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  #21  
Old 19-05-2021, 11:16 AM
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ausmensan (Simon)
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Hi Alex,

I did consider this, and may do so. I think I will leave things as they are with my current setup, and test it out at the first fine weather opportunity. I don't think investing any more money in this will be productive at this stage, although my dad has offered to buy the wedge for me, which was pretty decent of him.

As others have suggested, a piggyback with a half decent camera would be an avenue to look down, and I do like the idea of a small equatorial type mount specifically for cameras. Cheers for your help.
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  #22  
Old 19-05-2021, 11:22 AM
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ausmensan (Simon)
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Hi Sharkbite,

Thanks for your advice, and you are right, this is a good place to be to get perspective on things. Yes, the 400d is a relic, and I still use it for normal photography, but the IR filter removal process looks a bit complex for my worsening eyes. Perhaps another more modern one would be better, will look into that, and perhaps a portable mount that is specific for cameras.

Yes, the field rotation is an issue I have been aware of for a while, although, I do have the opportunity to wedge it up so to speak. The only barlow I have is a Celestron Omni 2x, so not sure if that is suitable at all at this stage, but will experiment.

Yes, I would just be happy to get a few reasonable shots, which was really my only goal here.

When you say you attach the 224, and use the Canon lens, how are you doing that?

Cheers!
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  #23  
Old 19-05-2021, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ausmensan View Post

When you say you attach the 224, and use the Canon lens, how are you doing that?

Cheers!
Hi simon - with one of these:

https://www.bintel.com.au/product/zw...v=322b26af01d5

i attach the whole shebang to the scope with a canon lens-tripod mount ring.

cheers,
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  #24  
Old 19-05-2021, 11:00 PM
Dave882 (David)
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Hi Simon- since youíre not really looking for top quality shots, it really comes down to getting the most bang for you buck (where buck = time more than money!). The more gear you add to your sct setup the more complicated the setup and sometimes only for a few % increase in image quality.

Everyone will have their opinion- but for me, moving to a high sensitivity/efficient Astro camera and adding an ASIAIR gave a huge boost in performance and saved heaps of time/effort too. Especially for live stacking!

The thing I love about exploring this beautiful universe is that thereís so many paths you can take and so many ways to take them! Just make sure the path youíre on keeps you loving the hobby!
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  #25  
Old 20-05-2021, 10:13 AM
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ausmensan (Simon)
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Hi Dave,

Thanks for the reply, and you are absolutely right. I think I was just stuck in the mode of keeping going with the purchasing, hoping it would just magically happen. My setup, right now, is not too bad. I got out last night and managed to take some shots of the moon, M42 etc. The EOS was fine for the moon shots, but struggled with any other deep sky type objects. I guess some more experimentation will help, and some stacking. Definitely no longer than about 20 seconds per shot though.

The ASI462MC, well I managed to get it focused, and had enough time before clouds to get one shot of M42, which showed the trapezium. Need to play with the settings though, as the single shot seemed quite bright. But there is hope there! BTW, focusing is tough! The camera focus, and the ASI focus points seem to be wildly different. Need something electronic really, so I can return to set focus points.

I used ASIStudio for the capture, is that what you use with your ASI gear?
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  #26  
Old 20-05-2021, 10:44 AM
Dave882 (David)
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I use a bahtinov mask to get focus. This gets things good enough for eaa and basic imaging. I use the ASIAIR pro with the ASIAIR app on my iPad. It gives me all the functionality of focus routine (auto focus as well if you have zwo products), calibration subs, imaging etc wirelessly without another computer.
The focus point will always be different every time you change cameras or even changing filters, but very easy to get fairly accurate with an sct especially when youíre looking at a live view on iPad. Unless youíre doing something crazy you wonít ever run out of focus.

My process with the cpc:
Setup scope and imaging gear + uhc or uv-ir filter (20min)
Align scope 3star alignment on cpc (5min)
GOTO bright star and focus with mask on ASIAIR app (2min)
Take flat calibration frames with ASIAIR app (2min)
I reuse my darks and bias frames
GOTO imaging target
Preview
Setup livestacking and hit start
Enjoy!!

Iíve found my cpc to hold focus very well. I generally only need to refocus between targets if I change filters.

ASIAIR can also save all the subs during live stacking for processing later if you want. It has a histogram slider that you can use to get the best balance of contrast and detail during the live view.

