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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Moromete
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/15/12

Loc: Romania
Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy
      #5944165 - 06/28/13 02:30 AM

1) From your experience, which mounts have better GOTO pointing accuracy, Celestron GEMs or Skywatcher/Orion GEMs?

2) Is any significant difference between Celestron and Skywatcher hand controller software in respect of GOTO accuracy/efficiency or ease of initial star alignment?

3) Are Skywatcher mounts more dependant on EQ mode on a better polar alignment than Celestron for better GOTOs?

4) What about GOTO precision of Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 in Alt-Az mode compared to a Celestron CPC?






Let's compare mainly the hand controllers GOTOs of Celestron CG5-GT or CGEM to Skywatcher HEQ5 or EQ6/AZ-EQ6/ATLAS, considering Celestron Nexstar uses 2+4 alignment stars and Skywatcher uses only 2+1 stars.

By "better GOTOs" I'm referring to the mount being able to center a DSO in the middle of the eyepiece at ~100x or in the middle of DSLR sensor used with a C11 reduced at F/6.


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Moromete
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/15/12

Loc: Romania
Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5945990 - 06/29/13 04:32 AM

No one had both Celestron and Skywatcher mounts to make a GOTO accuracy comparison?

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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5946186 - 06/29/13 09:24 AM

Quote:

No one had both Celestron and Skywatcher mounts to make a GOTO accuracy comparison?




Hold your horses. You just axed.

The pointing accuracy of both can be equally good...BUT...

The user has to be more careful about choice of alignment stars with SynScan. You can't just choose the first star you are offered for star 1, etc. Follow the guidelines in the manual and you will be OK. With a 3-star alignment, my EQ-6 will put anything from horizon to horizon in the field of my C8.

However...the NexStar controller is considerably more advanced. Just accept and center the stars you are offered and you are done. It also supports a 2+4 star go-to alignment which is considerably more sophisticated. Finally, the NexStar HC has more features

That said, Synta (who also makes the Celestron scopes) has been upgrading the SynScan software, adding more features, etc. to the point where it is approaching NexStar functionality. The down side? I've heard rumblings that there are bugs in the latest update.


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Mike X.
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/28/10

Loc: Greece-Athens and Rome-Italy
Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5946212 - 06/29/13 09:39 AM

I quote uncle Rod.
(I got Both the CG5-GT and the AZEQ6GT)
I think the pointing accuracy is virtually identical..if..someone does things properly.

The Nexstar software is more ergonomic, thats true,however the Synscan is not that bad at all.
I got used to it in a heart bit.


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Moromete
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/15/12

Loc: Romania
Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5946357 - 06/29/13 11:09 AM

Quote:

Hold your horses. You just axed.




Ok.

I would like an Az-Eq6 quite badly but I've read on astro forums more opinions of people not so content with EQ6 or AZ-EQ6 GOTOs accuracy and than CGEM's GOTOs. In fact I rarely have seen people complaining about CGEM or CG5-GT GOTOs accuracy.
I know that CGEM is not so good for photography at >1000mm due to cogging issue which affects DEC guidance and 8/3 issue, the last one being a hardware flaw which can't be fixed with a software update.
Secondly the CGEM is just too heavy for my back.

Till now I've heard good things about AZ-EQ6 but it seems that some people are not so content with GOTO accuracy of this mount in AZ mode. I heavn't read opinions regarding the GOTOs of AZ-EQ6 in EQ mode but I suppose they are quite identical with the GOTOs of EQ6 Pro.

Regarding EQ6 Pro GOTOs I've read that they are very much dependant of an accurate polar alignment in contrast with Celestron mounts GOTOs which seem to be much less dependant on accurate polar alignment.
On the other hand it seemed to me that, as Astrobabay said somewhere, with EQ6 it's better to align only on 2 stars and not on 3 if you want workable GOTOs, which is somehow weird.
In plus some users said about EQ6 that if it's GOTOs were quite good for first part of the observing sesion than suddenly they degraded badly without understanding why.

Now I have a C11 on a CG5-GT which has accurate GOTOs after 2+2 stars alignment and with very rough polar alignment (Polaris outside the polar scope FOV) and I like it but the C11 is too heavy for the mount. I have put the mount on pier and reduced Custom Rate 9 to 6 to avoid stalling and stressing the motors when slewing but now slewing became too slow.

The only things which keep me back from buying AZ-EQ6 are GOTO accuracy in both EQ/Alt-Az modes and cord wrap problem in Alt-Az mode.
Otherwise I would like to use the AZ-EQ6 with the C11 and Meade AR5 mounted in parallel in Alt-Az mode.

I know AZ-Eq6 has lower noise too when slewing than CGEM and has much less weight.

From personal experince I know that CG5-GT has very good GOTOs due to 2+2 star alignment and not being so dependant on accurate polar alignment and I suppose the CGEM is the same in this respect. Lousy polar alignment with CG5-GT means bad traking but really inaccurate GOTOs.
With CG5-GT I always pick the stars I want for initial alignment and refuse the ones given by the hand controller and GOTOs are very good which means Celestron software does a good job for me.



I really would like to put the C11 on a more serious mount but under 2000 USD and if I spend so much money on a new mount than the first priority for me are accurate GOTOs (e.g. placing a DSO on DSLRs frame with C11 at F6 or in the FOV at ~100x visually) and than mount must perform well when guided for exposures up to 5 minutes at 1700mm)!





So can the AZ-Eq6 GOTOs put a DSO on the middle of a Canon 550D(T2i) frame with C11 at F6 or in the FOV at ~100x visually) and than mount must perform well when guided for exposures up to 5 minutes at 1700mm) or only the CGEM can do this?



Do you think Synta will offer a 2+4 alignment in EQ mode or an Auto Two Star Align (like Celestron CPC scopes have) in Alt-Az mode for AZ-EQ6 in the near future (1-2 years)?


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5946412 - 06/29/13 11:33 AM

Quote:



Ok.

I would like an Az-Eq6 quite badly but I've read on astro forums more opinions of people not so content with EQ6 or AZ-EQ6 GOTOs accuracy and than CGEM's GOTOs. In fact I rarely have seen people complaining about CGEM or CG5-GT GOTOs accuracy.
I know that CGEM is not so good for photography at >1000mm due to cogging issue which affects DEC guidance and 8/3 issue, the last one being a hardware flaw which can't be fixed with a software update.
Secondly the CGEM is just too heavy for my back.

Till now I've heard good things about AZ-EQ6 but it seems that some people are not so content with GOTO accuracy of this mount in AZ mode. I heavn't read opinions regarding the GOTOs of AZ-EQ6 in EQ mode but I suppose they are quite identical with the GOTOs of EQ6 Pro.

Regarding EQ6 Pro GOTOs I've read that they are very much dependant of an accurate polar alignment in contrast with Celestron mounts GOTOs which seem to be much less dependant on accurate polar alignment.
On the other hand it seemed to me that, as Astrobabay said somewhere, with EQ6 it's better to align only on 2 stars and not on 3 if you want workable GOTOs, which is somehow weird.
In plus some users said about EQ6 that if it's GOTOs were quite good for first part of the observing sesion than suddenly they degraded badly without understanding why.

Now I have a C11 on a CG5-GT which has accurate GOTOs after 2+2 stars alignment and with very rough polar alignment (Polaris outside the polar scope FOV) and I like it but the C11 is too heavy for the mount. I have put the mount on pier and reduced Custom Rate 9 to 6 to avoid stalling and stressing the motors when slewing but now slewing became too slow.

The only things which keep me back from buying AZ-EQ6 are GOTO accuracy in both EQ/Alt-Az modes and cord wrap problem in Alt-Az mode.
Otherwise I would like to use the AZ-EQ6 with the C11 and Meade AR5 mounted in parallel in Alt-Az mode.

I know AZ-Eq6 has lower noise too when slewing than CGEM and has much less weight.

From personal experince I know that CG5-GT has very good GOTOs due to 2+2 star alignment and not being so dependant on accurate polar alignment and I suppose the CGEM is the same in this respect. Lousy polar alignment with CG5-GT means bad traking but really inaccurate GOTOs.
With CG5-GT I always pick the stars I want for initial alignment and refuse the ones given by the hand controller and GOTOs are very good which means Celestron software does a good job for me.



I really would like to put the C11 on a more serious mount but under 2000 USD and if I spend so much money on a new mount than the first priority for me are accurate GOTOs (e.g. placing a DSO on DSLRs frame with C11 at F6 or in the FOV at ~100x visually) and than mount must perform well when guided for exposures up to 5 minutes at 1700mm)!





So can the AZ-Eq6 GOTOs put a DSO on the middle of a Canon 550D(T2i) frame with C11 at F6 or in the FOV at ~100x visually) and than mount must perform well when guided for exposures up to 5 minutes at 1700mm) or only the CGEM can do this?



Do you think Synta will offer a 2+4 alignment in EQ mode or an Auto Two Star Align (like Celestron CPC scopes have) in Alt-Az mode for AZ-EQ6 in the near future (1-2 years)?




You hear a lot of things here and in other places online. All I can say is what I have already told you: If you follow the instructions in the manual, the Atlas/EQ-6 will put whatever you request in the field of a medium power eyepiece. I have certainly never had a problem with its go-to accuracy with the HC, and the EQMOD program can give it go-to pointing accuracy on the other of a few arc minutes or better.

Maybe what you are hearing is complaints about the new SynScan software. As I said, there may be some bugs there, but I have little doubt they will be resolved.

