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Small Can Be Beautiful ... Honest !


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11 minutes ago, Stu1smartcookie said:

great advice here ... i second the fact that its not the scope that is the problem . Also these cameras rarely come with any meaningful instructions regarding the lens and the nose piece that is provided . 

Thats another possible problem i hadnt considered

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5 minutes ago, neil phillips said:

Not sure what scope your using but yes you are doing possibly 3 things outrageously  wrong 1 the moon wasnt actually on the chip (just the glare of it was) 2 it was on the chip but your exposure was way too slow and all you could see was white. 3 you was so far out of focus it appeared as a big white mass. Or even a combination of all 3. My scope might be long focus but i took this days ago in daylight before the sun had set. a 70mm refractor

SW CAPRICORN 70MM 17TH JUNE 100.png black 2.jpg

lovely image Neil

 

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On 21/06/2021 at 01:15, Maideneer said:

Just installed my brand new ZWO 224MC and downloaded Sharpcap and ASI Studio.  I have experience in absolutely none of it 🤣 and have almost no idea how to go about any of this.  Just for reference, I have an AZ-GTi and a little Travelscope 70 which I know is the weak link in my chain.  The most I've ever done is taken a picture with my iPhone through an eyepiece so this is understandably daunting.  I've watched every Youtube tutorial I can think of (I almost feel more lost after that because of ust look at info overload) so I think the best thing I can do for myself now is just get out there and see what I can or can't do.

Figured I'd ask here first though...what the hell do I do haha?!

Ok here is what you do. First make sure your finder scope is working in tandem with the telescope. At a tv ariel. or chimney or some such, in the distance. make sure the view through the big scope, is the same as the finder scope. If you put the chimney in the middle of the big scope. just adjust the finder untill the chimney is also in the centre of that. Keep checking both finder scope, And the main scope are showing the same image in the same position (the centre)

Now point the finder at the moon. View it through the main scope with eyepiece. start your motor running the moon should now be tracking.

Start sharpcap. Attach camera lead. under exposure there is a bar that says  quick picks set the setting that says 1/60s. with the scope now  tracking the moon from the previous step.  with the zwo all sky lens removed carefully insert the camera. If its all dark raise the gain slowly untill you see light if its all white  start focussing and keep looking for signs its coming into focus. You may have to try one way. Or the other (focuser ) in or out you should at this point  start to see  the moon coming into focus.. if you do not. check the finder scope is still showing the moon  right in  the centre if yes try dropping the gain down to about 25% and keep focusing  one way or  the other untill you start to see the moon come into focus. Theres more to it but that should get you with the moon in focus on screen. Trust me its not the telescope. Hope this is useful

Edited by neil phillips
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5 hours ago, badhex said:

I'm not sure that the scope would cause any issues here, not the issues you describe anyway! A couple of things to try:

  • I believe that model comes with a wide-angle lens which won't be needed for imaging through a scope - is this still attached? I believe there's a nose piece included with no lens inside, so you should make sure the standard nosepiece is attached, not the lens
  • You may eventually also need an IR cut filter as don't believe this model has one, but this won't stop you taking pictures in the first instance
  • It's possible that may not be able to reach focus without an extender of some kinda although there is quite a bit of focus travel so I'm not sure this will be an issue
  • Try taking some basic images/videos through the scope in the daytime, TV aerials, lamp posts etc - something easy to find

I did take the fisheye lens off and attached the nose piece, so check.

I turned that not too stable focus wheel every which way I could think of.  Basically I went to the moon, or a star, or a planet, found it and centered in my 32mm EP, unscrewed the EP and diagonal and then inserted the camera and connected to Sharpcap.  When that didn't produce anything I figured what the heck and popped in a 3x Barlow just to try it out and again, zero. Focusing manually all ways I could think of.

I think I will try the daytime thing first, that's probably the smartest thing I could do at this point.

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4 hours ago, neil phillips said:

Ok here is what you do. First make sure your finder scope is working in tandem with the telescope. At a tv ariel. or chimney or some such, in the distance. make sure the view through the big scope, is the same as the finder scope. If you put the chimney in the middle of the big scope. just adjust the finder untill the chimney is also in the centre of that. Keep checking both finder scope, And the main scope are showing the same image in the same position (the centre)

Now point the finder at the moon. View it through the main scope with eyepiece. start your motor running the moon should now be tracking.

