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Self Guiding CCD's ? - Recommended ?


jamesFSO
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hi all,

thought i'd break down my questions as im not getting any answers so far :)

So......please, does anyone have experience of self guiding cameras. I not looking for award winning pics of DSO's but i don't

have 2 scopes to do the usual setup so im looking at a self guiding

camera.

Anyone recommend any ?

Thanks,

James.

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For self guiding (i.e guide chip and imaging chip inside one physical camera), I think SBIG are the only real option. They hold a patent on self guiding cameras, so others avoid that config as much as possible...

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James

Until about 8 weeks ago, I was using a SBIG ST2000 and previous to that an older ST7. Both models have the built-in guiding chip in common with most of the SBIG range. They're not the cheapest CCD's around but are very reliable (weather permitting) and have a great build quality. You can pick them up 2nd hand at more reasonable prices. Of course, you avoid the need for a 2nd guidescope, separate guide CCD and there is zero flexure between guider and imager

I never had any problems in finding a guidestar when I used it although some others have occasionally complained about that problem. It shouldn't happen with most objects though.

HTH

Steve

Edited by SteveP
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SteveP,

Was it easy to use ? I have a C9.25 which I use for lunar, but was thinking of investing in a WO 72 and a self guiding camera just for starters. I also have a Atik2ic which I never use.

I've looked everywhere for a basic step by step guide on what you need for a basic dso setup, but can't find anything that doesn't look complicated :)

I also have a EQ6 pro which I can only get 40-50secs max before trails so that's why I thought of a self guiding system.

JJ

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Can we just ascertain what you mean by a self-guiding camera? Do you mean an 'autoguiding' camera that is used alongside an imaging camera or do you actually mean a single camera that does both imaging and guiding at the same time as mentioned by SteveL?

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James

I'm not the most technical person around but I managed it. My set up comprised a 5" refractor on an EQ6 Pro using CCDSoft (provided with the SBIG with the camera).

It's relatively straightforward in taking the image - processing is a different matter! As with any form of imaging, getting a good polar alignment is important as is getting the object properly focused and framed on the chip but that's true with any camera. The use of a selfguider removes some of the cables etc inherent with a separate guider and thus keeps things a little simpler/neater. The software/camera can take 'darks' automatically.

There's an active SBIG user group on Yahoo if you decide this is the way for you

Steve

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Steve (MOD),

i mean in the way of SBIG2000XCM which has a duel chip.

I have to setup each time i go out and don't want to bolt another scope onto my

C9 everytime i want to image, so just getting a ED80(for example) and then one

camera which does long exposures sounds appealing.

____________________

SteveP,

Do you have to get a exact polar alignment ? i have a Eq6pro and from my understanding if you get a good polar alignment the one of the dual chips keeps it from getting bad star trails ?

Or am i wrong ?

Thanks all for your input so far :)

James

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Whatever you do...don't even think about a star 2000 based setup..

What is preventing you getting a dual scope/piggyback setup? (£80 for an ST80, say another £50 for rings etc, £200 for a guide cam...and then a v good imaging cam, will probably all come in less than the SBIG)

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James

What you've described, ie one camera having 2 chips, is self guiding. This results in 1 cable from the PC to the camera for imaging/camera control and for downloading images and a 2nd cable from the camera to the guiding socket on the EQ6 in your case for sending guiding commands

PA doesn't have to be perfect for either self guiding or indeed auto guiding. If you can achieve 'perfect' PA and use PEC software to reduce Periodic Error to a couple of arcsecs then you can avoid guiding all together and certainly for widefield imaging .. but I suspect that isn't what you're trying to achieve.

The better the PA however, the less work the guiding system, whichever approach is used, has to do. That's what I mean by 'good' PA. So no, you won't need 'perfect' polar alignment

Steve

ps There are a lot of Steves around here

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James

Get yourself a well corrected, reasonably fast widefield refractor (eg WO, SW, Borg, Tak etc) to compliment your SCT and in theory that will provide a very versatile guiding setup - guide with one, image with the other and vice versa. The only reason I say 'in theory' is that I'm not familiar with either camera so don't know their particular capabilities

Who knows ... have a word with your friendly dealer and you might even get yourself a bargain!

Steve

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