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I’ve recently got some shiny new kit, and last night was the first clear skies here when I had the opportunity to try it all out. This is not my first time observing, so I’m well prepared for unexpected issues, but it is my first time ccd imaging. There was lots of learning, including; cable management needs to be better, I (still) never have the right USB cable, and the focus tube needs some mechanical refining to address slippage. But the problem I’m not sure how to solve is one of focus.
I bought the SW Trius 814 kit (Trius 814, mini usb filter wheel with OAG, and Lodestar X2) and naively thought that perhaps if it was sold together it would all work together. And maybe it does, I’m not immune to stupidity
I could achieve focus with the 814 relatively easily, and even captured a test image and solved it in Ekos, all very heart warming. But I couldn’t then get focus with the Lodestar X2 (attached to the integrated OAG in the mini wheel) without pulling the focus tube out considerably further (approx. 50-80mm I didn’t measure). This obviously isn’t ideal. Am I missing something?
The setup is:
ED80 -> Field flattener -> filterwheel with OAG -> Trius 814 with the Lodestar attaches directly to the OAG.
All advice appreciated, and please don’t imagine that I won’t have missed something ‘obvious’
Starlight Light V3.1 is now available to download:
From the change log:
- Added 3x3 binning for progressive cameras only. 3x3 binning is not available for interlaced cameras.
- Added display for camera firmware version to the camera properties display.
- Modified Lanczos resampling algorithm to dampen sampling artefacts around bright objects (black halo around stars).
- Fixed Bug: Camera stability issues under OSX - updates to the libUSB library have improved stability for OSX 10.11 'El Capitan'. The application will now not crash if the camera unexpectedly disconnects.
- Fixed Bug: Date and time was not being stored in the FITS file when exporting to FITS.
- Fixed Bug: Detection of non-writable directories on Windows platforms.
- Fixed Bug: Signalling of critical or fatal application errors from non-UI threads causes a crash.
As always have fun and clear skies!
I've published a video of my viewing session as broadcast on Video Astronomy Live on the 17th March 2016 speeded up by x16 so you get a whole evening in 12 minutes!
This shows what can be achieved despite living in a Red Zone (Bortle 6-7) with local light pollution too.
C8 on HEQ5 with F3.3 reducer
Sky Safari Plus V1.8
I hope Paul81 does not mind me staring this thread - I've been using Starlight/lodestar Live since it's first release and continue to be amazed at the levels of functionality that Paul manages to include in each new release.
I though it might be useful to have a single thread where we can discuss everything from minor improvements to major pieces of functionality.
Paul has already previewed his hot pixel removal and I for one am looking forward to this (given the number of hot pixels my Lodestar-C has!).
Some minor UI improvements as a starter:.
1. Include the Stacked/RAW and Linear/arcsinh/X^0.25 info on the saved PNG (perhaps these could all be optional via a Image Export screen) - I often forget which mode I've used when I come to post the images.
2. Include a Processed Image Save button available at all times - no need to confirm the file name/location, just press and it's saved to your preferred location as the file naming convention works fine.
3. Remember last settings for "Image Acquisition" and "Focus and Alignment" modes (Exposure and image processing) - I usually use the focus and alignment mode to centre the object at 5 or 10s exposure (or sometimes much less depending upon the brightness of the surrounding stars) before moving to Image Acquisition at my chosen exposure for the evening (matched to my Dark Frame). This allows me to leave the Export RAW FITS setting as no files are saved in the Focus and Alignment mode.
More involved functionality:
1. Add the possibility for user defined transfer functions to augment the arcsin and x^0.25 - this might be achieved by a CSV lookup table - 64K integers should be manageable but I'm no software engineer!
On the topic of transfer functions, I find the way the current arcsinh and x^0.25 work to be somewhat confusing and this might be down to how the other image controls are applied - you always seem to end up with the histogram pushed to the right. Perhaps if there was a separate level shift available which effectively moved the zero point before applying the transfer function we could keep the histogram in the middle or better still towards the left and then adjust Black/White levels and contrast after the transfer function has been applied. I get the impression that currently the brightness is applied after the transfer function but I could be wrong.
Once gain a big thank you to Paul81 for all the effort he puts into this magnificent piece of software.
Not posted for a while, but have managed to get out a few times this year with the C8 on the HEQ5 - I've been fiddling with the reducer spacing and think I've found a better distance - still not optimal and will have to experiment some more. (Working at F3.5 to F3.4 with the C8).
Here's my selected catch with my Lodestar-C, mostly 30s exposures however M42 was 15s, some stacked using median others using mean stacking with info on the picture.
Severe gradient in some images from general Bradford Sky Glow to the east of my location.
During the cloudy nights, I've been playing with Astrometry.net and now have a working system which can calculate the actual centre of the image and sync the scope to these coordinates - off line with no internet connection. I can set up using EQMAC with a single star alignment (usually adjusting mount by loosening the RA and DEC clutches to get the target star in the centre of my finder) the I can retire to the warmth of my study and complete the alignment indoors.
Using marks on my drive I can set up and be back in the warmth within 15 minutes, sometimes quicker - this is my idea of comfortable astronomy!