Start sharpcap. Attach camera lead. under exposure there is a bar that says  quick picks set the setting that says 1/60s. with the scope now  tracking the moon from the previous step.  with the zwo all sky lens removed carefully insert the camera. If its all dark raise the gain slowly untill you see light if its all white  start focussing and keep looking for signs its coming into focus. You may have to try one way. Or the other (focuser ) in or out you should at this point  start to see  the moon coming into focus.. if you do not. check the finder scope is still showing the moon  right in  the centre if yes try dropping the gain down to about 25% and keep focusing  one way or  the other untill you start to see the moon come into focus. Theres more to it but that should get you with the moon in focus on screen. Trust me its not the telescope. Hope this is useful

Cheers for the response sir.  Ok, so on this Travelscope the finderscope is fixed to the OTA with two thumbscrews at the base.  The tube rings do allow for some movement forward and back but that's about it.  So in essence, whatever I see through the finder will be slightly off from what appears in the EP, and that is a constant due to the construction of the piece.

What I did was find the moon and other objects through my EP and then removed the EP and diagonal and inserted the cam.  By doing so, it always causes some shift since let's face it, the TS70 isn't going into the Astronomy Hall of Fame of good Scope Construction and so when I engage Sharpcap, I never really know if what I centered in the EP is still there or if it is off.  And if it is off, going about finding it again with the cam proved fruitless - I assumed I would see at least something as the moon for example is rather large and doesn't move too fast.  Whenever I move the focuser wheel on the scope it always slightly shifts everything left or right (again, see construction) so it isn't the most stable of wheels.

I'm going to try again tonight, it's another clear sky later on but I will make sure to do some daytime work first and follow your instructions.

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1 hour ago, Maideneer said:

Cheers for the response sir.  Ok, so on this Travelscope the finderscope is fixed to the OTA with two thumbscrews at the base.  The tube rings do allow for some movement forward and back but that's about it.  So in essence, whatever I see through the finder will be slightly off from what appears in the EP, and that is a constant due to the construction of the piece.

What I did was find the moon and other objects through my EP and then removed the EP and diagonal and inserted the cam.  By doing so, it always causes some shift since let's face it, the TS70 isn't going into the Astronomy Hall of Fame of good Scope Construction and so when I engage Sharpcap, I never really know if what I centered in the EP is still there or if it is off.  And if it is off, going about finding it again with the cam proved fruitless - I assumed I would see at least something as the moon for example is rather large and doesn't move too fast.  Whenever I move the focuser wheel on the scope it always slightly shifts everything left or right (again, see construction) so it isn't the most stable of wheels.

I'm going to try again tonight, it's another clear sky later on but I will make sure to do some daytime work first and follow your instructions.

Agreed that the finder is basically trash with that scope; that said you can still adjust it using the two small screws on the finder holder itself - i.e. the two small screws near the centre of the below image, not the ones holding the finder base to the OTA. Regarding focuser slop, double check the focuser lock screw on the top of the focuser in case it is either too loose or too tight when focusing - I found that can make quite a big difference with the image shift, although it should be the case unless at very high mags (which this scope doesn't do anyway) that the shift completely moves the object out of view.

image.png.91ea15fb1c08f709bfb761a9c6b0ae91.png

 

1 hour ago, Maideneer said:

I did take the fisheye lens off and attached the nose piece, so check.

I turned that not too stable focus wheel every which way I could think of.  Basically I went to the moon, or a star, or a planet, found it and centered in my 32mm EP, unscrewed the EP and diagonal and then inserted the camera and connected to Sharpcap.  When that didn't produce anything I figured what the heck and popped in a 3x Barlow just to try it out and again, zero. Focusing manually all ways I could think of.

I think I will try the daytime thing first, that's probably the smartest thing I could do at this point.

Great, just wanted to check as it's an easy mistake to make! The daylight test is definitely the best next step, and if the fisheye lens or focuser aren't a problem then it may just be the settings that need adjusting like @neil phillips has talked you through.

