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help me with a shopping list please


darren west
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id really like to do some imaging and have started getting some bits together but need help 

so this is what i have or have ordered

a heq5 pro mount 

a 150 pds scope 

a cannon 550d

a 80ah leisure battery 

i have a laptop but its a MacBook pro 

i have no software installed for imaging , so my questions are 

what do i need to add to be able to use this camera?

what leads do i need for the mount .or will it have everything ?

any any other tips would be great please

thanks

 

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First thing that comes to mind is some stacking software. I'm not sure what the best free options are for Mac, but Keith's Image Stacker might be a place to start. PixInsight is available as a paid option. You could also install Windows via Virtual Box and use something like Deep Sky Stacker or IRIS. If you ever decide to start autoguiding then PHD2 runs natively on Mac.

The mount should have the leads you need (you may need to rig up a connection to you leisure battery - just make sure you get the polarity right).

You may want to consider a coma corrcetor at some point.

But so far as I can see you should have all you need to get started. So best of luck!

Billy.

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52 minutes ago, billyharris72 said:

First thing that comes to mind is some stacking software. I'm not sure what the best free options are for Mac, but Keith's Image Stacker might be a place to start. PixInsight is available as a paid option. You could also install Windows via Virtual Box and use something like Deep Sky Stacker or IRIS. If you ever decide to start autoguiding then PHD2 runs natively on Mac.

The mount should have the leads you need (you may need to rig up a connection to you leisure battery - just make sure you get the polarity right).

You may want to consider a coma corrcetor at some point.

But so far as I can see you should have all you need to get started. So best of luck!

Billy.

will the mount not automatically track or do i need the software listed above 

i don't have a copy of windows unfortunately 

do i need a power lead for the camera or will a battery handle surface ?

thanks for all your help 

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To collect the images you will need an Intervalometer or Remote Timer - same thing different names it seems. These plug in to the DSLR and cycle round taking the exposures.

Not 100% sure but set the DSLR exposure time the same as the Intervalometer exposure time. I suspect the intervalometer just in effect "pushes" the button and that the duration set on the DSLR is actually implimented. Just safer.

So you set a Delay time of 10 seconds, then the Exposure tme, then the a Wait time. Finally the number of Exposures (say 20). You need a wait time for cooling and to be sure the camera has finished one exposure and written to memory before the next is instigated. So do not think a 0 second Wait is OK.

So there is a 10 delay before it gets going - time to put it on the mount somewhere. Then the Exposure. The a Wait time (I use about 2/3 of the Exposure). Then it cycles round 20 times doing Exposure and Wait. You mean time have a set of binoculars to look around the sky with - it gets boring waiting.

Does DSS not work on a Mac ? (I have no idea)

If RAW files get a few memory cards and keep each exposure run on seperate cards.

Maybe get a spare battery for the DSLR.

Edited by ronin
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The battery that came with the camera will likely only last half an evening, so it is always good to have a spare.  Or you invest in a "cabled battery".  

You will basically need 3 types of software:

1. Capture software if using a computer.  (You can capture to the card as well if it is big enough).

2. Stacking software.

3. Post-processing software.

Yes the mount will track after you have done an alignment procedure.

When doing long exposure for DS objects you will also need to "guide".   This a a method of "tweaking" the tracking to make sure you get nice round stars.  It involves having a 2nd cheap scope (you can probably use the 150PDS finder for this), and a guide camera on the back of it (you'll need a finderguider adapter if using the Scope finderscope).  This also needs software to work (most people use PHD), and will make small adjustments to the tracking.

When first starting it is not essential to guide while you are finding your feet, but you will be limited to the length of exposures you can do before you get elongated stars and much of this depends on how good the polar alignment is.  I always advise learners to get used to the mount, and the camera to start with before adding guiding.  

1. Capture Software:

I am not sure what is available for a Mac, but Canon Utility that comes with the Camera, APT (Astrophotography Tool), BYEOS (Backyard EOS) are all good, so might be worth finding out if they will work for Mac.

2. Stacking software.  Most people start with the FREE DSS (Deep Sky Stacker), but there are lost to choose from.

3. Post-processing software:  Photoshop, Pixinsight are the two main ones, but there are others out there I have no experience of but might be limited in what they can do.

HTH

Carole 

 

PS: Just seen Ronin's post.  Yes you can use an intervalometer, but I found them too small and fiddly.

Capture in RAW (you can use RAW + Jpeg if you want to see what you are doing).  

 

 

Edited by carastro
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24 minutes ago, darren west said:

I've seen cabled batteries but they req 240v 

 

No they don't technically. They prefer, or advertise, that it'll need 240v to power a transformer to give around 8 volts to the dummy battery. If you use a "buck converter" (about £3 on ebay) and set the output to around 8v, you use 12v from your leisure battery to power the buck, and the output will be able to safely power the battery. I've just built a power distribution box with 2 of these bucks in them, where one will power my Canon. Check my post in DIY Astromomer forum. Here you go: 

And this is how it all started:

Hope this helps.

