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tommax
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit
      #5784281 - 04/07/13 04:45 PM

Hi all,

As I continue to learn and read I always have more questions... Having had several LX200's and having read many posts / articles on imaging, clearly at some point one should use a wedge with fork mounted scopes and I did obtain a wedge but would like to fulfill and learn more using alt/az still mainly because it is easier for me to move around and setup and once I feel I am good there I will go to polar.

My problem is I always read about an approx. 30 sec limit in exposures in Alt/Az with an LX200, but on all of my LX's I cannot get an 8 second exposure without the stars starting to "trickle" in the image, even if the object will stay centered for an hour more than 1 or 2 seconds and everything breaks down... I do not know what this is, when I hear I should be able to take up to 30 second exposures in alt/az... I have ran the training and used other tips before and same result. This seems to be the case about 1/2 way up or close to meridian so I am at a loss and could use some pointers... Please no "just use the wedge answers" as I will use the wedge when I can, but in the past even with the wedge I had similar issue's with anything longer than a second or 2... so would like to master alt/az.

as always any and all help suggestions greatly appreciated.

Tom


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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 11/27/07

Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5784322 - 04/07/13 05:07 PM

When photographing in Alt/Az the longer exposures are when the objects are low close to the horizon, unfortunately this means you are shooting through more atmosphere with all of it's issues. The problem you are encountering is that the forks must do a 180 degree rotation as you go from east to west, and the closer you are to the meridian the faster this rotation happens. Unless you are willing to purchase a de-rotator there is no other cure for this in Alt/Az mode, and I have heard mixed reviews on a de-rotator.

I know you don't want to discuss the wedge right now, but I was like you and tried to learn as much as I could in Alt/Az mode. I finally gave up and spent one whole night just getting the wedge alignment so I was happy with it and left everything set up for the next night. I was shocked at how much better my pictures were, right up until my camera died. I have a new camera on order, and this summer I will not consider anything other than a visual night in Alt/Az mode.


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5784333 - 04/07/13 05:11 PM

First off, part of the answer is get a wedge, lol.

But seriously, what could be causing the problems. Wind sometimes can be a culprit. Do you have a remote cable hooked up to the camera? What kind of camera? Make sure you are not touching the telescope when taking the picture.

Their could also be periodic errors - you might want to correct for that.

Another trick if you have some vibration problems once you snap the exposure is to cover the front of the scope (do not touch it!) and remove after a few seconds - then cover and then end the picture.

Of course a guide scope can help a bit too, but best in equatorial mode.

Right now I am not guiding or anything, nor special processing, with my LX200 and won't get fancy until my LX850 comes in, however you can take some simple nice pictures with 30 second exposures or less with your LX200. Check out http://pinterest.com/spacetravelerx/ for some examples...


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tommax
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5784360 - 04/07/13 05:24 PM

the wedge I know... so in reality people should really just say like 1 second or webcam only with planets for alt/az...

Attaching an image of M13... the stars "doubling" on the edges happen almost immediately... I am using Meade DSI, envisage... more than 1 second or so and this is what I get... I have bad light pollution and have no clue what I am doing but feel like I could probably get some satisfactory images if I could lick this problem...


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tommax
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5784364 - 04/07/13 05:25 PM Attachment (61 downloads)

oops for got to post image

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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5784373 - 04/07/13 05:30 PM

Hello Tom… and welcome to the world of LX200 and imaging, especially in Alt/Az.

I am probably going to start an uproar here…. So just hang on if you can.

I too like the Alt/Az world. My LX-200(r)GPS (8”) is pier mounted in a back yard observatory. Virtually, all of my observations are “imaged”. I use an SBIG ST-8300-M. My standard is a stack of 5 or 6 “frames”, each with 2 minutes exposure. Yup !! I said 2 minutes, and in Alt/AZ.

And I will add that usually, I image with the SBIG set at “Half”, which boils down to high magnification and small FOV. “Magnification” calculates to about 176x [ 2x(2000/22.5) ] which is 2x( (focal length) / (diag of ccd chip) ). This value is confirmed via Plate Solves on lots of images. The resultant FOV for the average image is about 16x12 Arc Min.

There are several important points that need to be addressed to make this work.
1. The mount must be VERY steady. Mine is pier mounted (Not tripod mounted).
2. The “balance” of the mount must be checked daily, and any change in configuration requires re-balancing (easy to do).
3. You MUST guide ( Yup…. Guide in Alt/Az !!) It works. My guiding is done with an 80mm EDAPO mounted piggyback on the LX200. On that configuration, I use a Orion StarShoot Autoguider camera (ST-4 output to the Meade).

Do I have problems ?? Sure. We all do.
But…. You must decide what you are trying to “get” in your images, and what you are going to do with them. I image everything in Mono. Not interested in color. My images form my observation “logs”. I don’t like to write descriptions, or sketch. I am willing to accept some small elongations and less than perfect images.

Would you like to see some of my images. My obersation “logs” are all on my website. You can find it here: http://az-douglass.net/astronomy . Check out the “Recent Images”, “General Observations”, and if you really want to see more, then the “DaHut” projects. “DaHut” is what I call the observatory.

I just (almost) completed a project, imageing the 40 galaxies from the Messier group. I have imaged them from “DaHut” (Tempe, AZ ), and then re-imaging them from a Very Dark Sky site. I prepared observation sheets with both images to show the effect of observing in light polluted areas (such as Tempe). That project can be found on “DaHut Projects” page, down at the bottom, or you can simply go here:
http://www.az-douglass.net/astronomy/messgalaxy.htm

You can click on the dark sky site observation, or the comparison image (shows both).

Check it out, and see what you think. Let me know if you have any questions.


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Lorence
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/15/08

Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5784559 - 04/07/13 07:09 PM

Quote:

as always any and all help suggestions greatly appreciated.




Even if it's not what you want to hear?

The issue is setup time. Look at my website to see the extent I have taken that to.

Have you looked at options that will reduce setup times? If you set up in the same spot all the time there are some options that would let you set up with a wedge in almost the same time it is taking you to set up in Alt Az.

If you think you will eventually go the wedge route then you may well be doing nothing more than wasting your time trying to get the most out of Alt Az.


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Lorence]
      #5784625 - 04/07/13 07:42 PM

I should probably add a couple of comments.

1. For imaging, EQ Mounts are Superior to Alt/AZ. Hands down. No argument. My maximium exposure in Alt/AZ is 2 Min. It would be nice to be be able to go longer.

2. The Azimuth, and the Alt of the target enter into play. Dead on North or South, and I really have a 90 Sec limit. Higher than 65 Degrees, and the same applies. Those are factors I deal with.

3. My original intent, was to put a wedge on my pier. Unfortunately, I did not calculate everything out. The pier is a hollow 4" square steel tube (thick). But with the wedge, I had "ringing". I fixed most of that by filling the tube with sand. But there was still minor movement, which is NOT good when trying to image. With the LX200 mounted in Alt/AZ, all of that went away.

Before the "DaHut", I was using the tripod method. And yes, there, the practical limit was 30 seconds. I "learned" after the pier, about balancing, and guiding. Put it all together, and like I say.... I get 2 minutes. Works for me !!