Edited by badhex
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Daytime problems arising for me too, which was unexpected.

pic 1 is what I see through my finder scope which is a chimney top

pic 2 is the actual chimney top, about 100 some odd yards away

pic 3 just shows the cam attached to the focuser in back

pic 4 is just an example of the settings in sharpcap

no slider I adjust works, from exposure to gain to capture area etc etc, the PC screen just goes from white to black and every shade in between depending on movement.

quite literally can’t get a picture and don’t know how to proceed. This isn’t much fun🙁

0DD19A41-7874-4226-9FF9-EB56A2F7B9C5.jpeg

BE18CBBD-08A4-4B07-BF9D-672627BA8426.jpeg

E56B8CF8-9809-43F2-887B-678A876D5002.jpeg

CD8E3C1B-EBFC-4D75-9F39-A3D6D5DEFCD2.jpeg

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45 minutes ago, Maideneer said:

Daytime problems arising for me too, which was unexpected.

pic 1 is what I see through my finder scope which is a chimney top

pic 2 is the actual chimney top, about 100 some odd yards away

pic 3 just shows the cam attached to the focuser in back

pic 4 is just an example of the settings in sharpcap

no slider I adjust works, from exposure to gain to capture area etc etc, the PC screen just goes from white to black and every shade in between depending on movement.

quite literally can’t get a picture and don’t know how to proceed. This isn’t much fun🙁

0DD19A41-7874-4226-9FF9-EB56A2F7B9C5.jpeg

BE18CBBD-08A4-4B07-BF9D-672627BA8426.jpeg

E56B8CF8-9809-43F2-887B-678A876D5002.jpeg

CD8E3C1B-EBFC-4D75-9F39-A3D6D5DEFCD2.jpeg

When you look through the main telescope is the chimney also centered  in a eyepiece ? Are you saying the slider controls on sharpcap have no effect on the pc screen ?

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4 minutes ago, neil phillips said:

When you look through the main telescope is the chimney also centered  in a eyepiece ? Are you saying the slider controls on sharpcap have no effect on the pc screen ?

I centered the chimney first with an EP, removed the EP and inserted the cam w/nose piece into the focuser back.  The sliders do SOMETHING to be sure, basically just alternating between white, black, an occasional bluish or tan or whatever - but it's so sensitive and fleeting that it's virtually meaningless to what extent I leverage the sliders.  So something IS happening, but no picture or anything.  My scope focuser knobs do next to nothing when the cam is in.

I read somewhere that having this cam is nearly equivalent to having a 5mm EP, so I wonder if I'm pointing at things that are too close but then again, pointing at the moon last night produced nothing either.  I'm still going to try your moon tactics later on tonight to see if something works but I'm just lost at this point.

I don't think Sharpcap in 32 or 64 version matters, I know I have USB 3.0 ports so I really am at a loss.

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2 minutes ago, Maideneer said:

I centered the chimney first with an EP, removed the EP and inserted the cam w/nose piece into the focuser back.  The sliders do SOMETHING to be sure, basically just alternating between white, black, an occasional bluish or tan or whatever - but it's so sensitive and fleeting that it's virtually meaningless to what extent I leverage the sliders.  So something IS happening, but no picture or anything.  My scope focuser knobs do next to nothing when the cam is in.

I read somewhere that having this cam is nearly equivalent to having a 5mm EP, so I wonder if I'm pointing at things that are too close but then again, pointing at the moon last night produced nothing either.  I'm still going to try your moon tactics later on tonight to see if something works but I'm just lost at this point.

I don't think Sharpcap in 32 or 64 version matters, I know I have USB 3.0 ports so I really am at a loss.

I am also unsure but will bet its a light levels, and focusing issue, you need the right settings to see when it starts coming into focus. Keep checking the moon isnt moving away from the chip. By removing the camera and putting in the eyepiece. if its still visible in the eyepice put the camera carefully back in. not jog it too much. also try putting zoom at 50% and make sure your resolution is set at maximum meaning your capture area is set to its largest size

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3 minutes ago, neil phillips said:

I am also unsure but will bet its a light levels, and focusing issue, you need the right settings to see when it starts coming into focus. Keep checking the moon isnt moving away from the chip. By removing the camera and putting in the eyepiece. if its still visible in the eyepice put the camera carefully back in. not jog it too much. also try putting zoom at 50% and make sure your resolution is set at maximum meaning your capture area is set to its largest size

I will do my best friend! Your help is greatly appreciated…another report back in the AM.

oh and to OP, I just realized I hijacked your great thread, I’m sorry about that…I didn’t intend to.

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I'd more than likely say its a focusing issue with the camera, it is like looking through an 5-6mm ep as you say so the moon will be closer up, its been said before here but can you use an extender of some sort to see if more outward travel focuses the object in view. Hope you get this issue sorted soon. 

