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M Astronomy

Imaging with a Star Adventurer

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2 minutes ago, kendg said:

I have both and find BYEOS is more useful for me (and it's Canadian) :icon_biggrin:.

As stated APT does DSLR and dedicated astro camera. Both are reasonably priced.

I have both too 

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10 hours ago, Anthonyexmouth said:

any opinions here on whether to buy APT or BackyardEOS? 

Perhaps best try both out and see which you get on best with in the field.

Well done with your first image btw.

As regards focusing with DSLR and lens I've found manually focusing using Live View on a bright star or far away street light is fine rather than messing with BYEOS. Just take time to get focus. With shorter FL lenses this is harder as the stars are smaller but quite doable. You would use a Bhatinov Mask with a telescope.

Good luck with future sessions.

Best regards,
Steve

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I shot this image of the Monkey Head and Jellyfish Nebula using a 200mm Canon lens. I pushed the exposures to 200 secs but ending up losing  more than I kept, with a total of 30mins. I did have a good PA but when moving the camera etc, rechecking it is a absolute must.

5.jpg

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Nice, if you weigh the tripod down with something it won't move so easily ...

In theory !

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3 minutes ago, knobby said:

Nice, if you weigh the tripod down with something it won't move so easily ...

In theory !

Thanks. Yeah, I use a Manfrotto tripod bag full of sand that I hang from the center column but I still end up bumping or knocking something out of alignment, goofy I guess. :icon_biggrin:

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Here's a quick 1 hour image I took last night after work with my canon 6d and Samyang 135mm.

60 second subs

6d orion 135mm 1hr.jpg

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10 minutes ago, geordie85 said:

Here's a quick 1 hour image I took last night after work with my canon 6d and Samyang 135mm.

60 second subs

6d orion 135mm 1hr.jpg

Oh wow, is that the Witch Head Nebula in the bottom right and was your camera modded ?

Edited by Randalloverby

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1 minute ago, Randalloverby said:

Oh wow, is that the Witch Head Nebula in the bottom right ?

Yeas it is. I was torn between getting this in the frame or M78. 

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1 minute ago, geordie85 said:

Yeas it is. I was torn between getting this in the frame or M78. 

Nice, I thought very seriously of trying for that target but ran out of time. Maybe on my next outing.

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18 minutes ago, Randalloverby said:

Nice, I thought very seriously of trying for that target but ran out of time. Maybe on my next outing.

It's been on my list for a while but never got round to it 

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10 hours ago, Randalloverby said:

Oh wow, is that the Witch Head Nebula in the bottom right and was your camera modded ?

No, my camera is not modded. Been thinking about it but to get my 6d modded it'll cost around £200. Not sure it'll be worth it since it has good HA response as it is.

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9 hours ago, Randalloverby said:

That gives me hope then cause mine isn't modded either. I am using the CLS clip filter so not sure how that will affect it.

This was taken from a "darker" site 10 miles out of town which will have helped 

Edited by geordie85
Typo
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Hi guys, 

This picture

IA5PXMz.jpg

was produced with a lens I have (150-600 Sigma)... but I'm wondering if it's a lens which can be used on the Star Adventurer? The lens weighs 1.93kg. (I'm not sure which mount the photo was taken on) 

 

edit - it was actually taken on the Star Adventurer. Wow. I didn't realise it would hold the weight and track so well. I'm not sure what the exposure was though.

Edited by smr
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Shouldn't be a problem, it's rated to carry 5k.

Bit of aberration on the brighter stars but you go round and fix them individually in P'Shop.

Dave

Edited by Davey-T
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Nice, it's not soemthing I'll delve into straight away but it's nice to know that the lens is capable for astrophotography.

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How do you guys know how long to exposure each sub for ? How do you choose between 30 second or 60 seconds or even longer subs for instance? 