My "travel" mount is a Celestron CG5-GT, with a 6" SCT for an OTA. That, of course, is an EQ Mount. If I were to change to an EQ configuration at home, I would remove the LX200, and replace it with a true EQ (Celestron CG). Much easier to align, maintain, and operate.


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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 11/27/07

Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5784657 - 04/07/13 08:00 PM

This is a slightly off-track question, but also may be part of the issue as I know it is one of my concerns. This summer I would like to spend several evenings out taking photos. It really makes me nervous to leave the scope mounted on the wedge during the day, especially if I must leave for a while. How much error would I encounter if I left the tripod and wedge set up and in place, and remounted the scope every evening? The bolts holding the scope to the wedge are not real sloppy, but they do have a little play, would my polar alignment still be accurate enough to load the scope and take photos?

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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5784707 - 04/07/13 08:20 PM

Nitegeezer,

I guess it all depends on the location.

Here in New Mexico, I leave my telescope (10"LX200 Classic) in the court yard for up to 7 days, running 24/7. It maintains its alignment/goto knowledge the entire time without a problem. This is with the Superwedge, but I assume the same could be said for alt-azimuth mode. The key with my scheme is I align once and I am good for up to a week.

Mind you I can get away with this because I am in a dry climate and it is clear for long stretches. Any rain, heavy dew, etc, you will have to bring the scope in and out or provide a good protective system.

And yes, I have to change the viewing coordinates of my scope every few hours so it does not go around and round!

Now - if you keep taking off and putting on the telescope you will have to realign every time.

And yes - there is an observatory in my future...


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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 11/27/07

Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5784733 - 04/07/13 08:40 PM

I would like an observatory, or even a permanent pier I could use, but those are both a ways off. I know that I would have to do a quick two star alignment when I put the scope back on, my question is more about the polar alignment of the wedge. It takes me quite a while to get the wedge aligned to my liking and I am wondering if I can carefully change the scope out, or if you think just the slop in the bolts holding the scope to the wedge would be enough to ruin my polar alignment.

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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5784791 - 04/07/13 09:11 PM

Well even with the bolts perfectly tight something will get nudged off, even a little.

The wedge should be fairly easy to align. Once latitude is set and if always at the same location you are all set with it. Then you merely point the tripod pretty close to north and the adjustment is easy from there following the steps on the hand controller.

So in summary polar align for a wedge mount:
-- Set up tripod with wedge (I have mine always attached) and point generally north (maybe even mark on ground some how for future ref).
-- Make sure latitude is set for your location. (you should keep bolts lose to adjust alt-az on wedge)
-- Set the RA to 0 and DEC to 90 per controller. Hit enter...
-- Align on Polaris. Likely only need to adjust azimuth.
-- Secure all bolts - make sure still aligned on Polaris.
-- Hit enter
-- Line up on selected star.
-- You are golden. Do a few more for more precise alignment.

BTW - you might want to consider getting a SkyShed POD. They are an excellent option for a low cost observatory. http://www.skyshedpod.com/


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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 11/27/07

Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5784813 - 04/07/13 09:19 PM Attachment (46 downloads)

Tom:

This is the last photo I took before my camera died. I cropped it to get under the 200k limit, but otherwise this is an unedited shot of M13 that I took for 30 seconds. I did not have a chance to take dark frames so hot pixels can be seen. This photo was taken when M13 was almost directly overhead so it would have been a disaster in Alt/Az mode, but this was my first and only night so far taking pictures with the wedge.


Edited by nitegeezer (04/07/13 09:20 PM)


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tommax
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5784943 - 04/07/13 10:25 PM

nice nitegeezer!

The M13 I posted was "first light" imaging with the 8" LX200, I have had others (12" Classic and a 10" GPS) but gave up on the hobby mainly due to time and stuff like this.

I think in many cases some people who do this have forgotten what not knowing is like and or had someone get them past certain things... It sure seems like max imaging time with Alt/Az should really be 1 second, maybe 3 not the 30 so often told of all over and the reason I say this is there is usually follow up to such questions which indicate 330 seconds is more like a maximum anomaly and not close to a norm one should expect...

In my case I have the ultra wedge and want to use that when I drag this scope to dark skies at my cabin in northern WI...but down here by Milwaukee it's not worth a pier nor a ton of effort due to light pollution so I was hoping there was some quicker and easier ways with Alt/Az because I would probably be happy with 8 to 12 second exposures compared to what I get now...


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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 11/27/07

Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5784990 - 04/07/13 10:50 PM

I have been thinking more about your image, and think there must be another issue than just exposure time. If it were totally a tracking or Alt/Az issue, I would expect to see a streak rather than a jump giving a second image. I have been thinking about all the photos I threw away when I was starting, and I don't remember that step, it was always continuous. The only thing I can think of is that there is too much backlash in the gears and this could also be a problem when you do go to a wedge. Reading your last post and seeing that you had the problem with multiple scopes really confuses me, I know I was able to take photos with longer exposures than 12 seconds when I was shooting low to the horizon. Have you been on a solid surface? I know I tried once from my deck, which is really solid, but it still had enough give and vibration that it was noticeable. I now set up only on solid ground out about 30 feet from the house.

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tommax
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5785106 - 04/08/13 12:12 AM

I am setup on a pavel patio which is very solid, a couple feet of pebbles followed by about a foot of pounded down sand then the 12x12 pavers... the surface is a tank...

The more I think on this the more I think I should just get a GEM and perhaps a small refractor like say an 80MM ED and try that for imaging from home and maybe just use the LX200 for visual and or leave it up north where I could build a more permanent spot for it that would be worth it, at home the light pollution is bad enough to where investing in a more permanent spot given my yard is not worth it, as it is I can only do things to the east exclusively due to trees and other obstructions.

This thought hold more value as well because I usually like to image Jupiter or Saturn then switch to messier objects and my scope can be collimated fine, but then adding a 6.3 reducer for deep space throws that off and I am not sure how to deal with that, I don't want to re-collimate several times an evening... but I wonder how others handle this problem... hmmm think I will post that as a new topic...


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5785136 - 04/08/13 12:31 AM

You might want to consider the LX850 with the 115 or 130 mm Series 600 ED Triplet APO. Excellent GEM mount for a great value - turnkey autoguiding too. AND you can put an SCT on it later on!

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tommax
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5785164 - 04/08/13 01:05 AM

not got that kind of $$ for this hobby! well maybe if I was in CA or AZ where it is more dry but here in WI... not to many days to do it and when you can best time of year it's freezing outside!

I might invest in a GEM though... everytime I get into this hobby I wind up getting and LX200 because it just seems like it should be easy and then I hit a brick wall all everytime...


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5785217 - 04/08/13 02:24 AM

Tom...

Private message sent.


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Markigno
sage


Reged: 01/09/10

Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5785265 - 04/08/13 03:59 AM

Hi Tom, welcome to my world, astrophotography altazimuth!
The photograph alt/az mode is possible and can be done in two ways:
1) with tracking without derotator field with maximum limit which varies from 15 to 120 seconds depending on the height of the photographed object.
2) derotator field with long exposure. This means that you can get individual shots, even an hour each.
To get good results you have to "tame" the instrument. LX200 is a great telescope, but not for everyone because it is an object that in AP is not an "out of box" ready to go, but we need to "fine-tune". I saw your picture and I think I know what is your problem. Now I do not have time, but I will explain the best steps you should do to get a good tracking exposure to 30 seconds (if that's what you care).
In this session I recently posted a picture of M82 (now should be to page 2). Try to look at it. Was made in Altazimuth mode with my LX200R 12" and is a combination of many frames ranging from 5 to 40 minutes each. However, to obtain this result it takes some accessories because a LX200 "standard" will never give this result.
Marco


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tommax
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #5791043 - 04/10/13 06:46 PM

I think I have given up on Alt/Az... I have decided to make some changes to my gear...

