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The "No EQ" DSO Challenge!


JGM1971

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On 17/04/2016 at 23:14, Nigel G said:

A good night last night after sorting out dew problem,  started taking lights at 2am after street lights go out, what a difference. 

M27 Dumbbell nebula.  48x20s @ 1600 iso,  40 dark, 50 bias. 150p canon 1200d. DSS & StarTools. 

Nige.

PSX_20160417_230703.jpg

wow what scope/ mount did you use on this shot ?

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I have a Skywatcher 250 FlexTube GOTO and have used it to good effect imaging.  You have to keep your exposures low ( less than 20 seconds) due to the Alt/Az mount not handling rotation.  You will also have to crop out rotation in long sessions.  But overall, you can get some REALLY good shots, especially of distant and dim objects. 

Tracking isn't the best with that rig, and I haven't found guiding software that is much use, but it is still manageable.  I tend to plate solve the image, let the SynScan app muddle along with its tracking and re-center via plate solving as necessary.  

....and believe me, I have tried every piece of software for every operating system available to try to get consistent, reliable guided tracking, without reliable success for that setup.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Captured December 2021 and stacked many times and flats plus dark flats are the current blend with lights for best results. I am still trying different combinations and will likely process the data many times as it is as Pleiades is too far South now for getting more data. Way many flats and dark flats but was experimenting. DSS + Startools. Image is not clipped but I was fairly aggressive with removing background gradients, local street lights bortle 5.

50ED Evoguide | EVEFF-V2 | Canon 1100d | ISO 1600 | Virtuoso V1 | 117 lights | 121 flats | 115 dark flats | 26 minutes 13 seconds | predominantly 15 seconds

1246902098_Autosave001allflatsalldarkflatsmedianintersection0.thumb.jpg.16087c25bf9ca07dac83e0b672f0de54.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Last night the sky was quite murky  but I managed to try out using the evoguide with the ASI462 and sharpcap. I didn't quite finish learning/applying the Brain function to use what that considers the optimum setting for the camera. The sky was too murky to have any success using the Y mask so will try it again when the stars are clear and much brighter so focused manually. 

I set sharpcap to livestack but also save the individual files which I then stacked in DSS, 5 seconds x35 frames with no calibration files using the virtuoso v1 and evoguide with FFv2. Tonight I would have tried again but the sky is so bright I cannot see any stars anywhere and there's no Moon. I used rubber bands to fix a red dot finder to the ASI462 and was able to complete alignment using that in conjunction with the Sharpcap display. The main purpose was to have a go using this camera for DSO galaxy captures as an alternative to the DSLR, nothing lost in having a go with what I have, binned the image 50% in processing in StarTools.

1202113848_Autosavev1.2.png.2070535728116d1b9d874ba22ec90dbf.png

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  • 5 months later...

So I have a little Altair 224C guide cam on my main telescope, so I thought I would try it out as an imager on my venerable Nexstar 102 SLT. The FOV is tiny, which makes it almost impossible to find anything with the GOTOs on the SLT mount, and the small pixels are, lets say, a challenge for the tracking. So these are stacks of 8 or 15 sec subs. Clockwise from top left: M16, 622 secs; M14, 495 secs; M26, 328 secs; M27, 280 secs. All stacked with DSS and played with in GIMP, and taken low down in my very light polluted skies.

slt.jpg.ea6e7e80d8c3f8eac14b2d6f258d072f.jpg

I am pleased to report that they are an improvement over the Canon 1000D which I have previously used on this telescope (to be fair, the Canon suffers as the short exposures you are restricted to on this AltAz mount are not long enough to overcome the read noise)!

NigelM

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  • 5 months later...

M51 through my LX90, 16 lights @ 1 minute each, darks, flats and bias processed in Siril.

 

Just ordered a f6.3 focal reducer so will put that to use when it arrives 

 

img_1_1677421840123.jpg

Edited by Merak
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  • 1 month later...

Hi...not posted in this thread yet and I am quite new to any form of astroimaging although I have been doing visual for a while.  Apologies if I am regurgitating what others have already said 161 pages ago but I came across this and was impressed with what others have done with alt-az so I thought I'd add my "two pennorth"

The attached are intended as EAA more than astrophotography so there is no post-processing except cropping but these are all with a 6 inch goto dob (Heritage 150p Virtuoso) and a ZWO585 live stacked in Sharpcap. M65/66,M3, M51, Bodes, Cigar, M87, M97, M100/Ceres/light pollution, M101 and a part of Markarians chain.  Ranging between 2 and 8 seconds exposures and for a max of about 20 mins worth. 

If a rank beginner like me can capture this stuff I am here to tell you that you can 100% take pictures in alt-az.  OK there are challenges and limitations but its a lot more accessible than the traditional EQ6/ED Refractor/cooled camera route.  While I like to see traditional astrophotos I don't have the patience to go out all night taking 300 5 minute subs, or the dosh to buy an EQ6. I can live with a bit of coma at the edges or slightly bloated stars and I don't really have the inclination to get into all the Photoshop stuff personally (not knocking those that do its just not my bag).  I love to watch the Astrobackyard and Astrobiscuit channels etc but  I'm more about getting a good view of the object and in Bortle 6 I can hardly see a lot of this stuff visually even with my 8 inch manual dob so this route really appeals to me and I am having a lot of fun with it.

 

 

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M3_CroppedOnly.png

M51Crop2.png

M81_Cropped.png

M82_Cropped.png

M87.png

M97.png

M100CeresCropped.png

M101Cropped.png

Markarians.png

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Thanks for posting Johnathan, very pleased to view your work. Certainly time has vindicated that Alt-Az mounts can produce decent images and are a great, relatively low cost way of seeing if the hobby is right for a user. Every best wish for the future and do keep posting.

Cheers,

Steve 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I recently moved from an eq to an alt-az - and on the 2nd night out took this pic of M13. Made the change from an eq3-2 to an az-gtiX to make the trip outside faster and add go-to . Cannot imagine going back to eq for a while now! 

Pic is 100, 20 sec, exposures with darks, biases, flats (thanks youtube tutorials!) all stacked in DSS and fiddled in Siril. Taken with my Lumix GX80 on the 130pds. 

M13~2.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 8 months later...

Since this thread was originally started when none EQ imaging was not common there's now a bloom in EEA using short exposures on tracking ALTAZ mounts even the successful and recently launched seestars50 which is altaz goto tracking mount with 50mm and planetary camera sensor live stacking DSO plus other popular smart telescopes like the Dwarf there are many altaz tracking DSO images on this forum no longer just in this thread, it's amazing how fast things change

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