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My setup for EAA


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PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ADD YOUR OWN EAA SETUP TO THIS THREAD

 

In case anyone is interested, I thought I'd note down my current setup for EAA.

The drive on my old scope (Meade LX200 classic) failed completely and did not prove to be easily repairable, so I took the opportunity to 'upgrade'.

So currently the rig is:

Losmandy G11 mount with Gemini 7 controller

Celestron C11

Hirsch f6.3 focal reducer

Flip mirror

Xagyl filter wheel (just installed to replace a manual Celestron one)

ZWO ASI174MM Mini camera

[ I had some problems getting to the correct back focus for the focal reducer - using the flip mirror takes up a big wadge of it. Had to use an ultra-low profile T to SCT adapter to save a couple of cm ]

Skywatcher Evoguide 50ED guider / finder with ZWO ASI 290MM Mini 

I have two Raspberry Pi's running IndigoSky - one is fixed to the mount and controls the mount and the takes input from a joystick controller, the other is fixed to the OTA and runs the cameras and the filter wheel.

Both Pi's connect to my garden WiFi network, and I just need to take my laptop (MacBook Air) out to the observatory for a session.

On the MacBook I control the scope and camera using Cloudmakers Astrotelescope and Astroimager. I also use their Astrometry server (which is just a packaged local install of astrometry.net).

For processing of images after the capture, i've used Jocualr (thanks Martin) and more recently Siril.

Final image tweaking in Affinity Photo.

 

Happy to answer any questions anyone might have.

 

Thanks,
Callum

 

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Edited by callump
typo
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  • 2 weeks later...
13 hours ago, jadcx said:

Looks great!  What are the advantages of splitting the indigo controls across two machines?

It really is just about cable management - so one set of cables fixed on the mount that don't move, and one set fixed around the OTA. The only moving cable on the OTA is the power to the Pi.  Having said that, I have just added a dew heater, so that is another power cable... But there are not a lot of usb cables flopping around, and I still have a couple of usb ports available. 

Callum

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Callum, I hope you don't mind if others post their setups on this thread? I'd certainly be interested to see what everyone's rig is like. 

Assuming you don't, here is my complete setup (from last night). I keep fit by manhandling it out and in most clear nights (usually minus one of the 5kg weights 😉 )

It hasn't changed much for some years now. This is my usual observing location where I get a reasonable view from ESE to SW. The wooden terrace is a bit springy which isn't ideal but as I tend to observe from just inside the door (esp in winter), it is only a problem when the dog is wandering around.

Skywatcher Quattro Newtonian 8", carbon fibre tube, f4 (800mm focal length). Its mainly stock, but I've applied some flocking inside and to the rear of the primary and changed the secondary adjustment screws for Bob's Knobs, not that it made a vast difference. This is occasionally collimated with a CatsEye autocollimator (hotspot symbol applied to primary).

Skywatcher Az-EQ6 mount, only ever used in alt-az mode.

Starlight Xpress USB filter wheel, 9 slots (Clear, R, G, B, Ha, OIII, SII, spectral grating and a piece of flocking taped over for darks)

Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2 mono camera

Car starter battery

2 USB cables to the laptop

I've got a cheap digital thermometer hanging off the scope that I use to record the temperature when I'm taking or applying darks, and a Rigel Kwik Finder, plus a bahtinov mask and a light shield that I use on non-windy nights. 

I'm probably old school in that I do everything from the hand controller. No plate-solving or software controlled gotos yet. A longer cable from the hand controller would be my preferred upgrade as then I can do everything from just inside the almost closed door when its gets chilly. As it is, I get up between objects to type in the RA/Dec for the more obscure DSOs.

Since 2014 I have only ever used LodestarLive (now StarlightLive), latterly with Jocular, and now that Jocular supports the Lodestar and SX filter wheel natively, I just use Jocular. I always have a copy of my deep maps open on screen (PDFs) and am constantly flicking between the image building up and the charts to see what is going on... I used to use SkySafari during 2-star alignment when I couldn't identify the relevant stars (embarrassing) but since upgrading laptop I'm using Stellarium for the same purpose.  

cheers

Martin

83283538_Screenshot2020-09-08at20_35_16.png.abb08bfb553384e16517d0a64b0bd92a.png

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52 minutes ago, Martin Meredith said:

Callum, I hope you don't mind if others post their setups on this thread? I'd certainly be interested to see what everyone's rig is like. 

Assuming you don't, here is my complete setup (from last night). I keep fit by manhandling it out and in most clear nights (usually minus one of the 5kg weights 😉 )

It hasn't changed much for some years now. This is my usual observing location where I get a reasonable view from ESE to SW. The wooden terrace is a bit springy which isn't ideal but as I tend to observe from just inside the door (esp in winter), it is only a problem when the dog is wandering around.

Skywatcher Quattro Newtonian 8", carbon fibre tube, f4 (800mm focal length). Its mainly stock, but I've applied some flocking inside and to the rear of the primary and changed the secondary adjustment screws for Bob's Knobs, not that it made a vast difference. This is occasionally collimated with a CatsEye autocollimator (hotspot symbol applied to primary).

Skywatcher Az-EQ6 mount, only ever used in alt-az mode.

Starlight Xpress USB filter wheel, 9 slots (Clear, R, G, B, Ha, OIII, SII, spectral grating and a piece of flocking taped over for darks)

Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2 mono camera

Car starter battery

2 USB cables to the laptop

I've got a cheap digital thermometer hanging off the scope that I use to record the temperature when I'm taking or applying darks, and a Rigel Kwik Finder, plus a bahtinov mask and a light shield that I use on non-windy nights. 

I'm probably old school in that I do everything from the hand controller. No plate-solving or software controlled gotos yet. A longer cable from the hand controller would be my preferred upgrade as then I can do everything from just inside the almost closed door when its gets chilly. As it is, I get up between objects to type in the RA/Dec for the more obscure DSOs.

Since 2014 I have only ever used LodestarLive (now StarlightLive), latterly with Jocular, and now that Jocular supports the Lodestar and SX filter wheel natively, I just use Jocular. I always have a copy of my deep maps open on screen (PDFs) and am constantly flicking between the image building up and the charts to see what is going on... I used to use SkySafari during 2-star alignment when I couldn't identify the relevant stars (embarrassing) but since upgrading laptop I'm using Stellarium for the same purpose.  

cheers

Martin

83283538_Screenshot2020-09-08at20_35_16.png.abb08bfb553384e16517d0a64b0bd92a.png

I see one expert in the picture - nice dog LOL

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15 hours ago, Martin Meredith said:

Callum, I hope you don't mind if others post their setups on this thread? I'd certainly be interested to see what everyone's rig is like. 

 

Sure thing - no problem. Yes, I'll look forward to seeing other peoples setups too.

Callum

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1 hour ago, Martin Meredith said:

Thanks -- I often wonder what he thinks when I get the rig out. In winter he probably things I'm mad... (he doesn't join me in all weathers).

True about the saying "only Mad dogs and Astro nuts" .

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