I did a blog on the more recent firmware and the atlas here.

Many, many excellent astrophotos have been made with the CGEM, and the software update to fix the "cogging" issue that has affected some (but hardly all) people will make it even easier, no doubt.

I have no idea what the AZ-EQ will do because I don't own one. The EQ-6 will most assuredly put objects on the chip of my Canon DSLR every time. Again, IF there is a problem with go-to accuracy with the new mount, I have no doubt the software will be fixed.

As for the 2+4 go-to alignment coming to the SynScan controller? I have no idea, but Synta did recently implement the AllStar polar alignment routine for the SynScan controllers, so it's certainly possible.


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Moromete
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/15/12

Loc: Romania
Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5946697 - 06/29/13 02:43 PM

Thx Rod for helping. I bought the C11 ASGT guided by your advice and I was pleased with this combo especially after I put the CG5-GT on pier and fitted an ADM Dual Saddle to it which eliminated almost all shackiness.
Maybe I become so much in love with Celestron Nextsar GOTO accuracy that now I'm afraid to make the swap to Skywatcher Synscan software.

Here is a link to German forum were users tested firmware 3.35 with EQ6 and AZ-Eq6 and they seem not too happy about GOTO accuracy. http://translate.google.ro/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&...


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Mike X.
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/28/10

Loc: Greece-Athens and Rome-Italy
Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5947278 - 06/29/13 10:38 PM

Guiding at 1700mm is not a walk in the park for any Synta mount of this class but is achievable if used properly.
The re are many guys imaging at 1600+ with rc8s anyways.
A c11 is heavy and big though and it has to be taken in consideration this fact.I find it a borderline setup for a mount of this class but this is my personal opinion of course,

A few months ago I was in the dilemma between Cgem dx ,Cgem and azeq6.
The use I am doing is 99,9% photographic.
I was biased towards the nexstar protocol because of my very positive previous experience with the cg5.
After trying the pointing accuracy of the new mount in eq mode I never looked back again.
I can't really find any visible differences in the performance.Maybe there are but I can't as much as it concerns my expectations.
The only thing I haven't tried yet is the new ASPA routine of the new mount as I was using it with the 3.34 firmware till a few days ago.

I guess all these mounts are pretty much equivalent. ( neq6,azeq6,Cgem) in terms of performance.
My main fear back then,before deciding,was the cogging issue with the Cgem mount...I must admit that this was the reason that pushed me towards the skywatcher series.
Maybe my fear was without basis,maybe not..in any case I think that all these mounts offer pretty nice pointing accuracy.I just wouldn't overload them and expect perfect guiding or at ,east not without issues...;)
So far I am very pleased with the mount but I am still in the stage of testing it.some autoguiding runs at 945mm have been very positive..but that's about what I have done so far.
Pointing accuracy at 1500mm seemed to be similar to my cg5 at least visually.

I hope I've been of help

Ps:sorry for the typos, I'm not used typing from a tablet...

Edited by Mike X. (06/29/13 10:41 PM)


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johnpd
sage


Reged: 04/13/08

Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5947443 - 06/30/13 01:45 AM

Moromete,

Are you sure that you pointed to the correct post thread? That thread is almost a year old before either the mount or firmware were released. I see nothing regarding GoTo accuracy.

This is my first Skywatcher mount which I had to order from Canada because SkyWatcher mounts are not available in the U.S. although Orion now has its version available. I took a leap of faith getting this. I was hoping the Meade LX80 would work out, but that turned out to be a disaster. I have been using a C-8 on it and attached a Mallincam video camera to the C-8 at f/3.3. This gives me about a FOV of about .5 degree. With few exceptions as I had noted, I have no problem getting objects on the camera chip. As Rod has mentioned, Synta seems to be very good at updating firmware when a problem has been found. I have reported my issues to my dealer and he is contacting Synta regarding them. Hopefully the issues will be fixed shortly.

JohnD


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Moromete
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/15/12

Loc: Romania
Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #5947484 - 06/30/13 03:06 AM

Thx Mike. Sure you helped.

I'm looking forward to see a review from you for AZ-EQ6 which will be usefull for many potential buyers of this mount.

With what scope and eyepiece have you tried the pointing accuracy of this mount in EQ mode? Were the viewed objects in the center of the FOV?

Regarding Skywatcher ASPA precision I have some concerns because of this: before using ASPA with Celestron mounts you have to align on 2+4 stars but with Skywatcher ASPA is calculated after aligning the mount only on 2+1 stars, which I suppose means a lower precision in calculating Polaris position. Does it make any sense?

Another thing that puzzled me about EQ6/Az-Eq6 pointing precision is that many users say they obtain much better GOTOs after only 2 stars alignment than 2+1 stars which seems to make things worse and computes cone error strangely. Have you experienced this situation in EQ mode?

Regarding the Alt-Az pointing accuracy I see that there are problems according to the end of this review http://www.astroshop.com.au/guides/sky-watcher-azeq6gt.asp


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Moromete
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/15/12

Loc: Romania
Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: johnpd]
      #5947487 - 06/30/13 03:11 AM

John, you are right. Sorry for mistake. Here is the correct link http://translate.google.ro/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&...

According to the German users of EQ6/AZ-EQ6 there are still problems with ASPA with firmware 3.35. Read the second page of the translated thread.


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johnpd
sage


Reged: 04/13/08

Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5947580 - 06/30/13 06:01 AM

I think you mean this thread:

Synscan v3.35 Firmware

JohnD


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Moromete
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/15/12

Loc: Romania
Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: johnpd]
      #5947584 - 06/30/13 06:28 AM

Yes, that is the link. I don't know what happens with my computer.

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Mike X.
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/28/10

Loc: Greece-Athens and Rome-Italy
Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5949144 - 07/01/13 06:04 AM

Quote:

Thx Mike. Sure you helped.

I'm looking forward to see a review from you for AZ-EQ6 which will be usefull for many potential buyers of this mount.

With what scope and eyepiece have you tried the pointing accuracy of this mount in EQ mode? Were the viewed objects in the center of the FOV?

Regarding Skywatcher ASPA precision I have some concerns because of this: before using ASPA with Celestron mounts you have to align on 2+4 stars but with Skywatcher ASPA is calculated after aligning the mount only on 2+1 stars, which I suppose means a lower precision in calculating Polaris position. Does it make any sense?

Another thing that puzzled me about EQ6/Az-Eq6 pointing precision is that many users say they obtain much better GOTOs after only 2 stars alignment than 2+1 stars which seems to make things worse and computes cone error strangely. Have you experienced this situation in EQ mode?

Regarding the Alt-Az pointing accuracy I see that there are problems according to the end of this review http://www.astroshop.com.au/guides/sky-watcher-azeq6gt.asp




I'm glad i've been of help,as soon as finish my photographic sessions this summer i will gladly post my impressions regarding the mount
Now,i have used only the 3 star aling and with the encoders off during aligment, just as the manual states so i can't help you regarding the rest of the allingment procedures.
Anywasy i was using my C6 (F:1500) and a 20mm eyepiece.
Gotos were near the center.(but..i had done a good polar alignment before).I was not using the newest firmware at that time but the 3.34.
The mount would bring the DSO in the midle of the DSLR FOV at 945mm with ease anyways.

I haven't tried the Skywatcher version of the ASPA routine either...but i'm willing to do so ASAP
The mount has been used only in EQ mode.


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Moromete
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/15/12

Loc: Romania
Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #5949428 - 07/01/13 10:47 AM

Mike, I'm glad you had good GOTOs at 75x with 3 star alignment in EQ mode and encoders off.By saying "i had done a good polar alignment before" I hope you didn't do a drift alignment because I don't have ever the mood for doing drift alignment but just simple polar alignment through the polar scope.

Regarding using 2 scopes in Alt-Az with AZ-EQ6 (which is very desirable, by the way), I think this piece of hardware from iOptron ( http://www.ioptron.com/index.cfm?select=productdetails&phid=b06e0c77-2eb5... ) is easier to use than the Skywatcher puck which must be screwed in and makes changing from Alt-Az mode to EQ mode during an observing sesion much harder in the dark.

One last thing about the dual encoders. For me it seems vey weird to have such encoders designed for slewing the mount manually but forcing you to disable them because they destroy your GOTOs when you want to use again the hand controller during the night to find different objects for you. The idea of encoders is very nice and usefull but it seems it's not functional as it should be at least which is a shame. Why put encoders with such low resolution that makes GOTOs unusable it's beyond my understanding.

All these things hold me from buying an AZ-EQ6 even if I want one badly. It seems like an unfinished/unpolished product somehow.I really like the look and functionality of AZ-EQ6 but these design mistakes keep me on standby.

I wonder if and when Celestron will offer an AZ-EQ6 mount (like CGEM replica to EQ6) with CPC Alt-Az software and 2+4 alignment in EQ mode.Do you think we'll be able to buy such a product in 1 or 2 years?


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Mike X.
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/28/10

Loc: Greece-Athens and Rome-Italy
Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5949521 - 07/01/13 11:52 AM

Hi Moromete,yes i usually do drift alingment but i'm pretty sure you will get very similar results in goto accuracy by only using the polarscope.

Regarding the encoders,they suggest to keep them off only during initial alingment with in EQ mode.I believe because there could be a confilt between the Synscan system which is using a microstep system to count the actual position of the moun and the encoders reading the position.

