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Finally getting to grips with new set up - grainy M51


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This is the new set up

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(click to enlarge)

It's a 10" LX200R on an EM200 mount. The 2" visual back has been removed and a Moonlight motorised focuser screw on with a 4" adaptor. The adaptor can also house a 6.3 reducer. It is a stepper motor focuser controlled from the PC using FocusMax. The PC adaptor/handset contains a temperature guage which allows temperature compensated focusing meaning that the focusing is adjusted on the fly as the temp drops. Still got to calibrate that.

Next in the train is an SXV active optics unit with a Lodestone guider pointing into the mount. Behind this is a filter draw made by Gerd Neuman which houses 2" IDAS or Ha filters. Finally comes a QHY8.

It's been a long slog. Thanks to SteveL for pointing me in the direction of the latest version of FocusMax which works with the QHY8. The AO is a complex piece of kit and although conditions have been awful this week it has given me the chance to iron out all the foibles...I think!

Have spent over 20 hours this week imaging M51 at 2500mm f/l F10. Unfortunately the seeing has been grim every night and most of the time there has been high cloud. So in the end I got about 5 hours of poor subs which I've cobbled together into a grainy image. Even got a bit of Ha through the cloud. The clearest night was using an IDAS filter. Got 4x20mins but after I'd gone to bed the AO must have lost the guide star. Those subs look very promising so I'd like to add some more.

It's no great shakes mainly because of the high cloud (very difficult to get any dim detail) but even in the poor seeing the stars a pretty tight so I'm happy with the kit and knackered.

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(click to enlarge)

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That is a serious bit of kit and a great image. Ive just bought a microtouch focuser to work with my QHY8 and an looking forward to giving it a go. Did you find focus max easy to use?

Cheers Jon

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Incredibly easy Jon. It looks very daunting but in practice it's a breeze. I'm using it in Maxim. It integrates beautifully. During the day I connected it up and ran the focuser through it's full range of travel. This allows you to set a centre point and set the move limits. Then you find a mag 3 to 4 star. Using an SCT you focus the star conventionally then focus max does a first light procedure - it automatically creates a focus profile called a vcurve and then focuses the scope for you. You can improve the focus accuracy by doing more vcurves. All you have to do when you set up is click the focus button and you have perfect focus in about 15 seconds.

Can't wait 'till you have a clear run at something.

Kaptain Klevtsov

Me too KK.

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Seriously impressive Martin, you should be well away now.

Agree, the skies have been pretty dire this week, so that's pretty good good start!

Is all OK when it does a flip? :angry:

Mark

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Is all OK when it does a flip? :angry:

Seems to be ok with the focus locked tight Mark. When I swing the mount over I have been refocusing just to make sure.

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Martin, I think you are on a different plane (No, I haven't missed a t off.) with all this techo wizardry.

That is some serious kit, and it has produced a magnificent image there.

It would be stupid of me to be even slightly envious, as it would take about 2 years intensive interface training for me to get my head around that lot. :angry:

I would say I am not alone in the expectations of what is to come from all this, once you are fully in tune with it, and the weather plays it's part of course. I know it's never a competition on SGL, and there are some seriously splendid imagers in our midst. I look forward with great anticipation to the next few months, as I believe the imaging bar is going to rise up a peg or two.

It's gonna be good.

Ron. :(

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Nice image Martin - given the conditions!

Your pic answered a question for me: Could I use a Filter wheel with the SX AO unit. Well, I reckon I could subsitute your filter draw for my Tru Tech wheel. The only other difference in our set ups is I have a SX H9 instead of the QHY8.

I haven't got to grips with the temp compensation side of the focuser yet - I wonder if working out the co-effiecent is as complicated as it sounds?

Let me know when you've got it working accurately - at the moment I've disabled this side of things in Focusmax.

Barry.

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That's some 'Chistmas Tree' hanging off the back of that scope Martin :( .

Seriously though, that's one 'high tech' imaging set-up, and a nice M51 to show for it. Very impressive!! :p

Definitely, approaching a serious need for a more permanent setup for the gear. :angry:

Dave

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Martin,

By heck lad, you have some serious kit hanging off of the back of that scope. Adaptive Optics eh!. I still can't believe this sort of equipment is now a reality for amateur astronomers. Electric focusers with temp compensation control, I had no idea we had come so far, amazing.

M51 looks good to me as well, the colours beat anything I have ever managed to get. Better still to come from this set up I fancy.

Well done that man,

Dave

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