My first move was to pick up a better imager (I had 3 Meade DSI's - OSC v1, OCS II and a v1 Pro )... So I picked up an SBIG ST-7 XME, that is my first move... I am now looking for a filter wheel to match it... I will be selling at least 2 of the DSIs, might keep the pro1 to guide with and or the II OSC just to have a color option, thinking on that...

Once I get a filter wheel I think I am going to pick up a CG5 and an 80MM ED to learn a GEM in the meantime I will play with the wedge...

It's the best plan I can think of I can afford.


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5791072 - 04/10/13 07:00 PM

Tommax -

With the wedge I think you will be quite satisfied for the next stretch. You may find you will not really need to rush to get a CG5/80mm ED.

I have been very happy with my superwedge on the 10" LX200 for the past 21 years...


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tommax
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5791095 - 04/10/13 07:16 PM

Thanks Andrew, with the wedge it's more of having to drag out the tripod, then the scope both of which are heavy and often I have to carry this stuff over ice and snow about 40 feet, no that is not the end of the world but no one can say it is fun which a hobby should be... If Alt/Az would have worked no problem as I can carry the 8" and tripod all at once pretty easy without having to lift anything in place... with the CG5 I should be able to carry it all at once which will be easier, not to mention I don't have a quick grab and go setup which I think worst case scenario is I wind up with a great Guide / Imaging Scope for the 8" and couple with the CG5, I have a light weight mild imaging capable setup I can grab and go with... from all my reading and forum crawling (to much time on my hands due to eye surgery which means I feel fine but no work / driving) I come to the conclusion that a better camera would be a good start thus moving some DSI's out and moving in an older but still USB SBIG which has cooling and guiding capability... at least now I won't question the camera as much, don't get me wrong I think the DSI's are great and really like no separate power but I don't think they will match up against the flexibility (w/guide chip / cooling / software) that the ST7 offers

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Markigno
sage


Reged: 01/09/10

Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5792965 - 04/11/13 05:53 PM

Tom, truthfully your decision to go with a wedge is the best compromise and I am sure you will have excellent results. I decided on my way with a long exposure photograph altazimuth because my LX200R 12" is very heavy and not attached permanently. I also own a Meade ultrawedge that I have used for a long time, but it was damn uncomfortable, so I decided to use the telescope in alt-az mode with de rotator field. My learning process in AP altazimuth way has been very difficult, but today I'm very happy of my results and I will not go back with the wedge never more. However, my experience, has taught me that to do long exposure photography altazimuth, with good results, it takes a very long time to learn this difficult shooting technique and expensive accessories. Many many tests to optimize a setup that needs works with 3 different motors for tracking. This is the hardest thing in absolute by make with amateur equipment and I think that perhaps there are not more than three or four people in the world using this technique (amateur AP long exposure in altazimuth mode) with remarkable results. Therefore the wedge is much more simple and immediate to achieve good results without much effort. Good luck,
Marco

Edited by Markigno (04/11/13 05:55 PM)


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Hamsterdam
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Reged: 03/23/11

Loc: smack dab in the middle of the...
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #5809331 - 04/19/13 07:16 PM

The worlds largest telescopes are Alt/Az, they can't be all garbage. I need to open a new thread with my conundrum, which dovetails into this and another LX200 Alt/Az thread. I just wish the LX80 mount was as good as 3 different Meade Technicians have told me in the last 2 days.

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cn register 5
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/26/12

Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Hamsterdam]
      #5810031 - 04/20/13 03:45 AM

With an AltAz mount to track you have to operate two motors, at varying rates. This is much more difficult than with an Equatorial mount where you only need to operate one motor at a constant rate.

Also with al Alt Azm mount you get field rotation. The amount varies depending on where you are pointed but in most cases this gives a limit of about 30 seconds before it matters.

A professional telescope can have the quality of drives and tracking that will track accurately in Alt Azm. They will also have a camera rotator that rotates the camera to compensate for field rotation.

It's possible to get field rotators for amateur scopes but they are complex and expensive. Much easier and cheaper to get a wedge.

Chris


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tommax
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5811032 - 04/20/13 02:26 PM

Thanks for all the great advise!

I think all of it was good, not all of it would work... when you have to drag out an LX200 tripod with wedge, then try to put the scope on it in freezing (and I mean Wisconsin cold, not AZ or CA cold) : ) - I think that changes things a bit as it helps leveling and getting things just right when you can feel your fingers and toes...

My solution is to just do both as I only have the LX200 now aanyways, I just picked up an 80ED that happened to come with an ST80 and they are connected and ready to put on a GEM so for now I will put the ED80 piggyback on the LX200 and start hunting for a CG5 or something decent enough yet light enough to grab and go with... it is the only solution short of dumping the LX200 that might work, if I had the option of building something permanent the LX200 would be easier to stick with, but on the best to image nights here it is usually below zero...

Should be fun trying both and I can pick whichever one causes me to cuss the least : )


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Lorence
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/15/08

Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5811498 - 04/20/13 06:28 PM

Quote:

you have to drag out an LX200 tripod with wedge, then try to put the scope on it in freezing (and I mean Wisconsin cold, not AZ or CA cold) : ) - I think that changes things a bit as it helps leveling and getting things just right when you can feel your fingers and toes...

on the best to image nights here it is usually below zero...





I just checked the Wisconsin State Climatology Office. You call that cold? I wouldn't be surprised if you had palm trees in your back yard.

Cold is just a number. It's telling you what you need to do to enjoy the outdoors regardless of the temperature. You just need to know what to do. Here's a place to start.

https://redrockstore.com/Catalog/index.php?crn=135

I know people that ice fish every weekend as long as the ice is safe to be on. Never once heard any of them complain about the cold. They have to be doing something right.


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tommax
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Reged: 02/15/13

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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Lorence]
      #5811539 - 04/20/13 06:53 PM

Yep, I used to ice fish with my uncle... nice heated shanty and his buddy jack to keep warm inside!

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tommax
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5812102 - 04/20/13 11:57 PM

errrr....

I need to scrap all the ideas... I just hate the wedge, pay for a telescope that can level itself, find north and get a good idea what it is looking at... then you spend $400 to $500 more for an item that basically negates all the conveniences the scope offers...

I am clearly missing something, I level the wedge, set it to my lat, point the scope at Polaris (upside down / 90 degree per directions), do the usual guess work on at least one of the guide stars since I only have 1 direction I can really see much and then basically fight with this process over and over for a an hour or 2 until I give up and put it away...

I think I am better off just looking at hubble images, they are better than anything I will ever get anyways and a heck of a lot cheaper...


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nitegeezer
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5812171 - 04/21/13 12:47 AM

The universe is over 13 billion years old, our sun over 4 billion, calm down it will be there tomorrow and probably the next day too.

