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NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions

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#1 Alex Post

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 10:20 AM

This thread is a companion to the AP Images with Original NexStar thread.

For one reason or another NexStar AP community is growing by leaps and bounds. As it grows, it spills into other (non-original NexStar) equipment and more sophisticated techniques. We also make (or continue talking to) friends that we met on this journey.

I believe existence of this tread is a testament of the simplicity and versatility of the original NexStar platform that welcomes new users and provides a natural path for growth in both Visual and AP.

#2 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 10:43 AM

Well, IMO Alex, the Nexstar community ITSELF (AP or non) is growing by leaps and bounds because of People such as yourself, Tel, Peter, Dan, Skip (among many many others) who share their experiece with the scope, what it can do, what you can do to it to make it do what you want (sorry if that was confusing), and just being all together intuitive to explain to people and let them make a decision about a scope based on their needs.

In all honesty, If it werent for you guys and this forum, I would have either bought a different scope and been upset, or still be scopeless.

Im sorry if I am ranting, but leaps and bounds is in many ways, because of all of y'alls friendly advice to newcommers, or to people looking to expand their scope collection.
In the near future, I look to move in to AP with the Nexstar as well, so I will be combing all these AP related threads in the meantime.

#3 Naturlich

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 10:54 AM

So, I hope it's ok to post a couple in here (if not I will remove the post no questions asked! Let me know)

The following are taken with my recently purchased Celestron f5 102mm (4") WV mounted piggyback on my LX200:

The moon on the 15th September 2011
Posted Image

M31 Andromeda 10th September 2011
Canon 400D Prime Focus
Very few exposures here, cloud cover was rolling in :(
Posted Image

And finally Pegasus Dbl Cluster 13th September 2011
Canon 400D Prime Focus
again, bad cloud cover, just managed to grab 5x30 second exposures in a gap through the clouds:
Posted Image

The 102mm is another little learning curve as the light pollution I suffer here which is bad through the 10" is only amplified by the f5 4" Celestron! I have a little chromatic abberation that I hope to control better in the future, but the f5 is an excellent addition to the rather narrow FOV of an f10 scope.

Nat

PS the image of the moon is showing to be as 992x968 even though I've changed it to 800 pixels, so I hope it's only a chache problem and it's not actually oversized for you.

#4 Alex Post

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 11:08 AM

Nat, I think this is exactly the right thread :)

If I understand correctly, the M31 image is done at prime focus with 4"? If so, the field of view is dramatically wider than on 6SE and 8SE in prime AP configuration. For some reason I thought 4SE was much closer to the bigger scopes from FOV stand point.

Can you post a picture of your setup? That is 4SE OTA mounted on the LX200? I have a friend of mine with an LX200 and I wanted to show him what a "hybrid" can do. He is too afraid to do any kind of AP with his scope, thinking it's "too difficult". Thanks.

#5 Skip

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 11:12 AM

Hi Nat,

Good pics! Couple of comments:

Moon: Very sharp image, but a bit either overexposed or over-processed for my taste. Some surface features are blown out. Did you take subs and stack in Registax, then use wavelets on it? Maybe too much on the wavelets? As I said - only for MY taste. :grin:

M31: Very interesting shot! I imagine the dark smudges on either side of the core are either clouds or moisture on the scope lens? Also some small haloes around the stars might be from high thin clouds. But what caught my eye was the amount of detail (!) in the spiral arms that one can see if one studies the image a bit. Probably lots more data in there that could be brought out by some careful stretching in Photoshop. Nice picture, especially given the conditions.

Dbl Cluster: Once again, maybe a bit over-exposed (for my taste). Haloes around the stars may be either thin clouds or maybe over-processing? But, all in all, a nice image of a beautiful sight!

Keep 'em coming Nat! :bow:

#6 Naturlich

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 11:32 AM

Alex,

Thanks, the scope is Celestron 4" refractor, not the SE, it's similar to (but not identical to) the Nexstar 102 SLT, thats why I mentioned that I'd remove if you wanted since it's not a true Nexstar, only very similar, but I have been meaning to load everything onto my mount and take a shot so I'll do that. I've greatly modified the LX200 though so it will carry extra weight with ease and tracking is greatly improved (I keep 100% of my 30 second exposures in alt/az)

Skip

Thanks, I agree the moon is a little over processed on wavelets I think, it's processed with aviStack2 as no version of Registax works with the avi's prodcued by the DMK41.

The dark areas I found were actually dust on the Canon sensor! I had to manually clean it, only found out after removing the doublet from the 102 and cleaning that first lol not a bad thing though, cleaning is always good lol

The halos are chromatic abberation, most visible on the brigh stars, through post processing it's been reduced somewhat, but I'll still need a fringe killer or minus violet to fix it completely.

