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Hi - I'm a new member of this great forum and a complete beginner. I would be grateful for ideas or suggestions if you have time please.
Last night at around 2230hrs i was laying on my back garden in the moist grass gazing up at the night sky. Clear skies North and South but cloudy in the East, Patchy West. No telescope, just my mug of tea and a blanket. I have always known where North is since a young lad. Find the Plough, top and last star of the saucepan and follow in a straight line for 6 thumbs and there is the North star. Great. Then, as i looked at it with my new eyes as a new budding novice, it suddenly dawned on me.
Like most of us on this planet we all look at our night sky, think how beautiful it is, be humbled, thankful, in awe, spiritual, emotional and so on, then go about our business. But not now! Now I am looking up with deranged eyes and mind, thinking i have not a clue about any of this wonderous sight before me. I have no names, no vocabulary, no maps, no idea of where to start and no plan at all. So far i have been looking at equipment needed to get started, which in itself was overwhelming, but made a choice and picked out my telescope. And indeed some members here, have kindly said i made a decent choice to start with.......
As it got gradually darker (and colder) the stars got brighter. So i picked out a line from the middle of the Plough and followed if by about 13 thumbs (sorry for the boyhood terms) and found a big bright star and below that, by half a thumb, a collection of faint stars which i could see better by averting my gaze. It dawned on me again. I cant be doing this all night without any clue of technical knowledge. Bewildered, I stood up and looked toward the South West and saw what i know to be Jupiter and i think Saturn (fainter). This again brought it home just how little i know and just how much learning is needed just to get going.
I went inside and on my PC ( i dont have an i -phone or android tablet ) and found Stellarium. Looked at the online sample, stuck in my location and upcame a northerly view of what i had been looking at. I found the names to my delight and ran outside to try and match up what i had seen. But it took at least 10 minutes before my eyes got used to the dark again. Then identified said bright star as Arcturas and below that faint collection as Gaia. ( i think ) Cocker hoop, i ran back inside and looked again at the PC for more names. This went on for about an hour or so. I felt elated at finding the star called Dubhe which was my boyhood top of saucepan star and on to Polaris. Back to Ursa major across again to Arcturas and below that Gaia, carefully usig my thumb to get the right measure. I couldn't see capalla coz of cloud to the east.
Back inside I thought just how do other people do this.
Hence this message. I need to work out a plan, what are the right maps, is Stellarium good start or something similar. What hard copy maps and best beginners books? Is it a good idea to pick up a small bit of sky, and work outwards from that, then when comfortable, move on to other directions. Or do I pick out known objects, like the Moon and other near planets and go from there. Or do I do a bit of everything bit by bit.?
What is the best way of logging my progress? And many more questions..... Sorry for length of this topic matter, if I have made mistakes with names and if the questions asked are basic.
I would be grateful for your thoughts and advice - thanks a million.
Since a couple of months I'm a EQ6-R Pro user. So far I've been using the synscan handcontroller to do the star alignment. I would like the use software like stellarium, kstars or cartes du ciel thru the direct connection with mount, so no longer using the synscan handcontroller. I've tried but when I search an object and make the software slew to it, it's way off. I'm quite confident with my polar alignment as I'm using the QHYCCD PolarScope (and furthermore I've read on this forum that polar alignment and star alignment are not the same).
Can somebody please explain how to do star alignment with software like stellarium, kstars or cartes du ciel - I suppose there's is some general procedure that applies to software like the three I mention?
I am sure there are loads of these polls but there seems so many available now I was wondering what, and why, people are using them.
Poll is set to close end of August so it doesn't go on running forever.
Thanks for participating
So on Tuesday night I spent the evening imaging the moon with my Celestron 9.25 SCT and DSLR as shown below and am happy with the images I collated (I only took images as I did intend to take capture video but I got carried away and time was getting on).
I have approx 350 jpeg (and the equivalent in raw) images and have used the Microsoft image composite editor to stitch the frames together without editing them first etc but I wonder if I'm going the images an injustice?
I'm not ready to pay for editing software as I know there is a lot of very good free downloads out there and I'm asking for recommendations. Should I be processing the frames before/after stitching and what software would you recommend? Please offer any advice you have.
I will post the resulting image once I'm happy with the outcome 😁
Thanks in advance,
I am a proud member of a team working on a multi-platform live stacking solution : ALS (Astro Live Stacker => https://als-app.org)
It runs fine on PC (GNU/Linux and Windows 7 to 10), OSX and RaspBerry.
Current stable version is very basic : Polling a folder to detect new images (any FITS or DSLR RAW) then align + stack (Mean or Sum) + autostrech + levels + RGB balance.
ALS also has a built-in webserver so your pals at the astroclub can see the results, provided everyone is on the same network.
We are working hard on new features like Dark subtraction + Hot pixel removal and are providing nightly builds for you guys to try it out. Check out https://als-app.org/nightlies/
Handling image capture directly inside ALS using INDI protocol is on our roadmap too. check out our Github repo to know more about it
If you could give it a try and help us make ALS a fun & easy way to see and share all those wonders above our heads, that would be much appreciated !
Clear skies to all !