This is a hobby that does not like to be rushed, but can be very rewarding. Hubble images are great, but there is something about taking them yourself that is beyond words. Don't expect things to happen too quickly. I was serious when I said I spend a whole night getting my wedge aligned so I was happy, and don't even have the rest of the stuff out until the second night. I consider every night out a learning experience.

When I am working with the wedge, I first make sure it is leveled as best I can, and I do not limit myself to just the bubble level that is in the wedge. While Polaris by itself won't give perfect alignment of the wedge, it is very close. I concentrate on Polaris until I can rotate the forks and Polaris stays perfectly centered, and yes this is a slow process. This won't get me to 10 or 15 minute exposures, I will have to learn drift aligning for that, but I will push this as far as I can.

To be honest, if you are only interested in the destination and not the journey, this is probably the wrong hobby for you. Even if you get everything perfectly aligned, are you going to have the patience to spend all night, or even multiple nights getting the shots you need to stack for just a single object?

I do outreach programs for kids, and as part of that program I give a presentation about the hobby and what to expect. At one point I show Hubble photos of objects I plan to show them through my scope. Everybody expects Hubble shots to be fantastic, after all, it is the Hubble. I then tell them that I still have a lot to learn, and then show them a few of the shots I have taken through my telescope. Some of these are really ugly shots, but they were taken through my scope, the same one the kids will be looking through, and it amazing how much interest that sparks in the kids. This summer I will spend many nights with the goal if getting 3 or 4 decent shots, and I can't wait until the programs next fall to show the kids. All summer, 3 or 4 decent shots, slow down and enjoy the journey.

I hope you can relax and enjoy the process. Yes, I do get frustrated too. My wife claims that on occasion the air around me turns blue as I discuss the family history of my equipment. I have set a goal for myself. I want one of those decent pictures to be of the Whirlpool Galaxy. What I am seeing left there about 30 million years ago. If I don't get the shot this summer, maybe next summer I will have learned enough to pull it off, but if not there always is the summer after that. I don't think days, weeks, or even years will make a significant difference because I will have taken it through my telescope, and those particular photons came to me, not the Hubble.


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tommax
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5812273 - 04/21/13 03:19 AM

Hi nitegeezer,

Thanks for the pep talk...

I realize the hobby cannot be rushed, I just think in my location it's partly trying to put a circular peg into a square, between light pollution and obstacles I only have 1 direction and that direction has 2 power lines about 1/2 way up... maybe it's just not meant to be at least from home, there is no dark area near me I am interested in but I might drop the LX200 off at my cabin up north and visit it a couple times a year...

I remember all to well now why I dumped the 10 and 12" LX200's... it was when I added a wedge to the mix so me and wedges just don't mix as I do not have the luxury of setting up 1 night and leaving it... I have to put everything up and take it down in the same night here which would not be bad if I ever had any luck...

As far as the journey... I will dabble still but I am more about the photo's than awe of the universe as I cannot visually observe so if I cannot take photo's then I really don't need a scope, but right now I am just extremely frustrated with it... I wish I could think of how many millions of years light took to get here and or how old things are, it really does not move me much especially sine it changes all the time, was not that long ago when we had stars older than the universe... so I am sure it will change again when someone else comes up with a new test and or wants to make a name for themselves... I just want to take pictures...

Tomorrow is another day and I am sure I will try and get frustrated again, eventually I will figure it out and or I will get some exercise taking a sledge hammer to the telescope... : )


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nitegeezer
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5812833 - 04/21/13 11:30 AM

Don't take a sledge hammer to that scope, I know a better option!!

If you have to take everything down every night, that would be very frustrating and probably is a losing battle. It sounds like you should plan some trips to your cabin that are dedicated, especially if you can leave things set up for even a couple of days. A friend goes camping at a dark site when he wants to take pictures for the same reason you are having problems. In your situation, don't buy a GEM hoping it will solve your problems. It might be a little quicker to get aligned, but it will bring it's own issues with it.

I have been thinking a lot about your comment about paying for an automatic scope only to take those features away with a wedge. When I started out I did not know the sky at all, and really I still don't. All the automatic features allowed me to see objects that I would have never found with a manual scope. It is great for outreach programs as I can change object quickly, and it has greatly increased my interest in the hobby. Now I want to study a few objects in depth and that does require a wedge, but without the automatic features I would not have gotten to this point, and I think it is great that I can use the scope that I learned with even if some of the automatic features are gone, the goto still works, and I still need that.

While using a dark site is nice, staying set up is necessary. I hope you find a situation which works for you, I would hate to see you give up.

Good Luck


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tommax
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5813063 - 04/21/13 01:33 PM

Thanks NG,

I would not literally take a SH to the scope, not that at times I don't want to but I think that is probably more common than many would like to admit!

I am not sure how to proceed so I am just going to pack the stuff up until next time...

I do think it might be helpful if I try to seek out someone who is familiar with the LX200 and is from the area and see if they will come over and tell me if it's even possible from my location because I am honestly starting to think / realize it just is not going to happen here unless I just want to stick to planets (which I don't)...

Worst case scenario is I just give up for now on imaging with the LX and would likely look for an ETX125 to goof around with at the cabin and around the house with planets and if sometime in the future I get a place where I can do more then I can get something then (LX600?)... who knows.

I am sure I will give a go a couple more times, then decide.


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5813093 - 04/21/13 01:53 PM

Tommax, et. al.,

Nitegeezer gave some great ideas and pep talk. Nothing to add there.

And Tommax I was in your situation a few years ago and feel your pain. I love my LX200, but when in Michigan it was a pain to use. Weather would never cooperate, bugs, COLD, humidity. I did put it to work though lugging it around, mostly on car-camping and scout treks. For the fun grab and go, I got an ETX-125. Great fun scope. If you want to get serious on AP though to take the good shots it is all about mass, stability and accuracy. I am in New Mexico now and observing is a whole different adventure....!

I wish I could help with your alignment issues. I get to Michigan occasionally, but still too far of a detour to swing by. But it should work - my LX200 lands the targets spot on almost every time. That is why I got it years ago.

LX600 is a great option - definitely a turnkey solution, great optics and easier to tote and break down.

One other option to consider (and I am ramping up to), is video Astronomy. All I can say is with the MallinCam I am seeing incredible DSO views live on my laptop - with mere seconds of exposure. If setup correctly you can hook up the MallinCam to a computer and route it to your TV for viewing in the comfort of your home! My rig is almost there - remote control of telescope via iPad/Mac, Mac control of MallinCam, link from outdoor computer to indoor computer, video feed from outdoor Mac to AppleTV to view results on big screen TV in a warm home. It really works!

There are options!


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tommax
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5813160 - 04/21/13 02:25 PM Attachment (17 downloads)

Thanks Andrew...

I am going to attach an image of what I have been up against and maybe I will at least get a c for effort...

I actually grew up in MI - Go Wings! (really Wings please get it going!).

I think I need to be realistic with myself and if I cannot image from home, then I must ask myself if I am willing to lug the 8", Wedge etc to a nearby better location and to honestly answer that would be a definite "NO", I don't mind setting it up here at home, but would not want to throw it in my truck and drive it somewhere, not often enough to make it worth while anyways...

So really the question I am asking myself is if there is even a decent enough setup I feel I would be happy with that I would be more inclined to drag out and take with to a better location and for that right now I don't have an answer...

