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You've got to love astrophotography....


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I've been a total lurker on this board to date.  I've never thought my images were good enough to post 😂

 

But tonights' imaging session is currently on stop because..........

 

I'm pretty sure my usb 3.0 extension lead has moisture in it!!  😭

 

I thought I'd seen all the failures up till yet haha.  It's a new one to me.

 

It's currently in the oven drying out 🤣

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7 hours ago, Jerry Barnes said:

Rather drastic!  Planning to go out again tonight? and did you make it before the clouds came back?

The fix did work!!!!  I remembered my father telling me back in the day about having to put his spark plug leads in the oven to dry out when they were damp and arcing somewhere else than the spark plug.

 

I did get back outside but pc/wifi/network issues stopped the session around midnight.   This is the next thing for me to sort out and increase reliability.  😌

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13 hours ago, Dunk76 said:

I've been a total lurker on this board to date.  I've never thought my images were good enough to post 😂

Always worth posting early images, I have not yet seen a post where anybodies images have been berated, I know some SGL members have such fantastic images it is rather intimidating to put what you think is not worthy, but think about it any image, whether not so well focussed, or not so clear is a triumph when you think what you have managed to do.

You can often learn so much from constructive comments it is invaluable, often if you post the raw stacked image others will take the data and make it look so much better and also explain you are missing a trick in bringing the full image out in the processing, so don't be afraid to post 🙂 

And also don't worry all these issues are sent to try us, and we all have been there, but some nights it will all just go right and when you get a half decent image it all seems worth it 🙂 
From the thread title sounds like you still have a sense of humour and believe me that helps in this game 🙂 

Steve

Edited by teoria_del_big_bang
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OK,  I'll post an early image I took in Feb 2021.  Look at the settings I used 😔   

So this was took with a Canon 550d using stock 55-250mm lens taped to 250mm to prevent zoom creep.  They were unguided on my CG5-GT.Stack2.thumb.png.7af93df9d20a05023cd6526a605892e3.png

Technically, lots of things wrong with this image.  Star shapes horrid due to daytime lens,  ISO totally wrong for this camera.  Way too much noise... I'm not even sure how I processed it now...

 

 

So over the year I addressed all the weaknesses in my kit.  I rolled the dice and bought a telescope...  It is an Svbony SV48 500mm, paired with an OVL field flattener works well.  This is still riding on my CG5-GT, ASCOM guided (PHD2 - amazing),  using APT (amazing), 15sec subs (66 mins worth).  For once all the calibration files worked perfectly, bias, darks & properly exposed flats 😶 (all part of the learning curve).  It was processed using SIRIL...  what an amazing program.  

1425052378_M42-SIRIL.thumb.png.e4eb48e2b950911eb5bdce071935fbee.png

 

So still this image is noisy,  shot on 23/dec/2021.      I struggle with integration time really...

 

For the future:  Over Christmas break I did a final tune-up of the CG5 ready for the new year.  Oh, I also have to say I did a belt drive conversion on this mount a few months ago using a post here by BillHinge.  Fantastic post. Lots of info and it makes the CG5 punch well above its weight. 

So during the tune up I plugged a motor in wrong and blew up the encoder on new years eve.  Just today a new one has arrived in the post from a place in Germany.

 

In the meantime I took another plunge and bought an EQ6-R pro.......   so there's really no excuses now is there? 😂  It's been a huge learning curve last week... software and drivers o.m.g.... The mount is beautiful though.  Compared to the CG5 it is like 2 generations more modern.  It's twice the size too.  Very beefy.

The only problems I'm having so far with it has been 'choppy' guiding.  It seems very 'saw-tooth' like..  I'm trying everything to calm it down.   And also a hugely frustrating issue dithering.  After a dither the first 3 images at least show trails.  I'm not sure what setting on PHD2/APT delays imaging until the guiding has settled down enough.  I did have timeout set to 120sec but still this is nowhere near long enough..  As a result of this I have to dither every 20-30 images because it takes AGES to complete, and still 3+ images are guaranteed scrap.

 

Anyway, enough rambling.

 

Clear skies! 

Edited by Dunk76
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32 minutes ago, Lee_P said:

I think that those are very respectable photos, especially for early efforts! 👏

Thank you sir.

I badly fall down on processing.  SIRIL intimidated me for a long time until I came accross this video:

 

Now I use SIRIL for post processing, its great, fast and efficient.

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1 hour ago, Dunk76 said:

 

The only problems I'm having so far with it has been 'choppy' guiding.  It seems very 'saw-tooth' like..  I'm trying everything to calm it down.   And also a hugely frustrating issue dithering.  After a dither the first 3 images at least show trails.  I'm not sure what setting on PHD2/APT delays imaging until the guiding has settled down enough.  I did have timeout set to 120sec but still this is nowhere near long enough..  As a result of this I have to dither every 20-30 images because it takes AGES to complete, and still 3+ images are guaranteed scrap.