I finally worked out where Polaris is from my south facing garden over the weekend. I couldn't see the Big Dipper but could see part of Ursa Minor or the saucepan constellation. But Cassiopeia was helpful in guiding me to where Polaris is. Luckily enough it's visible from where I can set my tripod up on the patio so all I need to do now is polar align (although I had a go and it seemed a bit tricky but then clouds rolled in and I couldn't anyway) and then point my camera and lens at the sky - I think the orion nebulae would be easiest to to photograph with how easy it is to see in the sky, for a first go... but once I'm set up how do I know what sub length to choose? I'd be using my Sigma 105mm 2.8 macro lens stopped down to f3.5 or so as I believe this helps lessen CA, and probably an ISO of around 800 - 1600. I wouldn't be using autoguiding.

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All down to trial and error, I can do 10 minutes with 24mm and 90 sec's with 300mm comfortably.

Also depends where you're aiming.

Use the highest ISO you can without introducing too much noise and check the histogram is around a third in from the left, it's all a trade off and depends on what your happy with regarding your images.

Dave

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10 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

All down to trial and error, I can do 10 minutes with 24mm and 90 sec's with 300mm comfortably.

Also depends where you're aiming.

Use the highest ISO you can without introducing too much noise and check the histogram is around a third in from the left, it's all a trade off and depends on what your happy with regarding your images.

Dave

Ok, I guess you take a single 60 second or 120 second exposure first and check for trailing, if no trailing at say 120 seconds then you're good to to take multiple exposures for an hour or so?

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1 hour ago, smr said:

How do you guys know how long to exposure each sub for ? How do you choose between 30 second or 60 seconds or even longer subs for instance? 

Hi smr and thanks for your post. I don't think there's a mystery over exposures, there are rules of thumb to help such as getting the signal off the left hand side of the histogram on your DSLR 'Live View' and to around a third the way across the histogram so you will have the ability to later perform processing 'stretching' of your stacked images to bring out the faint detail in your exposures. How long you will be able to expose for will be limited by your gear, local light pollution and the object you are imaging. However if you expose for too long the image will become saturated, white and have no detail. Some objects like clusters don't need as long an exposure. One technique astro-imagers use is stacking multiple exposures to help reduce the noise in the combined image.

Now getting longer exposures depends on a number of factors, for example the FL of the lens you are using and your sum experience of using your equipment (i.e. how well you can polar align, avoiding causing movement when loosening and tightening ball heads or the mount clutch in the dark etc.) and your capability with your processing software. 

I don't know what DSLR you are using. Many have a 'Live View' to help with focus and framing. As you are literally just finding out things, like where Polaris is in the sky for example I would suggest first practicing focusing your camera and lens on a bright star or far away street light and taking time until you are happy the star is as well focused as you can make it.  Do you have a remote shutter control/intervalomenter/ software to take images without causing judder? You will also need to polar align your Star Adventurer (SA) mount. The more accurately it is aligned the longer the mount will be able to track in RA within its design and load limitations. Follow the SA guide to setting up the polar scope and polar aligning. Take your time. SkyWatcher have a Polar clock Utility on their Star Adventurer Mini app that you can use with the SA as the app looks just like the polar scope clock face. I have found that finishing polar alignment when Polaris is on a division on the polar reticule means it is as accurate as you can make it.

I would then try some shots of constellations, starting with 30 seconds at ISO 1600 to more easily check focus and composition then if all's well drop the ISO to 800 and snap away. See how long can you get pinpoint stars, 60-120-180-240 seconds, or more? Objects higher in the sky tend to suffer less from light pollution and atmospherics. As for imaging M42 it is a bright target so good luck, go ahead and see what you achieve.

Remember if you are going to stack your exposures you need to take images in RAW format not JPEG. Also are you aware how to take dark frames, flat frames and bias frames? These will all help you get a better final image.

A free stacking software is Deep Sky Stacker, and there are several free and at cost processing software products.

The Star Adventurer mount is a good piece of kit for its size, I wish you luck with your experimenting.

