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gnomus

Atik 460Ex or 383L?

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Where are you adding the ND filter? if its in the filterwheel, then it will introduce it's own aberrations (dust bunnies and vignetting?)

No - they sit on the Aurora Panel and then the whole arrangement is pressed against the dewshield on the ED80.

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I have found a white t shirt over the front of the scope held in place by a piece of sewn knicker elastic works well to dim down the flats :D

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I have found a white t shirt over the front of the scope held in place by a piece of sewn knicker elastic works well to dim down the flats :D

Who said that everything in astrophotography was expensive!

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I use a cheap EL panel I got from an online retailer. But it is bright and undimmable. And sheets of paper are an imperfect option. As they blow away, get wet from dew etc... I spent literally a few dollars on a small square 1/2 inch thick 55% translucent white acrylic square. It's durable, wind doesn't affect it, does a good job of flattening the light even more, cheap and easily available.

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Wow, I know I've not been keeping up with the forum, but what a lot of posts on this topic!  

Everything from sensitivity, noise, stacking, spacing, flats.  

I love my atik 460, but still bought an 8300 after this (but in this case an SBIG STF8300M).  On paper it's a good bit less sensitive, and noisier, but I don't really notice in the end results.  What bugs me is the read-out artifacts if you bin 2x2.  I can do this on the 460 with no issues, but brighter stars play horrible tricks on the 8300, like a 2 pixel bloom everywhere.  So I'll only use it on shorter scopes.

I'm sure I'm not the only one with this issue.

Please tell me I'm not the only one with this issue!

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Wow, I know I've not been keeping up with the forum, but what a lot of posts on this topic!  

Everything from sensitivity, noise, stacking, spacing, flats.  

I love my atik 460, but still bought an 8300 after this (but in this case an SBIG STF8300M).  On paper it's a good bit less sensitive, and noisier, but I don't really notice in the end results.  What bugs me is the read-out artifacts if you bin 2x2.  I can do this on the 460 with no issues, but brighter stars play horrible tricks on the 8300, like a 2 pixel bloom everywhere.  So I'll only use it on shorter scopes.

I'm sure I'm not the only one with this issue.

Please tell me I'm not the only one with this issue!

Not noticed it but I have a scope of 924mm FL. also I have the QSI versions.

Derek

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I have found a white t shirt over the front of the scope held in place by a piece of sewn knicker elastic works well to dim down the flats :D

Ooh Sara, do stop it!!! You'll be the death of me.

T shirts, typing paper, anything to dim the light source.

If using Aurora panels be ultra careful with the thin cables. Wherever they enter or leave any other bit of the system they will try to break and are very likely to succeed. Mr Neumann has had his last ever order from me and that's for sure. Three dead panels from three. Enough is enough.

Olly

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I bought my EL panel from Earlsmann, because they were cheaper than Aurora panels, and I didn't like the round shape with the black ridged edge to it, I couldn't see how to attach it to the scope without it falling off and didn't necessarily want to move the position of the scope to do them.  

Earlsman panels are square and I put mine in a box with a hole cut out for the scope so it sits on it quite nicely without sliding off.  they also supplied me with the length cables and plugs that I wanted.

In%20position%20on%20scope.jpg?height=15

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Thats a good idea. I hold my panel against the scope! What size Earlsman did you go for?

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I took a bit of closed cell stiff foam and cut it out to sit the Aurora panel in. The foam was bonded to a ring of the same foam to form a tight surround to the extended dew shield. Bit like a straight sided buckets with the panel at the bottom. I just push it over the dew shield. Fits tight and does not allow any extraneous light in. Does not matter what angle the scope is at. I have fitted some neutral density film inside next to the panel so that the diffuser also diffuses any abnormalities of the film.(scratches etc,.). The power supply is bonded to the outer end of the foam. Less chance of a wire fault.

Derek

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I think the new rigid LED publicity panels have probably rendered the flexible electro luminescent ones obsolete, quite honestly. One of our robotic clients kindly gives me the use of his and it seems excellent and very robust. It also has a dimmer function which helps, though typing paper is still needed for shutter cameras.

Olly

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I think the new rigid LED publicity panels have probably rendered the flexible electro luminescent ones obsolete

Forgot to mention, yes I used some white opaque plexiglass to fix down the EL panel inside the box to keep it rigid.