Maybe my expectations are unrealistic? I have had these same issue's in the past, like many expecting to "buy" nice images... this time I did not think that and am trying to be patient, I know I have a challenging location, but thought as long as I have east, I can learn... I have M57, M51, M101, M3, M13 and around Aug/Sept M31 swings east for me... I do not expect great images I was hoping to nail the basics so when I did get to my cabin in dark skies I could get some images to be proud of... maybe this is not realistic expectations...

Edited by tommax (04/21/13 02:53 PM)


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Spacetravelerx
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Reged: 12/23/12

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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5813421 - 04/21/13 03:42 PM Attachment (20 downloads)

Yikes,

That looks like the view from my home in Michigan. So basically limited visibility, but otherwise you need to travel to a dark sky location - and are you willing to do that. And alone it does suck.

I know that is what happened when I was in Michigan - to do effective viewing I had to lug my telescope around. Are you a part of an Astronomy Club? Might help with motivation to go out to their dark sky site.

Like I said, you may want to consider video Astronomy. It will work well from your home location. Consider this attached image. This is a LIVE view of M13 on my computer screen - with a bright Moon and in the city. No filter, no nothing. (And it looked amazing on the screen). It would work great for Alt-Az, but even more wonderful for wedge. I also bagged M51 with a LP filter in 30 sec. Nothing fancy, but it was clearly M51.

I think you might have options.

And yes, here in NM I can leave my telescope set up for days. Very dry air, high altitude, etc. It was like I got a new telescope. However I know your pain!


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Mike7Mak
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5813452 - 04/21/13 04:11 PM

Quote:

I know I have a challenging location, but thought as long as I have east, I can learn... I have M57, M51, M101, M3, M13 and around Aug/Sept M31 swings east for me...



A couple hours either side of straight up is all you need. That's the best position for imaging anyway.

Instead of fixating on Messier objects out of your view use your planetarium program to search the piece of sky you have. There's plenty of stuff to shoot besides Messiers.

I'm not sure I get the 'total' loss of features due to the wedge. Aside from manually pointing the mount north at the correct elevation everything else works exactly the same. Sync on a couple stars just like you do in alt-az and go-to is ready. Accuracy might be low if polar alignment is way off but it still should put things in the finder.

If you can leave the tripod and wedge setup outside under a tarp (without it walking away) that would help cut setup time. If you're careful mounting/dismounting the scope the polar alignment should hold.


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tommax
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Mike7Mak]
      #5813535 - 04/21/13 05:01 PM

I don't thin leaving it out would be wise... there used to be a row of bushes between my place and my neighbors but a new family moved it, he has a landscaping service and they basically stripped the place and put in a gravel in their front yard so it's a big parking lot now, they have at least 12 people there all times of the day, coming and going... not that it matters nor do I care for the political discussion but hardly any of them speak English, I just know they come and go and it would seem a bunch of people live there for a couple of days here and there and then they are gone... we are thinking of putting a 8' tall fence up and a gate at the house a year ago I might have left it out there without worries but until we at least get a fence I don't leave a garden hose out there anymore...

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tommax
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Mike7Mak]
      #5814076 - 04/21/13 09:14 PM

MIke,

I don't think I said "total loss", yes the scope still has goto and tracking as does just about every other scope on the market today, the wedge does wipe some nice purpose built features that make setup much easier, I supposed if I had a permanent setup all this would be a mute point because in a night or 2 I would figure it out... soon enough it will be warm enough for festivals on the lakefront and I will lose the east most nights anyways...


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tommax
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5815916 - 04/22/13 06:02 PM

I want to thank all who offered their opinions.

I apologize if my frustration spilled over as I know all are just are trying to help. It is indeed a hobby that can be frustrating.

I enjoy the hobby when using the LX200 in alt-az, but every time I add a wedge to the mix the hobby becomes much less fun, so if there is anyone in SE Wisconsin who knows LX200's and would like to come over and show me the wedge ropes.. I would be more than happy to pay for your gas, buy you beer / wine and dinner... other wise maybe I just try the GEM out and go that route, it is entirely possible that me and a wedge are just like water and oil...

If nothing else I am stubborn so I am sure I will beat my head against the wedge wall a few more times before getting rid of it...

Thanks again!


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Markigno
sage


Reged: 01/09/10

Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5818567 - 04/23/13 08:11 PM Attachment (39 downloads)

Hi, as I mentioned in my previous posting, photography alt / az is possible, but it is expensive because it requires specific accessories in order to succeed. It all depends on how much you're willing to spend to get the convenience of alt / az long-exposure photography. I am years old I chose alt / az mode for astrophotography with my LX200 because it is much easier and faster to assemble and disassemble the equipment at all times. In this way I am ready to photograph in only 30 minutes. You also do not need make the meridian flip and you do not need make polar alignment. All this comfort to me is priceless!
For your information the following accessories are required:
1) de-rotator field very good (I have the Optec Pyxis 3")
1) adaptive optics (I using a AO7 for LX200 alt / az is better than AO-8)
1) MaximDL, is the only one able software to handle all the equipment togheter, to photograph in altazimuth mode.
And still for more information, in this session, almost one year ago I posted some tests that I made with the de-rotator field pyxis and the development of new management software of derotation field, explaining how it works and what results are obtainable.
Below I attach the latest pictures that I made in alt / az
The first is NGC3359, obtained with 20 subframes, from 10 minutes each
The second is M81, are 12 sub frame of 15 minutes each for luminance and 10 sub frame from 8 minutes for each color channel. My images are obtained from the city center, with high light pollution.
Marco


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Markigno
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #5818571 - 04/23/13 08:11 PM Attachment (45 downloads)

This is M81

Edited by Markigno (04/23/13 08:12 PM)


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nitegeezer
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #5818576 - 04/23/13 08:18 PM

Those photos are very impressive, even more so when you are not at a dark site. I hope that someday I have shots as good as these to show, I am not there yet and I do have a dark site. I have a lot to learn, but looking at shots such as these gives me a good source of encouragement.

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tommax
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5818618 - 04/23/13 08:52 PM Attachment (36 downloads)

Great Shots Markigno!

I would be happy if I could get 15 to 30 second exposures in Alt/Az, let alone 30 minutes!


I am considering the Meade de-rotator because honestly I do have fun with it in alt/az, it when I have to use the wedge given my limited sky, not to mention limited nights (1 or 2 a month to learn from between weather and schedule)... but I have not heard much good about it... as far as costs... well nothing in this hobby is cheap at all, it is about the most expensive hobby short of collecting art I can think of!

Attached is the best DSO (M51) I have been able to get in all my attempts. This was on a so-so night and I think the exposures were 1 to 3 seconds because that is all I have ever been able to get, this was with a Meade DSIv1 or DSI II I cannot remember. I spend a lot of time tweaking the exposure times to get even this...

Nowhere in your league yet I am afraid.

Edited by tommax (04/23/13 08:52 PM)


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Markigno
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5819297 - 04/24/13 08:47 AM Attachment (34 downloads)

Hi nitegeezer, thank you for your kind comment.

