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Taken in Scarborough, North Yorkshire on 16 December 2017.
My main aim with this image was to show those just starting out in the world of astrophotography what can be achieved on a budget with simple and affordable equipment. Using my iPhone and the NightCap app set to Star Trails mode I captured this as one image over a period of four hours (hence the number of airplane trails!). I then edited the image on my iPhone using the Snapseed app to darken the sky and bring out some colour in the star trails.
I was very pleased with the outcome given that all of this was achieved using only an iPhone and readily available, easy to use apps.
Does anyone know if I'd be able to reuse the equatorial mount from the 114eq-d with a different OTA? I have the Polaris lying around since I have a better telescope but I'm looking to upgrade and not buying a new mount could shave off $100-$200. From my understanding it's only a matter of how much weight the mount can hold but I can't find that information anywhere. If anyone knows that'd be great. Thanks in advance.
Night 1-first light
Took me from 2100 to 2330 to set up all the software. Another Hour to setup scope, USB-2-serial, etc. No direct sight to polaris. Put up only rudimentary polar alignment (with compass), then astrotortilla for plate solving. Problem: as i had a massive polar alignment error, i was on target, but with a severe tracking error- exposures of only 5 seconds already showed star trails. Did a nice shot of M42 (orion nebula) nevertheless.
(2 months break due to exceptionally bad weather)
No astrotorilla available as VM software did not start. Setup only 15 minutes, but another 45 minutes to remember how to connect camera correctly to scope (was out of focus because i had a extension in-between that was unnessessary). Setup again roughly to north with compass. Entered coordinates, date,time. Start three star alignment. 4 out of 5 suggested stars covered by house. Repeated 2 times, always the same invisible stars . Sweared. Tried 2-star align, the same. Tried 1-star align-success, much bigger list to choose from for alignment stars. Wondered why on earth the programmer did these inconsistencies. Selected first star, slewed. Far off target. Finally realized that finder scope not correctly attached. Corrected this. Slew speed way too low- another 10 minutes until realized that "rate" button sets slew speed also during alignment. Success. Slewed to second star, aligned. Back to first star and realigned. Back to second star - directly in the crosshairs, mount tracks perfectly (at first sight). Relief. camera mounted and connected to laptop. Start taking images. Relized that there is still some error, but significantly lower than on first try (Okay up to 10-20 seconds). Shot images for hours until Orion reached trees. Happy
Next up: the mystery of tracking with second cam+PHD.... If i live to see the day that we have good weather again.
Unlike many I was fortunate enough to get an hour or so of crystal clear skies last night.
Up until now I have always roughly plonked my EQ3-2 due North and had fun with some observing. Last night however was my opportunity to try my new HEQ5 (birthday present) and I thought I would set-up properly for the first time.
Having been given some great advice on Polar alignment in another topic (I started) I was quite confident this would not be too tricky for me, I was very wrong.
I spent the first 20 mins looking at the counterweight rod, and again nothing as the dec axis was not rotated to look through. I was just too excited and forgot everything I had read through these cloudy evenings about setting up.
Anyway I could finally see stars after about 30mins but too many to pick Polaris. I think I was in the general direction but I could not make out which one was him. Should Polaris be really obvious to me, like way brighter?
Also it seemed that I had to tip the altitude back almost as high as it could point, does this seem right? I was basically sitting on the cold wet floor squinting up through the polarscope at maybe 10/15 stars with no clue what was what.
Deflated I resorted to manually moving the scope for 5 mins before the clouds rolled in, the night a failure.
I was out under a clear dark sky last night, first one in a week or so and no more forecast for any time soon.
I really want to attempt a nice deep image of Polaris, possibly showing some of the galactic cirrus clouds floating in the area. So thats what the plan was.
But i just couldnt get PHD to calibrate, it would get to step 61 then fail (the old 'not enough star movement')
I know that guiding around the pole is probably the hardest area of sky to track, so i was wondering if anyone ha any experience with this and can offer up any 'tips, trick or techniques'?
Once i'm calibrated i'm thinking it may not be too difficult to guide as i'm only imaging at 200mm but i may be wrong. But i spent a good 90 minutes last night messing around, then gave up and slewed over to Cygnus where PHD calibrated 1st time. So its obviously struggling being so close to the pole.
The only thing i can think of is to maybe turn my guide scope 90 degrees to the left (pointing West where it should calibrate) then hope it would produce pin point stars on the DSLR pointed at Polaris. But i have a feeling this wouldnt work due to stars in the West appearing to move at a different rate to those closer to the Pole?
I'm very new to guiding to i hope i'm not making some simple error, hopefully someone could chime in with a strategy here?