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All the best Eric, hope you have a swift recovery. I've also spent a week in Pinderfields recently, but felt well enough to make the excellent talk from Dr Walsh, even though I'm still on painkillers and unknown to medical science at the moment! CT scan is soon, which may also reveal nothing like all the other tests I've had :(

In other, brighter, news - quite happy with what turned up today :)

 

StarAdventurer.jpg

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Very nice Matt I’ve got the red one

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18 hours ago, MattGoo said:

In other, brighter, news - quite happy with what turned up today :)

And lo, 6 days of punishment were allocated thusly...

 

Untitled.jpeg

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Indeed. Sorry about that! The forecast isn't good, fingers crossed we get a decent night before Friday at least.

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@MattGoo very nice. I love my Star Adventurer and take it with me when I go on holiday. Are you just going to use it with the DSLR or will the Evostar 80ED go on it? I've not tried mine with the Equinox 80, but on paper it should come in under the weight limit but may be pushing it, and would definitely need an additional counterweight. I also keep looking at getting an adapter to use either the QHY5L-II colour or Atik CCD with the canon lenses but it's something I've not really got sorted out yet. Trying to meet up with Kieran at some point to test out his Geoptic adaptor, which I'll buy from him if it works well on this set up for an ultra portable widefield set up for holidays etc. So many things to try and not enough clear nights to try them on. I'm also hoping to pop and see @Marci tomorrow night to get this 'ere guiding sorted before the next clear night :)

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On 2/16/2018 at 23:03, MattGoo said:

All the best Eric, hope you have a swift recovery. I've also spent a week in Pinderfields recently, but felt well enough to make the excellent talk from Dr Walsh, even though I'm still on painkillers and unknown to medical science at the moment! CT scan is soon, which may also reveal nothing like all the other tests I've had :(

In other, brighter, news - quite happy with what turned up today :)

 

StarAdventurer.jpg

I had a severe infection that caused high temperature and associated issues, my wife has had the same, I am feeling ok now thanks, hope you get sorted also.

eric

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Before I stick it in the for sale ads, does anybody fancy a nice 12" skywatcher dob?

Thinking it's time to sell up the big scope and just keep my 130.

So specs are:

12" flex tube tracking dob with Hilux coatings to primary and secondary

32mm 2" 72deg SW EP

24mm 2" 80deg explore scientific EP (amazing EP)

2" x1.6 Antares aspheric Barlow

Cables to power it from a 12v battery

Looking for offers

 

Nick

 

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Hi, A number of firsts here..

First time I used the new Synscan V4 GOTO controller to locate and track an astrophotograpy target - m35, first time I've imaged this too - and first time I have used RAW files. I also used my light pollution filter, which I havent used before in imaging. I'm quite pleased with the results considering I could hardly make out M35 in my viewfinder!

17x 8 sec lights, 4x darks, I did take some flats but didnt use them in this image, I converted the files using canon software, stacked in DSS, and then stretched using the canon software. I played around with the hue/saturation settings a bit in GIMP to make the stars more orange than yellow as they were appearing after processing. I realise this isnt as good as what usually gets posted on here by others, but I'm pushing the limits of a lightweight Alt-az mount and long focal length scope, and using freeware whre possible. I've been playing around with a number of different things for the last week or so, this seems to be the best result so far. Any suggestions to improve my technique would be welcome :-) 

PS get well soon Eric!

M35_13022018.thumb.JPG.05af0e75002d568289ddd3f2ef38504d.JPG

Edited by Bengrant76
spelling correction
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Nice open cluster Ben and a great use of the kit you have.

It's a real shame the moon is at 75% as the skies looking really good for tonight. 

Edited by mapstar
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Nice image Ben. It’s to cloud over anyway Damian so the moons no problem 

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Indeed, it's just clouded over. I managed to an hour and a half or so testing some equipment out but nothing that's productive enough to process or share!

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Ooh, nice image Ben and a beautiful target both visually and for imaging. Think you have just about nailed it to be honest. Good exposure and nice round stars. You won't be able to go too much longer without introducing star trails. I've still not got round to doing flats, so nice work there Ben. Cracking effort.

