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melsky

M31 (what difference a dark sky makes)

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Wow, what a picture, you can really see the core, the dust lanes and the star forming regions. Very well done Mel

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WOW! Let me get this right, the image was taken with no scope, just the 550 with a 200mm lens? OMG! I've got a Nikon D80 with 200mm and 300mm lenses. All I need now is to find a really dark area, being in the West Mids that's really difficult. Anyone know of some good places in the West Mids? I'm near Dudley/Wolverhampton etc.

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WOW! Let me get this right, the image was taken with no scope, just the 550 with a 200mm lens? OMG! I've got a Nikon D80 with 200mm and 300mm lenses. All I need now is to find a really dark area, being in the West Mids that's really difficult. Anyone know of some good places in the West Mids? I'm near Dudley/Wolverhampton etc.

Head west.

BirminghamvsWales.jpg

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Yeah I've pretty much come to that conclusion. Trouble is, at the moment it may be clear when I leave but I won't even be half way and the clouds will come again. Think I'm going to have to wait a month or two for the better weather. At least astronomy teaches you patience LOL

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Wonder how to achieve sharp focus with the 200mm lens, by checking on 550D's LCD screen to see when stars are sharper?

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If you're not connecting the camera to a computer, then the best way is to zoom in on the live view and check that the starts are as small as possible.

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Using an Astrotrac I assume they are usually not connected to the computer.

I did that on camera's LCD screen however the DSO I was pointing at was so faint/invisible on Live View, and zooming 10X on camera's Live View I used other stars or planets to adjust focus - they looked sharp on Live View however when I look at the photos later they are not sharp enough.

Apart from Bahtinov Mask, is there a more accurate way to focus both with and without using a computer? I use my normal camera lens as well hope the method is applicable to those.

Thx

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To connect the camera to the computer you could give APT a try

www.astroplace.net - APT - Introduction

It has a focusing aid. Basically you zoom into live view in APT and it measures the diameter of a star while you focus. Just try to make that diameter value as small as possible.

There is a free demo version of APT on that page and the full version is very reasonably priced.

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