I donít mean to sound like a salesman for zwo- but when it comes to eaa - Iím not sure if thereís a better system out there...? If you want to go full-blown imaging I think thereís more functionality on some of the pc based systems.
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  #27  
Old 20-05-2021, 11:00 AM
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ausmensan (Simon)
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Thanks Dave,

Ahh, yes the Bahtinov mask. I think I need to pick one up, I do remember reading about it, then it went into the background. I think there is one for the CPC1100, even here in Perth.

The part I am clearly not sure about, are the flats, darks and bias frame sequence. Are you able to step that out a bit, and explain what I need to do there? I remember one saying you had to put a white t-shirt over the scope and take shots, and one with the lens cap on etc. Not my strong point clearly.

I think if I can get those areas down pat, I should be right to go. My one shot of the Trapezium, sort of looks like this:

https://www.astronomycameras.com/blo...trapezium-m42/

So, I think I am on the right track. Just need to get the other areas sorted, and some sort of routine going with ASIStudio.

Your post helped me a lot.
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  #28  
Old 20-05-2021, 11:55 AM
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Take dark frames at the exact same exposure settings & length you used when capturing the images... simply put the cap over the front of your scope & snap away, usually I do this at the end of my image capturing session. This is when the camera/sensor is at it's hottest & thus, you are likely to capture any hot pixels...

Dark frames are then loaded to Deep Sky Stacker (another windows based free program) at the same time you load your light frames (image shots).

Flats can be done a number of ways & technically, can be done at any time or settings... I don't use them, I probably should but, I don't... I have purchased an led tracing board with the intent of trying to use it to capture flats but... I haven't done so yet...

Google 'taking flats in astrophotography' & you'll turn up a myriad of ways of doing them & explanations for what they are for...

Bias frames, I've never done them & despite reading up on them, don't really understand what they are for either...

Sorry, forgot to mention Bhatinov mask in earlier responses... yes, you definitely should have one for getting sharp focus both for deep sky and planetary/lunar.

There's a chap on ebay who 3-d prints them in Melbourne... his prices are exceptionally good & if he doesn't have what you need, you can chit chat back & forth & he'll make one for you... usually just needs some measurements from your scope... don't buy one commercially, it'll likely cost you 3 - 4 times the price...
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  #29  
Old 20-05-2021, 12:00 PM
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Simon, I also recommend you post some of your captures in the beginners astrophotography section.

Make sure you include the equipment used, settings & exposure lengths, etc as well as how you processed the image... whether you used darks/flats/bias, what program you used, etc, etc...

You will find that there are many on here that have been down your path already & are more than willing to gently critique, guide & educate you on how to get the best out of your gear...

As has already been mentioned, there will be limits to what you can achieve with your setup but, it's up to you to decide whether what you achieve suits your purpose or, to what level you want to take your imaging... you can do this without spending a fortune if your expectations are modest... or, this can get very, very expensive, very, very quickly...
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  #30  
Old 20-05-2021, 01:06 PM
Dave882 (David)
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Yeah I got my bahtinov from this guy on ebay too. Think I paid like $20 and it works just fine. This is the link to his page:

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/25490285...UAAOSwwiZbblJT

Calibration frames may be a bit different depending on what software/process you're using - but for eaa on asiair app you do it BEFORE you start livestacking so that the live results are calibrated.

Bias (to remove hot pixels etc):
1) Lense cap on
2) Fastest frame exposure your camera can take
3) At least 40 frames
4) Should be taken at same/similar temperature and gain settings as your actual imaging.

Dark (to remove amp glow):
1) Lense cap on
2) At least 20 frames
3) Should be taken at same/similar temperature / gain settings / sub exposure time as your actual imaging.

Flat: (to reduce dust bunnies/vignetting/uneven illumination)
1) Lense cap OFF
2) Image train fully setup for the image you about to take (incl filters)
3) Telescope focussed (even the slightest change in focus requires new flats)
4) I use a flat light panel I hold at front of telesope / dew shield
5) Use image preview to determine exposure time so that the AVERAGE is about half way along the histogram
6) Take at least 20 frames
7) Should be taken with everything setup EXACTLY as per your imaging - but the exposure time as per (5)

You can save the calibration stacks - but I only ever re-use the darks and bias ones.

You can get away without calibration shots, buuut, if you want to download the final live-stacked image and have a play with it the result will suffer.

I was looking through my phone and found a preview image I took of the pencil nebula, then another one of calibrated live stacked (a bit messy cause I didn't adjust my darks/bias for increased gain), then my final version after a play on the photoshop express app... Don't zoom too much into the corners...that's the price you pay for using a 8" sct at f4 with a 4/3 sensor!! Gives you a bit of an idea why I do the calibrations tho...

