reasonable unguided subs to save taking laptop.

Dave

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After doing some wide field on a static tripod over the weekend, I can't wait to get my Star Adventurer.

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Planning to polar align it with the code from my signature, no need to remove the camera ;) In fact I do need the camera on it to use the code.... lol

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I bought a Sirui R2004 tripod for the Star Adventurer.  This tripod is alleged to carry 15 kg or 33 lb.  Note my use of the word "alleged."

With an 80mm APM Lomo triplet, damping  time at 120X is 8 seconds!

I swapped the Vixen Polaris tripod, and damping time went down to 4 seconds.

So - the Star Adventurer is too puny to carry the APM Lomo triplet, and the Sirui tripod makes things worse.

http://orlygoingthirty.blogspot.sg/2014/09/sirui-r2004-tripod-for-astronomy.html

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Just got one of the above yesterday, the "Astro Imaging Mount Photo Bundle" I would have liked to give a "First Light" report but since the only light I can see at night is the reflection of street lights from low, thick, cloud that will have to wait. However a couple of things that might help someone, somewhere:

The mount does not come with a tripod of course but, many years ago I bought a Meade ETX 105 EC. The tripod from this has two bolts, with handles, to attach the base of the ETX control box to the tripod plate. Either one of these screws will attach wedge part of the mount to the ETX tripod. Since the two mounting bolts on the ETX tripod are off set, I had thought of drilling a hole through the middle of the tripod plate but this doesn't seem necessary. It seems quite sturdy. In addition, I have demounted the ETX OTA from its forks and very conveniently, it has two threaded holes in a raised section underneath its OTA, either of which accepts the screw fitting in the short end of the dovetail L-Bracket of the SSA (At the other end of said bracket is my Nikon D5100 mounted on a -separately purchased-ball head -. This will allow me to use the ETX as both a guide and a visual scope. As far as I can tell, everything works - the mount rotates correctly fires off my DSLR when it should and I look forward to some clear skies so that I can test the setup fully. So far I have to say I am much impressed with the build quality and versatility of the SSA. Btw the weight of the ETX 105 EC is about 2.6kg.

Jim

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What's stopping me from buying this mount is there seems very little scope to do a complete 360x180 panorama. The 360x90 (single (wide angle) row) is simple

Or "a tilted" pano-head (like Nodal Ninja) on top correction of horizon in Post?

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 The limit is 60 deg in time lapse mode eg 2X 6X 12X you then have to push the button to get it to carry on. In sidereal, solar, lunar and.5X it rotates 360 deg, haven't tried it yet.

Dave 

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Hi all, can anyone recommend a tripod for the Star Adventurer? Was thinking of the Konig  KN-TRIPOD100 or even a used EQ3-2 tripod.

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If you go for a used EQ3-2 tripod, fill up the legs with fine sands, it does absorbs the vibrations. Done it on mine a while ago and it worked quite nicely.

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