Daz

Edited by Daz69
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Consider a copy of backyard EOS to grab images to your PC.

In the UK I strongly suggest that you have a think about a dew shield and dew prevention in general.

You will want Deep Sky Stacker for stacking (its free).

You will want something to process the pictures. I use an old copy of Photoshop CS2 which is working fine for me along with a licence the astronomy tools plugin and one for gradient exterminator. But in general something that can work with 16-bit tiff files. I will eventually end up getting a copy of pixinsight though.

Have a think about CDC as opposed to the handset and a serial cable so that you can control from a PC. Also a USB extension and powered hub might be called for if you want to keep the pc inside.

A CLS clip filter is probably a good idea for any location in Essex.

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The modern version is a monthly subscription....I am not a fan of that if I am honest so wont be getting it along with office 365. You might be able to pick up a copy of CS5 second hand. I think they were letting people download CS2 for free at some point in the past.

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I'd plan to autoguide sooner rather than later. I'd also read Making Every Photon Count by Steve Richards sooner rather than later! (Available from FLO.)

You only need a very basic PC. Our most sophisticated rig runs in a little (and pink!) XP machine that was bottom of the range ten years ago. Honestly you are making things hard for yourself in AP if you insist on a Mac. 

Olly

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Yep agree with Olly regarding Mac.  I am a Mac user but most good AP software seems to run natively on Windows, so I only use my Mac to connect via remote desktop to my hub PC.  As noted you won't need a hugely powerful one, but one with a fair bit of hard disc or SSD space will be useful.

Leisure battery is plenty big enough, and there are some Cannon battery emulators available which just run on 12v and have a built in DC-DC convertor, so worth a little search as your one won't last very long at all.

Good luck with it all, and make sure you do read Steve Richards' book before jumping in too much, it is very informative and could save some costly "wish I knew that before" moments.

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On 27/02/2017 at 15:58, billyharris72 said:

First thing that comes to mind is some stacking software. I'm not sure what the best free options are for Mac, but Keith's Image Stacker might be a place to start. PixInsight is available as a paid option. You could also install Windows via Virtual Box and use something like Deep Sky Stacker or IRIS. If you ever decide to start autoguiding then PHD2 runs natively on Mac.

The mount should have the leads you need (you may need to rig up a connection to you leisure battery - just make sure you get the polarity right).

You may want to consider a coma corrcetor at some point.

But so far as I can see you should have all you need to get started. So best of luck!

Billy.

I used Nebulosity on the MBA for stacking and capture - it connects directly to the Canon.

 Now I dual boot my  MBA with an old Window 7 license as there is a lot more support for Astroimaging software. and drovers usingng aSCOM

There is a similar project - INDI - but the driver support is not as comprehensive.

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On 27/02/2017 at 18:35, darren west said:

I've seen cabled batteries but they req 240v 

if i have to get another laptop how decent does it need to be /what kind of spec needed ?

thanks

 

Astronomizer do (did) a 12v inout adapted for Canon 600/700, they may do one for the 500?

Another capture option is SofortBild

Edited by iapa
Sofortbild is Nikon only.
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Just found something else - I've yet to fully try yet.

Cloudmakers do number of apps for MAC which are develop around the INDI project.

The suite consists of

  • planetarium
  • capture 
  • plate solver,
  • guiding
  • 'scope control

That is the summer project - get it all tried out.

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10 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

I'd plan to autoguide sooner rather than later. I'd also read Making Every Photon Count by Steve Richards sooner rather than later! (Available from FLO.)

You only need a very basic PC. Our most sophisticated rig runs in a little (and pink!) XP machine that was bottom of the range ten years ago. Honestly you are making things hard for yourself in AP if you insist on a Mac. 

Olly

i purshased a copy of this book directly from steve on here , he also kindly signed it to my daughter 

i have a tough book xp machine that i can use if i buy a new battery for 

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21 minutes ago, iapa said:

I used Nebulosity on the MBA for stacking and capture - it connects directly to the Canon.

 Now I dual boot my  MBA with an old Window 7 license as there is a lot more support for Astroimaging software. and drovers usingng aSCOM

There is a similar project - INDI - but the driver support is not as comprehensive.

can you tell me how id also install windows and dual boot please 

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12 hours ago, darren west said:

can you tell me how id also install windows and dual boot please 

You can find detail on Apple's web site: How to install Windows using Boot Camp - Apple Support

You will need to ensure you have picked the correct hardware/OS version of the Mac though as the version of the download is different, as are the instructions.

It is straight forward if you do it step by step and RTFM before you start!!!!

I will add, always do a full backup first :)

 

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