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Astrophotography and Sketching >> DSLR & Digital Camera Astro Imaging & Processing

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bunyon
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/23/10

Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Re: Can the Messier Marathon be stacked? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5668907 - 02/08/13 12:27 PM

I've never imaged a MM (have visually done one), but one thing you should note is that some objects don't even need 1 minute. You can get a perfectly respectable shot of M13, for example, with a 20 second exposure. Ditto for many of the brighter open clusters. That would free you up to shoot longer on the fainter objects.

Though I agree with footbag, that 5 minutes per objects sounds way too long.


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Alex McConahay
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/11/08

Loc: Moreno Valley, CA
Re: Can the Messier Marathon be stacked? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5668922 - 02/08/13 12:33 PM

>>>>>Doesn't everyone review their images as they come in?

Yes, under normal circumstances. (Actually, no......many people are asleep while their automated scopes/camera work away. But, really, most of us want to see what we are getting.)

However, this is a marathon. You are not under simple rules. The point is, if you do not trust your system enough to stay focused for an hour at a time (or point within a few arc minutes, or.......) then you will not have time enough to get this thing done.

Or--to look at it another way--what do you do if the exposure did NOT work? (bad focus, etc.....) You have to retake that shot? You have to spend time refocusing? Well, those minutes do not come back in some kind of "extra time." Nobody is gonna make the sun stop coming up.

The dealbreaker is not looking at the exposure as it comes in, it is in not having gotten the equipment to the point that it will do exactly what we want it to do. If you cannot trust the focus, you won't survive the marathon.

(By the way--remember, the point is not great full screen poster pictures of each object. The point is getting them all in one night. When you display them later, they will be displayed smaller than your other photos. SO, you can forgive some things that would be unacceptable in normal imaging. )

Alex


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ahopp
sage


Reged: 05/24/12

Re: Can the Messier Marathon be stacked? new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5668938 - 02/08/13 12:42 PM

Quote:

I still might go to Staunton River. I am just not sure if I can get away for several days. I also donít want put the red filters on everything. I donít use eyepieces at all so dark adaption is not an issue for me. However, I donít want to make everyone mad at the star party either.

If I can run everything from within the tent and mask the light pollution that I might create then I will probably go up there. If not I will just go to s semi dark site where I wonít be bothering anyone else.




Travis,

You can put your setup inside my mobile observatory if you want, let me know.

Tony


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Footbag
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: Can the Messier Marathon be stacked? new [Re: Alex McConahay]
      #5668944 - 02/08/13 12:43 PM

Ok. So it's more about focus, maybe the newt will require more frequent focusing.

When all is said and done, I could see a poster with a grid on it with 300x300 images of each target. By down scaling, you will clean up all of your images as well.


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: Can the Messier Marathon be stacked? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5669108 - 02/08/13 01:51 PM

A couple of things. Temperature variances can affect focus especially with the Newtonian I am using. That is the only reason I say I need to be able to check focus.

One I set my focus it usually has no issues. However, I can't predict what temperature swings there will be so I want to be prepared for the worst case.

The other thing is that my camera has wireless built-in. Therefore, every time it takes a shot it can automatically upload both the RAW + JPG file to my computer or just display the JPG on my phone.

If I have it display the jpg on my phone it will show a reduced resolution image that matches my phones resolution. It is sufficient to check for major focusing issues. However, it is almost instantaneous because the file size is so small.

I am not worried about being able to do it with my setup. I tried it the other night with one of my older cameras and I was able to get at least 4 images of 12 objects per hour. I plan on doing less images for objects that are much brighter. Since there are so many clusters that will give me some leeway on the darker objects.


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avarakin
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/13/09

Loc: Parsippany NJ, USA
Re: Can the Messier Marathon be stacked? new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5669151 - 02/08/13 02:11 PM

Quote:

I still might go to Staunton River. I am just not sure if I can get away for several days. I also donít want put the red filters on everything. I donít use eyepieces at all so dark adaption is not an issue for me. However, I donít want to make everyone mad at the star party either.




I think that going to star party is a great idea - if you eliminate light pollution, your single 1 minute shots would be as good if not better than stack of 10 shots taken from Red Zone. So if you take just single shots, then this would be much simpler and very much doable.

I dont know about your setup, but my setup always has some kind of settle down time after pointing to a target. You will also have airplanes and other distructions. So I think that taking single images from a dark site is the way to go.

As far as red filters: many star parties have imaging ghettos where imagers are doing their business, so I think you should ask the organizers about this. Screening the light from your equipment is not a big deal, I can recommend buying a big piece of rubylith and using it for screening all equipment.

Alex


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Alex McConahay
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/11/08

Loc: Moreno Valley, CA
Re: Can the Messier Marathon be stacked? new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5669176 - 02/08/13 02:26 PM

>>>>>I tried it the other night with one of my older cameras and I was able to get at least 4 images of 12 objects per hour.

You sound like you are ready.....Good Luck.

Alex


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: Can the Messier Marathon be stacked? new [Re: Alex McConahay]
      #5669274 - 02/08/13 03:26 PM

Quote:

>>>>>I tried it the other night with one of my older cameras and I was able to get at least 4 images of 12 objects per hour.

