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After some trial and error I'm getting some very good guiding results with PHD2 now. 60mm guidescope and ASI290MM mini camera. The M42 image taken late March was 12 x 15 second exposures taken manually with my dslr / C8 and a stopwatch. Stacked in DSS and played with a bit in GIMP. On the night I couldn't get APT to register the camera - turned out to be the mini USB cable (although later trials point to the socket in the camera being a bit loose too). 

Bought an iOPTRON iPOLAR that arrived on Friday and had a play with that which has resulted in near perfect polar alignment. 2 star alignment and an additional 2 calibration stars on my Advanced GT mount means I'm getting very accurate GOTOs now and PHD2 (through the ST4 port on the ASI camera) seems to be guiding very well.  Last night after more cable faffing I managed to get everything working together to the point where I felt confident enough to leave it running by itself for an hour and a half (45 minutes of 180 second exposures plus 3 minutes each exposure to save the file - I've since found out I shouldn't have noise reduction switched on in the camera - DOH!) so M51 is 15 x 180 second @ ISO 800 lights and 5 x 180 second darks.  A little manipulation in GIMP and I think it's come out very well. Obviously still have a lot to learn and I'm going to have to start taking much longer exposures  but I'm quite pleased with these 2 pictures. 

Graeme.

 

m42 monday.jpg

 

M51 monday.jpg

Edited by jacko61
wrong m51 pic
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Well done Graeme !

Noise in the background of the M51 image is smooth and not showing the usual DSLR "Walking Noise" patterns.

Only a hint of coma in the corners.

Michael

Edited by michael8554
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Thanks Michael.  I had originally posted a cropped pic of M51 but it was getting a bit fuzzy so the image above is the full frame.  I had Noise Reduction switched on in the camera which may be why there's not so much in the image. However, I've switched it off as it was causing each frame to take over three minutes to save. It'll be interesting to see how the noise looks next time.  I'm quite pleased with the results though;  this is the first time I've ever used any editing software and I find a lot of the jargon in the Docs to be too technical. These results are after following a single GIMP astrophotography tutorial - I reckon I still have a lot to learn though :)

Graeme

 

 

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