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By Cosmic Geoff
Finally some clear skies on the 7th and I did not have to be anywhere else, so set up my EEVA rig to have a go at three comets, + M33 and M1.
Rig = 102mm Startravel achro, SLT mount, permanent wooden tripod and ASI224MC camera. This is not a 'designed' setup, just gear I owned already.
With the aid of Precise GoTo, Platesolver2 and some live stacking in Sharpcap, I obtained images containing faint fuzzy blobs for the comets C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS), C/2018 N2 (ASASSN) and C/260P McNaugt.
Turning to M33 (which I have never seen before despite trying on a number of occasions including in rural Scotland), I got a stacked image of some faint nebulosity. Definitely something there but not spectacular.
I had likewise never seen M1, but using the gear showed an unmistakable grey oval blob which became clearer with some stacking.
Altogether a satisfactory night's work. Typical stacks were 5 x 6sec exposure. Moon - gibbous. Semi-urban sky.
Platesolver2 solves in about 1 second on a Dell Vostro laptop.
By Cosmic Geoff
On 22 Oct I had a go at EEVA with the moons of Uranus, using my CPC800 and the ASI224MC (and flip mirror)
The image with about 5 sec exposure looked exciting, with several little dots in a line around Uranus's overexposed blob. But when I analysed it later I found that I had imaged several 13th mag. background stars, and noted Oberon as a definite ID and Ariel as possible. The seeing was bad.
The moons are clearly within the range of this setup, so I will try again sometime and see if I can secure a set of stackable images. The Sharpcap live stacking wouldn't work on this occasion.
I needed Calsky to identify and eliminate the background stars, but it unhelpfully notes the moons as 'beyond the range of amateur telescopes.' The Sky & Telescope tool identified the moons.
Sooo...I'm getting quote frustrated here. This spring I tested my HEQ5 with guiding. The synscan controller was connected to the computer trough the USB plug on the hand controller. This worked like a charm in my living room. On the new controllers you dont need the rs cable. But when I tried the whole thing with guide cameara for some live shooting, it just did not work. I get something wrong with the com port in decice manager, driver not working. I have tried 3 different drivers. The whole thing responded, connected and was guiding when i did a dummy test before the summer. So setup is pc-synscan via usb for pulse guiding. Can it be a problem with windows 10? What t h.... just happened? Where can I find a driver that works? And believe me it worked 5 months ago, argh. Thanks for any respons and support
By Cosmic Geoff
I have been plate solving some starfield images with All Sky Plate Solver and found that the solve time was measured in minutes. I presume that it shouldn't take that long and that the elderly PC is to blame. (Intel Core 2, 6320, 1.86GHz x2, 2GB memory).
Can anyone suggest a PC spec that will reduce the solve time to seconds? It seems time for an upgrade anyway, and I was thinking of getting a used business PC as they are available cheaply from re-sellers. I'm typing this on another one that cost under £100.