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Rico

First efforts - Progress Thread (eq6 + ed80)

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After much deliberation I decided to purchase an neq6 mount together with a SkyWatcher ed80 and a 0.85 FF/FR. The plan is to use my Canon 7D to take images using this setup. At some point I'll delve into the world of auto guiding and 'CCD' cameras, but for the time being I feel the need to get as comfortable as I can with my equipment without relying too much on the electronics to mask my mistakes. 

I've had experience with fixed tripod astrophotography (mostly mounted with a wide angle lens), but also with longer focal lengths using MUCH shorter exposures; deep sky stacker has been a absolutely necessity for the latter. 

So anyway, equipment arrived this week and after many days of typical UK weather there was a break in the sky and I managed to get a few hours in ... mostly getting to grips with the mount and the process of setting up etc. The clear and dry night wasn't expected to last long and so instead of going through all the laborious steps of setting up syncscan, setting circles etc, I decided to do a simple polar alignment (check that polaris is in the circle and cassiopeia looks like its roughly correctly orientated through the reticule. I've attached my first effort in this post ( 10 x 2 mins subs at ISO1600). I'm aware of how deceptively difficult it is to get andromeda galaxy right, because of the high dynamic range, which is one of the reasons why I thought I'd try and improve here than anywhere else. 

I didn't have a chance to check the alignment of the reticule, which is something I will do soon and the levelling of the setup wasn't at its best. This and getting a dew heater are on my immediate to do list. Trailing seemed to visible just over the 80 second mark.

Having not setting up and relying on Synscan, I spent a good while looking for constellations etc. and making a terrible effort of trying to line up the telescope to said POI. Hopefully this will improve with time.

Anyway, I hope to post my feeble efforts here and look forward to some good advice.  :grin:

post-39400-0-71400000-1413452174.jpg

post-39400-0-25485700-1413452193_thumb.j

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Another thing I wanted to mention is that I noticed a few cases where the stars would appear multiple times in the same image ... very close to one another. The pattern seemed to be reactively random. I imagine that this was probably down to the fact that I was using a shutter release cable, and may have inadvertently have been adding movement to the camera/telescope while holding onto it. Backyard EOS is also on my list of things to get.  :grin:

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That's a great shot! Even better when you can get more accurately set up and poss with guiding for longer subs.

Why not try Polarfinder by Jason Dale to get Polaris's hour angle? All you need to do is get Polaris on its large circle to match what you see on Polarfinder. Don't bother with getting it in its little circle.

http://myastroimages.com/Polar_FinderScope_by_Jason_Dale/

There are similar apps for smartphones, but I don't know what would be best.

Alexx

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Another thing I wanted to mention is that I noticed a few cases where the stars would appear multiple times in the same image ... very close to one another. The pattern seemed to be reactively random. I imagine that this was probably down to the fact that I was using a shutter release cable, and may have inadvertently have been adding movement to the camera/telescope while holding onto it. Backyard EOS is also on my list of things to get.  :grin:

I set the timer with a delay of 5 seconds so judder has time to settle. I lay the shutter release on a table and press the timer button while the gadget is lying flat. The cable doesn't move then.

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That's a great shot! Even better when you can get more accurately set up and poss with guiding for longer subs.

Why not try Polarfinder by Jason Dale to get Polaris's hour angle? All you need to do is get Polaris on its large circle to match what you see on Polarfinder. Don't bother with getting it in its little circle.

http://myastroimages.com/Polar_FinderScope_by_Jason_Dale/

There are similar apps for smartphones, but I don't know what would be best.

Alexx

Thanks for the link ... I'll have a look. I also noticed that the colour range in my image is quite low compared to some of the colours seen in some of the popular andromeda images ... is this a product of light polluted skies or the use of a DSLR? Bear in mind the image above was converted over to monochrome, given that there was no colour in it anyway (not that I could see).

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nice 1st image buddy!!! your off the starting blocks now! :D

sounds like you had a productive and enjoyable evening :)

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My Andromeda on Astrobin was about 5min subs I think. I also didn't mention the number of lights, silly me. At least 15. There's a lot of data there that you can only get with longer and more subs. Melsky did the processing for me which I now have to reproduce! The man's a genius in PS!

http://www.astrobin.com/88252/

Have another go at processing but in colour and see how much you can pull out. You might not have enough data though. My first Andromeda was with short subs, unguided, and I couldn't get any colour either.

Edited by Astrosurf

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Nice 1st image ! well done :)

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I've pulled out some more detail in B/W. I don't think i'll have any luck with grabbing any colour from these subs, too much light pollution ... wondering if I should try a light pollution filter next time. As the yellow/red has saturated the original image.

post-39400-0-77130100-1413457495_thumb.j

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Too bad you couldnt get color :huh: But nevertheless GREAT first light results!  :cool: 

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Great first image. You do not need to mess with setting circlesand I wish they'd get rid of them. You have a GoTo mount and all you have to do is get the mount level pointing towards polaris and just getting polaris on the outer circle of the polar scope. A 3 star align should be good enough to get the targets in the FOV of a wide EP or a DSLR sensor. You can tweak the PA using the handset PA align routine and after 3 iterations it should be good enough for imaging , for long exposures you do need guiding.

