Old 31-10-2015, 10:26 PM
Grammaticus (Justin)
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Maningrida NT
Posts: 4
Newbie Advice...

Hi all,

Just purchased a Skyrover 115 refractor with GEM6 mount. got variety of eyepieces including 2/3x Barlow, T Ring for my Fujifilm camera, and am waiting on Plissl 35.

I'm focusing on the moon whilst studying Astronomy and getting to know the equipment I've purchased. It is relatively easier as a brighter object to get good shots etc. But other than getting to know the equipment, I'm wondering if anybody can help me with the type of software I could use to produce high standard images? Are there any other accessories i need to get sharper detail of the lunar surface? I've got a 8-25 zoom which brings the moon up beautifully and would like to be able to produce images of equal detail.

I'm also trying to get the goto to work accurately and to track targets but I think I'm not polar aligning it sufficiently. Any tips on this would be great. At the moment I'm just enjoying tracking manually. Saw Saturn for the first time through a scope - amazing... I just need more!!!

Thanks again

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Old 02-11-2015, 01:40 AM
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billdan (Bill)
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Narangba, SE QLD
Posts: 1,517
Hi Justin,

Welcome to Iceinspace, good to see another person getting into this hobby. You never know one day in the future you may be the first person in the world to see a new comet and have it named after you.

As far as software goes, you can download Deep Sky Stacker which is free and is a good starting point. Also there are quite a few try before you buy software packages around such as Nebulosity, Astroart, Backyard EOS and APT.
As you have a FUJI camera finding the software that supports your camera's RAW image will be your first task as most of these astronomy software packages are Canon biased when it comes to DSLR's. Otherwise you will have to save your images as Jpegs which is not as detailed, Jpegs are 8bit, RAW is 12, 14 or 16 bit (depending on the camera).

To get sharper detail you need accurate focusing and there are masks that can go over the front the telescope to help you with this, such as a Bahtinov mask or the Hartman mask which is very easy to make yourself. Put the mask on, get the focus perfect and then take it off.

Polar alignment is only for accurate tracking and does not effect Goto unless your polar alignment is completely way off.

Goto only needs 2 alignment stars to be centered on your camera. Your GEM6 handset will prompt you with star names to point at, to get this alignment correct. Grab a copy of the free Stellarium software to help with the location of the stars that the handset asks you to align with. The handset will give you a choice of a dozen alignment stars in case some are blocked by trees etc.

May I suggest go onto YouTube and look up Astronomy Shed, Dion has made a whole series of tutorials for first time astronomers starting out. These videos helped me out a lot when I first started and he provides a lot of useful information, he even shows you how to track and video the international space station with a webcam when it passes overhead.

Hope this helps,

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Old 11-11-2015, 10:02 AM
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rustigsmed (Russell)
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Mornington Peninsula, Australia
Posts: 3,499
hi Justin,
for the moon or planetary imaging, you will want a stacking program such as RegiStax 6 (free) or Autostakkert (also free). probably worth taking a look at this http://www.iceinspace.com.au/63-306-0-0-1-0.html

good luck!
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astrophotography, polar alignment, software

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