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2STAR

Alignment using Infinity and Laptop

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Hi, has anyone connected their infinity video  camera  directly to the scope and done the initial star alignment ( auto 2 star or whatever) on the screen of their laptop, is it a method worth trying. I am

using both Celestron 6.3 FR and also Meade 3.3 FR with my set up when the infinity is attached, at the moment I am doing my alignment with the eyepiece, when done, removing the eyepiece, star diagonal etc and then attaching the FR directly to the ota , spacers, and then infinity, focus with Bhatinov mask and then slewing to the object.  

Thank you

Eric

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Hi Eric,

Of course you can do this and it makes a lot of sense.

You just enable the cross hair display in the Infinity software, begin slewing towards the calibration alignment star using a finder-scope/Telrad/RDF etc until the star is centred as close as possible then look at the laptop screen and fine adjust until the star sits on the cross-hair intersection.

The difficulty sometimes is that the laptop screen shows many more stars than you might see visually through an eyepiece but with a smaller field of view and it is difficult to both initially find and then say which is the real alignment star from all the others on screen but if you roughly align with an external guide device of some kind first then the alignment star will be pretty close to the cross-hair intersection once you swap to the laptop screen.

Using this method saves ages in setup time, I do this with my conventional CCD cameras when working away from my observatory, set the camera to 8x8 binning, focus then run in continuous download mode with cross-hairs enabled, align roughly with a RDF then look at the CCD image to finalise alignment....saves around twenty minutes each time you setup from scratch.

William.

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Yes. i do this with the Lodestar which has a smaller field of view. I do the whole thing from indoors, firstly using the finder+webcam+sharpcap to do a rough align and get the star into the FOV of the Lodestar, then do accurate align using the cross hairs in the Starlight Live software. Works well.

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Hi Eric,

It's the best way to align.  I do it with the Ultrastar and Starlight Live every time with our C11 with Hyperstar and even at F5.  You need to make sure that you have a finder well aligned with your main scope.  You can do that in daylight on a distant object.  I even use the red dot finder with my Evo 6.  Once you have the camera in just turn on the crosshairs as William suggested and set your exposure to a second or less. You can keep the star out of focus and get a black dot from the secondary that will help you Center it.  It may not show up at first, but if you use the finder on a bright star, it should come into view.  I just use the auto two star align and the go to accuracy is amazing.  When centering the star, it helps to reduce the slew speed to about 4 or 5, otherwise it could zip out of view.

Once you're aligned, focus the scope with your Bahtinov mask, and you're good to go.

Don

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You don't say what mount you are using but I haven't done 2/3 star alignment for 2 yrs ,dont even connect the handset anymore - I now use just ASCOM/EQMOD/ Platesolving/CDC - no changing kit and i can usually get to my centre of FOV to within 20 pixels of the object within 40 secs. Yes lazy but well worth it!!

I am assuming you have an EQ mount and that the Infinity can produce single frame pictures in FITS,JPG or any of the supported formats - if not ignore me and I will climb back under my rock.:hiding:

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On 4/13/2017 at 23:28, Oddsocks said:

Hi Eric,

Of course you can do this and it makes a lot of sense.

You just enable the cross hair display in the Infinity software, begin slewing towards the calibration alignment star using a finder-scope/Telrad/RDF etc until the star is centred as close as possible then look at the laptop screen and fine adjust until the star sits on the cross-hair intersection.

The difficulty sometimes is that the laptop screen shows many more stars than you might see visually through an eyepiece but with a smaller field of view and it is difficult to both initially find and then say which is the real alignment star from all the others on screen but if you roughly align with an external guide device of some kind first then the alignment star will be pretty close to the cross-hair intersection once you swap to the laptop screen.

Using this method saves ages in setup time, I do this with my conventional CCD cameras when working away from my observatory, set the camera to 8x8 binning, focus then run in continuous download mode with cross-hairs enabled, align roughly with a RDF then look at the CCD image to finalise alignment....saves around twenty minutes each time you setup from scratch.

William.

Thanks William, I will give that method a go next time I am out

erc

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On 4/14/2017 at 11:17, stash_old said:

You don't say what mount you are using but I haven't done 2/3 star alignment for 2 yrs ,dont even connect the handset anymore - I now use just ASCOM/EQMOD/ Platesolving/CDC - no changing kit and i can usually get to my centre of FOV to within 20 pixels of the object within 40 secs. Yes lazy but well worth it!!

I am assuming you have an EQ mount and that the Infinity can produce single frame pictures in FITS,JPG or any of the supported formats - if not ignore me and I will climb back under my rock.:hiding:

High, the mount is Alt/Az, the infinity does produce Fit image

thanks

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On 4/14/2017 at 03:01, HiloDon said:

Hi Eric,

It's the best way to align.  I do it with the Ultrastar and Starlight Live every time with our C11 with Hyperstar and even at F5.  You need to make sure that you have a finder well aligned with your main scope.  You can do that in daylight on a distant object.  I even use the red dot finder with my Evo 6.  Once you have the camera in just turn on the crosshairs as William suggested and set your exposure to a second or less. You can keep the star out of focus and get a black dot from the secondary that will help you Center it.  It may not show up at first, but if you use the finder on a bright star, it should come into view.  I just use the auto two star align and the go to accuracy is amazing.  When centering the star, it helps to reduce the slew speed to about 4 or 5, otherwise it could zip out of view.

Once you're aligned, focus the scope with your Bahtinov mask, and you're good to go.

Don

Thanks Don, my line of thought exactly, I have a Telrad well aligned with my main scope and was a thinking of trying this method for more accuracy in finding my object, I also have a bhatinov mask I use, is the fact that I have  3.3 FR attached going to make it more difficlut  , although I will be using 2 star auto with bright stars selected.

Thanks

Eric

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Last night was very poor seeing conditions, but i could just see Arcturus and Capella so had a go at the alignment, removed visual back, fit meade 3.3 FR, fit short connector to get required spacing , fit camera, slewed and found Arcturus in finder scope, showed on screen, set crosshair, centered,  aligned and repeated procedure on Capella, then used bhatinov mask on Capella, got focus, slewed to the only object visible due to conditions and cloud rolling in which was Jupiter, bang in the middle.

I will now stick with alignment procedure when out at a dark site, I appreciate it may not be quite as easy due to many stars probably showing on screen, so may use the 3 bright star align  that way I can center the brightest star on screen without guessing which actual star it is haha

Thank you for your advice and help William and Don , very much appreciated .

eric 

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