With respect to guiding with PHD2 it is worth joining the PHD Guiding Forum (https://groups.google.com/g/open-phd-guiding).  You can upload your guide logs and get advice on what might be going wrong and what adjustments might help. The people who respond really know their stuff.  When I sought help I got a response from Brian Valente of Losmandy no less.  He gave me some excellent feedback on optimal settings and the behaviour of my mount (by coincidence a Losmandy G11) that resulted in a huge improvement in my guiding with PHD2. 🤓

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1 hour ago, Dunk76 said:

OK,  I'll post an early image I took in Feb 2021.  Look at the settings I used 😔   

So this was took with a Canon 550d using stock 55-250mm lens taped to 250mm to prevent zoom creep.  They were unguided on my CG5-GT.Stack2.thumb.png.7af93df9d20a05023cd6526a605892e3.png

Technically, lots of things wrong with this image.  Star shapes horrid due to daytime lens,  ISO totally wrong for this camera.  Way too much noise... I'm not even sure how I processed it now...

 

 

So over the year I addressed all the weaknesses in my kit.  I rolled the dice and bought a telescope...  It is an Svbony SV48 500mm, paired with an OVL field flattener works well.  This is still riding on my CG5-GT, ASCOM guided (PHD2 - amazing),  using APT (amazing), 15sec subs (66 mins worth).  For once all the calibration files worked perfectly, bias, darks & properly exposed flats 😶 (all part of the learning curve).  It was processed using SIRIL...  what an amazing program.  

1425052378_M42-SIRIL.thumb.png.e4eb48e2b950911eb5bdce071935fbee.png

 

So still this image is noisy,  shot on 23/dec/2021.      I struggle with integration time really...

 

For the future:  Over Christmas break I did a final tune-up of the CG5 ready for the new year.  Oh, I also have to say I did a belt drive conversion on this mount a few months ago using a post here by BillHinge.  Fantastic post. Lots of info and it makes the CG5 punch well above its weight. 

So during the tune up I plugged a motor in wrong and blew up the encoder on new years eve.  Just today a new one has arrived in the post from a place in Germany.

 

In the meantime I took another plunge and bought an EQ6-R pro.......   so there's really no excuses now is there? 😂  It's been a huge learning curve last week... software and drivers o.m.g.... The mount is beautiful though.  Compared to the CG5 it is like 2 generations more modern.  It's twice the size too.  Very beefy.

The only problems I'm having so far with it has been 'choppy' guiding.  It seems very 'saw-tooth' like..  I'm trying everything to calm it down.   And also a hugely frustrating issue dithering.  After a dither the first 3 images at least show trails.  I'm not sure what setting on PHD2/APT delays imaging until the guiding has settled down enough.  I did have timeout set to 120sec but still this is nowhere near long enough..  As a result of this I have to dither every 20-30 images because it takes AGES to complete, and still 3+ images are guaranteed scrap.

 

Anyway, enough rambling.

 

Clear skies! 

I wouldn't say those images were too noisy - overly smoothed and noise reduced images tend to have a plasticy 'fake' type look. This is actually something I really struggle with, I have a tendency to go too far with noise reduction, due to an aversion to noise. I'm trying to get over that and embrace the grain!

What you do appear to have there though, is some blue bloat on the stars. This can be relatively easily remedied with a uv/ir cut filter, such as the Astronomik L3. Could also be processed out to some degree, but I prefer to prevent problems rather than fix them later. 

Re: the mount, have you tried running the guiding assistant? 

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22 hours ago, AMcD said:

With respect to guiding with PHD2 it is worth joining the PHD Guiding Forum (https://groups.google.com/g/open-phd-guiding).  You can upload your guide logs and get advice on what might be going wrong and what adjustments might help. The people who respond really know their stuff.  When I sought help I got a response from Brian Valente of Losmandy no less.  He gave me some excellent feedback on optimal settings and the behaviour of my mount (by coincidence a Losmandy G11) that resulted in a huge improvement in my guiding with PHD2. 🤓

Thanks for the link.  I will surely be putting a post on there at some point.

👍

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22 hours ago, The Lazy Astronomer said:

I wouldn't say those images were too noisy - overly smoothed and noise reduced images tend to have a plasticy 'fake' type look. This is actually something I really struggle with, I have a tendency to go too far with noise reduction, due to an aversion to noise. I'm trying to get over that and embrace the grain!

What you do appear to have there though, is some blue bloat on the stars. This can be relatively easily remedied with a uv/ir cut filter, such as the Astronomik L3. Could also be processed out to some degree, but I prefer to prevent problems rather than fix them later. 

Re: the mount, have you tried running the guiding assistant? 

I have since bought a 2" uv/ir cut filter which does actually help! 😁

 

RE: Guiding assistant.   I don't think I've run it on this mount actually!  Next time I have my gear out I will do it.

Thanks. 

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For any newbs to PHD reading this, the guideline (always assuming you're not using ST4 guiding) is to run your calibration near the meridian and equator, and run the Guiding Assistant at or near your target.

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