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Hello All,

Well this is a first for alot of things. I have been used to a basic(toy) Tasco 60mm GOTO refractor in the past. But I have always wanted to try astrophotography. So for the last 7 months I have been reading and asking you guys millions of questions and building on my equipment as i go. And as im not made of money I have been trying to get the best value i could out of it.

The majority of my new setup has all been either second hand or refurbed or just in a sale, but i think it has paid off because i think i have gotten some good equipment for a begginer for a reasonble cost.

Orion ED80- £180

ST80- £85

CG5-175

Polar scope £35

Canon 300D filter removed £150

Meade DSI-I £80

CG5 motors -£35

SimpleGPusb interface £20

Black&deccor batt £free

cables £free

Extension tube £10

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Total £765...(so far) Still needing a CLS CCD clip filter, Focal reducer/flattener & a bigger lessure bat. But i think i have done well.

So now comes the scary bit...FIRST LIGHT! Im really excited but very nervous at the same time as this is all completly new to me and i mean everything..from polar alligning to guiding to taking shots the works! but i guess you've got to start somewhere and sometime.

It has been twilight all night for the last few months in the Orkney isles but it is now getting dark at night. I work off shore for a month at a time and im at sea just now, 3 weeks left and then its a case of the first clear night there is ill be out their no doubt pulling my hair out figuring all this gear out.

So wish me luck!!! im going to need it! lol :)

P.S Is their really meant to be all those cables!! lol

P.P.S Any first night/Light tips wouldn't go a miss?

Thanks,

Michael

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Edited by msinclairinork
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First tip from me, forget the guiding at first and concentrate on getting the polar alignment right. Keep the sub lengths down below 3 minutes, maybe less, and with good polar alignment you'll find you capture some wonderful stuff. Good luck, the hair pulling starts here.

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Good tip Martin, i was thinking that my self.

I see you have a very similer setup to me, I was wondering if you would be so kind to share with me you're procedure for setting up at night? Or if its to big a list dont worry. It would just be nice to have a guide to run through on the first night. But i'm sure I will figure one out myself after a few sessions.

Thanks again,

Michael

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Michael, this is a quick procedure list. I may go back and amend it when I've re-read it as I'm a little tired at the moment.:)

· Site mount and make sure level. (After first time I accurately polar aligned I drill an hole in the block paving next to the 3 legs on the tripod so I knew where to put it next time.)

· Attach scope, camera and counter weights. (I now leave counter weights on all the time)

· Do polar alignment using polar scope, use a compass to assist in rough alignment to the north (calibrate polar scope first , take time to make sure this is done correctly). I use Polar FinderScope Free Polar Alignment Software Download Polar FinderScope by Dr. Dale Jason Version 2.04 Don't take much notice of the Alt settings on the mount...mine is about 4 degrees out.

· Start laptop, connect EQDir from mount to USB, connect camera to USB, power mount with leisure battery and turn on. Balance scope (I have marked the scope bar so I now know where to put it on the mount)

· Start TheSky 6 and connect to mount with EQMod. Set tracking to sidereal.

· Slew to a bright star and focus camera using Liveview. Your camera doesn't have LiveView so I would use a Bahtinov mask and take some 6 second shots and keep refocussing until focus achieved.

· Park mount in EQMod.

· Unpark. Using TheSky6 slew to a near bright star (Polaris??). Unlock RA/DEC locks and move scope to centre on bright star and lock. (This should give you an accurate park position next time out). Sync the star in TheSky6.

· I then slew to 3 more stars surrounding the object I want to image, centering the stars using EQMod to move mount, and sync.

· Slew to object you want to image. This should now be in FOV if you carried out the previous stage correctly and accurately got the 3 stars in the centre of the FOV and synced.

· Start AstroPhotographyTool V1.09 and take test shot at max iso to check focus/framing and adjust if necessary.

· Take lights and darks using APT, bias frames if needed.

· Take flats, use virtual lightbox on laptop.

· Park Mount in EQMod

· Process with Nebulosity/DSS/Photoshop/GradientXterminator

You should note that I am a newcomer to the world of imaging and the procedure could be totally wrong...hopefully it will give you a start but no doubt some of the more experienced members will come along and help us both get the procedure right.:)

All the best.

A couple of edits in red and I have ignored guiding for now....thanks Mark7331

Edited by ashworthacca
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Hi Michael, Just though I'd give my 10p worth :hello2:

This might be obvious but setup when it's still light. It's much easier level the mount, connect all of the (many many) cables and balance everything when you can see. Also it gives you something to do while your waiting for the dark. :hello2:

When positioning the mount I use a compass to help me point to the north. My own bearing on north seems to be a bit off sometimes. :)

Finally I agree totally with Martin - concenrate on getting a good polar alignment. It really helps.

Oh and if you have a dog don't let her run around the scope and crash into the cables pulling the CCD out and sending it crashing to the ground. Because then you have to buy a new one. :) I have forgiven her by the way. Just :p

Good luck!

Mark

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Hi Michael, Just though I'd give my 10p worth :hello2:

This might be obvious but setup when it's still light. It's much easier level the mount, connect all of the (many many) cables and balance everything when you can see. Also it gives you something to do while your waiting for the dark. :hello2:

When positioning the mount I use a compass to help me point to the north. My own bearing on north seems to be a bit off sometimes. :)

Finally I agree totally with Martin - concenrate on getting a good polar alignment. It really helps.

Oh and if you have a dog don't let her run around the scope and crash into the cables pulling the CCD out and sending it crashing to the ground. Because then you have to buy a new one. :) I have forgiven her by the way. Just :p

Good luck!

Mark

some good points that I missed there Mark.;)

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Well firstly THANK YOU Martin for taking the time to post those instructions! I think i can adopt the majority of them to suit me. It will go along way for the first night.

And thanks Mark, It makes sense to get out their before it gets dark to calibrate everything. P.S no longer have a dog so no worries their! lol.

Cheers guys, you're help will ease the hair pulling (i hope!) :)

Michael

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Thanks guys makes a big difference in this game if you have helpfull people to point you in the right direction.

They were'nt kidding when they say its a STEEP learning curve! But i think its what it gives it that extra appeal and makes it all that more interesting.

Thanks again chaps moochoes appreciated!!!

Michael

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