When i tried the encoders, i found that they maintained goto accuracy pretty well.I guess the resolution of 3-4' they give is not bad for keeping the goto.
I don't believe at all it is an unfinished product, actually i think it is a very nice mount for the money.It has it pros and cons.
The synscan firmware is allways on evolution and that's for all the mounts not only AZEQ6.

If it helps..i will tell you that i believe the AZEQ6 is much more finished and mature project than the CGEM.At least from what i've been reading about the cogging issue and the motors.To me that's way more important than the polar alingment routine or the software.

It is based on the NEQ6 basically and they eliminated the transmission gear by adding a belt.
To me seems it keeps all the goodies of the NEQ6/Atlas, and gets rid of the bad noise and some periodic error probably.

The AZ mode and the Canon SNAP port and the encoders are extras..nice but extras, at least form my point of view.

If i have to consider the AZEQ6 only in EQ mode...i think it is the safe counterpart of the CGEM mount

A NEQ6 with much better altitude adjustment bolt and at least to me, upgraded wedge.
I would suggest it with no problems at all.

PS:One word regarding the encoders and the AZ mode.
Ok it's fine, i like'em..but i must say it is only good if someone wants both in 1 mount.
Personally i don't think i'll use them.I bought the mount just for photography..and if i wanted to push my telescope..i would use a Dobson..but that's just me

Edited by Mike X. (07/01/13 12:13 PM)


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johnpd
sage


Reged: 04/13/08

Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5950316 - 07/01/13 08:32 PM

Moromete,

Regarding switching the AZ-EQ6 between EQ and AZ Modes, it is very simple especially when you see what you have to do with iOptron's iEQ45-AZ. With iOptron's you have to remove the polarscope first in order to switch which leaves you with the possibility of misaligning the polarscope when you reinstall it if going back to EQ Mode.

I think the design of the mount is excellent especially the large clutches which makes it very easy to use them. I do wish they incorporated the capability of automatically slewing the mount to the first alignment star when in AZ Mode. If you started from a set position (such as zero Az and zero Alt), I would think that could be done unless there is some patent issue with having that as part of the firmware. Manually moving the scope to the first alignment star can cause some issues especially if you want to use a not so bright star.

Again the 4 calibration stars in Celestron's alignment procedure helps eliminate cone error. That is what the third alignment star is supposed to do on the Synta mounts. Obviously Synta needs some work on the alignment in their firmware but I am sure they will get it right eventually.

The auxiliary encoders are useful if you want to bypass the alignment procedure and manually go directly to an object. This is useful during early twilight or daytime when alignment stars may not be visible.

JohnD


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Mike X.
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/28/10

Loc: Greece-Athens and Rome-Italy
Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: johnpd]
      #5953146 - 07/03/13 01:29 PM

If i remember well Moromette you were asking about some info also regarding guiding with the AZEQ6
Yesterday i did a small test of the mount and the new CCD.Nothing exceptional, just a test to check if everything works.
So i pointer Altair and i did a few shots.
The polar alingment was less than perfect (on purpose)so the autoguider had to work a lot in Dec to compensate the drift.

I was autoguiding at 945mm with a Qhy5m
The shot was taken with a Skywatcher Equinox 80 ED and a Qhy8l
8x300" with respective darks and light.
Just tacking and calibration with DSS an a small histogram strech with PS.I didn't used any denoising again on purpose.

Personally i am glad with the result considering the conditions.


You may check also an actual pixel version of this shot here:
http://www.astrobin.com/full/46825/0/?mod=none&real=

No field flattener used:
at 945mm i was getting an RMS of 0.39 in PHD.
I didn't noticed any kind of saw tooth graph on about 3 hours i let the mount guide.

Hope it helps.

Edited by Mike X. (07/03/13 01:31 PM)


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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #5954593 - 07/04/13 10:57 AM

If you're willing to put a simple imaging camera on your scope (say a ST80 with a small camera like a QHY5 or one of those new ASIs) you could platesolve using Astrotorilla pretty easily and end up with spot on GOTO performance.

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Moromete
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/15/12

Loc: Romania
Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #5954770 - 07/04/13 01:27 PM

Porca mizeria segniore, very nice picture Mike! I think Altair looks magical in your shot.

With AZ-EQ6 I intend to do guided photography in EQ mode at 1700mm with a C11 (reduced at F/6) + APS-C DSLR and I need GOTOs which will put the DSO in the frame for up to 5 min exposure, otherwise I'm getting nervous for paying useless GOTO.
Secondly I'll use the mount unguided (preferably in AZ mode) for video astronomy with a CCTV and C11 at F/3. It would be nice to have round stars in AZ mode after a 90s-120s exposure with AZ-EQ6 but I don't know if it's possible.

In any case I need efficient GOTOs both visually in both AZ & EQ modes and photographically in EQ mode especially because I have short observing sessions and I don't like to find DSO manually.

Is this possible easily with AZ-EQ6 or I'm dreaming with my eyes open?


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johnpd
sage


Reged: 04/13/08

Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5955088 - 07/04/13 06:11 PM

Moromete,

It is very unlikely that you would get perfectly round stars imaging in Az with any mount for that length of time. I use a Mallincam Xtreme video camera on a C-8 @ f/3.3 and I would not go much beyond a minute. I had no GoTo issues with that configuration except with the problems I had indicated. When Synta resolves the current intermittent GoTo problems with v3.35, the mount should be very good.

JohnD


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5955200 - 07/04/13 07:42 PM

Hello Moromete, thank you, you are too kind

Well a C11 as i said before i think it's a borderline OTA for this class of mounts both because of the weight and the focal Lenght.That's regarding DSO photography.But..with patience it can be done.
Regarding the GOTOs i think it wouldn't be hard to have the mount put a DSO in an APS-C sensor format (Most non full frame DSLRs).
Regarding the AZ mode i'm afraid i have no clue to help you with as i never tried it.
I am only guessing that if it tracks ok for visual observing it should be ok also for video astronomy but..still..maybe a friend that has used the mount in AZ mode can help you more than me.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: johnpd]
      #5955223 - 07/04/13 08:08 PM

I just read a post in a Yahoo group from another AZ-EQ6 owner that Synta is aware of the GoTo issue and a fix will be released in the next firmware update. No release date was mentioned.

JohnD


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5955490 - 07/05/13 01:32 AM

I owned and tested both the CGEM and Atlas mount side by side. I still have the CGEM. I found that the accuracy of the CGEM with a 2+2 alignment was dead on accurate, while the 3 star alignment with the Atlas was within the field of view of a wide field eyepiece, meaning it was not quite as accurate. One of the big issues for me though was that the CGEM offered more alignment star choices than the Atlas. This can be a issue if you have a lot of trees or obstructions in your observing area like I do. There were a few times when I could not find three alignment stars with the Atlas.

Patrick


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5955682 - 07/05/13 08:11 AM

You might get some shots at this f/l with a C11 in alt-az mode, but only in a couple of areas. Usually field rotation will mean you will have non-round stars with exposures this long.

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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Patrick]
      #5956091 - 07/05/13 01:17 PM

Quote:

I owned and tested both the CGEM and Atlas mount side by side. I still have the CGEM. I found that the accuracy of the CGEM with a 2+2 alignment was dead on accurate, while the 3 star alignment with the Atlas was within the field of view of a wide field eyepiece, meaning it was not quite as accurate. One of the big issues for me though was that the CGEM offered more alignment star choices than the Atlas. This can be a issue if you have a lot of trees or obstructions in your observing area like I do. There were a few times when I could not find three alignment stars with the Atlas.

Patrick




@Patrick thx for your valuable feedback. Seems logical what you said and I know Celestron software is better.

What keeps me away from CGEM unfortunately is its weight, cogging issue and DEC issue which is hardware related. Otherwise Celestron software attracts me more than Skywatcher.

Without beeing able to compare Celestron and Skywatcher mounts I feel that software difference in respect of GOTO resides in polar alignment. I feel that Skywatcher needs much better polar alignment for precise GOTO and Celestron is much more forgiving because its software computes better human error in this process due to different math formulas and more callibration stars. When coming down to photography I suppose both mounts need almost as accurate polar alignment for longer exposure and maybe in this case the software difference fades away.
Still this difference in computing precision could be important when ASPA because Skywatcher I think can not compute as well Celestron the polar alignment error and maybe it needs more itterations to reach Celestron's precision. Am I thinking correctly?

Patrick, how scrupulous were you with polar alignment with Skywatcher when you said the object was to the border of the FOV and scope and eyepiece have you been using?

I generally put Polaris in the middle of the polar scope with CG5-GT and I do 2+2 star alignment.

@Uncle Rod maybe I have too much expectations from AZ mode but I was thinking at 1-2 minutes exposures with C11 at F/3 for video astronomy. For photograhpy I would be using EQ mode only with C11 at F/6 on AZ-EQ6 for exposures of up to 5 minutes guided. Am I still crazy?


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5957202 - 07/06/13 08:48 AM

The following 2 questions refer only to Skywatcher Synscan hand controller with the latest firmware 3.35 and not EQMOD software.

If you perform a Pointing Accuracy Enhancement (PAE) on 3 stars AFTER doing a 3 star alignment with EQ6 hand controller, is this similar to Celestron 2+4 star alignment and give the same GOTO accuracy with EQ6 mount or not?

Keeping the same idea and the same procedure described above, will ASPA with EQ6 give the same polar alignment precission as with ASPA on Celestron CG5GT/CGEM or not?


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5957274 - 07/06/13 09:54 AM

Quote:


Without beeing able to compare Celestron and Skywatcher mounts I feel that software difference in respect of GOTO resides in polar alignment. I feel that Skywatcher needs much better polar alignment...




The SynScan software now has exactly the same polar alignment routine as the NexStar branded scopes. "AllStar," IOW. The go-to alignment process is also considerably more automated with respect to good alignment stars, now. Frankly, I find the SynScan go-to accuracy and the NexStar pretty much the same, now.

Synta/Celestron has also released beta firmware that appears to eliminate the cogging problem (which never affected all users).


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5957275 - 07/06/13 09:56 AM

The PAE can work, but I never use it. It's like Sync, will throw your go-tos off in different parts of the sky, and, frankly, is not needed if you do a good go-to alignment.

The polar alignment routine in the SynScan version doesn't seem any different from in the NexStar branded HCs.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5957325 - 07/06/13 10:41 AM

It has a small difference in the steps to follow only.I guess in the performance must be pretty much the same.
The main difference is that in the Synscan version the HC asks to center the star in 2 different steps.One only in Altitude and one only in Azimuth.But that's about it.

Edited by Mike X. (07/06/13 10:41 AM)


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #5957454 - 07/06/13 12:26 PM

I suppose Skywatcher makes calculations GOTO the same as Celestron software because ASPA is done the same and you have to use Up and Right arrows when doing final alignment on a star. Even AZ-EQ6 hand controller is presented now to have a database of 42000 like Celestron.
There should be some legal difficulties probably or management decision which prevent using a 100% Nexstar software on a Skywatcher mount but the GOTO calculations done in software seem to be the same.

I'm waitting to see 2+4 star alignment and CPC Auto 2 Star alignment on AZ-EQ6. I think it's a matter of time.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5958081 - 07/06/13 07:28 PM

I'm guessing that it has to do with the fact that they use 2 entire different ways to make the gotos that make the 2 protocols incompatible.
Synscan counts steps to reach a position, while the nexstar uses the encoders on the motors to reach the desired position.
For implementing nexstar on a SW mount I'm only guessing that the motors should at least have encoders...but again never say never.

For sure both protocols are keep evolving in parallel so..who knows...maybe in the future Synta could come up with a different alignment method for SW mounts...but still..this one is pretty good..I doubt they would do it anytime soon.
I was in love with my celestron mount and I had similar doubts regarding accuracy but I confess to you that the synscan is equivalent to the nexstar regarding this matter.
It is less user friendly than nexstar that's true but it is accurate virtually as the nexstar.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5958618 - 07/07/13 09:10 AM

Quote:

I suppose Skywatcher makes calculations GOTO the same as Celestron software because ASPA is done the same and you have to use Up and Right arrows when doing final alignment on a star. Even AZ-EQ6 hand controller is presented now to have a database of 42000 like Celestron.
There should be some legal difficulties probably




There are no legal difficulties. Synta owns both systems. It is the parent company of Celestron AND SkyWatcher. The problem is that the mounts are so different:

Celestron = servo motors and encoders.

SynScan = stepper motors and no encoders.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #5958620 - 07/07/13 09:12 AM

Quote:


I was in love with my celestron mount and I had similar doubts regarding accuracy but I confess to you that the synscan is equivalent to the nexstar regarding this matter.
It is less user friendly than nexstar that's true but it is accurate virtually as the nexstar.




Exactly. I do note that later releases of the SynScan software seem to be less user unfriendly than the old ones, though.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5960046 - 07/08/13 06:11 AM

Quote:

The PAE can work, but I never use it. It's like Sync, will throw your go-tos off in different parts of the sky, and, frankly, is not needed if you do a good go-to alignment.

The polar alignment routine in the SynScan version doesn't seem any different from in the NexStar branded HCs.




According to the Skywatcher Synscan manual: "The pointing accuracy enhancement (PAE) function enables the telescope mount to obtain enhanced pointing accuracy in specific small areas.
After a 1-star, 2-Star or 3-star alignment, the telescope mount might still have a small pointing error due to many factors, such as the flexure of the telescope, atmospheric refraction or other mechanical issues. The amount of pointing error might vary in different portions of the sky.
The SynScan hand control divides the sky into 85 small zones, and users can calibrate the pointing error for each of these zones. The next time that the SynScan controller tries to locate an object in the calibrated zone (or a zone nearby), it will automatically apply the recorded calibration data to compensate the pointing error.
This function is useful for locating faint deep sky objects, and it is also helpful to obtain consistent pointing accuracy for a permanent observatory."


I don't know if I'm reading correctly but the Skywatcher PAE hand controller function doesn't seem to have the same effect like Celestron's Sync after which you have Unsync because, as you said Rod, the GGOTOs will be worse in other parts of the sky than the synced one.

Theoretically PAE should not degrade GOTOs in some parts of the sky because it needs no Unsync, is applied automatically during GOTOs and models the sky better after every added star to it. Seems similar to N-Point function from EQMOD.

Has anyone experience with Skywatcher GOTOs and ASPA after doing PAE on a few stars?


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5960272 - 07/08/13 10:19 AM

I've used this function a time or two. I can tell you rat-cheer that PAE in one are of the sky will throw off accuracy in another.

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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5960952 - 07/08/13 05:29 PM

Quote:

I've used this function a time or two. I can tell you rat-cheer that PAE in one are of the sky will throw off accuracy in another.




So Rod
U reckon its worthwhile using PAE?
Or does it mean that once u have used it in one part of the sky u have to keep using it in all others?


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: HowardK]
      #5960993 - 07/08/13 06:03 PM

I don't think it's worthwhile in most circumstances. It's better just to do a good alignment. A decent polar alignment with the polar scope and a 3-star using the guidance found in the manual, and the mount will put anything I request from horizon to horizon on the chip of My Mallincam Xtreme; that is good enough for me.

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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5961899 - 07/09/13 09:49 AM

Quote:

I've used this function a time or two. I can tell you rat-cheer that PAE in one are of the sky will throw off accuracy in another.




If that's the case in practice than you have been right saying Skywatcher PAE is like Celestron Sync function. Thx for sharing your opinion and test results.


In respect of Celestron ASPA, after reading CG5-GT website support page and CGEM DX manual (newer) I discovered something very interesting regadring the number of callibration stars needed before doing ASPA.
According to point 18 of CG5-GT support page before doing ASPA you need to align on 2+1(or more) callibration stars. http://www.celestron.com/c3/support3/index.php?group=c3&_m=knowledgebase&...
According to point 39 of CG5-GT support page before doing ASPA you need to align on 2+2 callibration stars. http://www.celestron.com/c3/support3/index.php?group=c3&_m=knowledgebase&...
According to page 29 of AVX mount manual before doing ASPA you need to align on 2+1 (or more) callibration stars: "Before using the Polar Align feature, the scope must first be roughly pointed towards north and should be aligned with three stars in the sky. See the “Latitude Scale” section for help with finding north and adjusting the mounts latitude. Once your telescope is aligned on two stars and at least one additional calibration star, slew the telescope to any bright star in its Named Star database list."

According to CGEM manual before doing ASPA you need to align on 2+1 (or more) callibration stars.

In conclusion, for doing an useful ASPA Celestron needs a 2+1 star alignment, more callibration stars giving higher precision.

Considering many people say that 2 star aling is much better than 3 stars alignment with Skywatcher mounts for accurate GOTOs, I wonder how efficient is ASPA with Skywatcher mounts after doing only a 2 star alignment without any callibration star like Celestron.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5961921 - 07/09/13 10:02 AM

Quote:

I don't think it's worthwhile in most circumstances. It's better just to do a good alignment. A decent polar alignment with the polar scope and a 3-star using the guidance found in the manual, and the mount will put anything I request from horizon to horizon on the chip of My Mallincam Xtreme; that is good enough for me.




If your EQ6 puts DSO on Mallincam's chip when using a C11 at F/3.3, than EQ6 GOTO's are OK with me too.

It seems you have no problems with 3 star alignment with EQ6 like other users do and you prefer this method to 2 star alignment. This sounds reassuring to me.

But what do you mean by "decent polar alignment"?

Rod, how long are your exposures in general with Mallincam + C11 + Meade 0.33x reducer?

In wonder if instead of buying a AZ-EQ6, my CG5-GT with C11 reduced at F/3 and a Mallincam like camera will be good enough for up to 60s exposures without star trailing.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5961951 - 07/09/13 10:23 AM

Quote:

If your EQ6 puts DSO on Mallincam's chip when using a C11 at F/3.3, than EQ6 GOTO's are OK with me too.

It seems you have no problems with 3 star alignment with EQ6 like other users do and you prefer this method to 2 star alignment. This sounds reassuring to me.

But what do you mean by "decent polar alignment"?

Rod, how long are your exposures in general with Mallincam + C11 + Meade 0.33x reducer?

In wonder if instead of buying a AZ-EQ6, my CG5-GT with C11 reduced at F/3 and a Mallincam like camera will be good enough for up to 60s exposures without star trailing.




If your OTA is not completely orthogonal with the mount--which it probably won't be with an SCT--the 3-star makes a difference, since it take cone alignment error into account.

The secrets to the 3-star, as with the 2-star, are in the manual.

--The first two stars should be separated by 3 hours of right ascension if possible. That is more important than their separation in azimuth.

--Star 3 should be between Declination 30 and 70, north or south.

By "decent," I mean a reasonably careful alignment with the mount's polar scope, at least. I use the hour angle display on the HC to set the position where Polaris goes on the reticle.

My exposures with the Xtreme are generally between 14 and 30 seconds. I can go longer and still get nice stars, but I usually don't need to go longer, and going much more than a minute at my local observing site makes skyglow a problem.

Edited by rmollise (07/09/13 10:36 AM)


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5962172 - 07/09/13 01:11 PM

Thanks Rod

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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5963497 - 07/10/13 04:35 AM

If you only go up to 30s exposure with Mallincam at F/3.3 I suppose you have Gain On an it's set to a higher level.

Regarding your EQ6 practical experience and considering a decent polar alignment beeing done and the lack of Precision GOTO function in Skywatcher handcontroller, what do you do if in the first part of your observing sesion you go only visual with good GOTOs (objects in eyepiece FOV at ~100x) and than in the 2nd part you start using Mallincam and only some DSOs don't land on chip at all in some parts of the sky?

For this situation I suppose Celestron designed Precise GOTO function (which doesn't affect all sky alignment and GOTO pointing accuracy like Sync function does), but if Skywatcher lacks it what can we do to center faint DSOs on small video chips?


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5963507 - 07/10/13 04:48 AM

Just another thing. I think you can use Precise GOTO with Celestron CPC scopes in AZ mode for 30s exposures with a Mallincam for better GOTOs and centering DSOs on Mallincam's chip. What can we do if we don't have Precise GOTO with AZ-EQ6 and we want to use it in AZ mode with Mallincam at 20-30s exposure but DSOs don't land on chip at all?

As a side, I have read that at this moment the GOTOs with AZ-EQ6 in AZ mode are not good, besides the cord wrap problem. Can a user of this mount confirm or infirm this?


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5963542 - 07/10/13 05:45 AM

Quote:

Just another thing. I think you can use Precise GOTO with Celestron CPC scopes in AZ mode for 30s exposures with a Mallincam for better GOTOs and centering DSOs on Mallincam's chip. What can we do if we don't have Precise GOTO with AZ-EQ6 and we want to use it in AZ mode with Mallincam at 20-30s exposure but DSOs don't land on chip at all?

As a side, I have read that at this moment the GOTOs with AZ-EQ6 in AZ mode are not good, besides the cord wrap problem. Can a user of this mount confirm or infirm this?




Moromete,

I think it was said that the Synta PAE is the same as the Celestron Precise GoTo although I find the Synta manual a little confusing as to what the procedure is. Celestron's is pretty clear. Select an object while in Precise GoTo mode and it gives you a nearby star to align on first. Synta's manual talks about a "reference object" to align on but does not say at what point you select the actual object you want to view.

I have submitted data to my dealer on both the pointing issue and the the cord-wrap issue. A couple of others have mentioned a similar pointing issue in EQ Mode. Hopefully Synta will resolve those shortly. They are supposedly already working on the pointing issue.

JohnD


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: johnpd]
      #5963550 - 07/10/13 06:00 AM

John, as Rod said, Synta PAE is like Celestron Sync and not like Celestron Precise GOTO which doesn't alter the pointing to other parts of the sky than the one were Precise GOTO was calculated.

Celestron Sync is targeting GOTO accuracy to a small part of the sky but affects negativelly than the GOTO to other parts of sky. In contrast Celestron Precise GOTO is targeting GOTO accuracy related to just a single DSO and not a little part of the sky like Sync does and because of this Precise GOTO doesn't affect the pointing on other parts of the sky. At least that's what I understood.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5963675 - 07/10/13 08:50 AM

Quote:

If you only go up to 30s exposure with Mallincam at F/3.3 I suppose you have Gain On an it's set to a higher level.

Regarding your EQ6 practical experience and considering a decent polar alignment beeing done and the lack of Precision GOTO function in Skywatcher handcontroller, what do you do if in the first part of your observing sesion you go only visual with good GOTOs (objects in eyepiece FOV at ~100x) and than in the 2nd part you start using Mallincam and only some DSOs don't land on chip at all in some parts of the sky?

For this situation I suppose Celestron designed Precise GOTO function (which doesn't affect all sky alignment and GOTO pointing accuracy like Sync function does), but if Skywatcher lacks it what can we do to center faint DSOs on small video chips?




I'm not sure what you mean by "gain on". No, I don't have the camera in CCD mode; there's no reason for me to. What's "higher level"? I do have it at "6" which is high for some folks...but that and a 14-second exposure will reveal small 16th magnitude galaxies.

I do either video or visual, not both in one evening. I do a careful alignment either way, and have no trouble with go-to accuracy.

I've don't have to use Precise Go-to with the CG5. It's also very good about putting objects on the Mallincam--if I do a careful alignment.

What can you do? You can do a good go-to alignment, which I've already described, following the guidelines for alignment stars in the manual. If you can't be bothered to do that, yes, your go-to accuracy will suffer.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5965130 - 07/11/13 02:29 AM

Ok, it's clear now.

You wrote on your blog that in practice with the new All-Star polar alignment procedure from Celestron we don't have to re-align the mount again after it like in the past (I didn't know it's possible to re-alignment, to be honest, and now I'm suddenly more happy with my CG5-GT ).

In your experience, is the same thing possible with EQ6 (firmware 3.35) and Skywatcher's software Polar Align procedure or we need to re-align the mount to have good GOTOs?


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5965368 - 07/11/13 09:18 AM

Quote:

Ok, it's clear now.

You wrote on your blog that in practice with the new All-Star polar alignment procedure from Celestron we don't have to re-align the mount again after it like in the past (I didn't know it's possible to re-alignment, to be honest, and now I'm suddenly more happy with my CG5-GT ).

In your experience, is the same thing possible with EQ6 (firmware 3.35) and Skywatcher's software Polar Align procedure or we need to re-align the mount to have good GOTOs?




It SHOULD be...but the caveat is that I have not been able to try the new firmware in the field.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5965420 - 07/11/13 10:00 AM

I read now in Synscan manual v3.35 that unfortunatelly you must re-align the EQ6 after doing a software polar alignment with the hand controller!
Why don't you copy updated Celestron software functions in your mounts Synta?!

Considering that Synta owns Celestron begining with 2005 and Skywatcher mounts hand controllers don't have implemented yet after so many years functions from Celestron software like Precise GOTO, All-Star Polar Align without re-alignment needed, more than 1 calibrations stars for initial alignment, no anti cord wrap feature for AZ mode and many other things I suppose Celestron developed alien techonology for their mounts which Synta engineers aren't able to understand and copy in Skywatcher mounts hand controllers. Otherwise, if this is management decision than it's a very bad one because if a mount like AZ-EQ6 had Celestron software features I pointed out, it could be a complete and polished package, a superb mount. Unfortunately now AZ-EQ6 seems handicaped because of incomplete software.


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Moromete
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5965425 - 07/11/13 10:05 AM

At this moment, software wise, a cheap mount like Celestron CG5-Gt is vastly superior to a much more expensive mount like AZ-EQ6 or EQ6 Pro which I think it is not normal at all, both mounts comind from Synta and being mass produced.

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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5965436 - 07/11/13 10:08 AM

C'mon Celestron, give us quickly a lighter AZ-CGEM with belt drive and good quality!

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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5965573 - 07/11/13 11:47 AM

Quote:

At this moment, software wise, a cheap mount like Celestron CG5-Gt is vastly superior to a much more expensive mount like AZ-EQ6 or EQ6 Pro which I think it is not normal at all, both mounts comind from Synta and being mass produced.




Superior? In what way? It wouldn't be normal if that were the case, but it is not. Both are frankly superior to the no long produced CG5.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5965862 - 07/11/13 03:02 PM

Uncle, hold your horses.

Celestron hand controller software is superior to Skywatcher when it comes to GOTO accuracy and possibility to compute and correct some human or mechanical errors by including more variables in the equation, like callibration stars or the star for Precise GOTO. See may explanations in my post above. For newbie astronomers is easier to use Celestron software for visual observation or photography because of better GOTO pointing when polar alignment is not "decently" done and in a hurry.

By the way I think my polar alignment with CG5-GT is quite bad and GOTOs are still surprisingly OK. I don't even look through the polar scope and I don't even use ASPA because I didn't want to remake a 2+4 alignment. Still I get good exposures of 40s with ST80 + 1/3" sensor CCTV which I believe is quite good. I suppose this crazyness with EQ6 will give bad GOTOs. Am I wrong?

Anyway that's my opinion and I'm not convinced yet by the accuracy of GOTOs of Skywatcher compared to Celestron. Or maybe I'm trying to find myself different excuses not to buy an AZ-EQ6 in the near future.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5965940 - 07/11/13 03:48 PM

To me this discussion is a storm in a teacup. Celestron may have a more user-friendly hand controller software set but frankly, a decent polar alignment on my EQ6 only takes a minute or two and from then on GOTO's never miss.

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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Pat at home]
      #5966032 - 07/11/13 04:38 PM

Is it possible to align an EQ6 with the hand controller first and than to connect a PC to the hand controller to control the mount with EQMOD/Stellarium inside the house in winter after it was aligned like that?

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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5966093 - 07/11/13 05:25 PM

Quote:

Uncle, hold your horses.

Celestron hand controller software is superior to Skywatcher when it comes to GOTO accuracy and possibility to compute and correct some human or mechanical errors by including more variables in the equation, like callibration stars or the star for Precise GOTO. See may explanations in my post above. For newbie astronomers is easier to use Celestron software for visual observation or photography because of better GOTO pointing when polar alignment is not "decently" done and in a hurry.

