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M Astronomy

Imaging with a Star Adventurer

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Hi smr,

I heartily concur with your view that if you can see a DSO with your own eyes you should be able to image it. M42 is a bright DSO. My imaging position at home is quite restricted, mostly to the NE through to SE and I've only been able to image M42 at a reasonable altitude with my Alt-Az gear which I don't have to polar align. The nights are now getting later and by 6 PM tonight M42 is already quite high up (28 degrees) at Az 153, roughly SE. By astronomical dark (7.23 PM) M42 is almost 32 degrees in Alt and Az 177, so almost reaching it's highest point. By 11 PM it has declined to an altitude of 17 degrees and Az 235 degrees. So if you have a good southern view you will have a few good hours to image it. 

If you haven't downloaded Stellarium (a planetarium software) I'd suggest getting it as it will help with deciding on which objects to image. It's free for main pc's but there's a small cost to place it on a tablet or mobile.

You may well already have your own preferred software for photography which will become handy for processing. I can recommend Deep Sky Stacker for stacking frames if you haven't such software. It has it moments but it contains a guide helping of taking flat and bias frames.

 

Best of luck on the next clear night. Don't forget to post your results!

Best wishes,
Steve

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I'm just practicing balancing my setup and tripod etc.

For some reason if I balance the tripod correctly so that the spirit level shows the bubble dead centre (as below)

xiqajn4.jpg

 

The SA then, when screwed onto the tripod shows it's own bubble level way off centre (as below)

 

WgE1Wgp.jpg

 

Why is this? And which should I be making sure the bubble is more level in, the tripod or the SA?

 

 

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13 minutes ago, smr said:

Why is this? And which should I be making sure the bubble is more level in, the tripod or the SA?

One or both levels were mis-aligned (at manufacture). Tiny bubble levels aren't that great. If you can try placing a normal spirit level across each leg on the tripod in turn and adjust the legs as required to get it all level; does the tripod's own bubble level then still say it is level? I understand that having a tripod dead level is not the end of the world for polar aligning but it does help you feel better and more in control.

Cheers,
Steve

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14 minutes ago, SteveNickolls said:

One or both levels were mis-aligned (at manufacture). Tiny bubble levels aren't that great. If you can try placing a normal spirit level across each leg on the tripod in turn and adjust the legs as required to get it all level; does the tripod's own bubble level then still say it is level? I understand that having a tripod dead level is not the end of the world for polar aligning but it does help you feel better and more in control.

Cheers,
Steve

Thanks,

I think it must be the tripod, I levelled it with a normal spirit level and it's own bubble went slightly off centre. Put the SA on and it's bubble was then centered.

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1 minute ago, smr said:

I think it must be the tripod, I levelled it with a normal spirit level and it's own bubble went slightly off centre. Put the SA on and it's bubble was then centered.

That's good, it will have put your mind at rest and you now know the SA's bubble is the one to follow. Now where are those clear night skies...?

Best of luck,
Steve

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hi people im a newb here just took delivery of my star adventurer mini sam look forward to posting in this thread in the future  i have also got the az gti with a 102 mak attached no big stuff i like small things :)

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8 hours ago, dazroome said:

hi people im a newb here just took delivery of my star adventurer mini sam look forward to posting in this thread in the future  i have also got the az gti with a 102 mak attached no big stuff i like small things :)

Good to see a fellow Star adventurer mini here ! Most are the bigger Star Adventurer owners.

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21 hours ago, smr said:

I'm just practicing balancing my setup and tripod etc.

For some reason if I balance the tripod correctly so that the spirit level shows the bubble dead centre (as below)

xiqajn4.jpg

 

The SA then, when screwed onto the tripod shows it's own bubble level way off centre (as below)

 

WgE1Wgp.jpg

 

Why is this? And which should I be making sure the bubble is more level in, the tripod or the SA?

 

 

I had a similar issue and can tell you it was my tripod what was out.

Incidentally, if you are using the wedge, you might want to check if the dovetail clamp is level. Mine was miles out and needed shimming on one side.

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I think those levels are more for decoration than accuracy.

Also check all the screws are tight.

Dave

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I never check the bubbles to see if they are level. If I'm on uneven ground I roughly get it level by eye and never had an issue. But then I usually only shoot 1 min subs and loose basically none of them.

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The main advantage of the bubbles is that if you polar align a first time with them more or less at level, then the subsequent times you won't have to make *big* adjustments to the altitude bolt, but only relatively minor tunings. Which also means it'll be easier to get Polaris inside the polar scope FoV.