I had a couple of hours lunar imaging with the 8SE on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon before the clouds came across. It's amazing to see how the lunar features change in just one day - I especially noted the crater Copernicus which was in almost complete darkness on Saturday, but was full of light yesterday afternoon with the central peaks clearly visible. I've posted a couple of my images below. Details on each image :)

Moon 1.png

Moon 2.png

Moon 3.png

Moon 4.png

Moon 5.png

Moon 6.png

Moon 1.png

Moon 2.png

Moon 3.png

Moon 4.png

Moon 5.png

Moon 6.png

The Moon 25.02.png

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Thanks for the kind words Vicky, nailed it on a first attempt, I will take that :-) . I've been doing alot of reading and I am coming to the conclusion I cant push the kit I have much further. I quite like the challenge of working with a small budget with a setup that is light and portable. I could make modifications to my mount to make it a bit more sturdy, but it seems the best thing I could do is go for a smaller faster scope, something like an ST-80? the Mak is really better suited to observing. I've certainly learnt alot trying to get the most out of it, and will keep on trying..

Nice moon Vicky, really sharp and good detail. I had a go at the Sinus Iridium area last night, but my images arent as good, although I did capture the Laplace prominence shadow (thanks for pointing that out)! The clavius area looked fantastic last night

Edited by Bengrant76
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@Bengrant76 if you went for a short tube faster scope it would give you wider field views, but the Mak will be good for many targets and DSO's. What focal length is the Mak as it'd be a cracking scope for lunar and planetary viewing and imaging, expecially if you bought an inexpensive planetary camera for running AVIs. However, I'd stick with the gear you've got for now and see what it can do before you throw any money at anything new.

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30 minutes ago, Vicky050373 said:

@Bengrant76 if you went for a short tube faster scope it would give you wider field views, but the Mak will be good for many targets and DSO's. What focal length is the Mak as it'd be a cracking scope for lunar and planetary viewing and imaging, expecially if you bought an inexpensive planetary camera for running AVIs. However, I'd stick with the gear you've got for now and see what it can do before you throw any money at anything new.

Hi Vicky

it focal length is 1500mm and it has an focal ratio of 11.81. from what I've read this means it will collect less light over the duration of a shorter exposure than a scope with a shorter focal length, so my thinking was faster scope = more signal for a short exposure. I agree though there should still be plenty of potential, there are lots of brighter DSOs and because it has good sharp contrast it should be well suited to planetay (when the planets eventually show themselves properly again!). i did get a good jupiter a while back just using my phone camera, so I should get decent results with a planetary camera.. any recommendations?

 

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6 minutes ago, Bengrant76 said:

Hi Vicky

it focal length is 1500mm and it has an focal ratio of 11.81. from what I've read this means it will collect less light over the duration of a shorter exposure than a scope with a shorter focal length, so my thinking was faster scope = more signal for a short exposure. I agree though there should still be plenty of potential, there are lots of brighter DSOs and because it has good sharp contrast it should be well suited to planetay (when the planets eventually show themselves properly again!). i did get a good jupiter a while back just using my phone camera, so I should get decent results with a planetary camera.. any recommendations?

 

Yes, you are right about the focal ratio meaning it is a "slower" scope. A lot depends on what you want to image. Remember, you are limited to shorter exposures on an Alt-AZ mount, and you will need to upgrade to an equatorial mount if you want to start doing longer exposures on fainter DSO's. Personally, I'd hang fire for now and see what you get with the Mak before you jump and buy a different scope, as that may then lead you to wanting to change your mount etc. etc. and so the snowball quickly grows...... For lunar imaging you only need a monochrome camera as there isn't much colour on the moon, plus it will give you better resolution. But, for planetary imaging you may choose a one shot colour camera, which give quicker results but you do lose some of the resolution. I have both the mono and colour QHY5L-II, but I do use the monochrome as my guide camera and I bought them whilst they were half price last year. If you are interested, I can lend you my DMK21 monochrome camera to test out. I don't often use it, but I do prefer the results it gives when I image the moon through the 8SE. You are welcome to borrow it for a month, although you may need to download up to date drivers from the Imaging Source website. Give it a go on the Moon and the planets (if you can see them from your location) and see what you think. It is a really small sensor of approx. 0.3mp with 640 X 480 pixels or something, but it's a cracking little camera. I would also recommend the QHY5L-II. Another one to look at is the Altair GPCAM2 which come highly recommended. I think Mark Jagger may have one. Like the QHY these can be used for both AVI lunar and planetary imaging, as well as longer exposure DSO imaging. Also, the bonus with the QHY or Altair is they have an ST4 port so they can be used as a guide camera if you ever go down the longer exposure route. However, remember you cannot image with the same camera you are guiding with. If you are coming Thursday night we can have a chat then. Marc Coyles will also be able to give advice on "shoestring" imaging as I know he's a whizz at putting kit together and getting results with relatively little expenditure. I wish I was more handy that way.