You sound like you are ready.....Good Luck.

Alex




I think so. I am going to work on my tracking tonight though. I need to be able to turn my mount on and get my polar alignment spot on within about 5 minutes. That is not always a simple task in a new environment.


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harbinjer
sage


Reged: 12/17/08

Loc: Southeastern Minnesota
Re: Can the Messier Marathon be stacked? new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5677826 - 02/13/13 03:00 PM

Groups?
Lots of Messier objects are together, 65-66, 31-32-110, 42-43, 81-82, 97-108, etc. Have you though of just making sure that you can get them both in the frame easily, and taking 1 extra sub, and thus saving some time?


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: Can the Messier Marathon be stacked? new [Re: harbinjer]
      #5679119 - 02/14/13 10:28 AM

Quote:

Groups?
Lots of Messier objects are together, 65-66, 31-32-110, 42-43, 81-82, 97-108, etc. Have you though of just making sure that you can get them both in the frame easily, and taking 1 extra sub, and thus saving some time?




I had planned on doing that. However, my sonís climbing camp in Atlanta got scheduled for the weekend of the star party. I could bring my scope and try it there but I doubt I would get any results anywhere near Atlanta.

I still might try it on 3/11/2013(Monday Night) from a semi dark site in NC. However, that will be a lot of travel for me in one weekend.

One interesting thing that my camera can do is stack RAW images internally. It can even combine exposures. I thought it would be cool to put several objects in the same frame that are never actually in the same field of view.


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Dave Venne
member
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Reged: 11/12/07

Loc: Burnsville, MN, USA
Re: Can the Messier Marathon be stacked? new [Re: mmalik]
      #5679229 - 02/14/13 11:21 AM

I've been considering something similar for my CCD. Having done a couple of visual marathons is good to get you warmed up to the task. Some suggested refinements on Mike's advice:

Quote:

1. Hypothetically speaking if you were to cover 110 objects in 8 hours of darkness (one night), youíll have ~480 minutes; 480/110=4.36. Your 5 min/object estimate is close given you might not get all if few set with the sun...



Remember that Messier objects come a wide range of angular sizes. Clusters are typically large and objects like M42 and M31 are massive. Will you be shooting at the same FL all night, and will it be short enough to take in the bigger objects? If so, then you will be able to group some of the Ms together into single images. You can isolate them later by cropping. Planning is essential to shorten the list of images.

Quote:

3. Youíll probably need to squeeze in few darks; may be ~10x1min at ISO1600. You could do them at the end of the session if temp difference will not be large.



Depending on the weather, the coldest temperatures are usually encountered at daybreak, so waiting until then to shoot darks is probably not the best strategy. Shoot your darks earlier during a lull. (There will be lulls.)

Quote:

5. Do your homework ahead of time to arrange objects in such a way so there is least slewing needed from one to the next; again starting from west to east.



The internet and Google are your friends. There are many lists of the order in which to do a marathon visually. Take one as a starting point and reorder it as needed to avoid long slews.

Quote:

6. Also arrange objects in such a way so you do meridian flip only once (western to eastern hemisphere).



If your mount does meridian flips automatically, disable that feature. Most of the time you're likely to be imaging to the west as you try to keep up so flips are probably not going to be a big concern.

Quote:

7. Your mountís pointing would have to be nearly perfect; if you are going to a star party then rehearse how quickly you can get your mount setup/pointed early in the evening.



These are Messier objects, most are fairly bright. Your Go-To doesn't have to perfect, just good enough to get the target in your finder--which should be very well aligned with your imaging scope. If a target is centered in your finder you should have confidence it will be in the center of your camera's FOV.

Quote:

11. ďWheels upĒ; try not using a laptop; save images locally on the bigger/faster memory chip; only exception would be the external power supply to the camera, if applicable.



Your life will be easier if you can use software to control your camera. Set it up to take your sequence of light frames once, then reuse for each new target. This will save you time, and as the night goes on and your mind fuzzes, you'll appreciate the automation.

Quote:

14. Build focus check points into the plan; lesser the better.



Review each image as it is completed. Just in case something slips and throws your focus out. You don't want to go many light frames between quality checks. Besides, what else are you doing?

And be sure to pay attention to dew/frost control. You'll need it.

No matter what, Don't Panic. Set your first-time expectations low. If you get "only" 30, great. There will be other nights.

Dave


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: Can the Messier Marathon be stacked? new [Re: Dave Venne]
      #5679297 - 02/14/13 11:58 AM

Good advice. Luckily I can see most Messier objects in my cameras live view so centering is a breeze. I also chose my scope based on getting a field of view that will just fit every Messier object in view.

I believe M45 is the biggest and I can just barely get it in my field of view. Also my camera is 16 megapixels so cropping the image 2x isn't a terrible decision.

I can monitor images remotely as my camera uploads each image directly to my phone automatically with the built-in wireless. I can review the previous image while it is taking the next.

Dew will be an issue. Hopefully my built-in Dew fan will help. Otherwise I probably will get stopped short.


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