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Swithin StCleeve

My first DSLR arrives this week! Questions, questions, questions.

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Friday night I bit the bullet and ordered an SLR from those nice people at Wex photography, (I bought my current scope of them at the astronomy show in Coventry a couple of years ago). I'm really excited about this, it'll be my first digital SLR.


AL2.jpg

This is the camera, a canon 750D. And here's my scope, an 8" Skywatcher on an equatorial mount. I do my astronomy from an old caravan I take out to the darker skies of Shropshire. I'm praying we'll have some clear skies at the end of the week, as I hope to be off to my field again.

AL1.jpg

Before I start asking questions, I'll tell you a little about my experience. I've enjoyed astronomy for over twenty years, but never tried astrophotography before. My main scope for the past twenty years was a 10" Dobsonian (which I'm now renovating). When the new camera arrives, possibly Tuesday, this will be the first time I've attached a camera to a telescope. So, I'm like an old-timer to the hobby, but a complete newbie to SLR/telescope imaging.
I've got the relevant T-mount and adapter arriving too, so I'm hoping I'll be ready to go by the end of the week, clear skies permitting. I'm even meeting up with a friend with a laser collimator tomorrow night at our local astronomy club meeting, (Wolverhampton), so I'll be sure my telescope is in good working order.
I'll start off with the moon, and I don't really need advice on that, I've already got some good shots just using eyepiece projection with my Fuji 'point and shoot' The advice I need, is when it comes to planets.
Jupiter is highest and biggest, so I'll probably start with that. Now I've read loads of different ways of taking planetary photos on here, so my first question would be, how should I approach taking photos of Jupiter?
The best way, from what I've read on here, is to take a series of shots, and stack them using free software. So my first two questions are...
1) Which program would you advise for someone who hasn't done any stacking before?
2) I haven't yet used the equatorial mount to follow the stars, so my images of Jupiter will be in slightly different places as the planet moves across the field of view. Will the stacking program compensate for this, or do I have to track the planet?

I'd really appreciate any advice folks, cheers.
 

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Yes, the stacking will compensate for the movement.  You will have to place alignment points  on the subject (either manually or automatically).

For planets, I've used Registax and Autosakkert.  

John

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Cool, I'd hoped it would. Thanks for the response.

How many photos would you take of Jupiter, before you stacked them? I'm wondering if there's an ideal number, or is it a case of the more the better?
 

Actually, given Jupiter's fast rotation, I suppose there's a time limit on taking the shots.

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4 minutes ago, Swithin StCleeve said:

Cool, I'd hoped it would. Thanks for the response.

How many photos would you take of Jupiter, before you stacked them? I'm wondering if there's an ideal number, or is it a case of the more the better?
 

Actually, given Jupiter's fast rotation, I suppose there's a time limit on taking the shots.

With Jupiter's rotation, you want to limit the stack to an absolute maximum of 3 minutes, preferably less.

A small field of view and rapid capture is what you'e aiming for.  I've stacked 3000 frames or more with Jupiter, but using a ZWO ASI120mc camera.  

John

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More frames equals less noise when you do the stacking.  

John

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Hi and welcome to the slippery slope of astrophotography! :happy8:

It's a good idea to keep your target in the fov for as long as possible but some movement (dithering) is good so that hot/cold pixels etc are smoothed out. Autostakkert! is a good programme for beginners and there a lots of good tutorials on YouTube. You can also run you captures through PIPP first which will align and grade your captures from best to worst. You can also crop to a little larger than your ROI to give your stacking programme a fighting chance of stacking all your images.

At this point I have to say that most people take planetary images with video. The moments of clear seeing in the UK are rare and a fast frame rate camera has more chance of capturing those fleeting moments of clarity. Typically people capture a couple of thousand images and then discard all but the best 5%-10%, so you are going to struggle with taking single frames. Some people have had good results with the video option on dslr cameras but generally they are not recommended for planetary imaging.

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Ha! I was waiting for the first "wrong equipment" comment. The trouble is, I've been trying to get advice on the right equipment for the last two years, and I've ended up doing [removed word]-all photography. I ended up just phoning Wex and saying "sell me a decent DSLR", (It's a bit like the guy who spends two years researching telescopes, when he'd have seen more if he'd have bought a second hand 4.5 inch Tasco starter).