By the way I think my polar alignment with CG5-GT is quite bad and GOTOs are still surprisingly OK. I don't even look through the polar scope and I don't even use ASPA because I didn't want to remake a 2+4 alignment. Still I get good exposures of 40s with ST80 + 1/3" sensor CCTV which I believe is quite good. I suppose this crazyness with EQ6 will give bad GOTOs. Am I wrong?

Anyway that's my opinion and I'm not convinced yet by the accuracy of GOTOs of Skywatcher compared to Celestron. Or maybe I'm trying to find myself different excuses not to buy an AZ-EQ6 in the near future.




I ain't holding nothing, Skeezix...

The NexStar is a little more user friendly than the SynScan and has a _few_ more features, but if properly aligned the SynScan is everybit as accurate for go-tos. If "as good as the NexStar" ain't good enough, you can run the mount with EQMOD and get pointing accuracy of a few arc minutes or LESS.

To be honest, I use to feel the same way you do. I bought my EQ-6 back in 2007, just a little before the CGEM came out, and I was mighty put-out when it did...I preferred the NexStar HC. But then I made friends with the EQ-6, learned to use it, and found what a good and reliable mount it is. I gladly put up with an HC that was less advanced (the SynScan HC has been upgraded several times since then), for a mount that was more reliable and arguably better for imaging than the CGEM.



Edited by rmollise (07/11/13 05:40 PM)


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5966133 - 07/11/13 05:54 PM

If ..i have to find 1 single thing that the Synscan is inferior for real to the Nexstar is the tracking limits.

The hand control , at least for the moment doesn't offer that...and the mount will keep tracking well past the meridian (..heheh..on Celestron they advertise that as if it's a plus...) and eventually will touch the tripod if someone doesn't do a Meridian flip.

That..was my main concern before buyng a synscan mount..as i often leave it track alone and check it once in a while..or i fall asleep sometimes.

But then i thought that i am using the mount allways with a pc since i do photography and EQMOD offer the possibility to introduce tracking limits..so..for someone that wishes to leave the mount do the job and go to sleep..it will keep it from slewing till it touches somewhere.

For someone that is not using the mount for the entire night..i have to be honest..this is not a problem.For 2-3 or even 5 hours of use the possibility to leave the mount and let it touch the tripod is rare.
-----------

Said that..i would like to add that the Synscan software might not be so user friendly as the Nexstar but...that doesn't means that it is user "hostile"...
As i said before i was and still i am a Nexstar Fan but i also became a Synscan Fan now I got used to the Synscan software in a heart bit.

Hope it helps,

PS: In my personal list (of "better-less better"(not payload)),based on the use i am doing , i would put 1st the AZEQ6, then the NEQ6 , then AVX (based on the user's reviews) , then CGEM e last CG5 as overal performance of these mounts.

And i value the CG5 as a great litle mount which i would buy again if i could go back in time
So i doubt you would do a terrible mistake buy purchasing a NEQ6 or an AZEQ6 or a Nexstar mount:..specially if you don't do long exposure photography.

PPS: I didn't put the Sirius on purpose as i think it is pretty much a smaller version of the Atlas-NEQ6 so the only difference i guess is the payload.

Edited by Mike X. (07/11/13 08:36 PM)


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #5966263 - 07/11/13 07:40 PM

Quote:

If ..i have to find 1 single thing that the Synscan is inferior for real to the Nexstar is the tracking limits.






If you need tracking limits, run the EQ-6 with EQMOD.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5966318 - 07/11/13 08:33 PM

That's what i wrote a few lines after

Specially for someone that needs to use a pc with the telescope ,using EQMOD too is not a big deal.

Edited by Mike X. (07/11/13 08:34 PM)


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #5966336 - 07/11/13 08:50 PM

Quote:

That's what i wrote a few lines after

Specially for someone that needs to use a pc with the telescope ,using EQMOD too is not a big deal.




Yep. I like having the option of using the hand control, but for imaging, etc., I always use EQMOD...it is freaking fantastic.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5966339 - 07/11/13 08:56 PM

I agree Rod!!!
I must admit i was reading a lot about EQMOD before i buy the mount but i was thinking..."ok how good can it be"?...well ..it's good!!! It gives complete control of every single thing of the mount!!


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #5966765 - 07/12/13 02:26 AM

Is it possible to align an EQ6 with the hand controller first and than to connect a PC to the hand controller to control the mount with EQMOD/Stellarium inside the house in winter after it was already aligned like that?

What does EQMOD in plus over NexRemote PC software?


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5966868 - 07/12/13 06:09 AM

Well Nexremote is ..practically a copy of the Nexstar Hand control on a pc.
The EQMOD ...probably you may think of it as a platform that except controlling the mount you may also run extra utilities.

I guess this site can explain it much better than i could do it:

http://eq-mod.sourceforge.net/introindex.html


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5966923 - 07/12/13 07:56 AM

Quote:

Is it possible to align an EQ6 with the hand controller first and than to connect a PC to the hand controller to control the mount with EQMOD/Stellarium inside the house in winter after it was aligned like that?




I was trying out SkySafari on my iPad to run my AZ-EQ6. You align your telescope with the hand controller, connect Southern Star's SkyFi (or Orion's StarSeek) to the hand controller, start up your iPad/iPhone or Android device, link it to the SkyFi (StarSeek), and you can wirelessly run your mount from wherever. I works great. This is what I was using when I ran into the pointing issue with the mount. I originally thought it was a SkySafari problem. You should be able to connect via a PC as well but would need a long serial cable and a USB to Serial Adapter to do it. I run another mount via a serial cable from outside to inside my house using The Sky 6.

JohnD


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5967343 - 07/12/13 12:39 PM

Quote:

Is it possible to align an EQ6 with the hand controller first and than to connect a PC to the hand controller to control the mount with EQMOD/Stellarium inside the house in winter after it was already aligned like that?

What does EQMOD in plus over NexRemote PC software?




No. You cannot use the hand control with EQMOD. It is either left disconnected and you use a Shoestring EQDirect cable, or you use a standard SynScan serial cable connected to the HC and put the HC in PC direct mode. You can learn all about EQMOD here: http://eq-mod.sourceforge.net/

"But Uncle Rod, but Uncle Rod, if I cain't use the hand control buttons, how do I align the mount to start with?"

Easy--and this is one of the beauties of EQMOD: you use a wireless gamepad/joystick. Even inexpensive ones will work; I use one I got from Walmart for less than 15 dollars.

What does EQMOD do that NexStar firmware doesn't?

The list is really too long to put here. Go to the page above...

But...

It allows you to align on as many go-to alignment stars as you want. Sorta like T-point. You can use any star shown on your planetarium program as an alignment star. Even a 15th magnitude star if you want.

It interfaces to a tour module.

It interfaces to a PEC module.

It has a very good polar alignment routine that uses the polar scope, which some folks prefer to AllStar.

It uses the PC for time/zone/location reference.

It can use many, many different GPS receivers.

Has spiral search.

Implements slew limits.

You can save alignment points for future use if you are leaving the mount set up...like in an observatory or at a multi-night star party.

You can use EQMOD with any ASCOM compatible astronomy program, since it is an ASCOM driver--Cartes du Ciel, Stellarium, etc., etc.

I could go on.

Edited by rmollise (07/12/13 12:42 PM)


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: johnpd]
      #5967355 - 07/12/13 12:46 PM

Quote:

I was trying out SkySafari on my iPad to run my AZ-EQ6. You align your telescope with the hand controller, connect Southern Star's SkyFi (or Orion's StarSeek) to the hand controller, start up your iPad/iPhone or Android




That is true with SkySafari, but not EQMOD. It takes the place of the hand control.


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Moromete
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5968483 - 07/13/13 02:48 AM

I thought I could complete the initial alignment with the hand controller and than connect with a cable the PC to the hand controller and control the EQ6 via Stellarium/EQMOD inside the house in winter using the alignment made outside the house.

This means that in winter you have to align the mount from inside the house after you turn it on. How do you do the initial alignment of the EQ6+telescope inside the house if you don't see the stars with your own eyes?


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5968652 - 07/13/13 08:43 AM

Quote:

I thought I could complete the initial alignment with the hand controller and than connect with a cable the PC to the hand controller and control the EQ6 via Stellarium/EQMOD inside the house in winter using the alignment made outside the house.

This means that in winter you have to align the mount from inside the house after you turn it on. How do you do the initial alignment of the EQ6+telescope inside the house if you don't see the stars with your own eyes?




Were you going to use something like a Mallincam video camera to view objects from inside during the winter? If so, you could align with the camera (assuming your GoTos are decent, otherwise you would have to align outside or at least use a finder to get close). One thing that could cause a problem initially is getting proper focus. This would have to be done from outside unless you have a remote focuser or focusing software on your PC.

JohnD


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: johnpd]
      #5968693 - 07/13/13 09:12 AM

A camera on a finderscope could help if it's used as a "findercam"

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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #5968720 - 07/13/13 09:36 AM

If you are using Eqmod you don't need to align, it happens as you add points to the model.

You can also integrate Eqmod and sky safari so you use your ipad or ipod to slew to targets and eqmod to control the scope the very best of both worlds. You will need a PC in your obs or close to your scope connected using a EQ direct cable and running WiFiscope (free) as a bridge between sky safari and eqmod. You can select stars in sky safari slew to them then just use the align button to add them to eqmods pointing model.

