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By Mark Daniels
Been looking for neat solution to taking small scope abroad using my stuff and not paying out for a dedicated set up.
Have a skywatcher finder which with a barlow and 90 * gives good results. I was looking at an Orion mini eq tabletop tripod but hard to get hold of.
Play a bit of music in a band and have a few microphone stands so got to work with a hack saw.
I used a mic holder as in photo they are about £3 and cut the holder part off and filed flat. Drilled hole through to accept large camera thread (£3 screw bolt)
this allows shortened micstand to fit to the alt az mount. (Mic stand 15 of ebay. )
the dovetail was expensive as i wanted green and got from germany £30 with couier the white finder bracket from tring harrisons £6
so thats £60 but if i went for black dovetail less than £40 seeing i had mic stand already quite a cheap solition
the stand is very stable and provided the telescope is moved clockwise when rotating freehand the threads stay tight with the fine controls either direction works well
overall wiegt is bit over 3 kg and will fit in a standard aluminium camera case
hope this if useful
as the title suggests, I've noticed that the RA axis of my HEQ5 pro mount has some give. I don't notice it while the clutch is unlocked, but it's very obvious with a locked RA clutch. Any suggestions on what could be causing it/what adjustments need to be made?
By Ken Mitchell
As the title says
I've finally, after owning a 7nm Baader Ha filter for more than a half year, did my first imaging session in Ha. My target was the Lagoon Nebula because the weekend before I captured 4.5 hours on it and wanted to see what difference it would make. It's also very bright so easy to locate and it helped my getting focus as well.
Focus was kind of a challenge as I had to locate the nebula without the filter first ( the Star Adventurer has no GoTo), screw on the filter and take numerous amounts of test shots (max iso at 30sec) to finally get the focus right. Though I still think the focus was a bit off. For some reasons I had problems with the B-mask and focusing will have to do more tests in the future on this.
That said and done I was ready to start clicking, used settings of iso 1600 and 180sec subs. This was what I saw on the back of the camera after 3 minutes.
Pretty exited! Just the fact that I had something showing up amazed me. Decided to keep the exposure at 3minutes and planned on getting 1 hour of data at least before calling it a night.
Quick info on the gear used here:
-Camera: self modded Nikon d90(Ha data), Nikon d610(RGb data)
-Optics: TS-Optics Photoline 72mm f/6 FPL53+TSflat72
-Mount: Skywatcher Star Adventurer
-Guidescope: TS-Optics Optics 50 mm DeLuxe Mini
-Guidecamera: ZWO ASI120MC-S
-Filters: Baader 7nm 2" Ha
Back on imaging. After 1hour and 18min I stopped the session, took 10 flats, 10 darks and 20 bias frames and called it a night.
The day after loaded everything in DSS, imported the stack in Photoshop and did a little stretch on the red channel. This was the result (1hr 18min at iso 1600).
First there is so so much more data than I'd captured the weekend before with my unmodded Nikon d610 and almost x4 as much integration. That was a real excitement!
Second is a question(s), the diagonal pattern you see is this walking noise? Will dithering remove these lines? and is it even possible to dither with the SA? I've seen the dithering option in PHD2 but not sure if the combination with the Sa works.
So I've left the noise ,to be hopefully resolved in the future, and tried to combine the Ha with the previous captured RGB.
The RGB data ,as said before, was captured using a full frame Nikon d610. Aligning the two was kind of a challenge but eventually with all the twisting and turning managed to get it almost perfect.
This is the fully processed image from ONLY the RGB data the week before. 4.5hrs of data with the unmodded d610.
Combining the datasets I decided to re-edit the RGB set with just a curves and levels stretch and some minor tweaks in Adobe raw. Followed a simple tutorial of changing the red channel of the RGB set with the red channel of the Ha set and adding another Ha layer on top to use as a luminance layer. The result was a bit weird to be honest, green in the background and pretty ugly colors in the nebula. ( I didn't had the original to show so just now I made a quick alignment just to show more or less the results.
Should it look like this? Hope to find out what caused this.
Made some tweaks in the channel color mixer in Ps to get rid of the odd colors(in my eyes at least) and did more editing to get a final image. Besides some tweaks here and there I added an extra layer from the RGB set and used 'color' as blending mode.
This is the result I came up with.
Apart from perfect alignment of both data sets and maybe a better color balance I'd have to say the image itself looks a lot cleaner and more pleasant to the eye.
Though it seems the image is not as sharp as just the RGB image, maybe that's because it has less stars and it only appears to be more fuzzy?
Hope to get some input and cc on my workflow and/or the images to improve my results.
PS. For those interested I've also did some imaging with the unmodded d610 + Ha filter to show the differences and if it is worth it to use a Ha filter with an unmodded dslr.
I'll see if I can make a separate thread for this.
I have used my Star Adventurer for a while now and is very satisfaid with it. But it could be improved and I have installed an angled viewfinder to the polar telescope, rebuilt the wedge, etc.
But there is also the tripod, the one I have now is stable but very big, nothing that I could take with me when traveling. All photagraphy tripods I have looked at that is maximum 0.5 meter long folded look a bit weak or are very expensive. Now I have bought an used Manfrotto model 144, very stable but too long folded. This weekend I cut off the legs to make it shorter. I don't need very high tripod now when using the angled viewfinder.
Here is my tripod project: