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First Real Attempt at Saturn . . .

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#1 spencerj

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 02:18 PM

I know there are a couple of these threads out there, but I didn't want to hijack one. I have been a visual astronomer for over 10 years, but this is the first time I have ever really tried to capture an image of anything. I am using a Logitech Quickcam 4000 (that I got for $1 off EBay), a Celestron Ultima Barlow and my new-to-me Intes Micro M703.

Collimation of the scope is very good, but not perfect and I think I was very close on focus. I took a number of avi's with Sharp Cap most were five minutes with one longer and two shorter. Unexpectedly (at least for me) the one that came out the best was one of the shorter captures. I had to cut it short (3-4 minutes), because Saturn was about to drift out of the FOV. This is odd, because my CG-5 had been tracking well. I was easily getting five minutes with Saturn barely moving. Then for some reason, I started to get some drift.

Anyway, here is the image. I stacked it in Registax and adjusted the Wavelets, but really I don't know what I am doing. Any advice for capture settings in SharpCap or post-stack image processing tricks that may brighten up or sharpen this image?

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#2 Tassydevil

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:39 PM

Great first go Jason.

#3 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 07:56 PM

Any advice for capture settings in SharpCap or post-stack image processing tricks that may brighten up or sharpen this image?




I used the histogram and gamma functions of RegiStax as shown in this video.

Jupiter - NexImage 5 - RegiStax 6
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=5yUNMnIBOVM



I used the RGB Align function of RegiStax as shown in this video.

RegiStax 6.Primer
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=ALqQfExMRBA

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#4 spencerj

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 07:55 AM

Thanks for the links to the videos. Those changes made a real difference.

#5 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 08:27 AM

Your image of Saturn is much better than any I have taken (so far). I've been at it for years and am just now discovering how to use the power of RegiStax. Practice (and Cloudy Nights) makes perfect.

#6 Timthelder

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 08:53 AM

An excellent 'first real attempt!'

This is odd, because my CG-5 had been tracking well. I was easily getting five minutes with Saturn barely moving. Then for some reason, I started to get some drift.


If Saturn had just passed the meridian, the mount may have quit tracking. There is a setting in the hand control that controls this(can be turned off.) It kind've acts like a safety, it keeps the DEC motor case from hitting the mount when pointed south. Does come in handy if one falls asleep!

Also, if you have a minimal amount of drift you can set the rate on the hand control to '1' and gently bump/nudge the scope to keep the object centered in the FOV.

Well done!
Tim.

#7 spencerj

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 09:48 AM

Thanks, guys. This was the second time I tried to capture anything with the web cam. I tried Saturn a couple of weeks ago, but did not have the barlow with me at the time and I was only taking 2 minute avi's trying different settings. A couple came out OK, but the image size was small.

I had a better understanding of the software this time around, but it is still new and there is quite a learning curve.

Saturn was near the meridian, but the mount was still tracking. I'll check on the settings though. I like the idea of nudging Saturn back towards the middle. I wasn't sure I could do that without hurting the end result.

#8 Timthelder

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 01:22 PM

Just a thought...I have had a cable hang or tug on the scope before which would cause tracking problems. The coiled cable that goes from the control box up to the declination motor was the culprit...

Cheers, Tim.

#9 zAmbonii

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 02:50 PM

Just a thought...I have had a cable hang or tug on the scope before which would cause tracking problems. The coiled cable that goes from the control box up to the declination motor was the culprit...


^^ This

When I get around the meridian I have to make sure the DEC cable on the mount is out of the way. It has a tendency of getting caught between the DEC housing and the mount head causing problems.

I think that is a fantastic image from such a bargain webcam :). Cant wait to see what you can do now will have figured out the right settings and stuff.

#10 spencerj

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:44 AM

Thanks to all for the kind words and advice. I lucked out on the web cam. Some of the quick cam 4000's had the Sony ICX098 while others did not. I didn't know what I was getting until I opened it up.

I'll check the cables next time I see a tracking issue. My assumption was that I hit a section of gears that was not as smooth as the section that was tracking well. I like the CG-5. It has never given me a problem. Goto's are very accurate and it tracks well (especially for visual use) with a quick polar align with a polar scope. But at the end of the day, it is a mass-produced mount made to a price point so I don't expect perfection.






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