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Suggestions for first light with autoguider?


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Hi! 

I finally caved and bought myself an Orion Star Shoot Auto Guider. I felt that this is a purchase of major importance that will help me get the most out of my imaging setup. I've done this now because I feel like I've reached the point where my images won't get significantly better without guiding, so it seemed like a logical place to progress my skills. I am including several of my best finished images. I am still very much a nube, as you can see by these :). I was wondering: Do you have any suggestions for moving forward, now that I can really do things right with the auto guider??(I have only been able to get 30 second - one minute subframes with my mount so far! Not the mount's fault, just very annoying....) So yeah, please let me know any suggestions for improving my technique in the future, and especially any suggestions as to which object to do next with the auto guider!

These have all been taken with my 8" Orion Newtonian Astrograph, Orion Atlas Mount, and Nikon D3200. Processed using deep sky stacker Just want to emphasize that these were almost entirely comprised of hundreds of tedious 30 second subframes. No matter how good the polar alignment was on my scope, this is the longest reliable exposure time. Occasionally 90 seconds work out, but I figure that if I am going to do longer exposures, I should at least do them with a fair degree of certainty, hence the new auto guider.

Oh, and forgive the Andromeda picture, I did not dither it (mistake #1) and I was unable to crop out the lousy parts of the frame or make a mosaic, because I did devote enough time to Andromeda in my little desert expedition last week (mistake #2)

Thanks!

Andromeda 2hr 2mn 24s.jpg

Dumbell One Enhanced copy.jpg

Eagle Nebula Best 4hr 14mn 30s.jpg

Hercules and two galaxies.jpg

lagoonneb.jpg

Ring Nebula finally copy (1).jpg

Trif 5hr 1mn 30s.jpg

Veil 3hr 51mn 55s.jpg

Whirlpool 2hr 54mn 30s copy.jpg

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I would suggest keep it simple, first night guiding is often a bit of a nightmare and you spend most of the time setting the thing up then trying to figure out why it's not working.

Guiding can often be improved by working out which direction in Dec you are drifting then telling the guiding software to only correct that way.

Also weighting the mount so that the RA gears stay meshed.

These two things will counteract any backlash you have which wouldn't have been evident in unguided images as the mount only moves one way.

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Other than the above, I would suggest that you revisit some of the targets that you previously imaged without guiding. That way you can evaluate the effect of guiding. For example in your image of M27, you could try to capture the faint outer nebulosity. In the eagle nebula you captured the core quite nicely, but there is a lot of faint nebulosity hidden around this core. You could go for that.

 

Good luck.

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Eventually you should aim for the longest exposure time your setup and sky conditions allow. Keep the ISO down if stars start to get overexposed.

Since you are learning to guide, if you can double your previous exposure times but keep the same quality, you are definitely on the right track.

It's all about learning and experimenting.

Good luck.

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