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Finally Success with Guiding!


Steve789
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After several failed sessions trying to get any guide stars to appear in PHD2, last night I finally figured out how to get my LifeCam Studio to work as a guide camera. The eureka moment came when I used the cam dialogue in PHD2 to disable auto exposure and set it manually. A QHY5 is definitely on the cards (when I find a new job!) as I reckon the LifeCam is the bare minimum for guiding.

I started with the Horsehead nebula as I figured Alnitak would provide a nice bright guide star. I have no idea if it was Alnitak that appeared in PHD but there were 2 available stars. I'm thinking about adding a red dot finder to my 70mm guidescope so I know where its pointing when adjusting the guide rings.

Later I moved on to the Whirlpool Galaxy and was pleased to find a guide star almost instantly.

I started with subs of only 180s and gradually increased them throughout the evening ending with 420s without any star trailing. I was especially pleased as my simple DIY dew strap was a complete fail and my guidescope looked worryingly fogged up yet PHD never missed a beat. I would have tried for 10 minute subs but suddenly it was 4am and I thought I'd better pack up and get some sleep. How can I only get 2 1/4 hours of data when I set up over 6 hours ago?!! Where does all the time go?

Horsehead Nebula - 5x180s, 3x210s, 3x240s, 4x270s, 3x300s @ ISO1600. I used a few darks from a previous session but they were only 90s. Butchered in Photoshop.

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Whirlpool Galaxy - 6x300s, 6x420s @ ISO1600 plus Darks etc.

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Next on the to do list are improved dew prevention, work out what the graph in PHD2 is actually telling me and try lower ISOs and longer subs.

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