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JGM1971

The "No EQ" DSO Challenge!

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I do feel for your plight happy-kat, this weather is making imaging nigh on impossible right now but we've got to stick at it and be ready for when the clear nights do materialise.

 

Cheers,

Steve

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Cheers. Ken brings a valid point about so rusty what might we forget next opportunity. Lol

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Removing the lens cap was my latest! Took me a ages to figure out why I couldn't align.

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2 hours ago, Filroden said:

Removing the lens cap was my latest! Took me a ages to figure out why I couldn't align.

Been there :) 

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Yes, and not being able to work out why I couldn't see any stars on the camera's live-view LCD screen, until the penny dropped, after much fretting, that the shutter speed was set to 1/30th second!

Ian

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A Year of DSO Imaging with an Alt/Az

Well, I seem to have attempted my first DSO images in December 15 and January 16 so it's been just over a year of trying to image with the Alt/Az mount. My first DSO target was M42 which I've shared previously but my next target was the Rosette Nebula which I don't think I've shared. I thought it would be nice to see how it progressed over the year.

Image 1: Rosette Nebula through the 9.25SCT using the Canon 60D - no sign of any nebula but look at the resolution of those stars. If you find HD46150, a 6.8 magnitude star that forms the left of the middle pair of stars that make the famous rectangular shape inside the nebula you can see two companions so close they are almost touching.

IMG_1961_DBE.jpg

Image 2: Now with the Esprit 80 with the ZWO 1600MM. I did a terrible job at remnoving the background and removed most of the nebula in the process (and still left a nasty ring of gradient). Though at least there is nebula to see now! 

large.5863acb9e7596_NGC2239_20161228_v10.jpg

Image 3: same data as image 2 but with better processing.

large.58652aaaae5c4_NGC2239_20161228_v11.jpg

Image 4: my first attempt with a narrowband filter

NGC2239_20161228_v2 1 Ha mono.jpg

Image 5: my first try at adding RGB data to the Ha data in image 4 resulted in an almost monochrome tinted version

large.5887bda89b043_NGC2239_20161228_v21HaRHaGB.jpg

Image 6: with a little more data and some helpful processing advice I managed to get an RGB version

NGC2239_20161228_v2 2 HaRGB.jpg

Image 7: and finally, my latest version which includes an extra 30 minutes data, and further processing improvements

large.58a97ac100c67_NGC2239_20170219_v30HaRGB.jpg

It seems 40% of the improvement is equipment, 40% better processing and only 20% improvement in skill at actual data capture. If you'd asked me at the start of this journey I would have though capturing the data would be the hardest part. It is hard, just not as hard as processing it!

It's also interesting to see how, with each additional dataset, I've had to crop more and more of the image to remove stacking artefacts caused by rotation.

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Very good Ken, A steady improvement through the year, keep going :) 

I just checked back in this thread, my first stack was April 9th page 10. M101.

I got my Star discovery 11 months and a few days ago. and I'm miles behind your latest Rosette :) 

Edit: My DSO image count is about 62 different objects.

Nige.

 

Edited by Nigel G
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Well, I've gone and done a "Nige".

You can blame @FLO and their "January" discounts, but I pressed buy on a new Celestron AVX mount during the night. Seeing how much of my field of view I was losing to rotation was the final straw. I paused at buying an OAG as I still think I will be taking short (60-120s) exposures as that seems to suit the camera better. I will see how that develops and might consider guiding later (I have a camera I can already use). It also means I need to press pause on having a custom spacer made as I would need a shorter one if I got the OAG.

Unless the weather is kind tonight (unlikely) I'll probably not be taking more images on the alt/az mount but I'll still be following this thread with interest. I learn far too much from reading it still!

If all goes well I can see me selling the Evolution mount. It's a great mount and certainly helped me into imaging but I (hopefully) won't need two similar capacity mounts. And the thought of being able to image near the Zenith...

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But nothing stays at zenith everything rotates and there lies the blessing and the rub. Good luck but you have set your own high bench mark in what you have already achieved.

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4 hours ago, Filroden said:

Well, I've gone and done a "Nige".