Hi Tom, unfortunately with individual sub frame from 30 seconds you do not get good results on DSO. Exposure needs to be done a minimum of 2 minutes to begin to get some results. Since you've talked about Meade de rotator field, I can tell you something more about this accessory, because I have also the de-rotator field Meade #1220. This accessory works quite well only with Meade LX200 GPS unit and firmware 4.2g (with LX200 Classic not works). The de rotator field Meade, mechanically it is not of good quality, but it works. I have used this product for a while, then I decided to buy the Pyxis 3"(this is a work of art of mechanics). I Attach an old photograph of NGC6503 that I made using the de-rotator field Meade. In this photo I have not used the adaptive optics. Are all sub frame from 5 minutes each for each channel (LRGB) for 2,5 hours integration.
Marco

Edited by Markigno (04/24/13 08:47 AM)


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LoveChina61
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #5819493 - 04/24/13 10:50 AM

Marco, what was your experience with the Meade #1220 rotator like when using it on the LX200 Classic? I am considering the use of this de-rotator with my LX200 8" Classic but it sounds like you have had a bad experience combining the rotator with Classic LX200. Can you please provide more details? Thanks!

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Markigno
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: LoveChina61]
      #5819774 - 04/24/13 01:12 PM

Hi, my unit Meade #1220 has been tested on an LX200 classic of a friend of mine. Unfortunately, we have found that does not work. So I did some research to figure out why it does not work with the meade LX200classic. My research led me to discover that the previous firmware to 4.2g were not working correctly with the de-rotator meade for a few bugs. Many astroimager have noted this anomaly, and perhaps this was the reason for the failure of this unit on a commercial level. With the arrival of the units LX200 GPS and firmware 4.2g, Meade put things right, correcting bugs in the firmware and perhaps in the hardware of the telescope. Now the de-rotator field Meade, with these units work properly, even if derotator sends error beeps non-stop. In my de-rotator Meade, I removed error beep unit (it broke my ears), but it works properly.
Marco
P.S. Warning: if you buy a Meade #1220 make sure there's the original connecting cable because it has a special pin-out (with a wired cable type ST4, the de-rotator does not work).

Edited by Markigno (04/24/13 01:29 PM)


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dmdouglass
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #5820138 - 04/24/13 04:12 PM

A word of caution on using De-Rotators...

First off... the cost !
The Optec Pyxis 3" is a discontinued item. However, there are other Optec rotators.. The cost about $2,000, but they do seem to have one model for about $600.

The Meade 1220 lists for, and is availabe for, about $600.

To image using a derotator, you still need to guide!
BUT... you must have the guide camera looking at the same FOV as the image camera... meaning that you MUST use an OAG device (off axis guider adapter). Not always an available option. Not in my case.

I have a Meade field derotator. I purchased it used. I was going to play around and try it out, until i found out about the OAG requirement. Now it just sits in a box.

I would be happy to sell it to any of you for $100 (pay/pal), and i will cover the shipping. If interested, send me a private message via CN messages.


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Markigno
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5820305 - 04/24/13 05:29 PM

Hi David,
In all my interventions on this forum, for a long time, I have always stated that doing photography altazimuth is very expensive and very complex. It is not easy and is not for everyone. It is not a coincidence that there are very few people in the world who use this technique of shooting effectively. At the same time I find it distasteful give advice on products that you not know at all. The first thing is you should try them, the second thing is you should at least inform you properly before giving advice to others. I refer to your statements on Optec de rotator. In particular the Pyxis 3" which, contrary to what you say, is still in production and is the top model de Optec rotator. On the contrary the model of $ 600, you are referring to (Pyxis LE), is not capable of work as de rotator field, but only as a rotor of the camera. Instead the model Pyxis classic from 925 $, is able to function as de rotator field, such as the Pyxis 3 ", but with a lower resolution. If your intervention is focused on the sale of your Meade # 1220, then I understand. Too bad that I already possess it, because at $ 100 if well maintained, and working with the original cable, it would have to be taken with eyes closed. In the case of Tom, SBIG has a dual sensor, so the radial guide is ensured. Where there is someone who fails, there is someone else who can.
Marco


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tommax
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #5820361 - 04/24/13 06:04 PM

David,

PM Sent...

Tom


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dmdouglass
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5820900 - 04/24/13 09:42 PM

Easy there....

The OPT web page for the Optec Pyxis 3 is showing "Discontinued"... that is my only source of info. I went there to confirm what i recalled was the $2,000(ish) price.

I -- DO -- image in Alt/AZ. My LX200 is pier mounted, and well balanced, and i guide in that configuration. With all that, I am getting good results (for me anyway) with a max of 2-min exposures (my standard). Evidence of that can be found on my webpage (referenced above) at htt://www.az-douglass.net/astronomy if you care to look. Images are not "publisable" quality, but then, they are my observing logs.... and work for me.

I was going to try the de-rotater... that is why i purchased it (used). But i just did not want to play with the OAG, which is a requirement. I actually researched that, and finally understood why !

My SBig is a ST-8300-M, which i purchased late last year. And yes, I love it !! Was using a Meade DSI-III before that, and then one day, it simply decided to die. So i had to replace it.

Tom and I have gotten together, and the unit will probably be on its way to him tomorrow. If it works even only "sort of", at least Tom will get a look at the technique, and can then make decisions going forward.


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nitegeezer
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5821038 - 04/24/13 11:08 PM

I think it is great that Tom is getting the de-rotator. It will be interesting to hear how it works for him. I was looking at one before I bought my wedge. I have been wondering which was easiest to use.

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Kraus
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5822181 - 04/25/13 01:34 PM


$2,000.00 for a field derotator!? I would make the wedge idea work and work I did.

I use a wedge because I find objects by their right ascension and declination coordinates with setting circles.

After pushing many buttons though, my LX-200 responds with 'alignment complete. When I asked it to find an object over this way, it goes that way.

Meade is a fine optics producer. It should stay out of the computer part thingy.


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Markigno
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Kraus]
      #5822471 - 04/25/13 04:02 PM

Quote:


$2.000 for a field derotator!? I would make the wedge idea work and work I did.



$ 2.000 for a de-rotator?
$ 10.000 for a toyota??
$ 300.000 for a Ferrari???
why?!?!? a steering wheel, 4-wheel and a engine are the same for Toyota and Ferrari. both they move!!! Why $ 290,000 difference???!!!
Astrophysics Mach 1 $ 6.700; NEQ6 Pro $1.300. Approximately 20kg load capacity for both: why astrophysics is so dishonest???
Derotator Meade $ 600 and Pyxis 3" $ 2,000; because this difference? Optec is dishonest?
Perhaps there is some difference, otherwise all products in the world would be equal. The freedom of choice and evaluation is only ours, thank God!


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tommax
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #5824673 - 04/26/13 03:23 PM

cannot wait to try the de-rotator... I will be happy as I have been saying if I can at least get up to 30 second exposures as what I have been getting with just a couple seconds has been promising. I am not yet looking to blow any experienced imagers away, I just want to progress, I have a lot of fun with post-processing, but there is only so much you can do with a 3 second exposure... I will be sure to post my results (if I get any meaningful ones)... I plan on using my ST7XME which has the built in guide chip (I still have no clue how to use it)... but at least it will be moving forward, very excited.

Markigno,

I think Kraus understands what you are saying, different people have different limits with the hobby I am sure you also have other hobbies which you could spend more on. I for example enjoy fishing and did no hesitate to spend $25k on a boat (although I can get a loan for a boat with good interest rate, not $$$ for a telescope item). I would never want to dedicate that much into astronomy if for no other reason than the weather here and my location would not permit me to use it often enough and that would not leave me much if anything to do other things... it's not that I do not like the hobby I do, but there are limits each of puts on things, for Kraus $2k for a rotator was not an option, to be honest it certainly would not be for me either but I am glad it is an option for others who can buy those things which employ the people who make them and brings us your wonderful images!

Edited by tommax (04/26/13 03:26 PM)


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Markigno
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5825205 - 04/26/13 07:41 PM

Tom, I totally agree with your way of thinking. There are people who spend huge sums for things that I would not want even as gift, and I spend much money on a passion that others do not understand and they would not spend a dollar for this. Each of us value how important it is one thing for yourself and if it's worth spending the money for get what you want. It is important to always respect the choices of others, even if not always share. I'm happy for your new de-rotator field. If you need information or help do not hesitate to contact me, even via PM. I will be very happy to put at your disposal my knowledge on photography altazimuth.
Marco


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jambi99
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #5831247 - 04/29/13 10:27 PM

Here an other option and cheaper at 399 euros(550$):

http://www.brightstar.pt/index.php/de-rotation.html

Judging by the specs(but i might be wrong), the brightstar seems to have a better resolution(29.4 steps/degrees vs 24.6 steps/degree for the regular Pyxis ).


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jambi99
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #5836889 - 05/02/13 06:15 PM

What is the maximum exposure time you can accomplish(with the de-rotator) without AO ?

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Markigno
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: jambi99]
      #5837123 - 05/02/13 07:53 PM

Hi jambi99, It all depends on the quality of tracking that the telescope can get. This can vary from instrument to instrument. In units that I could try the weak point has always been, in alt / az mode, the declination axis. This we can correct (indeed, we must correct) with a training PEC for the declination axis, that we can do with telescope in altazimuth mode. PEC Training Meade has a bug that does not allow the formation PEC on the AR axis, but it works correctly on declination axis. YOU NOT MAKE training PEC on the AR axis, this could cause irreparable damage to the factory default data.
To answer your question, with my telescope that has a good training PEC on declination axis, I can get 5-6 minutes tracking good enough, without AO system.
Marco


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jambi99
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #5837164 - 05/02/13 08:18 PM

I do have a CPC1100. Is it reasonable to say that i could get about the same exposure time(5-6 mins) with my scope and the regular pyxis de-rotator?

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Markigno
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: jambi99]
      #5837249 - 05/02/13 09:11 PM

cpc1100 I do not have tried, but this is a good telescope, so I think 5 minutes you can get. With the pyxis, as de-rotator field, you must use MaximDL. Attention: Will be necessary auto guide, and the only way possible it is radial guide (off-axis)

Edited by Markigno (05/02/13 09:26 PM)


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jambi99
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #5837440 - 05/02/13 11:12 PM

I might consider the brightstar will it does'nt seem to requiere MaximDL or guiding.

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Markigno
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: jambi99]
      #5837731 - 05/03/13 07:27 AM

The brightstar might be a good alternative to the pyxis. I do not know the software that runs the Brightstar as de rotator field. The software Pyxis (as de rotator field) must work in symbiosis with MaximDL because it is not designed to work alone. In fact, the software pyxis draws the data needed to calculate the speed of derotation directly from MaximDL, all in real time. This allows a very accurate precision and does not require any type of manual setting, everything is fully automatic. Just connect the pyxis to computer through MaximDL and go.
However, for both the Brightstar, that for the pyxis, that for the Orion Steady Star, and also for the Meade # 1220, so for all de rotators field whatever they are, is required to work with off-axis guide, always.
The radial guide (off-axis) is necessary for two simple reasons: the first reason is because any commercial fork mount not is capable of tracking properly without guiding for more than 20 or 30 seconds of exposure (and in some telescopes, unfortunately, even much less time than 20 seconds). After this time you would get oblong stars, irrespective of derotation of field. To go with only 30 seconds of exposure is not necessary to buy a de rotator field.
The second reason is that the guide star must derotate unison with the field of view from the main camera. All this is absolutely critical, otherwise tracking and derotation of field do not work correctly together.
Marco

Edited by Markigno (05/03/13 11:58 AM)


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jambi99
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #5838818 - 05/03/13 05:46 PM

I contacted StarBright and they said the de-rotator does not requiere any auto guiding. It is stand alone.

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Markigno
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: jambi99]
      #5839011 - 05/03/13 08:22 PM

Maybe with all that I have written I have created confusion or failed to properly explain certain concepts (and my bad english certainly does not help me). However, for more clarity, is not the de-rotator field who need autoguiding, but the telescope mount. The de-rotator field only allows you to avoid field rotation during long exposure shots but nothing more. In fact, is the fork mount that not able to do good tracking for a long time without guider. So, if you use a de-rotator field (any de-rotator, including Brightstar), but do not use a guider, as final results you will not have field rotation, but you'll have in any case oblong stars, for bad tracking on the two axes of the telescope (DEC and RA).
To conclude: it is not possible to make exposures of several minutes without guiding. This applies to both LX200 telescopes that for CPC, with or without a de-rotator field. I hope, this time, to have been clear enough in my explanation.
Marco


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jambi99
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #5839022 - 05/03/13 08:32 PM

Do you think i could do 5-6 mins exposure with the de-rotator and no guiding\AO at all?

P.S. Sorry for my bad english too.


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Markigno
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: jambi99]
      #5839037 - 05/03/13 08:46 PM

Quote:

Do you think i could do 5-6 mins exposure with the de-rotator and no guiding\AO at all?

P.S. Sorry for my bad english too.



No


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nytecam
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: tommax]
      #5840559 - 05/04/13 06:27 PM Attachment (30 downloads)

Quote:

the wedge I know... so in reality people should really just say like 1 second or webcam only with planets for alt/az...Attaching an image of M13... the stars "doubling" on the edges happen almost immediately... I am using Meade DSI, envisage... more than 1 second or so and this is what I get... I have bad light pollution and have no clue what I am doing but feel like I could probably get some satisfactory images if I could lick this problem...


I feel your pain - my XL200 will go for 30s and 60s at high decs unguided but not every shot - below is 30s on M13 but mine's always been polar mounted - good luck in your quest

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wayne anderson
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Reged: 04/17/13

Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: nytecam]
      #5861046 - 05/14/13 09:59 PM Attachment (34 downloads)

This is a very interesting thread to read, I agree with many of the points made here, I have been using my 12"LX200GPS in alt/az with no guiding for a while now, at first the images were not very good however with much time and effort learning the art of alt/az astrophotography my images are starting to look good, the images are not as sharp as can be achieved using a wedge and autoguiding systems but all things considered alt/az No guiding photography can produce reasonably good results.

I have found that alt/az with no guiding works very well, I follow these steps:

1: Have a rock solid tripod
2: Have accurate level of scope and mount
3: Have VERY accurate alignment
4: Have VERY good PEC training
5: Have optimal spacing between focuser, reducer and image sensor
6: Image objects only when they are in the optimal point in the sky not near zenith or horizon
7: Use 15 to 25 second Subs
8: Use between 100 to 300 Subs, with darks, flats and bias frames added
9: Use DeepSkyStacker to stack images
10: Use GIMP to process images

I use a 12" LX200GPS with f6.3 reducer, Sony Nex-3 DSLR at iso1600 and 25sec subs.
Check out my photo gallery at astrobin, details of each alt/az NO guiding photo is recorded and remember to click on the image to see the higher res image.

http://www.astrobin.com/users/WayneAnderson/

Thanks, Wayne.

