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Hey StarGazersLounge Forums,
I am an amateur in astrophotography and have so far taken photos of the Moon and some planets with my camera. However, I am looking for a major upgrade in order to take astrophotography to a professional level as I have long been passionate about astronomy. My overarching aim with astrophotography is to take high quality photos of many planets and continue my interest with the universe.
I would be very grateful if anyone could recommend the best set up regardless of the price at the moment as I will work from there. This includes a camera, mount and eyepiece for the Celestron 8se etc so I can get a good idea of what I need to get some amazing planetary shots. By the way, for the camera, I am considering the Sony a7r iii (good choice?) for astrophotography and nature photography as well. Any form of advice would be much appreciated.
I wan't to tell you about a relatively new open source imaging suite that I have been using for around 7-8 months now.
Night time imaging n' astronomy or in short NINA!
The new website is really quite informative, so check it out here: https://nighttime-imaging.eu/
As a software developer and IT professional I was blown away by this application these guys were creating, when I first stumbled upon it last year.
It is a really feature rich application as the very long feature list below will show, and it is absolutely free!
I was immediately drawn to the very simple but still quite information rich UI that was presented to me when I tried it the first time.
Isbeorn (the developer), Dark Archon (massive contributor) and Quickload (big contributor) have really created something impressive here, and it is constantly being improved upon.
It is quite normal to see these guys working on the next cool feature in the middle of the night
As it is a "hobby project" and Open Source, and these guys don't have every model of every camera available - sometimes there can be glitches with new equipment, but it is usually sorted out in quick fashion.
But this is where we "mere mortals" can help improve this amazing piece of software, by using it and providing feedback and logs (in case of errrors) via. Discord or the Issue tracker on bitbucket.
In return for this you get a very comprehensive piece of astro imaging software for absolutely nothing!
If anyone needs any help in settings this up, don't hesitate to write in this thread and I will try to help, or jump on Discord and join the "support" channel.
I recommend taking the latest beta version, pretty much always, as it has the latest fixes and is generally stable.
List of main features as grabbed from the webpage and personal experience (I surely missed some):
Equipment control ASCOM Cameras Mounts Filter wheels Focusers Rotators Native camera drivers for Atik ZWO QHYCCD Altair Astro cameras Canon Nikon Touptek Can run multiple camera's and supports syncronized dithering (early version, but tested in the field!) Image analysis Image statistics Auto stretch Full image star detection with HFR calculation (used for autofocus as well) Exposure time recommendation Sequencing Multitarget sequence lists (image multiple targets automatically) Automatic mosaic capture as defined in framing assistant Light, Bias, Dark, DarkFlat, Flat frames of various exposure lengths and gain/iso Automatic filter change Autofocus using full image HFR calculations over time number of exposures Temperature change Automatic centering and rotation of targets using platesolving Save as raw (dslr), fits, xisf, etc. Customizeable filename pattern Automatic meridian flip Can automatically flip and recenter target after flip has been completed Sky atlas Sky atlas with more than 10.000 objects. Filtering on type, magnitude, size, altitude and more Altitude chars showing showing altitude over time for your location Framing assistant Can pull data from various skyserveys, to make framing and planning easier You can see a preview of your fov based on camera and scope details Mosaic planning mode Shows your mosaic tilesin the framing wizard Set desired overlap percentage Offline skymap shows gridlines and all sky atlas DSO's, constellations and coordinates ("Cartes du Ciel'ish") Sleek and customizable UI Imaging tab can be customized to show all the information you could possibly want to see image (duh! ;)) Statistics HFR history PHD2 graph and statistics Mount information Camera information Filter wheel information Platesolve information Weather data and more.. Quick switch between light and dark scheme Customizable colorschemes Flats wizard Set a desired ADU and tolerance for flats Simple mode or multimode where flats are captured for each filter Set minimum and maximum exposure time Guide to help you get the desired flats Can automatically capture matching darkflats Other cool features PHD2 integration with Dithering Weather data from OpenWeatherMap API List of bright focus stars for use with Bahtinov mask, clik and slew to it Polar alignment tools Configuration profiles, so different setups can be used
A word about open source:
The project is open source, this means that all source code is readily available from bitbucket, and anyone is free to contribute code.
The developer is Isbeorn (Stefan) and as the repository manager he decides when and if a submission (pull request) is deemed good enough to enter a release..!
There are a couple of other main contributors who do a lot of work, and put in a lot of their free time to this project.
You are free to ask for features and request support and people are generally very helpful and quick to implement something if it is a good idea.
BUT as this is a hobby project for these people, don't expect the same of them as you would of a company from whom you buy a product, IT IS UNFAIR!
A word about Discord:
Discord is a free chat (text and voice) platform that anyone can create a server on. Discord as a whole is not run by the people behind N.I.N.A., only the NINA server, and as such is not moderated by the developers.
Guys, I have an order in for a Starizona Hyperstar for my 8” EdgeHD. What sub-1k camera would you pair with this kit? Also what is the learning curve involved, bear in mind I have no imaging experience? I have been looking at the Altair Astro Hypercam Pro TEC 183c, which seems to be getting some favourable comments. My intention is to use an INDI based platform, probably a StellarMate for image and focuser control.
Hey everyone! I’m after some pretty wide-field DSOs that can be captured with an unmodified DSLR without too much struggle (apart from the Orion Nebula.) I can push my exposures up to around 3 minutes with no major star trailing but that’s about as far as I can go. Also I’m in the Southern Hemisphere so don’t have the luxury of choosing between many relatively bright Messier objects. Your suggestions are much appreciated!
One and a half clear nights for me early in the year and I focused on M45. As a naked eye visible target, I think subconsciously I never gave M45 the concentration it deserves, thinking I could always catch it another time.
Anyway, despite lusting after the Horsehead, I kept my refractor pointed at the seven sisters in new moon skies and the result is below.
I actually found it pretty hard to process...the seven sisters themselves were pretty well behaved, but I couldn't decide what to do with the background. I know this is a dusty region so I did not want to put DBE samples everywhere. But at the end the background seems a bit smudgy after tweaking curves - I'm not sure whether to darken the background or leave it as is.
3.4 hours of LRGB integration. Full details on Astrobin.
Thanks for looking!