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M Astronomy

Imaging with a Star Adventurer

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13 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

I couldn't shift it on my own, took two hands to hang on to it, found it easier to do while attached to the tripod.

Dave

Demo, I think I got the strap wrench in Tool Station.

DSCF1110.png.c2bcbb4bce7760f739a1e71e265fc968.png

? You boys - you do overtighten things!

Edited by Thalestris24
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For the avoidance of doubt - which way did you turn things Dave? The Youtube advice say hold the clutch knob and turn the centre part anti-clockwise with the mounting bar as extra leverage if needed. 

Kerry 

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19 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

I couldn't shift it on my own, took two hands to hang on to it, found it easier to do while attached to the tripod.

Dave

Demo, I think I got the strap wrench in Tool Station.

DSCF1110.png.c2bcbb4bce7760f739a1e71e265fc968.png

WOW! ?

I'm a bit skeptical though. It might be something that happens only on my setup, but I need to be very careful and delicate with tightening the RA lock, otherwise I risk messing with the polar alignment.

I think that wrench might take it a step further..

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2 minutes ago, kerrylewis said:

For the avoidance of doubt - which way did you turn things Dave? The Youtube advice say hold the clutch knob and turn the centre part anti-clockwise with the mounting bar as extra leverage if needed. 

Kerry 

If facing the SA, with the wedge adjustment nearest you, just turn the black clutch anti-clockwise whilst holding the centre\weight bar in place.

Louise

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Just now, Thalestris24 said:

If facing the SA, with the wedge adjustment nearest you, just turn the black clutch anti-clockwise whilst holding the centre\weight bar in place.

Louise

OK thanks Louise. It wouldn't be the first time that I have spent ages trying to turn something the wrong way! I'm also a world-class cross threader! 

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GOT IT! I gripped the raised bits on the clutch with a pair of pliers with a piece of cloth for protection, heave-ho and it went?

Thanks Dave and Louise 

 

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After yesterday's false start I'm now ready to go.

I previously agreed with myself that I would not get into AP as I was perfectly happy with visual only. However, last year I bought a new camera - a mirrorless Olympus with the potential for wifi control, and I thought I would give a go with AP. I went for the Olympus because I have owned them before and have a stock of lenses that I can use with an adapter.

After reading this interesting and very useful thread I decided that a Star Adventurer would be a relatively cheap way to dip my toe, and then one appeared in the Classifieds - so here I am. I intend to stick with simple DSLR stuff without guiding, at least for now ?

After reading this thread I have a few questions:

1. My SA is a little over one year old and is the newer 'green' type. I am assuming that the firmware does not need updating?

2. Do people tend to use a right-angle viewer for the polarscope or manage OK without? I have a Manfrotto tripod which I intend to use and it can extend up a fair way, but I'm thinking that the more I extend it to avoid awkward PA viewing then it may be less stable.

3. I note that some users have a finder on the camera. Is this useful? From experience I do find it difficult to locate things by eye sometimes.

4. Some people seem to use a ball head to mount the camera and some not. I have one with the Manfrotto and it would seem that it offers more flexibility in pointing the camera at the right place, but also introduces another item to fiddle with and tighten.

Thanks in advance for any help. I'm looking forward to experimenting.

I should mention that I have the photo kit with the wedge etc

Kerry 

Edited by kerrylewis

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46 minutes ago, kerrylewis said:

After yesterday's false start I'm now ready to go.

I previously agreed with myself that I would not get into AP as I was perfectly happy with visual only. However, last year I bought a new camera - a mirrorless Olympus with the potential for wifi control, and I thought I would give a go with AP. I went for the Olympus because I have owned them before and have a stock of lenses that I can use with an adapter.

After reading this interesting and very useful thread I decided that a Star Adventurer would be a relatively cheap way to dip my toe, and then one appeared in the Classifieds - so here I am. I intend to stick with simple DSLR stuff without guiding, at least for now ?

After reading this thread I have a few questions:

1. My SA is a little over one year old and is the newer 'green' type. I am assuming that the firmware does not need updating?