I can control my scope from anywhere the wiFi signal reaches which is anywhere on our property which covers 6 acres.

So no handset, no alignment.

This works really well for an obs, might seem a bit overkill set up wise if you are constantly moving.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5968757 - 07/13/13 10:12 AM

Quote:

I thought I could complete the initial alignment with the hand controller and than connect with a cable the PC to the hand controller and control the EQ6 via Stellarium/EQMOD inside the house in winter using the alignment made outside the house.

This means that in winter you have to align the mount from inside the house after you turn it on. How do you do the initial alignment of the EQ6+telescope inside the house if you don't see the stars with your own eyes?




Well, you can't, as I said.

You align the scope using a wireless gamepad, as I also said.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5968927 - 07/13/13 12:29 PM

I don't have an wireless gamepad and I don't know how to connect it.

Rod, can you see the alignment stars through the wireless gamepad?


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5968993 - 07/13/13 01:14 PM

Quote:

I don't have an wireless gamepad and I don't know how to connect it.

Rod, can you see the alignment stars through the wireless gamepad?




Where do you get one? A local discount or electronics store.

How do you connect one? You plug in the receiver to a USB port, load the drivers, and then set it up by following the instructions in the EQMOD documentation.

How could you see stars with a gamepad?

Here's what you do:

1. Read the EQMOD Wiki and the documentation. Don't even think about running EQMOD till you do.

2. Install EQMOD, which is an ASCOM driver.

3. Connect to it using your favorite ASCOM compatible astronomy program.

4. Follow the instructions to set up your alignment.

5. Click on a star on the screen and slew to it. Mount goes to it. You walk out to scope, center star with gamepad. Then either hit the button you've mapped to sync on the gamepad, or hit the sync button on the computer program.

6. Repeat for as many stars as you like.

7. You are done and can run the scope from the computer from then on if you are imaging.



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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5969125 - 07/13/13 02:53 PM

Very clear explanation Rod, thank you! Are you an engineer or mathematician?

Now I understand why is the wireless gamepad usefull.

I still have to get used with the weight of the AZ-EQ6 after using the much lighter CG5GT...


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5969392 - 07/13/13 06:05 PM

Quote:

Very clear explanation Rod, thank you! Are you an engineer or mathematician?

Now I understand why is the wireless gamepad usefull.

I still have to get used with the weight of the AZ-EQ6 after using the much lighter CG5GT...




I WAS an engineer. I am now a retired engineer.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5971610 - 07/15/13 02:42 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Very clear explanation Rod, thank you! Are you an engineer or mathematician?

Now I understand why is the wireless gamepad usefull.

I still have to get used with the weight of the AZ-EQ6 after using the much lighter CG5GT...




I WAS an engineer. I am now a retired engineer.




I smelled something, mister!

To convinces myself a little more about Skywatcher Synscan hand controller GOTOs accuracy, I did a 2+1 stars alignment with CG5-GT(pier mounted)+C11(at F/2.6-2.8)+LodestarC and tried to find out if AZ-EQ6/EQ6 Pro can put a DSO on a Mallincam chip like camera after a 3 stars alignment. I have to say that polar alignment was not "decent" because I put Polaris only in the middle of the polar scope and I haven't used ASPA (because I forgot about it ).

My conclusions:
1) surprise surprise, IT WORKED! All DSOs landed on the LodestarC chip. Theoretically this proves that both you Rod and Mike X were right about EQ6 GOTOs being accurate enough.
2) this way I managed to reach 90s exposures UNGUIDED without star trailing in some parts of the sky, like W or NW. At SE or S star trailing appeared after 40s.
3)if you can take 1-2min unguided exposures with AZ-EQ6/EQ6 Pro like with a CG5-GT, than I'm not happy with AZ-EQ6/EQ6 because I expected more, like double the time unguided considering the price difference
4) if I'm going to do only visual and video astronomy with exposures up to 90s with Mallincam like camera and focal reducer, without considering DSLR astro photography, than an AZ-EQ6/EQ6 will not bring any benefit to me or my images and CG5-GT is good enough even with a C11
5) I tried to simulate the weight of AZ-Eq6/EQ6 head by putting 2 weights on CG5-GT and lifting it. Man, AZ-EQ6/EQ6 head has to be heavy and I'm not sure yet I'll want to take it outside every time.
6) still, an AZ-EQ6 will tempt me to use it in AZ mode for visual especially with the 2 scopes I have: C11 (for DSOs) and Meade AR5 achro (for planets and wide field).
7) if CCD/DSLR astro photography with a C11 at F/6 comes into play, than an AZ-EQ6 guided would probably make more sense than a CG5-GT pier mounted.
8) small sensor cameras with very fast focal reducers is the key to avoid big/heavy and expensive mounts or even the expensive Hyperstar when you want to do DSO imaging.


What do you people think about the usefulness of AZ-EQ6 compared to CG5-GT only for video astronomy with exposures up to 90s with Mallincam like camera and focal reducer,without considering DSLR/CCD astro photography?


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5971614 - 07/15/13 02:50 AM Attachment (16 downloads)

Here is a single 90s exposure unguided with CG5-GT+C11(at F/2.6-2.8)+LodestarC (same sensor like Mallincam) and Polaris only in the middle of the polar scope.

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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5971760 - 07/15/13 07:15 AM

Moromete,

You have me thoroughly confused. How do you determine the accuracy of a Skywatcher mount when doing a test with a CG-5? Yes the AZ-EQ6 is heavier than the CG-5 but not prohibitively so. I had a CGE which I thought was going to give me a hernia. If you are interested in a lighter mount that should handle your C-11, you might want to consider the iOptron iEQ45. There is a AZ/EQ version of that also. Weightwise it is between the CG-5 and AZ-EQ6 and cheaper than the AZ-EQ6. Is there anyone near you that has an AZ-EQ6 or an EQ6 that you can do a test on?

JohnD


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5971901 - 07/15/13 09:39 AM

Quote:


What do you people think about the usefulness of AZ-EQ6 compared to CG5-GT only for video astronomy with exposures up to 90s with Mallincam like camera and focal reducer,without considering DSLR/CCD astro photography?




The AZ-EQ-6 should work great for video. BUT...I never use my EQ-6 for that. The CG5 or my new VX are more than good enough for the less-demanding (compared to prime focus with a CCD or a DSLR) imaging requirements of video and are a lot lighter.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: rmollise]
      #5972206 - 07/15/13 01:06 PM

It seems I'm thinking like an engineer ... a retired one!

Joke aside, I agree with you Rod. We are lucky to have a guy like you around here to help us. Thx!

I would really have wanted to be able to expose unguided for 3-4 minutes with a mount like AZ-EQ6 which costs triple than a CG5GT but it seems I'm dreaming.

I don't understand why EQ6/CGEM are so heavy and what material are they made of.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5972215 - 07/15/13 01:09 PM

Quote:

I don't understand why EQ6/CGEM are so heavy and what material are they made of.



It is not a matter of materials, it is a matter of physical size. The EQ6 and CGEM are simply physically larger then the CG5.


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Moromete
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: johnpd]
      #5972278 - 07/15/13 01:37 PM

Quote:

Moromete,

You have me thoroughly confused. How do you determine the accuracy of a Skywatcher mount when doing a test with a CG-5? Yes the AZ-EQ6 is heavier than the CG-5 but not prohibitively so. I had a CGE which I thought was going to give me a hernia. If you are interested in a lighter mount that should handle your C-11, you might want to consider the iOptron iEQ45. There is a AZ/EQ version of that also. Weightwise it is between the CG-5 and AZ-EQ6 and cheaper than the AZ-EQ6. Is there anyone near you that has an AZ-EQ6 or an EQ6 that you can do a test on?

JohnD




John, let me explain. I thought that since Synta owns Celestron and Skywatcher than the actual mathematical calculations done by the Synscan software must be identical to those done by Celestron Nexstar, the actual difference residing in the number of functions ported to Synscan. That's why I thought that 3 star alignment is computed/done the same with both CG5-Gt and AZ-EQ6. Am I wrong?

Regarding the IEQ45 I have looked at it carefully but it seems it's not good with a heavy scope like C11 especially because of the spring loaded worm gears which introduce significant shakiness both at high power viewing and with photography. If IOPTRON gets rid of the springs than it would be a nice mount with a heavy scope. The weight of the IEQ45 would be OK for me considering I can't permanently mount it. Another problem with IEQ45 I think is the software which I suppose is more rudimentary than Synscan. Than it's the noise when slewing at full speed which is similar to CG5-GT coffee grinder. Judging by pictures I'm not impressed with build quality of IEQ45. Lastly, in my country there is no service for IOPTRON products and IEQ45 costs a little more than an AZ-EQ6. Besides these there are mny things to like at IEQ45, especially the weight and the hand controller LCD during winter.


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cn register 5
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5972367 - 07/15/13 02:06 PM

The Synta and Celestron hand controllers and software pre-date the merger so are essentially separate. They also appear to work in different ways, using different hardware architecture and motors.

But they are probably both based on Toshimo Taki's matrix method of aligning scopes, as is everyone else's.

They both do the same job - coordinate transforms - so will be similar.

But the detail of how they do it will be different and as far as I know there is little detailed interaction, they seem to have separate developers working independently.