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Nice images Ben & Vicky - glad some people have had the chance to get out.

Finished the setup for my widefield Star Adventurer kit, which is able to be RA guided too. Also purchased a nice flight case from Maplins to keep everything safe.

Now where are those clear skies???

SA_Setup2.jpg

SA_Setup.jpg

SA_FlightCase.jpg

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Nice little set up mat. Iv had 5 minuet exposures out of mine unguided with no trailing. 

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Nice bit of kit there Matt!

@Vicky050373 Thanks for your offer of a borrow of your DMK21. I would certainly be interested in giving it a try. Unfourtunately planets arent easy from home as I have a north facing garden so the planets are usually the other side of the house! they need to be about 25 degrees for me to see them, so its not going to be easy for some time. I can try it on the moon, or it gives me an excuse to head out to winscar if the chance arises :-) with regards your advice i think you are dead right, there is no need for me to rush out and spend more money. I was just wondering out loud what my options were. there is so much choice, its a great time to be an astronomer!

Unfortunately I cant be there on Thursday. its Kelly's birthday so I will be in trouble if I dont keep her entertained that night!  Is Kielder happening? I've not seen any emails, but I was planning on going so maybe if it happens i can try it out then?

 

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Quote

Marc Coyles will also be able to give advice on "shoestring" imaging as I know he's a whizz at putting kit together and getting results with relatively little expenditure. I wish I was more handy that way.

Timber. Make a wedge, fixed around 53 deg. ZWO ASI034 can be found dirt cheap... circa £60 / 70. Lovely little guide / planetary cam... _slightly_ higher resolution than Vicky's DMK.

I use a celestron travelscope 70 for widefield... F7, 440mm FL. £25-45 on eBay, on a Celestron LCM mount (£50 s/hand) on vidcam tripod, with wedge made from Wilko's bamboo breadboards & gate hinges. Also takes DSLR/Lens & guidescope if I need wider. Managed 8min guided subs with this setup, with somewhere-that-way'll-do polar alignment (i.e.: face wedge north, teeny nudge anti-clockwise, meh... go!)

Your alt/az will be guidable thru the handset port (cos if the LCM is, then everything is), so home made wedge (or legit used one) is most economic step towards longer exposure as it gives you an EQ setup.

(at your current focal length the polar alignment'd need to be a bit  closer than guesswork tho)

Edited by Marci
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Hi as far as I know that kielder is going ahead just waiting for soupy to confirm via emails sorry I won’t be able to make it I have booked on a star party in the Peak District 

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ooh, i will get my saw out then! Stupid rookie question - where does the wedge go? on top or underneath the tripod? I'm assuming you put it between the mount arm and the tripod, otherwise it would need to be a mahoosive wedge?  

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Yup - between legs and motorised base. 

Go sturdy on choice of screws n' wood - your scope weighs more than mine... and offset the wedge on the tripod to keep scope's centre of grav / rotation above / near to the tripod apex.

Edited by Marci
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Managed to get out for a short while this evening with the aim to see if I'd managed to resurrect PHD. But, no such luck. I'd also done a poor job of setting up so couldn't even manage 60 second exposures without trailing. Some sessions just don't work out. Anyway, at least I tried.....

M81 & M82 in Ursa Major
Skywatcher Equinox 80 and Atik 314L monochrome CCD
30 x 60 second exposures

M81&M82.png

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