You can blame @FLO and their "January" discounts, but I pressed buy on a new Celestron AVX mount during the night. Seeing how much of my field of view I was losing to rotation was the final straw. I paused at buying an OAG as I still think I will be taking short (60-120s) exposures as that seems to suit the camera better. I will see how that develops and might consider guiding later (I have a camera I can already use). It also means I need to press pause on having a custom spacer made as I would need a shorter one if I got the OAG.

Unless the weather is kind tonight (unlikely) I'll probably not be taking more images on the alt/az mount but I'll still be following this thread with interest. I learn far too much from reading it still!

If all goes well I can see me selling the Evolution mount. It's a great mount and certainly helped me into imaging but I (hopefully) won't need two similar capacity mounts. And the thought of being able to image near the Zenith...

Well who saw that one coming? :icon_biggrin:. You've achieved a lot Ken and I'm sure the Alt-Az has allowed you to cut your teeth to the point where it's limitations are holding you back. Good luck with your future ventures and we shall miss you not providing us a standard to aim for. New hurdles to jump!

Ian

Edited by The Admiral
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I'll miss your posts in this thread Ken.

You may be 'upgrading' but the point is that Alt-Az allowed you to get some brilliant images without having to risk your shirt, hopefully eth pics left here will encourage others to have a go with what they've got rather than think they can never afford to try AP.

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What I love about the rosette series is it highlights that you get out what you put in, there is no quick fix but a learning exploring curve and mileage can be had from unexpected equipment. Grow at a speed that can be supported you've shown, and others, is much can be extracted but you need good foundations, focus and working within limitations. There's no gain in having an eq mount of you still don't focus and/or take subs too long and create elongated images. I think there's an element of OCD attention to the detail to deliver a satisfying image whatever the equipment.

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5 hours ago, Filroden said:

You can blame @FLO and their "January" discounts, but I pressed buy on a new Celestron AVX mount during the night.

I too will miss your posts and contributions Ken and wish you every success in the future with the EQ mount. You have certainly learnt a lot with your 'umble alt-az mount and left a legacy for others yet to come on the thread.

Best regards,
Steve

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7 hours ago, Filroden said:

Well, I've gone and done a "Nige".

You can blame @FLO and their "January" discounts, but I pressed buy on a new Celestron AVX mount during the night. Seeing how much of my field of view I was losing to rotation was the final straw. I paused at buying an OAG as I still think I will be taking short (60-120s) exposures as that seems to suit the camera better. I will see how that develops and might consider guiding later (I have a camera I can already use). It also means I need to press pause on having a custom spacer made as I would need a shorter one if I got the OAG.

Unless the weather is kind tonight (unlikely) I'll probably not be taking more images on the alt/az mount but I'll still be following this thread with interest. I learn far too much from reading it still!

If all goes well I can see me selling the Evolution mount. It's a great mount and certainly helped me into imaging but I (hopefully) won't need two similar capacity mounts. And the thought of being able to image near the Zenith...

Ken, I think its a wise move with your camera and scope.

It is great cropping just a few pixels rather than 30% or more of the image, getting the full potential of the scope.

You will soon be guiding :icon_biggrin: , it makes a huge difference, 100% keepers at any length sub, and very easy to setup after you have done it once.

I will look forward to seeing your images.

Good luck & clear sky's.

Nige.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Filroden said:

Well, I've gone and done a "Nige".

You can blame @FLO and their "January" discounts, but I pressed buy on a new Celestron AVX mount during the night. Seeing how much of my field of view I was losing to rotation was the final straw. I paused at buying an OAG as I still think I will be taking short (60-120s) exposures as that seems to suit the camera better. I will see how that develops and might consider guiding later (I have a camera I can already use). It also means I need to press pause on having a custom spacer made as I would need a shorter one if I got the OAG.

Unless the weather is kind tonight (unlikely) I'll probably not be taking more images on the alt/az mount but I'll still be following this thread with interest. I learn far too much from reading it still!

If all goes well I can see me selling the Evolution mount. It's a great mount and certainly helped me into imaging but I (hopefully) won't need two similar capacity mounts. And the thought of being able to image near the Zenith...

You've far surpassed whatever results I can achieve, but I still like to go back on my alt/az every once in a while for the ease of use even though I have an AVX. Good luck!

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19 minutes ago, Nigel G said:

It is great cropping just a few pixels rather than 30% or more of the image, getting the full potential of the scope.

