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First time with NINA and guiding

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Finally got a chance last week to get out with my new mini PC using NINA. 

The long wait was probably quite useful as it meant I had plenty of time to get everything installed, connected and generally learn my way around the software. I have been controlling the mini PC from my phone which has not been as fiddly as I was worried it would be. 

I got 5 nights of data across 6 nights. The first night had some high cloud about so that didn't make it into the final stack. After the first three nights getting used to the setup and just running the camera through the software I thought I would give guiding a go. I got it all connected up and started guiding through phd2, but it just wasn't working for some reason so I reverted to unguided for that night. On Saturday I gave guiding another go and it all worked out well. Realised I just hadn't given phd2 long enough to calibrate before starting the sequence in NINA🙃

I'm using a star adventurer so only guiding in RA but there is a clear improvement in the consistency of the subs when processing in Siril. 


The subs on the left are from the night with high cloud, the ones on the right are the guided ones. 

The final image is below, M45 with Samyang135, 600D on a Star Adventurer 2i. 60sec subs just under 5 hours making the final stack. Processed in Siril


I'm happy with how this turned out but I'm going to try and reprocess this and see if I can get anymore out of it (maybe try GHT stretch?). I can certainly see some dust coming out, would longer subs help here? Or just more subs? Or better processing?

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Looks great! I'm one step behind you. I've been using almost the exact same setup (EOS 550D astro-modified), and am also looking to get my first steps into guiding with NINA to get decent subs longer than 30sec, eventually with a mini-PC. Which one are you using? Did you power the equipment (guide camera, dew heaters, ...?) via the mini-PC? Also interested to hear if you did any specific checks and tryouts before heading outside?

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7 hours ago, Swillis said:

I gave guiding another go and it all worked out well. Realised I just hadn't given phd2 long enough to calibrate before starting the sequence in NINA🙃

All looking good and isn't it great when things go right ?

Give it a bit of time and then get into using the advanced sequencer. There you can set it to start guiding , force a calibration if you want to, and it will not continue until it has calibrated.
In fact I thought using the simple sequencer you can start the guiding and I think it waits if it does a calibration, I don't think you can force a calibration though with the simple sequencer.

Don't be afraid of the advances sequencer, I was for quite a while but now I have tried it I wish I had done sooner.
Look at Patriot Astros Youtube tutorials, there are loads on NINA and several on the advanced sequencer.
Get used to it through the day so not as to interrupt your imaging.
I now have sequences ready well before dark and can hit the start sequencing whenever you want, so long as the mount is aligned and it sets off as soon as it is dark enough, slews to target, plate solves so its bang on framed  up as I want it and away it goes, its brilliant.


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@jfrijhoff it's the Beelink GK mini. Was about to order from FLO but found a second hand one from CEX which was about half the price and good condition. The guide cam (120 mini) is powered through the usb connection to PC but I powered the dew heaters through a battery. 

As far as checks I got the cameras connected and checked I could take images. What was well worth doing was getting the guide cam in focus during the day so it was somewhere in the right region for when I took it out at night. I had a bit of a play with the simulators just to help learn my way about a bit more. 

@teoria_del_big_bang I will have to take a look at the advanced sequencer, but I won't be able to make full use of all the features since I have a star adventurer so don't have any goto capability. 

One of the reasons I got the mini PC was to use plate solving for finding faint targets. M45 didn't require it, but just checked it was all working.

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Similar sort of boat, just got the mini PC setup, with the software, and had the first full test night with NINA, still have a few little issues which are driving me nuts (EQMOD, had to go back to skywatcher ascom), but got round most of it for now, and managed to get the Wizard and Rosette, trying again tonight.  Loving the plate solving, but only used the basic sequencer for now. 

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  • 1 month later...

Just had two nights to try out guiding with PHD2 and NINA, via laptop for now. With great polar alignment it looked I could go easily to 3 min, and even to 5 min exposure time without trailing. Will fiddle with PHD2 settings some more, but guiding accuracy was around 1.5”, which I’m very happy with considering it’s the SA2i.

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