Edited by wayne anderson (05/14/13 10:47 PM)


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nitegeezer
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: wayne anderson]
      #5861138 - 05/14/13 10:36 PM

Welcome to CN Wayne, you picked a great thread for your first post and your gallery shows some great shots.

Learning ap is a fun process, I have just been working up the ladder a little at a time and am hoping this summer will be the one that I turn the corner.

With your experience, I will be looking forward to your posts and any additional advice you give as questions get raised.


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Markigno
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Reged: 01/09/10

Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5861565 - 05/15/13 07:20 AM

Hello Wayne, welcome to CN!
I'm glad that your method alt / az Astroimaging works well for you.
This technique is very profitable with very bright subjects as globular clusters, some galaxies and planetary nebulae. On particularly bright objects, even using a very short time of exposure (1 second or less) and averaging around 3000 frames you can get great results. Using a very short time exposure the frame is not affected by the absence of guiding, vibration, PE, wind and many other factors that can adversely affect the frame, Furthermore with an industrial quantity of frames available, you can really choose the best for the stack of the final image. Unfortunately, this technique does not is applicable to subjects with low surface brightness (eg DSO in general). Fact, with a short time (even 25 seconds), you can not highlight details as ephemeral as the fine dust in the peripheral areas of the galaxies with low surface brightness.
I conclude by making you my compliments. Your image of Omega Centauri and your images gallery are really excellent.
Marco

P.S. One question: how did you do the PEC of AR axis?


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coinboy1
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #6207844 - 11/21/13 04:16 PM

I have a Nexstar GPS 11. Would a Pyxis 2" rotator work well with this setup? I am very interested in Alt-Az astrophotography. I am blown away with Marco's guided images in Alt-Az. I would love to take 10minute subs in Alt-Az mode. I have an Off Axis guider already, so only lacking the de-rotator. Does the 2" Pyxis rotator have enough resolution to autoguide with? Is adaptive optics really necessary for this setup?

Upon research it is not quite known if the Nexstar 11 GPS will accept guide instructions in Alt-Az. I will have to research this more. But the Pyxis derotate functions really fascinates me. I am like a lot here, I LOVE ALT-AZ imaging because the ease of setup. I tried my wedge, and I was getting a lot of problems with setting up, polar aligning, and I didnt like how that much weight of the telescope was on the wedge. My telescope is ROCK solid in Alt-Az configuration and tracks very well. I take 10-30 sec subs easily in Alt-Az and love the ease and simplicity. Attached is a single 30 sec sub on M16 @ Okie Tex Star party. I really enjoyed being able to image in Alt-Az.



What I really want to know is if the Pyxis 2" derotator will work with my Nexstar 11 GPS. Never used MaximDL and was wandering if that works with my telescope. Also I debated getting a Hyperstar for my telescope and image at F/2 with 30 second subs. No autoguiding. This would get me a good signal/noise ratio. Would this be better or would the derotator be better? I love images of small, faint NGC galaxies at high resolutions so this really appeals to me versus hyperstar. So I am really debating derotating versus Hyperstar.

Thanks,
Tony


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galaxy_jason
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #6209076 - 11/22/13 10:07 AM

Quote:

Maybe with all that I have written I have created confusion or failed to properly explain certain concepts (and my bad english certainly does not help me). However, for more clarity, is not the de-rotator field who need autoguiding, but the telescope mount. The de-rotator field only allows you to avoid field rotation during long exposure shots but nothing more. In fact, is the fork mount that not able to do good tracking for a long time without guider. So, if you use a de-rotator field (any de-rotator, including Brightstar), but do not use a guider, as final results you will not have field rotation, but you'll have in any case oblong stars, for bad tracking on the two axes of the telescope (DEC and RA).
To conclude: it is not possible to make exposures of several minutes without guiding. This applies to both LX200 telescopes that for CPC, with or without a de-rotator field. I hope, this time, to have been clear enough in my explanation.
Marco




Marco is exactly right here.


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Markigno
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: galaxy_jason]
      #6210787 - 11/23/13 06:56 AM

Hi Tony ,
Hyperstar and de-rotator field are 2 completely different ways of approach, each suitable for different purposes. If you like to photograph small galaxies you need a focal length important that hyperstar can not provide, so in this case the right way is the de-rotator field. However, on some subjects small, but bright (eg small planetary nebulae) you can use a technique very fruitful; 3000 sub frame to 1 second exposure, without de-rotator field and without autoguiding.
The pyxis 2" has a good resolution, so it is able to successfully perform the de-rotation of field.
WARNING: the software that manages the pyxis as de-rotator field, NOT WORKS ALONE, but requires a second SW as Maxim DL .
If you can get 10 minutes of exposure to single frame, without adaptive optics, depends on the quality of the tracking of your telescope.
In my experience, I highly doubt that you can get 10 minutes for each sub frame without adaptive optics with good results, but I could be wrong, if you had a telescope with a very good tracking (but this would be an absolutely exceptional case with amatorial fork telescopes).
Marco

Edited by Markigno (11/23/13 06:59 AM)


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coinboy1
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #6232890 - 12/04/13 09:03 AM

Markigno, check my post herefor my experiments on autoguiding with the Alt-Az mount before I buy a derotator. Thanks

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Markigno
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: coinboy1]
      #6236683 - 12/06/13 06:28 AM

Hi Tony, I read the linked post, about your experiences in alt/az with PHD.
I state that I do not know Celestron Nexstar or CPC, but the method I use with my Meade and PHD should also work with your Nexstar.
I use a GPUSB shoestring (PHD, in preferences, It has a dedicated connection for this adapter), connected to the computer and ST4 port of the telescope. This should also work for you and allow autoguide in alt/az with 2 motors simultaneously.
Marco

Edited by Markigno (12/06/13 06:37 AM)


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coinboy1
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: Markigno]
      #6246732 - 12/11/13 10:31 AM

To everyone who stumbled upon this thread in the quest to do long exposure Alt Az imaging:

The Nexstar GPS or CPC is NOT capable of accepting autoguiding commands in either the HC or ST4 Autoguide ports of the mount. My experiments are listed HERE.

Markigno has excellent results with long exposure Alt Az imaging with his LX200. This is where I think the LX200 has an upper hand over the NexstarGPS/CPC telescopes.

Good luck!


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Markigno
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Re: LX200 Imaging and 30 Sec Alt/Az limit new [Re: coinboy1]
      #6252505 - 12/14/13 11:44 AM

Quote:

To everyone who stumbled upon this thread in the quest to do long exposure Alt Az imaging:

The Nexstar GPS or CPC is NOT capable of accepting autoguiding commands in either the HC or ST4 Autoguide ports of the mount. My experiments are listed HERE.




This is strange. The Celestron support, states that technically their telescopes can do autoguider in alt/az. This link http://www.celestron.com/c3/support3/index.php?_m=knowledgebase&_a=viewar... explains that the only problem is the rotation of the field.

Edited by Markigno (12/14/13 11:48 AM)


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