After these almost practice shots I'm hopefully that the 4" refractor will work very well with a good 100 exposure session on an object rather than just the few exposures I've had chance to capture at the moment, but as I said, the light pollution through the 4" is like nothing you've ever seen and requires massive post processing to try to remove it whilst retaining the detail you want, one day I'll get to a dark site, but with day to day imaging I have to put in litteraly hours of work to produce usuable images from the initial exposures (all part of the fun tho!)

Thanks again guys

Nat

#7 Alex Post

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 11:43 AM

Wow, way to show my ignorance on NexStar product line :) Perhaps this is a common knowledge, but when I was looking for a scope, I was simply looking at the aperture numbers. Learning something every day.

On LP, you are probably well aware, but here is a link to the most excellent review by Samir: Comparison of filters for heavy LP. I like Samir's work and the style of presentation, both on this forum and elsewhere on the Internet.

Based on his comparison chart I purchased Hutech LPS:

Edit: Please provide a link to images that are NOT your personal property. Thanks.


#8 Skip

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 12:39 PM

Hi Alex,

I knid of like the "No Filter = Visible + IR" image best - except for that weird greenish halo around the whole DSO. What the heck is that? :confused:

#9 Alex Post

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 12:48 PM

Skip, it's the LP. Not sure why it's greenish, but attribute it to Samir's processing. In his discussion of results he dives into details of the wispiness of the nebula arms and sounds (at least to me) convincing that Hutech is best choice for moderately polluted (below orange) skies. For sever LP he recommends another filter.

#10 Naturlich

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 01:09 PM

Here you go Alex, this is my current setup:

Posted Image Posted Image

I have an Orion Skyglow filter and an OIII currently (both 2" ofcourse), I think the skyglow works quite well, but I really need more time imaging to test and I really haven't had the chance since getting the 102mm, looking at the forcast it could be sometime before I get another chance aswell!

btw in the images:
Meade LX200-10: Upgraded to Autostar 497 with the George Dudash Deluxe upgrade kit, DIY motorised Crayford controlled through front panel, DIY dec bearing upgrade to needle roller bearings instead of plastic sleeves, dec control pots replaced with better units and tuned by George Dudash, DIY total and utter strip down of all component parts (drives, gears, fork mount) for cleaning, regreasing, and final fine adjustment to Orothgonality (is that a word?) Piggy Backed with a Celestron 102mm Wide View f5 refractor (also has a white Light solar filter)which itself has a Lunt LS35THa solar Hydrogen-Alpha telescope piggy backed on it.

Tracking is almost perfect, I still want to do a minor tweak to the LX200's LOS, it's off my a couple of milimeters. But after Super-Supercharging the LX200, tracking for imaging is pretty darn spot on, it was good before but now 30 second exposures are a breeze.

Imaging is done through all scopes.

As good as the LX200 is, that Celestron is the real finishing touch, the 102mm f5 FOV is amazing, it's like being there! Apart from Chromatic aberation, I rate this 102mm way up there, that image of the Perseus Cluster is a cropped image, the full FOV is way bigger than that.

For that friend of yours Alex, I HIGHLY reconmend a nice wide field scope to piggy back on the LX200, the LX is just too restricted in its FOV, and there's nothing like seeing and imaging big starfields, the 4" apature is in no way a restriction in what it can capture with multiple exposures, but you get the WHOLE picture lol :)

Thanks Alex

Nat

#11 Alex Post

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 01:26 PM

OK, did not read your post yet, Nat. One thing: picture is worth way more than thousand words. Working on another (NexStar) issue at the moment. Standby.

Orthogonality is a word.

#12 Midnight Dan

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 01:45 PM

Alex:

Excellent set of new threads and well named! :waytogo:

-Dan

#13 Alex Post

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 12:06 AM

That is quite a beast you got there Nat :) Amount of DYI gear is even more impressive. My DYI usually ends at attaching a Velcro strip. Thanks for the pictures.

#14 Naturlich

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 08:07 AM

Thanks Alex. Yeah I'm a bit of a DIYer :) There's nothing I havent had in bits mulitple times and rebuilt, but all the work has been worth it, when I got the scope I only had about a 50% keep rate from 30 second exposures due to tracking errors, I got that up to 70% after a strip and regrease of all the gears, now after boring out the fork arms to take roller bearings the tracking is awsome.

The Crayford I motorised using the JMI motor focuser for my 130SLT and a strong rubber band as a drive belt from the motor to the focus wheel.

Just really have high hopes now for the Celestron mounted on here, its opened up many more targets for images and gives a totally different perspective on things when your just viewing objects

It's certainly very handy to have such a substatial mount though, it carries the extras quiet easily, more so since I upgraded the dec bearings aswell, the dec is almost frictionless with the clutch released.