I've read that video is the best option, and I'll look forward to trying it. I bet a new DSLR will have pretty good high definition video. I'm pleased to read that the software will compensate for the 'drift'. Is that the same with deep sky objects too? For example, the ring nebula. I saw it pretty nice last week.


 

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DSO the way to componsate drift is a tracking mount. Drift doesn't matter for planets/Moon as you use video frames whcih are like 20 fps but DSO need seconds/minutes per single image.

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10 hours ago, Swithin StCleeve said:

Friday night I bit the bullet and ordered an SLR from those nice people at Wex photography, (I bought my current scope of them at the astronomy show in Coventry a couple of years ago). I'm really excited about this, it'll be my first digital SLR.


AL2.jpg

This is the camera, a canon 750D. And here's my scope, an 8" Skywatcher on an equatorial mount. I do my astronomy from an old caravan I take out to the darker skies of Shropshire. I'm praying we'll have some clear skies at the end of the week, as I hope to be off to my field again.

AL1.jpg

Before I start asking questions, I'll tell you a little about my experience. I've enjoyed astronomy for over twenty years, but never tried astrophotography before. My main scope for the past twenty years was a 10" Dobsonian (which I'm now renovating). When the new camera arrives, possibly Tuesday, this will be the first time I've attached a camera to a telescope. So, I'm like an old-timer to the hobby, but a complete newbie to SLR/telescope imaging.
I've got the relevant T-mount and adapter arriving too, so I'm hoping I'll be ready to go by the end of the week, clear skies permitting. I'm even meeting up with a friend with a laser collimator tomorrow night at our local astronomy club meeting, (Wolverhampton), so I'll be sure my telescope is in good working order.
I'll start off with the moon, and I don't really need advice on that, I've already got some good shots just using eyepiece projection with my Fuji 'point and shoot' The advice I need, is when it comes to planets.
Jupiter is highest and biggest, so I'll probably start with that. Now I've read loads of different ways of taking planetary photos on here, so my first question would be, how should I approach taking photos of Jupiter?
The best way, from what I've read on here, is to take a series of shots, and stack them using free software. So my first two questions are...
1) Which program would you advise for someone who hasn't done any stacking before?
2) I haven't yet used the equatorial mount to follow the stars, so my images of Jupiter will be in slightly different places as the planet moves across the field of view. Will the stacking program compensate for this, or do I have to track the planet?

I'd really appreciate any advice folks, cheers.
 

Just a question: do you use only one counterweight piece? I Have the same equipment and I use 2, 5 Kg each, even for visual. May be it is just that you took the picture when you did not yet put everything in place, but for what is worth, I guess it would be very difficult to achieve balance without 2 counterweights, specially with camera and everything. Good luck!

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1 hour ago, Cinco Sauces said:

Just a question: do you use only one counterweight piece? I Have the same equipment and I use 2, 5 Kg each, even for visual. May be it is just that you took the picture when you did not yet put everything in place, but for what is worth, I guess it would be very difficult to achieve balance without 2 counterweights, specially with camera and everything. Good luck!

 

That photo was taken from my last observing session, and I did only use one counterweight. That's simply because I'd left the other at home. I also noticed a 'judder' when I moved the scope in a certain direction, which I assumed was because I only had one counterweight. I didn't realise the counterweight was so important, to be honest.
The truth is, I'm so used to a dobsonian mount I'm finding the equatorial a bit of a faff to set up. The dobsonian was good to go in seconds.

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Hi. I'd suggest you go in baby steps! Get used to the DSLR first. Why not try piggy back or ditect on your mount? Go for easy objects and use camera lenses to start. 

Always take in RAW ! learn to focus and get feel for how long an exp you can do before you notice trailing.

Then try fixing to scope , and again go for big east targets..cluster?. Ring neb is v small. 

I'd avoid Jup and planets for now as diff techniques is needed.

a bahtinov mask will be very useful.

P

 

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I think I'll be okay with the camera's functions. I used to have my own darkroom and an SLR back in the days of wet photography (an Olympus OM1 - lovely camera!), and I did a night course and got an A level (my only A level!). I've just never attached one to a telescope.
But you're right, I don't want to run before I walk. The Moon will be the best to start with. I thought of Jupiter next because I won't need to guide the telescope. I haven't set it up equatorially yet. I haven't even got a motor.

Edited by Swithin StCleeve

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If you still have your old lenses you may find a mount adaptor so you can use them on your EOS.

