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Imaging with a Star Adventurer


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13 minutes ago, 8472 said:

Keep tinkering with this impressive little mount and decided to push it way beyond it's operational envelope. 

Here's my work-in-progress Western Veil at an amazing 720mm focal length, unguided, and without a Polemaster. 

y4mUhTTEaT_Tox4gyucCOoCtDl97IVoqQ8F6rJBM

Definitely not something I'd attempt on a regular basis, though. 

You've got decent stars for such a long focal length. How long were your subs? 

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On 17/01/2018 at 15:19, SteveNickolls said:

That should be fine as long as the tripod is rigid. I'm using an old Celestron heavy duty Alt-Az tripod and get a very responsive polar alignment using the tripod adjustment knobs. I attach a snapshot showing the arrangement.

Cheers,
Steve

DSCF0014a.jpg.4ade08eacf4de02851b9b354d8ea4f62.jpg

this picture has just answered a question, My mount is off atm with darkframe being tuned so I am playing about with my SA and looking at the threads when i noticed the red dot finder, I had one come with the MAK but never really used it untill the other night couldnt figure it out at all. this picture though tells me i had it the wrong way round lol, just presumed it was the other way round for some reason lol

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5 hours ago, 8472 said:

Here's my work-in-progress Western Veil at an amazing 720mm focal length, unguided, and without a Polemaster. 

Hi,

Thanks for posting your image. Can you detail your set up etc. allowing imaging at 720mm?

Best Regards,
Steve

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9 hours ago, geordie85 said:

You've got decent stars for such a long focal length. How long were your subs? 

To all who asked:

Baader BCF Canon 1100D

60s sub length.

WO Zenithstar Z61,

Darkframe Hypertuned SA

Full SA L bracket and counterweight kit,

Right angle 2x viewfinder over the polarscope, with a brighter, custom made reticule illuminator.

Yes, the stars weren't bad, but that's from using my Z61 with a 2x Barlow lens and a lot of post processing. Not remotely recommended for serious imaging at F/11.8 - far too slow!

I'll be experimenting with a slightly wider (and far less cumbersome) mirror lens in the very near future. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 15/07/2018 at 08:35, JimothyC said:

But you can definitely mount a 70mm scope and DSLR on a Star Adventurer and get usable images from it. I've not modified or tuned the mount in any way, but I have added an additional counterweight to make the payload balance.

That looks great for a first successful attempt.   All of mine were crap but I'm back to trying again.  What is your all-up weight? DEC plate, counterweight and bar, scope, finder, camera, etc?  I've got an ST-80 mounted with my DSLR and filters and I'm coming in at just a touch over 3 kilo.  No APO in my future, but that ED looks really good.  That's a very encouraging image.

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I did this image June 2017 on my SA unguided Nikon 800 with a Samyang 14mm F2.8 for 450 secs, it wasn't balanced as I forgot my counterbalances and the arm but was PA ISO160....I know it should have been a lot more than that but you live and learn.

The mount has now been Hypertuned so should produce even better results.

337459180_SkywatcherStarAdventurera.thumb.jpg.0621607a0fdd83cb173d3596d253bf21.jpg

LeMans_GOOD_LIGHT_450s_160iso_2-8_20170617-23h37m57s507ms.jpg.5a0c905b75f383b4a4f85b78af2ee6d7.jpg

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On 14/08/2018 at 14:58, Jkulin said:

I did this image June 2017 on my SA unguided Nikon 800 with a Samyang 14mm F2.8 for 450 secs, it wasn't balanced as I forgot my counterbalances and the arm but was PA ISO160....I know it should have been a lot more than that but you live and learn.

The mount has now been Hypertuned so should produce even better results.

337459180_SkywatcherStarAdventurera.thumb.jpg.0621607a0fdd83cb173d3596d253bf21.jpg

LeMans_GOOD_LIGHT_450s_160iso_2-8_20170617-23h37m57s507ms.jpg.5a0c905b75f383b4a4f85b78af2ee6d7.jpg

Whats with the coathanger?

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Hi guys, 

Been a while since I posted on SGL and in this thread. I had a go at imaging M42 in February and was pleased with the image I got - considering it was my first attempt at aligning Polaris that night - and imaging. Since then I've been busy moving house and with work etc. and add cloudy nights to the mix... I went out on a couple of occasions though, and stupidly thought I was aligning on Polaris when it was another star - one time it was a star way off ! Frustrated I thought that my gear was to blame, so I didn't really give astro imaging much thought thereafter for quite a while, but I decided to pack my gear and take it with me on a recent Holiday - and I'm glad I did. I wasn't sure the gear was the problem so I did everything nice and methodically - setting up making sure I was on Polaris, levelling up the mount etc. and then found M31 and took a few shots to frame centrally ( delighted to see that my SA was fine and it was indeed just me being thick ) ... I was ecstatic to see M31 on the back of my camera - I would like to buy a go-to mount but I could imagine that that buzz wouldn't be there in finding an object (even though M31 turns out to be not that difficult to find - but still) yourself. Anyway, here's the image..

a-stretched-image-edit-after-DSO-enhancement-2-border.thumb.jpg.876b5b9a823b49273ce2d4c3a75d855e.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, smr said:

Hi guys, 

Been a while since I posted on SGL and in this thread. I had a go at imaging M42 in February and was pleased with the image I got - considering it was my first attempt at aligning Polaris that night - and imaging. Since then I've been busy moving house and with work etc. and add cloudy nights to the mix... I went out on a couple of occasions though, and stupidly thought I was aligning on Polaris when it was another star - one time it was a star way off ! Frustrated I thought that my gear was to blame, so I didn't really give astro imaging much thought thereafter for quite a while, but I decided to pack my gear and take it with me on a recent Holiday - and I'm glad I did. I wasn't sure the gear was the problem so I did everything nice and methodically - setting up making sure I was on Polaris, levelling up the mount etc. and then found M31 and took a few shots to frame centrally ( delighted to see that my SA was fine and it was indeed just me being thick ) ... I was ecstatic to see M31 on the back of my camera - I would like to buy a go-to mount but I could imagine that that buzz wouldn't be there in finding an object (even though M31 turns out to be not that difficult to find - but still) yourself. Anyway, here's the image..

a-stretched-image-edit-after-DSO-enhancement-2-border.thumb.jpg.876b5b9a823b49273ce2d4c3a75d855e.jpg

 

what camera/lens did you use? how much exposure time? nice detail in the dark areas

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46 minutes ago, Anthonyexmouth said:

what camera/lens did you use? how much exposure time? nice detail in the dark areas

Canon 80D, EFS 55-250 at 250mm. Exposure time was around 1 hour 45 minutes. Thanks. 

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Had my first light the other night. Went well! Lots learned, mistakes were made, but ultimately a positive experience - even finished up taking 180s subs at 200mm with more than acceptable results.

The main issue is my lens though - I'm using a fuji x-t1 along with a fuji 55-200mm. Theres no tripod collar so it's tough to balance on the Dec axis. I bought a longer tripod plate which works wonders, but rubs on the lens because it's a fatty - meaning no zooming once the plate is attached. Anyway, the lens uses a motor for focusing, even in manual mode - this is so that it's parfocal. As you zoom, the encoders tell the lens where the elements need to be in order to stay focused where you were etc... also the stars are rubbish, even stopped down to f5.6... only at f8 does it become acceptable

Bottom line is that the lens is less than ideal. I'm after a cheap manual lens from ebay or the like... Seems SMC takumars are a favourite, but looks like prices have jumped to over £120 or so for them, if there are any. Can anyone recommend anything around £50? Looking for either 200mm or 300mm. F4 or better preferably, f5.6 if it's fairly decent wide open... I'm not after competition level photos, i can deal with abberations so long as they aren't all up in your face.

 

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On 21/07/2018 at 22:42, 8472 said:

To all who asked:

Baader BCF Canon 1100D

60s sub length.

WO Zenithstar Z61,

Darkframe Hypertuned SA

Full SA L bracket and counterweight kit,

Right angle 2x viewfinder over the polarscope, with a brighter, custom made reticule illuminator.

Yes, the stars weren't bad, but that's from using my Z61 with a 2x Barlow lens and a lot of post processing. Not remotely recommended for serious imaging at F/11.8 - far too slow!

I'll be experimenting with a slightly wider (and far less cumbersome) mirror lens in the very near future. 

Difficult finding the Veil ?

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1 hour ago, smr said:

Difficult finding the Veil ?

Not as difficult as you might think.

First locate Deneb (easy) then a relatively simple task of star hopping to Gienah, then to 52 Cygni, all via Dec movements only. The Veil is right there.

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1 minute ago, 8472 said:

Not as difficult as you might think.

First locate Deneb (easy) then a relatively simple task of star hopping to Gienah, then to 52 Cygni, all via Dec movements only. The Veil is right there.

Thanks.

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Well, my portable SA setup is pretty much complete for now! As per my sig, Manfrotto 055 supporting a Star Adventurer, WO ZS61 + Flat61, ASI294MC-Pro, guided by a ZWO Mini + ASI120MM-Mini. The powered hub on the 294 powers the mount, so one less cable. Only have the USB3 and camera power running from the scope. Think I need to add a second finder bracket to add a small finder, but that's about it! Maybe a power bank for true portability.

Sadly no imaging with it yet ?

20180826_195303.thumb.jpg.0a9ac5c012bdd99e66f484444a0a3480.jpg

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I'm about ready to test my setup again.  I've added 2 right angle viewers to the setup, one for the camera and another for the polar finder.  I ordered a polar scope right angle mount from a fellow in France.  It was 3D printed and it fits perfectly.  I modified the PA illuminator to fit within the DEC mount opening.  I added an 8" Vixen bar for the OTA so I can balance for photography or visual.  I purchased a nicely machined Vixen clamp that attaches to the DEC mount.  I wrapped blue tape on one of the tripod legs and then put velcro on the intervalometer and tape to keep it out of the way.  I star hop through the camera so I don't need a finderscope.  I have a Bhatinov mask for focusing.  I haven't done a lot of mods to the ST-80 as I am just trying again to get this right.  I use a yellow filter to help with CA.  I will crop to about 85% to get rid of the corner distortion.  If it seems like I'm improving this time I will probably purchase a guider.  If I am really successful I will probably upgrade to a WO Z73 and flattener (if I can afford it) or the WO Z61 as they both seem to be a nice value for the money.

SA ST-80.jpg

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14 minutes ago, JimothyC said:

I'd be tempted to get rid of the camera strap. Any breeze at all and it will be flapping around and adding vibration. 

This ^

When I had my A6000 (plus strap) any breeze and any exposure over 15s was a risk. Guess I was too lazy to remove the strap, as I used it for astro and terrestrial.

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