A.G

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Lovely image and I must agree with Alexxx about getting polarfinder. It's a brilliant little addition, free, and always on my toolbar. The NEQ6 is quite a heavy bit of kit but something that you could do is try to get excellent polar alignment, mark the ground where the legs are and make a shallow indentation on the marks. I still have to do a slight adjustment each time but only very minor. What processing system are you using? 

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Great first image. You do not need to mess with setting circlesand I wish they'd get rid of them. You have a GoTo mount and all you have to do is get the mount level pointing towards polaris and just getting polaris on the outer circle of the polar scope. A 3 star align should be good enough to get the targets in the FOV of a wide EP or a DSLR sensor. You can tweak the PA using the handset PA align routine and after 3 iterations it should be good enough for imaging , for long exposures you do need guiding.

A.G

Thanks AG. I thought that the 3 star alignment process in synscan is a procedure to improve the accuracy of the GOTO function as opposed any mechanical alignment in the mount? Guiding will have to wait so I need to make do with unguided for the time being. I've been reading in places that the cycles around the reticule can be used to improve the polar alignment, but still haven't got round o fully understanding the procedure. Adverse weather doesn't help.  :sad:

Lovely image and I must agree with Alexxx about getting polarfinder. It's a brilliant little addition, free, and always on my toolbar. The NEQ6 is quite a heavy bit of kit but something that you could do is try to get excellent polar alignment, mark the ground where the legs are and make a shallow indentation on the marks. I still have to do a slight adjustment each time but only very minor. What processing system are you using? 

The alignment of cassiopeia in the reticule seems to be a pretty inaccurate step. I'll have a look at polar finder. 

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... wondering if I should try a light pollution filter next time. As the yellow/red has saturated the original image.

Good first effort- my first Andromeda in comparison was really poor!

The IDAS LP filter I find is quite good as general LP filter for colour cameras.

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I use an Astronomik EOS CLS LP clip-in filter. I can't do without it! Keep an eye out for second hand if you don't want to pay the full price.

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Hello, that is really good for first attempt.

Some suggestions:

Balance is important on both axis.

APT is great for drift polar aligning or darv. It can do live view and focus assist. Sub collection of different iso and exposure's, with dithering in between.

DSS allowing for cappa sigma, to reduce needs for darks, if dithering used.

Astrotortilla does plate solving.

Eqmod gets rid of the need for synscan.

People on this forum can help you through all of these as some can be a bit of a hassle to setup and use.

Dark skies

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The latest synscan firmware updates do have a polar alignment routine. Might be worth checking the skywatcher site for details of how this works as it may not be in the documentation that came with the mount.

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So I have the telescope up and running at the moment, with the camera attached. Decided to use the information about when Polaris is in transit to polar align, and made the balance a little camera heavy. Managing 180seconds unguided and it's coming out crisp. Weather will turn soon so I won't do much today. But I'm glad I'm moving in the right direction.

Btw, I spent a good 49minutes trying to figure out why i couldn't see through the polar scope, didn't realise I had to rotate the dec till Polaris was available!

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Hi Rico, nice B/W image.

Thanks Philip. Clouds kept on appearing last night and destroying my subs so I gave up. Felt more confident with the setup yesterday, although, I'm still thinking of ways to push the setup even further (unguided). If I can get 4-5mins unguided I'll be really chuffed, although I'm not sure if its possible!

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So I gave my first go at the horsehead nebula last night. This is my 2nd attempt at DSO imaging, so please be gentle! Pretty low in the sky, so light pollution was a little bit of an issue. I welcome all comments ...

20x180s lights

10x180s darks

Canon 7D unmodded - ed80 with 0.85 reducer on neq6 unguided. I didn't take any lights which I assume is why I have a bit of vinagretting. I struggled a bit to get any contrast on the horsehead and haven't seemed to have captured much of the surrounding nebula, possibly over processed? Subs too short?

post-39400-0-86639000-1413972742_thumb.j

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So I gave my first go at the horsehead nebula last night. This is my 2nd attempt at DSO imaging, so please be gentle! Pretty low in the sky, so light pollution was a little bit of an issue. I welcome all comments ...

20x180s lights

10x180s darks

Canon 7D unmodded - ed80 with 0.85 reducer on neq6 unguided. I didn't take any lights which I assume is why I have a bit of vinagretting. I struggled a bit to get any contrast on the horsehead and haven't seemed to have captured much of the surrounding nebula, possibly over processed? Subs too short?

very nice...

i did not think id stand a chance of picking up the horsehead with my camera, 7d also..... im rather excited now, might even be my next target after M31....

Edited by tingting44

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