Cheers,
Steve

Edited by SteveNickolls
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On 30/11/2017 at 22:01, serbiadarksky said:

I guide it, thats the key ;)

Loving your efforts??

Ive recently added the z61 and a stand alone guiding system to my set up. Its been cloudy ever since. 

Keep inspiring us with your images pal.

I will be replacing those gym weights with wrist/ankle straps weights.

Cheers

Ryan

20180202_230924.jpg

Edited by Ryan_86
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Nice set up but what’s the black thing in between the two mounts and the silver thing on top the small scope

Have you got a photo from the back please 

Edited by gtis

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24 minutes ago, gtis said:

Nice set up but what’s the black thing in between the two mounts and the silver thing on top the small scope

Have you got a photo from the back please 

Black thing is polar scope illuminator, silver thing is a autoguider.

I think ...

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On 2/19/2018 at 13:13, SteveNickolls said:

Hi smr and thanks for your post. I don't think there's a mystery over exposures, there are rules of thumb to help such as getting the signal off the left hand side of the histogram on your DSLR 'Live View' and to around a third the way across the histogram so you will have the ability to later perform processing 'stretching' of your stacked images to bring out the faint detail in your exposures. How long you will be able to expose for will be limited by your gear, local light pollution and the object you are imaging. However if you expose for too long the image will become saturated, white and have no detail. Some objects like clusters don't need as long an exposure. One technique astro-imagers use is stacking multiple exposures to help reduce the noise in the combined image.

Now getting longer exposures depends on a number of factors, for example the FL of the lens you are using and your sum experience of using your equipment (i.e. how well you can polar align, avoiding causing movement when loosening and tightening ball heads or the mount clutch in the dark etc.) and your capability with your processing software. 

I don't know what DSLR you are using. Many have a 'Live View' to help with focus and framing. As you are literally just finding out things, like where Polaris is in the sky for example I would suggest first practicing focusing your camera and lens on a bright star or far away street light and taking time until you are happy the star is as well focused as you can make it.  Do you have a remote shutter control/intervalomenter/ software to take images without causing judder? You will also need to polar align your Star Adventurer (SA) mount. The more accurately it is aligned the longer the mount will be able to track in RA within its design and load limitations. Follow the SA guide to setting up the polar scope and polar aligning. Take your time. SkyWatcher have a Polar clock Utility on their Star Adventurer Mini app that you can use with the SA as the app looks just like the polar scope clock face. I have found that finishing polar alignment when Polaris is on a division on the polar reticule means it is as accurate as you can make it.

I would then try some shots of constellations, starting with 30 seconds at ISO 1600 to more easily check focus and composition then if all's well drop the ISO to 800 and snap away. See how long can you get pinpoint stars, 60-120-180-240 seconds, or more? Objects higher in the sky tend to suffer less from light pollution and atmospherics. As for imaging M42 it is a bright target so good luck, go ahead and see what you achieve.

Remember if you are going to stack your exposures you need to take images in RAW format not JPEG. Also are you aware how to take dark frames, flat frames and bias frames? These will all help you get a better final image.

A free stacking software is Deep Sky Stacker, and there are several free and at cost processing software products.

The Star Adventurer mount is a good piece of kit for its size, I wish you luck with your experimenting.

Cheers,
Steve

Many thanks Steve.

I'm waiting for a clear sky now so I can have a go at aligning Polaris, I've been into photography for about 3 years now and always shoot RAW, I've managed to get good, detailed and sharp photos of the Moon with my Sigma lens at 600mm so I'm used to shooting in live view and focusing on that. Once I've got the hang of aligning Polaris I was thinking of actually using my 55-250 STM lens at 250mm and aiming it at M42 and then adjusting focus to until it looks good in LV. I figured as it can be seen with the naked eye I should hopefully be able to aim my lens and be able to see it. I've got an intervalometer so I can use that for the time being. I understand how to take dark frames but I'll have to read up on flats and bias frames too again.

How much longer are the winter DSOs like M42 visible for ?

Edited by smr

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