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If this is all very new to you there is a good website with videos to follow. Www.budgetastro.net which gives an intro to imaging.

At some point you'll touch on photo editing and what you might use there but you can raise that if you want to.

Edit: though suggested website covers DSS for stacking but you'll be doing video first so perhaps not overly relevant right now.

Edited by happy-kat
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As suggested above, use DSS for stacking and calibration.

But while youre there, dont forget to install EOS utilities (for control over USB) and Digital photo professional (for sorting and previewing your images) - both are found on the disc that comes with the camera.

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11 hours ago, Swithin StCleeve said:

 

That photo was taken from my last observing session, and I did only use one counterweight. That's simply because I'd left the other at home. I also noticed a 'judder' when I moved the scope in a certain direction, which I assumed was because I only had one counterweight. I didn't realise the counterweight was so important, to be honest.
The truth is, I'm so used to a dobsonian mount I'm finding the equatorial a bit of a faff to set up. The dobsonian was good to go in seconds.

Do not worry, an equatorial mount is just as natural and follows the kinematics of the sky. With practice it will come second nature. Good luck!

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12 hours ago, Cinco Sauces said:

Do not worry, an equatorial mount is just as natural and follows the kinematics of the sky. With practice it will come second nature. Good luck!

 

I'm quite confident I'll get the equatorial sorted. I took the whole scope to the astronomy club last night and a kind fellow did a laser collimation on the mirrors, and another ran me through the equatorial set-up. Astronomy clubs are great for people wanting to help, they just love talking about and messing with telescopes!

20160613_204932.jpg

The camera's just arrived, am off to pick it up. Yayyy!

Edited by Swithin StCleeve
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On 13 June 2016 at 09:15, Physicist13 said:

Hi. I'd suggest you go in baby steps! Get used to the DSLR first. Why not try piggy back or ditect on your mount? Go for easy objects and use camera lenses to start. 

Always take in RAW ! learn to focus and get feel for how long an exp you can do before you notice trailing.

Then try fixing to scope , and again go for big east targets..cluster?. Ring neb is v small. 

I'd avoid Jup and planets for now as diff techniques is needed.

a bahtinov mask will be very useful.

P

 

I agree with the Bahtinov mask comment - once you get used to using that it make the focussing part of the set up a doddle. I usually use the mask on my final alignment star before I hunt for my fainter target. The alignment stars are generally pretty bright and that means I can get a decent image showing me the Bahtinov patterns with 1 or 2 second exposures at ISO 1600 or 3200. Once I've done that, it's swing round to my target time, don't forget to take the mask off and you are ready to begin imaging. Before I did this, I used to spend ages trying to get good focus. Now it takes 1 to 2 mins.

Good Luck with imaging.

Richard

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Hi

I have little experience of planetary imaging myself but whenever I've taken snaps of Jupiter it's just been a small dot... So I suspect you'll need a decent Barlow if you hope to capture any detail. You might like to enter your scope/camera details into a fov calculator eg 12DString to gauge the size of things. Weather's not looking good for the foreseeable future :(

Louise

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steer away from planetary with DSLR  (at least for now) ..its poss but much better and easier with "webcam" . High frame rate is required..over 100fps really...

yes, high f ratio needed too.

Moon is fine as single exp will do...although it does benifit from fast multi exp too.

P

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I would look at backyard eos disigned for astrophotography for canon camera gives better control than canon utility ,i have the 700d giving great results with my cgem 925 hd .Would also consider star tools software for processing planets,deepsky would look at using video function for planets have had alot of luck doing this way .learn getting precise polar alignment that will make or break your image session .welcome to astrophotgraphy

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On 6/14/2016 at 09:26, Swithin StCleeve said:

 

I'm quite confident I'll get the equatorial sorted. I took the whole scope to the astronomy club last night and a kind fellow did a laser collimation on the mirrors, and another ran me through the equatorial set-up. Astronomy clubs are great for people wanting to help, they just love talking about and messing with telescopes!

20160613_204932.jpg

The camera's just arrived, am off to pick it up. Yayyy!

yep!! def interact and learn :) 

You WILL need to get motor for mount next! you have to track I'm afraid. bby steps though! Personally I'd keep off and software for now..just get used to doing single exp..focusing and tracking....

Most of all have FUN!!!

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oh a light pollution filter will mk big differance unless you are in a partic dark sky area. Clip in ones for Canon are good.

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