The downside of this is that I'll probably have to discard all prior images into any new project otherwise they will still need cropping :(

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55 minutes ago, Herzy said:

but I still like to go back on my alt/az every once in a while for the ease of use even though I have an AVX

I'm going to wait a while before deciding. I want to see how quickly I can set up. With the StarSense and the All Star Polar Align function, I'm hoping it should be quick to set up. If not, then I will probably keep the Alt/Az for visual.

Edited by Filroden
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This is what I managed when clear the other night. Not exactly happy with it, had to bin 70% of subs, left with a measly 26 mins, and at iso 1600, I get lots of noise. Still, better than nowt.

16797585_1838112706402048_26082638569133

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3 hours ago, SteveNickolls said:

You have certainly learnt a lot with your 'umble alt-az mount

Indeed, I think there is some merit in taking the move into AP one step at a time. The mount seems to be the most complex (after processing software), so I'm glad I've learnt some of the basics already.

3 hours ago, happy-kat said:

I think there's an element of OCD attention to the detail to deliver a satisfying image whatever the equipment.

I think that's what I enjoy the most! I could sit and process the data over and over again and still find something new that I'd missed before.

4 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I'll miss your posts in this thread Ken.

I'll still be posting, just not images :)

4 hours ago, The Admiral said:

Well who saw that one coming?

I know. I wish I'd taken that bet at the start! I guess it's inevitable once the bug bites. We all strive to make that next improvement.

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2 minutes ago, Shaun_Astro said:

This is what I managed when clear the other night. Not exactly happy with it, had to bin 70% of subs, left with a measly 26 mins, and at iso 1600, I get lots of noise. Still, better than nowt.

Well, any image that is instantly recognisable is a success in my book. You have the colours nicely balanced I think. It's missing a touch of red but in 26 minutes it's probably not going to show. It looks like you've got it nicely centred so adding more data from later sessions should be easy. You might find rotating the camera so the image fits the longest axis will give you the best chance of not having to crop target in future integrations. In this case, a 90 degree rotation would give you more border to play with. Though some targets won't give you that luxury (M31, M42, Rosette, Soul, Heart, NAN, etc) as they are simply too big.

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On 2/21/2017 at 10:01, Filroden said:

Well, I've gone and done a "Nige".

You can blame @FLO and their "January" discounts, but I pressed buy on a new Celestron AVX mount during the night. Seeing how much of my field of view I was losing to rotation was the final straw. I paused at buying an OAG as I still think I will be taking short (60-120s) exposures as that seems to suit the camera better. I will see how that develops and might consider guiding later (I have a camera I can already use). It also means I need to press pause on having a custom spacer made as I would need a shorter one if I got the OAG.

Unless the weather is kind tonight (unlikely) I'll probably not be taking more images on the alt/az mount but I'll still be following this thread with interest. I learn far too much from reading it still!

If all goes well I can see me selling the Evolution mount. It's a great mount and certainly helped me into imaging but I (hopefully) won't need two similar capacity mounts. And the thought of being able to image near the Zenith...

Don't blame you, you've pushed the envelope with alt az imaging as much as anyone, your processing is pretty damn good so you're limited by the quality of the data now. Improving the mount is the next logical step.

 

I will pull my finger out one day and finally setup and use the equipment I've spent hundreds on and join in (still not taken a single image with it, its just sat there outside!), would love to get something half as good as what you've achieved.

Edited by jimbo747
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It's been great to see the layers of knowledge grow with each change and processing development. I always like to know why so I can understand manipulate change the outcome, and because it was gear already owned and then added to that would be used onwards there's been no waste I don't think in money or time.

Gear wise it looks like moded camera first biggest change in output.

Tracking altaz mounts always useful I think, easy setup and shareable with family whatever telescope type attached.

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On 21/02/2017 at 18:34, Filroden said:

With the StarSense and the All Star Polar Align function, I'm hoping it should be quick to set up. If not, then I will probably keep the Alt/Az for visual.

Can StarSense and ASPA be used together, or do you have to align conventionally before using ASPA, and then switch to StarSense? ASPA does appear to take a lot of the pain of polar alignment away, and works when you don't have sight of Polaris, but I wonder how good an alignment you can achieve, and the maximum length of sub you can use. I guess it also requires precise centring of stars, so does that mean using a graticule eyepiece rather than centring on the live view image?

Ian

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