 

Granted, it's not that important after all, but I found it useful more than once.

 

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Right, just had my first go at aligning Polaris, and I found it really easy. I've probably aligned the wrong star now I've said that lol. But I'm almost certain it's Polaris, right latitude and only visible star really in it's area. I've put the SA on but how do I know it's working? Indoors I can usally hear a very faint ticking noise when I turn it on celestial tracking but can't hear anything now?

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3 minutes ago, smr said:

Right, just had my first go at aligning Polaris, and I found it really easy. I've probably aligned the wrong star now I've said that lol. But I'm almost certain it's Polaris, right latitude and only visible star really in it's area. I've put the SA on but how do I know it's working? Indoors I can usally hear a very faint ticking noise when I turn it on celestial tracking but can't hear anything now?

One very quick and dirty check could be to take a 60 second exposure and see if you have any trailing.  If you do then the mount isn't on or your PA was pump.

If it is all good, then happy days and may your sky be clear

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I find Polaris gets more difficult to spot as the sky darkens when looking through a polarscope, its much easier during twilight or having the LED illuminator (if its possible with the SA) set to a higher intensity so all the fainter stuff gets washed out.

Alan

Edited by Alien 13

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Don't forget the little hole in the body for rough polar aligning.

Dave

 

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Thanks for the quick replies guys. It turns out the batteries went (typical!) I replaced them and the red light came on when I put it on. I did a 30 second shot with my 55-250mm lens at 250 and it came out with round stars. Now doing 1 minute exposures and the stars look round too, so I've set it to take multiple exposures now. Photographing the Orion Nebula, and wow, from the test images I've looked at it looks brilliant! Great feeling to know I've aligned with Polaris and I'm now tracking. This is great! Hopefully the photos turn out nicely when I've stacked them. 

 

Time to make a cup of coffee :)

Edited by smr
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1 hour ago, smr said:

Thanks for the quick replies guys. It turns out the batteries went (typical!) I replaced them and the red light came on when I put it on. I did a 30 second shot with my 55-250mm lens at 250 and it came out with round stars. Now doing 1 minute exposures and the stars look round too, so I've set it to take multiple exposures now. Photographing the Orion Nebula, and wow, from the test images I've looked at it looks brilliant! Great feeling to know I've aligned with Polaris and I'm now tracking. This is great! Hopefully the photos turn out nicely when I've stacked them. 

 

Time to make a cup of coffee :)

Ah...flat batteries...that would do it also.

I forgot about the batteries as I power mine with a USB power bank (that also runs my lens heater too).

Orion is a great target.  AM just processing my images of the same from the other night.  Forgot how long it takes to process the RAW images from my D7100.  Each image comes in at 277 MB and I have 80 of them.  May be here a while

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You have a lot of data Shelster??

Don't forvet to poat us your results?

I'm hooing we have a clear moonles night or two in March, otherwise my first proper attempt using a Z61 will.jave to wait until next year?

Fingers crossed.

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Here is very 1st drop if what I have.....

I have had to crop this one quite heavily as was having some issues that I cannot resolve as yet.  This is also just a very quick stretch of the image after 2 passes of DBE and no work done yet on noise reduction or sharpening / cleaning the image up.

5a8f4cb0731cb_OrionTest.thumb.jpg.3f18b1a8015568aa273e1c5b27a19475.jpg

Think it might turn out OK this one.  Stats are 79 x 120s at ISO 800 light, 40 flats and no darks (it was late and I was up early the next day so decided to go to bed), Nikon D7100 unmodded with 50mm lens at F4.  Was not in crop mode, so was using the full 6000x4000 imaging area available

Have a few more images that I took that night of the region around Cassiopia that I have to throw through PI at some point too.  These are 220s ISO 800, f4 on the same 50mm too.  Single sub that has been stretched and converted to jpg is below.  Is grey and has the check pattern as have not debayered it yet too

_DSC4711_DBE.thumb.jpg.df34a5e448658fca8c992a84fb4d25f6.jpg

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35 minutes ago, smr said:

Hi guys,

Here's my first DSO image taken last night. Ok for a first attempt ?

39732257204_51aea9d4fe_b.jpgOrion Nebula by Joel Spencer, on Flickr

That's very good for a first attempt. Your black point looks a bit clipped but then it could just be how it looks on my phone 

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On 20.2.2018. at 00:59, Ryan_86 said:

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

Looks nice Ryan.

Sorry for answering now, i was quite inactive :)

By this time you had several clear nights, did you maganed to do some images?

Did you tedted the guiding system?

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