2. Do people tend to use a right-angle viewer for the polarscope or manage OK without? I have a Manfrotto tripod which I intend to use and it can extend up a fair way, but I'm thinking that the more I extend it to avoid awkward PA viewing then it may be less stable.

3. I note that some users have a finder on the camera. Is this useful? From experience I do find it difficult to locate things by eye sometimes.

4. Some people seem to use a ball head to mount the camera and some not. I have one with the Manfrotto and it would seem that it offers more flexibility in pointing the camera at the right place, but also introduces another item to fiddle with and tighten.

Thanks in advance for any help. I'm looking forward to experimenting.

I should mention that I have the photo kit with the edge etc

Kerry 

1) Nope, if it ain't broke...

2) Personally, a right-angle viewer has been one of the most useful accessories for my SA, my advice is get one with 2x zoom.

3) Together with the right-angle viewer, a DSLR red dot finder on my hotshoe has been the best purchase I have made. Makes locating things 1000% easier, especially when you start using long telephotos and small scopes. Get a small one, as you don't want to be putting too much weight on the hotshoe, though.

4) Tried that to begin with, then quickly gave up. I found it nigh on impossible to get the mount evenly balanced. Might be good enough for wide shots, where the margin of error is greater, though.

Kev

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Hi Kerry glad you got it unstuck without too much trouble, bit scary holding one tab of the locking ring with pliers, could have ended in tears :grin:

Agree with all Kev said, a DSLR right angle finder bodged on with a bit of Gorilla tape and plumbing fitting will save your back and keep the tripod low, I filed down a cheap RDF to fit the hotshoe but you can buy a proper attachment.

Never bothered trying to guide it as it can comfortably do a couple of minutes with a 300mm lens and wide angle is only limited by light pollution levels, I've done 15 minutes with 24mm at a dark site.

Depending on the framing desired the DSLR works fitted direct to the dovetail, if using a telephoto lens with a foot that gives another rotation so more flexible for framing your target.

First thing after PA is focusing using the brightest star you can find using live view then being careful to avoid knocking afterwards.

PA can be tweaked during an imaging session to keep Polaris tracking round the circle.

Good luck look forward to your first astro' image if the clouds ever clear.

Dave

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Thanks for your advice Kev and Dave. I will be looking to get a right angle viewer and a red dot finder. Both seem relatively inexpensive ways of improving things.

Kerry 

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Just for reference should it help anyone ..... @Davey-T suggested I post my results of my first attempt unguided with this mount and an ASI1600MM.

This is a test shot of 20 x 30 second sub-frames at 300 gain.

There is trailing as I managed to bump the mount as I was adjusting the scope on M45 - I think I may get 60 seconds out of this set up some day ?

It was very windy too but I think most of the imperfection is from the poor PA and a bit of tilt.

Also, the tune up the mount got at Dark Frame Optics made adjusting the RA soooo much smoother.

y4mVBpt7XqSpk80JNwZAFy6C6KhrbaDQZWMpHJKU

 

y4mKQKq-DtDEXFR_ftcqcmf4mNUEfqzXWwicUF2X

David

 

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Managed a quick grab at M42 last night between clouds.

ED72/modded 450D on the SW SA, 60 second subs (37 minutes), plus darks and flats, ISO 800. Biggest complaint is that bright blue star on the right, but I'm guessing there was still some high level cloud. Other than that, considering the lack of time on target, quite chuffed with this. Even managed to not blow the core totally.

M42-1.jpg

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Just taken me about 2 hours to read through this thread and I'm very impressed as to what this little mount can do. Planning on buying one next month and can't wait to get my camera pointing skyward ?

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My star adventurer arrived this afternoon so I had a quick go at setting it up. It's a really nice bit of kit, easy to set up and polar align. Weather conditions were rubbish though with intermittent cloud and it was a bit blowy. Looking forward to some better conditions to see what it can do ?

20190207_214559_zpsez7jucmh.jpg

LRM_EXPORT_705039049415330_20190207_2234

 

LRM_EXPORT_706631622326307_20190207_2300

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Results from my earlier post on the 28th of January and a further session on the 2nd of February.

The first session, 30 minutes each channel was unguided, the second session, 30 minutes each channel (total 1hr per channel LRGB) was guided.