Carole 

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I took a bit of closed cell stiff foam and cut it out to sit the Aurora panel in. The foam was bonded to a ring of the same foam to form a tight surround to the extended dew shield. Bit like a straight sided buckets with the panel at the bottom. I just push it over the dew shield. Fits tight and does not allow any extraneous light in. Does not matter what angle the scope is at. I have fitted some neutral density film inside next to the panel so that the diffuser also diffuses any abnormalities of the film.(scratches etc,.). The power supply is bonded to the outer end of the foam. Less chance of a wire fault.

Derek

I like this idea. Indeed, I used the foam packing material that came with my camera and wheel to knock one up myself. Seems to work quite well.

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OK, how about sky flats? That's all I ever use nowadays. The Neumann panel sits in the closet where it is nice and dark...

/per

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OK, how about sky flats? That's all I ever use nowadays. The Neumann panel sits in the closet where it is nice and dark...

/per

Per

I've been with you up to now, but you go too far.  The sky is free.  That contravenes one of the fundamental principles of this hobby - namely to absorb every last drop of one's 'hard-earned'.

Steve

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Yes, but none the less it is one of the best ways to do flats. No panel, no knickers, no t-shirts, no light boxes... You can do what I did; buy an expensive Neumann and refrain from using it ;)

/per

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Yes, but none the less it is one of the best ways to do flats. No panel, no knickers, no t-shirts, no light boxes... You can do what I did; buy an expensive Neumann and refrain from using it ;)

/per

Bit chilly in Sweden with no knickers  :grin:

Dave

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I like this idea. Indeed, I used the foam packing material that came with my camera and wheel to knock one up myself. Seems to work quite well.

Yes, that is what I did. packing came from bits of foam that were used to package the EQ8 mount. I keep all, those bits and just bond them together when needed.

Derek

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OK, how about sky flats? That's all I ever use nowadays. The Neumann panel sits in the closet where it is nice and dark...

/per

Hi Per,

 It is great if you've  got the time. Otherwise some thing that can be used at a moments notice fits the bill. If I don't do all the bits that keeps the wife happy I don't get to play. It's simple maths really. :p

Derek

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Bit chilly in Sweden with no knickers  :grin:

Dave

 From now on "No panel, no knickers" is going to be my motto.

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As for time, for any degree of automation, sky flat acquisition is usually part of the automated work-flow. SGP, CCDAP, ACP and CCD Commander all do it for you.

Knickers... Up here in the north we lack urge to dress is opposite sex clothes... ;)

/per

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As for time, for any degree of automation, sky flat acquisition is usually part of the automated work-flow. SGP, CCDAP, ACP and CCD Commander all do it for you.

Knickers... Up here in the north we lack urge to dress is opposite sex clothes... ;)

/per

What I am not sure about with sky flats is .... the sky itself.  Do you not have to have a sky that is uniformly cloudy or uniformly clear (else your flats are destined to be uneven)?  The other problem I would have is that, because the 383 has a mechanical shutter, I need to take a flat of several seconds duration.  I cannot even take a daytime shot with the 383 without it being overexposed.  I had to use the ND films I got with my Aurora panel just to do some daytime testing after the camera arrived.

I have been playing around with SGP after it was recommended by Zakalwe.  I'm increasingly impressed with this.  The plate solving feature alone is something that is going to save me lots of time I think.  

Steve

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I use 8300-based cameras and don't have any problems at all with sky flats. The software chooses the sky location where the gradient is mathematically the least, and then it uses a minimum and a maximum exposure parameter to get the exposure right. You don't even have to think about it. Naturally, this is all done just prior to imaging so the sky is absolutely clear.

/per

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I like the idea of sky flats but rarely get them to work. I have no idea why this is. What I get nearly always has a gradient in it despite plenty of diffusers (not my knickers because I like those to match my polychromatic Bermudas... :eek: ). I'm never convinced that the gradient comes from the sky itself. I also find I get a gradient if I don't shoot my panel flats in the dark.

This, too, is a mystery to me. Panel flats in the observatory in low light is what works for me. I used to think it was light leakage from my semi-open manual F/W but I see the same thing happening on all three electric F/W rigs. Very odd, but there it is.

Olly

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