Thanks

Nat

#15 Naturlich

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 08:27 AM

Just thought I'd show the light pollution I'm working through. Below is the original image of Perseus, It's only been stacked with no further processing at all, so you can see where I start from, typically I'm able to reduce the light pollution primarily through DeepSkyStacker with further processing in photoshop:

Posted Image

Link to full sized:
http://i1005.photobu...h/lpexample.jpg

#16 Arthur Dent

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 11:07 AM

Wow Nat,

I think I'd remove the tracing paper from the objective before you try AP again!!

#17 Alex Post

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 11:47 AM

Wow, you need filters. You need some serious filters. But even before filters I would try to clean the sensor even further. LP you can work with, dark spots on image from the dust, there is not much you can do.

#18 Naturlich

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 12:47 PM

Wow Nat,

I think I'd remove the tracing paper from the objective before you try AP again!!


:roflmao:

LOL yeah the skyglow filter should help fix that, it'll be interesting to compair next time I get some clear skies, but I've gotten kinda used to post processing all that out so it's not all bad (as you see in the top perseus image, back to black:) ) The dust on the sensor is actually gone now thankfully!

I can handle the LP when it's a stars only object, the problem ofcourse comes when your trying to get a nebula through that, that takes a much more delicate touch for sure!

Nat

#19 Uggbits

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 12:02 AM

I have a couple images from last night. Finally had a chance to play with hyperstar on the club's 14'' Meade SCT. First let me say that it was insane. We tested a 0.1 second exposure, and caught at least 50 stars in a star field. Crazy stuff.

For my images I went a bit crazy with the power of guiding rushing to my head and overexposed for the light pollution situation (who knew that 8 minute subs at f2 was too much right?).

Anyways, I got 32 minutes on M101 catching the supernova, and 56 minutes on M33. I prefer the 101 image myself, but you be the judges (and be mean!). I think I'll need to have a go at the processing on 33 again tomorrow. Finding data in that pollution is tough.


M 101. 32 minutes through a Meade 14'' with hyperstar. 8 minute guided subs, all shot at -15*C.

Attached Files



#20 Uggbits

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 12:05 AM

Before I post the M33 shot, I wanted to post my M 101 in alt/az from June. It was about two hours of exposure likely at 45 second subs. Fancy gadgets aren't everything - last night the transparency wasn't great, and I feel like it shows in the images.

Attached Files



#21 Uggbits

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 12:08 AM

Here's the M33. I'm not terribly happy with either of these, but they'll have to do for now!

Attached Files



#22 Tel

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 04:56 AM

Hi Uggs,

Strangely enough I too tried for M33 recently (17 Sept), and I'm also not that happy with my image either but then again, the Moon was almost full which didn't help.

I was also trying out my new, (just bought) "Hitecastro" guider which proves to be working well.

This image represents 12 subs X 3 mins. dark subtracted. No flats. Captured in "Nebulosity" and processed in P/Shop CS2.

Equipment: Imaging 'scope Cheap f/5.9 4" Phenix achromat OTA with Baader "Semiapo" filter attached.

Camera: Unmodified Canon 350D.

Mount: Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro GEM "Hitecastro" guided via a Meade DSI. PHD software.

Guiding 'scope: Nexstar 8i OTA. f/6.3 FR in place.

Both 'scopes are mounted side by side on a Astro Engineering "Gemini" bar. (dual vixen dovetails).

Thank you for looking, Any advice for improvement is most welcome. :bow:

Best regards,
Tel

Attached Files



#23 Uggbits

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 11:50 AM

Tel, you got really well defined spiral arms. This galaxy is a weird one, because as you can see in my image if you go deep enough there is almost a cloud of stars blurring the arms from below. The moon probably offset that a bit (crazy target with the moon up by the way!). I would say that this target needs a larger field, and lots of time (contrast especially). Really tough.

Come to think of it the moon was probably rising for most of my image, so that might be why it doesn't appear that great. I figured even with hyperstar a 14'' would have a higher resolution than this one is showing. Must have been the poor transparency (1/5 on the scale). Oh well. Great shot Tel, cheers!
Dan

#24 Skip

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 01:07 PM

Hi Uggs,
M101 - I like your earlier one much better. The arms are more resolved and the colors are better (IMO). Looks like the Hyperstar goes so deep that the really dim star fields in the galaxy sort of mush together.
M33 - I like Tel's image best. Once again it looks like the Hyperstar overexposed the dimmer star fields. Although you can clearly see the spiral arms in your M33. Just too much "stuff" in the backgorund. But keep at it. That Hyp might be a bit difficult to master. Once you get it though, I'm sure there will be some stunning images! :grin:

#25 Peter9

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 01:58 PM

"Tel, you got really well defined spiral arms."

I have it on good authority he has well defined spiral legs as well. They help him stay one step ahead. :rofl5:

Regards. Peter.






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