Heavily cropped as my orientation from both sessions was wildly different - second image is the guided result of 30 minutes each channel.

y4m69tGCmyKxDywbCO6uBxI6dbYfwYMdMD7mzdLR

 

y4myxwdjJIbhhvSwsSkksKledOZunkYx8eXGv_Ma

David

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On 14/12/2017 at 18:51, wsg said:

Hello all.  Steve I took your advise and posted again.  I managed to get my exposure time with the Star Adventurer up to 120 seconds and shot 160 images of M42.  This is the result.5a3309e204aaf_ORIONNEBULAV.thumb.jpg.29dcf9c18976e2580b1e6fb2370b8c3a.jpg

stock Canon 7D;  160 @80seconds  ISO 1600;  No flats, darks etc..

William Optics Zenith 61;  Star Adventurer

DSS Adobe Camera Raw; Photoshop CC

I think I pushed the brightness up a bit too much and added some noise.   But it was worth it for the nebulosity detail!!   One question I  have is what is everyone's experience in max exposure time with the Star Adventurer and a 200mm-400mm lens like mine?

 

 

 

 

 

This is an awe inspiring image of M42, absolutely stunning!.

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I have just started using the Star Adventurer and can confirm the very good impressions mention above. I have sunk 3 wooden pegs into the lawn such that the mount is polar aligned when placed on them .( a quick check with the finder on the pole star position is very easy) I hang a building brick under the tripod for added stability. So far I have managed up to 6 minutes tracking without any trailing, but usually use shorter time exposures.

My only problem is finding and pointing the camera at the chosen target. The Canon 600D has a flip out screen which helps to centre a bright star, but does not show faint objects so that I am making repeated trips to my shed (heated !) to see if I have the image on the computer screen. Is there any way of mounting some form of right angled finder on the camera. Focusing a DSLR is a bit of a trial and error and not as easy as with a telescope focuser.

Keith ( Old Codger)

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I use a red dot finder mounted in the hotshoe to find a bright star near the target this makes it easier to get the target in live view then take short exposures and adjust to frame it.

Dave

RDF.png.79afa784348d5375bea5d50ea4f53e60.png

 

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10 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

I use a red dot finder mounted in the hotshoe to find a bright star near the target this makes it easier to get the target in live view then take short exposures and adjust to frame it.

Dave

RDF.png.79afa784348d5375bea5d50ea4f53e60.png

 

This is what I use. Works well. 

 

Quick question. Does anyone image with a Make mounted on their SA??

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For focusing, I know many simply open the lens up, ISO 25,600, zoom in 10x, centre a nice bright star and then bring it in and out of focus until happy that it's as good (small) as they can get it.  However, I'm a great fan of bahtinov masks...  There are 2 main types - Those that clip into the lens filter thread, and etched filters that slide into square filter holders.

The clip in masks are a lot cheaper, but when I tried one I found the view using a 24mm lens (even f1.4 / ISO 25,600, live view 10x zoom) was too dim for me.  There are also Y masks which might be brighter (but I've not tried one of those with a lens - Maybe someone else can comment?). 

I use an etched filter - There are two I know of - Lonely speck and Kase.  Not cheap, and I have to admit I do struggle seeing the "whiskers" at 24mm, but it works pretty well at 70mm :).

(For framing I also have a hot-shoe mounted red-dot finder, but I've not used mine yet as I've only used 24mm and 70mm lenses so far...)

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10 minutes ago, AndyUK said:

There are also Y masks which might be brighter (but I've not tried one of those with a lens - Maybe someone else can comment?). 

I have (you can see it in the pic, 3D printed one for my 72ED) , and while the image is brighter, it fails to move the light from the star to the spikes. 

Please look at the comparison with a Bathinov.  The Y is the leftmost image:all taken with the same setup and settings. 

So for me it was a failure and I continue using a bathinov for focusing. 

_20190302_094055.JPG

_20190302_094130.JPG

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Disclaimer: I didn't find an indication for the thickness of the Y, so I used the same size of the bathinov spacing. 

But the principle seems clear: the grating of the bathinov uses constructive interference to sum up the light from various slots on only three spikes. This can't be reproduced with the Y. 

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