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dannybgoode

Don't waste cloudy days - one step closer to imaging :)

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I finally have everything I need to start imaging with my Starlight Xpress SX674 / Skywatcher 150P combo and thought I would take advantage of the fact it wasn't raining to at least put everything together and to see if the camera talks to the computer, the filter wheel does as it ought and Nebulosity will capture the images.

I am pleased to say that I have managed to do a full LRGB sequence, albeit of some tree branches, saved them, stacked them, merged them etc.  I now know that when the clouds eventually part (probably sometime in 2022) I will be able to get everything set up and I will be able to get focus, the camera will work, the filter wheel filters etc.

So don't waste cloudy days / nights - there's always something, particularly when first starting out, you can test, practice or read up on.  No way I would have wanted to put it all together and try and get it working straight off the bat and try and start imaging - too much pressure :).

 

 

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You can't have known how relevant your post is.

Yesterday I spent an hour of precious observing time, fiddling about with my newly acquired EQ wedge for my AZ mount. Had to give up in the end, and revert back to my AZ. I was hopelessly unprepared for the session and am still kicking myself for wasting all that viewing time. 

I thought I was prepared, having watched a ton of youtube videos and read up on polar alignment and so on. In my mind, I had everything lined up and ready to go. But as they say; "No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy".

I can only concur with your advice to spend the downtime with some proper hands-on equipment testing.

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That's exactly what I used to do when I first ventured into astro photography.Ii used to set-up and tear down every session. So on cloudy days and nights I used run dummy imaging sessions to fine tune my methods so I could confidently set-up in the dark and be imaging sooner.

Steve

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Always a good plan to try things in advance, I think everyone has lost time with new kit. Only thing I'd say is, reaching focus on trees is not the same as focusing at infinity, you may find it may not work on the night, there is a reason they make the shorter tube version, the 150p-DS. Good luck :)

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7 hours ago, SamAndrew said:

Always a good plan to try things in advance, I think everyone has lost time with new kit. Only thing I'd say is, reaching focus on trees is not the same as focusing at infinity, you may find it may not work on the night, there is a reason they make the shorter tube version, the 150p-DS. Good luck :)

Yep, good point. I do have a low profile focuser and with a bit of tweaking I got it focussed on the moon last night with plenty of throw left to play with so I’m pretty sure it’ll be fine. 

As soon as I have a clear night I’ll give it a whirl. 

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There is always something to do, I use to do drift alignment if the clouds were not too thick.

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Planning and Preparation Prevents P*ss Poor Performance!

I wish I'd taken my own advice years ago..the learning curve for modern digital AP was steep, painful and expensive! Almost gave up on many occasions...especially after long breaks due to bad weather. I'd find I'd forgotten some vital detail in mount alignment that took an hour to sort out. Anything you can do during bad weather to simplify and organise is time well spent.

RL

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2 hours ago, rl said:

I'd find I'd forgotten some vital detail in mount alignment that took an hour to sort out. Anything you can do during bad weather to si

And this is exactly what has caused me to try and do something at least every couple of days - even if it is just fiddling with software, checking the camera and filter wheel still talk to each other etc. 

I’ve wasted so many evenings recently just re-learning the basics. 

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Exactly what I used to do. Used to take me an hour to get setup and PA'ed then imaging on a target, sometimes a lot longer!

Pretty much takes about 20 mins now for the lot since practicing in the day.

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