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Looking for tips on kit to build an EEA setup.

I have a Sw 127 mak on azgti.

Android tablet and mac pc.

I would like to live stack to see colour on planets and brighter DSO's

With the availability of software should I get a windows laptop?

So which camera and what software should I be looking at? I always prefer free software.

Cheers

Steve 

 

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Hi Steve

You'll find live stacking options for the Mac are quite limited. Many of us use StarlightLive (free) which is very easy to use yet quite powerful, and was one of (if not the) first to offer live stacking, but this is limited to SX cameras. I've been using it for the last 5 years and have found it excellent. It would be interesting actually to compile a list of solutions for MacOS.

Camera-wise you'll get lots of different opinions. My main interest is in faint DSOs using mono (and filters when I want colour) so I'm probably not the best person to answer (I use a SX Lodestar X2 mono). The key thing is to match your scope and camera using e.g. the calculator at astronomy.tools to ensure you are not severely undersampling and you're getting the type of FOV you need for your interests. Your alt-az mount if already suitable but your scope has a slow focal ratio so ideally would need reducing to f5 or below to be efficient for near-live observing.

cheers

Martin

PS I'm developing an open source EAA program (currently out with testers) which has live stacking, calibration, etc, and which works with Mac (and Windows and Linux) but it doesn't have its own capture engine, so you'd need to sort that aspect out. But there is far more capture software for Mac e.g. http://cloudmakers.eu/astroimager/ (not free but cheap) than live stacking programs so it might be an interesting route for an all-MacOS solution. 

 

 

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I would love to see how much you will achieve with given scope and mount.

This is primarily because I think given setup has serious potential to be sort of "do it all" scope. Many people come with this question - a beginner scope that can do visual, show them DSOs and planets, do some imaging, etc ... and while it is next to impossible to do it all with one scope, that setup comes close in my opinion. As long as people don't take imaging too serious and expect perfect looking DSO images - ones that come out of live stacking session will be just fine (think of it as difference between smart phone day time photos vs professional DSLR + dedicated lens).

My advice is to get your self dedicated astro camera - one that is suitable for both planetary imaging and live stacking. This would mean low read noise camera. Look at ASI178 or similar sensor. If you can afford cooled one - that will be better for EAA sessions.

Next thing you want to do is address the speed of your scope. You need serious focal reduction on it. I think one viable option would be to do eyepiece projection. If you adjust sensor - EP distance, you can dial in just the right reduction to fit the whole illuminated field onto small sensor.

Don't think about live planetary stacking - that will simply not work at the moment. But you can easily do regular planetary / lucky imaging with this setup. If you get small pixels, you won't even need a barlow to get very good images.

Here are couple of threads to get you started:

Do also look at other threads in EEVA section for possible ideas on how to proceed.

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The choice of the camera will mark the path you will have to follow both in the specific brand and in the type of chip that carries. Each brand usually has its own capture software, with practice in the end all give good results.
For EEVA, and this is only a personal opinion, you will need a camera with a very sensitive chip like the IMX294 , it does not need to be refrigerated with short exposures. The telescope can serve you very well combined with it. You would move with exposure times around 30 "for galaxy, globular and planetary type objects. It will not work for large objects like bright nebulae, so you'll have to combine it with a short focal refractor that gives you a much larger FOV.

This would be the result of this combination:

 

Captura de pantalla 2019-04-01 a las 11.05.55.png

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Posted (edited)

There is no reason not to get a Windows laptop, as you can get a choice of used ones very cheaply. You do need something you can carry out to the scope. A PC will not do unless you have a permanent observatory.

One thing to bear in mind is how you are going to get the desired image on the camera chip.  With a 102mm f5 refractor and ASI120MC I found I could rely on the GoTo alone, but with the much longer focal length of a 127mm Mak you probably can't, and some more fiddling about with an eyepiece , optical finder or flip mirror will be required.

For extended objects I think a short focal ratio is indicated. A wider FOV also brings more stars into the view - at least 3 are needed for live stacking to work.

Edited by Cosmic Geoff

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Other options can be linux on something like the ODroid series of small systems.

Good to see someone finally sees some merit in this style of astronomy.

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Update:

I managed to find an old windows laptop in a cupboard. Amazingly it booted up but the hdd is dying. iv'e ordered a new battery and a 500gb SSD and will install  Probably Win 10.

After some messing about with astro tools im going to buy the ZWO ASI 224 colour camera and a 0.5 focal reducer.

What are your opinions on the camera?

Cheers Steve

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Posted (edited)

It is one of the two best in relation to quality / price for EEVA in my opinion. The other one is IMX294.

The problem is that it has the small chip and gives a small FOV so it is very important to choose the appropriate telescope. Do the FOV tests with any program and you'll see what I want to tell you. Forcing the FOV with such an aggressive focal reducer can give optical problems.

ZWO has a specific capture program that is Sharpcap. You will have to do your learning curve.

 

By the way, it would be possible to pass this section to EEVA ?. In my opinion it creates confusion and sometimes one forgets that there is

Edited by elpajare

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17 hours ago, Steve Clay said:

After some messing about with astro tools im going to buy the ZWO ASI 224 colour camera and a 0.5 focal reducer.

What are your opinions on the camera?

I ordered one and found I had to order an IR cut filter to use with it.  I ordered an IR pass filter too.

If I were you' I'd install Windows 7 not 10.  I installed Windows 10 on an older desktop. Big mistake - endless waiting - in the end I wiped it and installed Windows 7.

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8 hours ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

I ordered one and found I had to order an IR cut filter to use with it.  I ordered an IR pass filter too.

If I were you' I'd install Windows 7 not 10.  I installed Windows 10 on an older desktop. Big mistake - endless waiting - in the end I wiped it and installed Windows 7.

Good call on win 7 thanks.

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On 07/04/2019 at 19:55, Steve Clay said:

Good call on win 7 thanks.

I fully understand why some people don't favour Windows 10 'HOME' and its intrusive habits. But that has more to do with Google than Windows itself. However, for EEAV I suggest you consider Windows 10 'Professional' and buy it pre-installed rather than install the obsolete and hence unsupported Window 7.

Windows 10 Pro offers the latest version of Windows Remote Desktop which includes the ability to disable or reduce RemoteFX compression. This is essential if you want to run a modern large sensor, high resolution camera over WiFi (or even over cat6 cable) as RDP compression won't let more than 10Mbps flow even over a 802.11ac WAN network or equivalent LAN.

Windows 10 Pro properly supports USB3 and 802.11 wireless and its version of Windows Defender is as good as any expensive proprietory anti-virus or firewall defence. Using unsupported Windows 7 can make your PC vulnerable to many forms of cyber attack. It's only benefit is native support of RS232/Serial, but a PL2303 driver will fix that in Windows 10. 

Windows 10 Pro also gives you vastly more control over your PC provided you don't install a load of nuisance 'social media' APPs and open the door to the same intrusions as 'Home'. I have an Intel NUC with Iris Plus Graphics running Win10 Pro and it is turbo charged because I have cleaned out all rubbish APPs, reduced RemoteFX compression, taken control of Google, deleted the Cloud/One Drive and similar intrusions.

'Professional' is much better than 'Home' in every respect. and many proper computer retailers will supply it instead of  'Home' at no greater cost.

 

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