Hope that helps...
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  #31  
Old 20-05-2021, 01:17 PM
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ausmensan (Simon)
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Hi Carlton,

Thanks for the dark frame advice, I think the ASI app has spaces for all of the dark/light/bias etc frames, but no real tutorial in the app that I can see.

Will definitely have a look at Deep Sky Stacker!

Will also check out the 3-d printing guy, but the local store sells them for about $60, but don't think they have one for my scope at this point.

When I get some shots together, as in some more than the one or two I got from last night, I will definitely post them for advice. I think I just wanted to make sure I had the process down, which includes the darks/flats/bias etc before hand. I have seen pics which have not been processed, and that is not really what I want to do. If I can do it right, regardless of result, I would be pretty ok with that!
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  #32  
Old 20-05-2021, 01:20 PM
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ausmensan (Simon)
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Cheers again Dave,

The link is great, will probably do that one pretty quickly. I think focusing is going to be key to getting any sort of decent image, and I guess I am kind of assuming my collimation is ok, having checked defocussed star images for the right shape.

I appreciate you stepping out the process for bias/darks and flats, that is exactly what I needed. It gives me confidence that I can pull this off, in some way shape or form.

Yes, I can see from your images the changes, and it does make a difference! I would be happy just seeing any type of nebula/galaxy on one of mine, regardless of quality!
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  #33  
Old 20-05-2021, 01:44 PM
Dave882 (David)
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No worries. You should be able to do much more than my efforts with your scope! I think your imaging camera may be your only limiting factor.

By the way- this is the light panel I got:

https://a.aliexpress.com/_mKJQdDJ

Cheap as chips! Only annoying thing is that the light is slightly banded (not fully uniform). I get around this by manually rotating the panel while it does the flat calibration shots.
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  #34  
Old 20-05-2021, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave882 View Post
Yeah I got my bahtinov from this guy on ebay too. Think I paid like $20 and it works just fine. This is the link to his page:

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/25490285...UAAOSwwiZbblJT
Yep, that's the one...
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  #35  
Old 20-05-2021, 01:57 PM
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Simon,

another program worth checking out for processing Deep sky stuff once you've stacked in Deep Sky Stacker is 'Startools'....

A number of guys on here use it; there are other programs too but, they tend to be waaaay more expensive...

Startools isn't free but, I think it's around $45 from memory... the chap who wrote the program is on here (Ivo Jager) & is really, really helpful when it comes to giving you advice on how to use it... You can download a trial version with no time limit... I think it just won't let you save the final render... but, you can play with it & see if it suits your needs... or not

**Edit**: It's $65 now... still very affordable IMHO

https://www.startools.org/

He has plenty of documentation on his site on how to use it plus, guys can give you tips on here too... it can be as automated or manual in the processing as you want it to be...

As I said though, there are other processing tools... Nebulosity, Pixinsight but, to name a few... plenty of folk on here using other tools too & some, only using Photoshop (with or without astro plug-ins) & getting excellent results...

Last edited by Outcast; 20-05-2021 at 02:00 PM. Reason: Extra info
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  #36  
Old 02-06-2021, 12:21 PM
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ausmensan (Simon)
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Hi Carlton,

I did check out Startools, and wrote to the guy. Seems like a great product for $65 odd dollars. Would I use that instead of the ASI tools, which TBH, seem a bit flaky right now.
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Old 02-06-2021, 01:44 PM
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Hi Carlton,

I did check out Startools, and wrote to the guy. Seems like a great product for $65 odd dollars. Would I use that instead of the ASI tools, which TBH, seem a bit flaky right now.
Sorry, not really familiar with the ASI tools but, I think it would depend on what you are looking to achieve. If your looking at post processing to produce an image to keep then yes, startools would be used post stacking to produce the finished image. You might then look to tweak it a bit further in Photoshop or similar.

If your looking at live stacking in an EAA situation I'm not sure that startools does that, I suspect it doesn't.. in which case the ASI app (which I have used on a tablet) might be the go... Again, not really sure as I don't do a lot of EAA.

I think there are other capture software that supports live stacking/EAA, someone more familiar with these might be able to comment.

Hope that provides some level of useful information

Cheers
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  #38  
Old 02-06-2021, 02:35 PM
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Yes for EAA you can use the ASI app but it only works if you are also using the ASIAIR Pro for livestacking and asi cameras. This is what I use and itís magnificent in its simplicity and good features.

Sharp cap also does live stacking. It has a few more features (and better stacking algorithms IMHO). You also have the flexibility of using some different equipment but you need to use it in conjunction with a laptop or mini computer and it is a bit more of a learning curve + setup time and effort.
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