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The "No EQ" DSO Challenge!


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I'm still fairly new to imaging, but have had a good start with Planetary and Wide Field images. Obviously, like most of us, it's the Deep Sky stuff I'd like to glimpse, but time, location and more im

Assorted shots with a Nexstar 102SLT and a Canon 1000D. 30sec subs at ISO1600. Total exposures range from 5 mins (M20)  to ~1hr (M31). NigelM

this was taken a couple years ago on my AZGOTO mount with 130p...... about 50 x 5 sec subs, no calibration frames

Posted Images

Thanks to both of you for the great information, and I am using a Nikon D3200. Unfortunately, I don't have a PC of any kind so I'm just kinda screwed here. So I think I understand that the best method for getting viable images through an alt/az mount would be stacking short exposures. I can take these short exposures, but all the stacking softwares I've ever heard all aren't Mac-compatible...

I have a few editing programs, so if anyone knows what exactly the stacking program is doing, i can possible recreate it. For example if the program is just changing the blending mode of images or something.

Last night I was able to take the scope out and I aligned it 5 consecutive times and tested the tracking for each time and only one time was it perfect. Today it's cloudy, but the first chance I get I'll try some of the methods of improving the accuracy that you mentioned above!

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I don't know what may be available for Macs, but if all else fails I guess  you could run it on a Windows boot within the Mac OS?

When you say that the alignment was only perfect 1 in 5, what was the problem with the other 4?

Again, of course, tracking errors will be exacerbated with a long FL 'scope, and although OK for visual observing they might be a challenge for imaging. You may have to image in blocks of, say, 10 minutes and re-centre between each block.

Ian

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Hi Herzy,

You're really going to need a computer to do any stacking and post processing work. Are you saying you don't have a computer at all or just not a computer running on a Windows OS? I don't know whether DSS or ST runs on any other platform. I have never tried other software to help you further here-sorry. 

It is known that these lightweight mounts will often need a short few minutes just after star aligning to 'settle down' to then track ok. Whenever I have used my mount (a SkyWatcher Synscan alt-az) it has worked just fine after alignment but then again I don't rush things swapping diagonal and eyepiece for camera so I maybe give my mount the settling down time it just needs and I never know.

Cheers,
Steve

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47 minutes ago, The Admiral said:

I don't know what may be available for Macs, but if all else fails I guess  you could run it on a Windows boot within the Mac OS?

When you say that the alignment was only perfect 1 in 5, what was the problem with the other 4?

Again, of course, tracking errors will be exacerbated with a long FL 'scope, and although OK for visual observing they might be a challenge for imaging. You may have to image in blocks of, say, 10 minutes and re-centre between each block.

Ian

One of the 4 was off by a crazy amount, so I redid it and then the others were just off by a little, the object was at the edge of the eyepeice (my least magnification one)

Maybe I'm just doing it wrong? I'll just explain my whole procedure. 

Firstly i set up the scope, making sure it's level and aligning it via sky align. Once it's aligned I go to the object I want to image and check if it's in the FOV. If it is in the FOV, then I'll put in the camera and move to Sirius to focus the camera (that's one of the only stars my camera can see in live view). Once it's focused I go back to the object and image.

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Hi Herzy

Well as long as the object is visible in the eyepiece after you slew to it, I'd say that was OK. You just inch the 'scope to centre it. So far as imaging is concerned, what is more important is how much the object drifts in the FoV over time, so that is something you'd need to check out, but it will be dependent on how well you set up.

As for another OTA, well that's your decision, but I'd have a good crack at imaging with your current set-up first, acknowledging its limitations, as you might decide it's not for you in the end. Remember, this is imaging on the cheap, and if you get images you're satisfied with, all well and good. It's a learning experience anyway. But if you want something better, there's a whole world out there only too willing to take your money for an upgrade, and then you have to decide just where to draw the line! It can get very expensive and very time consuming. That's why I'm content to get the best I can out of the simple stuff :icon_biggrin:

Ian

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On 5.2.2016 at 14:33, Herzy said:

Thanks to both of you for the great information, and I am using a Nikon D3200. Unfortunately, I don't have a PC of any kind so I'm just kinda screwed here. So I think I understand that the best method for getting viable images through an alt/az mount would be stacking short exposures. I can take these short exposures, but all the stacking softwares I've ever heard all aren't Mac-compatible...

I have a few editing programs, so if anyone knows what exactly the stacking program is doing, i can possible recreate it. For example if the program is just changing the blending mode of images or something.

Last night I was able to take the scope out and I aligned it 5 consecutive times and tested the tracking for each time and only one time was it perfect. Today it's cloudy, but the first chance I get I'll try some of the methods of improving the accuracy that you mentioned above!

Hi. 

 

Try regim which is Java and also for mac.

http://www.andreasroerig.de/regim/regim.htm

 

Carsten. Some images with my alt\azm mounted mak127 in my SIG.