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1 hour ago, AstroNebulee said:

I'd more than likely say its a focusing issue with the camera, it is like looking through an 5-6mm ep as you say so the moon will be closer up, its been said before here but can you use an extender of some sort to see if more outward travel focuses the object in view. Hope you get this issue sorted soon. 

Thats true wonder if he needs more back focus ?

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From my experience you definitely need to add an extension to the focuser . Why dont you try the camera through a star diagonal , which i assume you already have ... although its not ideal you will see if focus can be achieved as its adding an extension .

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I just got done for the night and I didn’t try for the moon but visually got myself seeing Jupiter and Saturn for an hour. I had a massive headache so wasn’t up for much.

Here’s my issue with the more back focus thing. Wouldn’t similar but far better scopes need the same thing? A nice Redcat or Zenithstar, those are somewhat similarly sized in focal length, wouldn’t that call for the exact same thing? Or is there something I’m missing.

I know the cam isn’t defective, I popped on the fisheye inside the house and it works just fine so I’m glad about that at least.

i do have my diagonal yes but I just realized I also have my new ADC…maybe I can try that tomorrow night. If that’s not enough, I can search around for an extender but no idea what that looks like yet until I shop around (I am NOT a handy DIY person).

What a pain lol!

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Definitely try the diagonal as suggested by Stu to see if the extra length helps achieve focus, if so an old Barlow lens with the lens taken out so its just the tube may give you enough back focus. Hope you get the issue sorted. 

Edited by AstroNebulee
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Right, so I am looking around and apparently an extension tube like this one - https://www.amazon.com/Orion-5123-1-25-Inch-Telescope-Extension/dp/B0000XMUH8 - might be what I need.  In the customer reviews, there's even a guy who has the exact scope I have and others who regard it as helpful for additional back focus with a camera.  So that's my next step here, aaaaaaaaand it's going to rain all this week so I guess that leaves me a while to do some reading.

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Just to bring this back to the ‘small is beautiful’ theme, I was using my Prinz Optics 550 last night for the first time at night. This is my £5 eBay scope, and last night it gave me some nice views of the Moon and a ‘just about’ split of the Double Double. Good fun.

4A78E432-8A00-4E8F-BA5D-739FD44163FD.jpeg

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7 minutes ago, Maideneer said:

Right, so I am looking around and apparently an extension tube like this one - https://www.amazon.com/Orion-5123-1-25-Inch-Telescope-Extension/dp/B0000XMUH8 - might be what I need.  In the customer reviews, there's even a guy who has the exact scope I have and others who regard it as helpful for additional back focus with a camera.  So that's my next step here, aaaaaaaaand it's going to rain all this week so I guess that leaves me a while to do some reading.

Seems like a plan ......   :) 

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Just now, Stu said:

Just to bring this back to the ‘small is beautiful’ theme, I was using my Prinz Optics 550 last night for the first time at night. This is my £5 eBay scope, and last night it gave me some nice views of the Moon and a ‘just about’ split of the Double Double. Good fun.

4A78E432-8A00-4E8F-BA5D-739FD44163FD.jpeg

Another thread needed, Stu ? , Small AND  Cheap ? lol .. Looks great , and as you say , its serving its purpose . Great stuff !

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8 minutes ago, Stu said:

Just to bring this back to the ‘small is beautiful’ theme, I was using my Prinz Optics 550 last night for the first time at night. This is my £5 eBay scope, and last night it gave me some nice views of the Moon and a ‘just about’ split of the Double Double. Good fun.

4A78E432-8A00-4E8F-BA5D-739FD44163FD.jpeg

Good fun for £5!

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The diagonal idea worked, it worked and I'm stunned!  I got a picture on my screen of some tree leaves in focus!  Wow this is liberating lol. Tonight is the last clear night for a week so Jupiter and Saturn here I come! *fingers crossed*

P.S. - all of you people are amazing and never made me feel stupid.  This is such a quality message board and I'm proud to be here.

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3 hours ago, Maideneer said:

The diagonal idea worked, it worked and I'm stunned!  I got a picture on my screen of some tree leaves in focus!  Wow this is liberating lol. Tonight is the last clear night for a week so Jupiter and Saturn here I come! *fingers crossed*

P.S. - all of you people are amazing and never made me feel stupid.  This is such a quality message board and I'm proud to be here.

That's great the extra extension from the diagonal worked to gain your focus, I hope you had some good views with it tonight, as said before it's not the ideal way of imaging using the camera combined with the diagonal, it's best in prime focus straight in the back of your scope so definitely get that extender now.

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