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What a great thread this is. Thanks to all for their efforts, love seeing what can be done with the so called "wrong" equipment. 

A few of mine. All with Skywatcher Alt/Az GOTO. Most with ST102, one M42 was with 127 Mak

 

16465710692_81ff185b94_o.jpg.909184d8bc0

12276400156_39ec0e717e_o.thumb.jpg.f6e87

12276507215_8a40f70881_o.thumb.jpg.f0e30

12291001596_1809df3086_o.thumb.jpg.2399b

12822525055_97a9f8dd08_o.thumb.jpg.ce904

21539958722_c281bbb1f6_o-2.jpg.932fa4281

21541866399_e3253086b8_o.jpg.04c22b27449

 

Thanks for looking :-)

 

 

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5 minutes ago, den12386 said:

orion ned2.jpg

Took this last night in my light polluted back garden in Gateshead using my Skywatcher 130p on Alt\az goto mount. I used 2x barlow attached to my Nikon D5000 and took 20x 6 sec lights, 5 darks and 5 bias frames at iso 800. Stacked in Deep sky stacker and processed in Lightroom 4. This is my first go at any DSO with my camera attached to the scope.

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Nice one. I like the look much more than the color full ones (my own included) this gives a good idea how it looks visually. But if you look close you See nice Details in the nebulae.

 

Carsten

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought I'd have another go at the Flame and Horsehead nebulae, but with greater exposure. Here I've used about 250 x 10s subs, compared to ~64 x 15s subs I'd used previously. Otherwise: Fuji X-T1 through an Altair 102mm f/7 Super ED, all mounted on a Nexstar 6/8SE mount, 10th February 2016. 1600ASA, stacked in DSS and processed in Star Tools. I used about 50 darks and 50 bias frames (no flats).

56cca76270893_FlameHorseheadrot.thumb.jp

I know that there is a lot of nebulosity in the region, so I find it hard to know how much is noise and what is genuine signal.

I also had a go at the Beehive Cluster (M44). An easier target I guess as there is no faint nebulosity to contend with.

56cca8326b1e2_M44rot.thumb.jpg.d99d61a5e

For this I used about 50 x 10s subs; other settings as above. Stars are a bit turquoise rather than blue I feel.

Ian

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Here is my attempt at M106 and friends. I used ~100 x 30s subs together with 50 flats and bias frames. Other details: Fuji X-T1 through an Altair 102mm f/7 Super ED, all mounted on a Nexstar 6/8SE mount, 10th February 2016. 1600ASA. The original images are quite feint.

This first image is stacked in DSS and processed in Star Tools.

56ccaa0a5eaa6_Autosaveintersect1nobinrot

 

I'm also trying to get to grips with a trial of PixInsight, and this is what I achieved today after many sweated hours! It needed a lot of stretching; in fact I did it in two stages.

56ccaa1449515_M106integration_ABEdoubleh

The fainter details are more obvious, but there is no way that I could get any colour into the galaxy, like the Star Tools processed one. It is still quite noisy. Any ideas from you experts?

Ian

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I am so at sea with PixInsight at the moment. But I managed to squeeze this one out of the pot!

56ccb611341aa_M106_integration_crop_ABEr

After using Advanced Background Extraction to remove a strong green cast, I find that the targets are also left a bit green. Previously I tried Colour Calibration to remove the tint, but this time I used the Curves Transformation to lower the green channel before upping the saturation. I wonder if Colour Calibration removes the colour information too much. Not saying it is anything like it should be, but if anything, it shows I've a lot more to learn :help:

Ian

Edited by The Admiral
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Thanks very much happy-kat. Yes, it is bit gross really; I think in future 30s subs would be more reasonable! They don't half fill up the hard drive! In fact the M106 image has a longer integration time than the Horsehead, using 30s subs.

Ian

Edited by The Admiral
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On 8/2/2016 at 20:54, Bobby1970 said:

What a great thread this is. Thanks to all for their efforts, love seeing what can be done with the so called "wrong" equipment. 

A few of mine. All with Skywatcher Alt/Az GOTO. Most with ST102, one M42 was with 127 Mak

 

16465710692_81ff185b94_o.jpg.909184d8bc0

12276400156_39ec0e717e_o.thumb.jpg.f6e87

12276507215_8a40f70881_o.thumb.jpg.f0e30

12291001596_1809df3086_o.thumb.jpg.2399b

12822525055_97a9f8dd08_o.thumb.jpg.ce904

21539958722_c281bbb1f6_o-2.jpg.932fa4281

21541866399_e3253086b8_o.jpg.04c22b27449

 

Thanks for looking :-)

 

 

I like this thread, as I've already said, and I like your images. However, I'm not able to accept the phrase, 'The so-called wrong equipment.' It IS the wrong equipment. The right equipment for DS imaging is the equatorial mount. I think it's important to bear in mind that beginners will be drawn to this thread. For me this is an excellent thread about what can be done with what is, no bones about it, the wrong equipment.

Olly

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