Chris


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Moromete
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5994159 - 07/28/13 05:17 AM Attachment (20 downloads)

Last night the weather was good and I decided to test seriously the ASPA function of my CG5-GT mount (pier mounted), which carries a C11, and I also pushed the LodestarC ccd to the limit.

To cut a long story short I'll say I was VERY IMPRESSED with Celestron ASPA because I reached repeatedly exposures of 300s UNGUIDED during the same night with a CG5-GT!

Now I'm convinced that with Celestron ASPA I'll never feel the need to bother with drift alignment and guiding can be avoided with almost perfect polar alignment. On the other hand, maybe I have an exceptional CG5-GT and I didn't know that. It's interesting that I haven't noticed any periodic error in my shots during the whole sesion which I can't explain myself why.

To be able to reach several exposures of 300s unguided with the CG5-GT, I aligned the mount on 2+1 stars (without any callibration stars) with LodestarC ccd mounted on C11, reducedat F/2.6. During alignment I used SharpCap with LodestarC and I activated SharpCap's red reticle function and put all 3 alignment stars in the middle of the reticle. After finishing the initial alignment, I started doing ASPA on star Altair which was near the meridian in South. Againg, during ASPA I centered Altair in middle of the red reticle of SharpCap. That was all!

After finishing Celestron ASPA there was no need for a re-alignment, unlike Skywatcher mounts! Thanks Uncle Rod for pointing this out. In the past I didn't used ASPA because I had to cycle power and redo the initial alignment of the mount which was a PITA for me and too much time consuming when observing sesions are short. So again Skywatcher/Orion hand controller lags behind the Celestron one because with Skywatcher/Orion your have to redo the initial mount alignment after finishing ASPA which is a PITA for me.
I would like to see in Skywatcher firmware 3.36 for AZ-EQ6 an ASPA like Celestron one which doesn't require a re-alignment.

This way I proved myself that it's actually possible to take 300s exposures with a heavy C11 on a cheap CG5-GT mount WITHOUT GUIDING!

I have to point out that all 300s shots were done in the NW part of the sky and I hadn't enough time to take some 300s shots in E or S.

Lastly, I reached the maximum exposure limit of the LodestarC software which is 300s.

To reach F/2.6 with C11 I stacked a 2" x0.5 GSO reducer over the AlanGee telecompressor.

Below is a single exposure of 300s of M81 taken with LodestarC + C11 (F/2.6), without guiding, dark frame or flats.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5994160 - 07/28/13 05:18 AM Attachment (31 downloads)

M101, single exposure of 300s, unguided, no flats or darks.

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Moromete
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5994161 - 07/28/13 05:19 AM Attachment (26 downloads)

M63, single exposure of 300s, unguided, no flats or darks.

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Moromete
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5994163 - 07/28/13 05:20 AM Attachment (21 downloads)

M51, single exposure of 240s, unguided, no flats or darks.

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Moromete
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5994500 - 07/28/13 10:51 AM Attachment (16 downloads)

M51, single exposure of 240s, unguided, 1 dark frame substracted, no flats.

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Mike X.
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5997812 - 07/30/13 04:33 AM

Hello gents, Just a small update as this weekend I managed to use th azeq6 under a dark sky for some immaging.
I found the pointing accuracy excellent.better than my cg5 actually.
I aligned with the c6 reduced ad 945mm and a qhy5m attached to it.
After a 3 star alignment the mount would bring averything near the field of view of the tiny sensor of the qhy5m which means it was dead center for my Ed 80 and the qhy8l.

I used also the skywatcher "ASPA" routine.I found no difference in precision than the celestron ASPA.
This is a ghidepraph at 500mm


upload gambar

This is the result at F:945mm ( guided at 500mm)
From a city sky ( I was about of focus too )

Hope it helps.
Ps. Oh...and on this photo I just used the polar scope.


On this one..( which is a work in oroject) I used the polar alignment routine.
I photograpghed at 500mm and guided with the c6


All in all this mount and the neq6 are in a totally different league than the cg5 photographically and in terms of payload.
In terms of accuracy I wouldn't be occupied at all.

I hope I've been of help.


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Moromete
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #5997909 - 07/30/13 07:36 AM

You are very helpful Mike. Thank you for posting such valuable information about AZ-EQ6 mount!



1) After doing ASPA with AZ-EQ6 did you to re-align the mount (with Celestron you have to) ?

2) Since I managed to take a few 300s shots totaly unguided with my CG5-GT (after doing ASPA once) with C11(F/2.6)+LodestarC in NW part of the sky, just out of curosity, can you try to expose for 300s unguided with AZ-EQ6 in NW and C6 at F10 and a DSLR and post the results to see if there are trailed stars or not?


Chose any DSO you want in NW. I doesn't metter the quality of the image in this case but if star trailing exists and how bad it is.


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neptun2
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5998116 - 07/30/13 10:16 AM

I can share my experience with the HEQ5 Pro mount that i have. I am happy with the goto accuracy and also the polar align routine in the latest firmwares. You need to make another 3-star alignment after the polar align routine to be sure that your gotos will be accurate but this is not something which takes so much time. Also i always use the stars suggested by synscan for the goto alignment without problem. In the recent versions of synscan the software knows which stars are best for the alignment and suggests them correctly. In the very older versions you needed to be careful what to select but this not a problem anymore.

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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: neptun2]
      #5998140 - 07/30/13 10:28 AM

I do as neptun does, after the ASPA i re aling with 3 stars.
But it's a very quick process.
It is true that since the mount is polar alinged the initial gotos are way better than before.

I can try with the C6 ad f/10 but i doubt the mount will show similar results with the guided photos.
Actually i rarelly use teh C6 at /10 since the exposure times rise for about 3 times than at f/6.3 while the resolution i get reduced with the CCD/dslr is more than enough even for smaller objects.
if i remember well at f/10 i used it only in 2 targets, M13 once (and i dropped it as at f/6.3 was more than ok) and blue snowball where even at f/10 is tiny.

I haven't measured the PE but i get the impression that for the AZEQ6 has a smoother curve than the one i was getting with the CG5..so even unguided should perform better probably.

Personally..at these focal lenghts and ratios (f/6+)..i wouldn't bother to go unuiged for more than 1 or 2 minues.


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Moromete
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #5999520 - 07/31/13 04:38 AM

Thx Mike and Neptune for explanations.

So you have to re-align the AZ-EQ6 after ASPA. Now that's just plain stupid from Skywatcher because Celestron solved this problem years before and the fix must be very easy. Because of the re-alignment I quited using ASPA with CG5-GT (until Uncle Rod said there's no need to re-align now) because re-alignment took too much time during my short sesions and I found it annoying too.

Mike, if possible try a long exposure of any DSO you want (e.g. M51 or M81) or a star of 300s UNGUIDED with AZ-EQ6+C6(at 1500mm)+DSLR in NW part of the sky to see how it compares to my unguided exposures of 300s with CG5-GT. I'm just curios to see if there will be any star trailing with AZ-EQ6 in this case (after doing ASPA). It doesn't matter how pretty is the final image.

I intend to use the AZ-EQ6 with C11(reduced to F/6)+DSLR => 1650mm (close to your C6 at F10).


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5999687 - 07/31/13 08:53 AM

I will gladly try it but I doubt there will be no trailing even with drift alignment at such focal length.

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Moromete
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #5999716 - 07/31/13 09:20 AM

Like you, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the 3 images (M81,M101,M63) I posted and detected no star trailing after 300s without guiding but just doing ASPA with CG5GT after a 3 stars alignment (I used the first stars suggested by the HC).

Like I said before all 300s unguided images were taken in the NW part of the sky.

Maybe it was a very lucky night for me, I don't know.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #5999742 - 07/31/13 09:41 AM

When i mean trailing ,I don't mean drift but tracking error because of the periodic error.
Now I know that the cg5 has a really high but guidable periodic error.
It has a periodism of approximately 600". 597" if I'm not mistaken ,so it is impossible to get a photo without being influenced by it...even at 300 sec.
Of course much depends from the what someone expects from a photo.
Round stars for me can be oval for others and viceversa.

for sure my cg5 had a pretty high PE...and the longest I did at 1500mm with round stars unguided was 50-60 seconds.
Here is an example of blue snowball


It should be somewhere in the middle

For sure the azeq6 has one less gear for the trasmission of motion..that should leave only the worm gear PE in theory which is good...in theory.
I will do the test ASAP and post the results.
I will do more actually..il will use the integrated alignment routine when I do the test so you can have a direct confrontation with he cg5 but as I said before I don't have high expectations for unguided shooting .

Edited by Mike X. (07/31/13 09:44 AM)


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Moromete
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #5999983 - 07/31/13 12:27 PM

Mike, I agree with everything you said (including periodic error) and it's logical to not believe that's possible a 300s exposure without any guiding (especially with CG5GT) but posted 3 images to show it. I can't explain myself this performance and maybe I was very lucky.

An advice: use Altair as one of the first 2 aligment stars with AZ-EQ6 and than do ASPA again on Altair, than realign mount using the same 3 stars in the same order. After finishing this do the long unguided exposure at NW sky.
At least that's what I did when I exposed for a 300s unguided single frame (except realignment, which is not mandatory for Celestron mounts).


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #6000410 - 07/31/13 06:36 PM

Moromete, i believe you about the 300s seconds.Please do not take me wrong.Afterall you have posted them they are there and i see them.;)
From my point of view are very nice but the tracking error is evident.(please forgive my critique).
Being said that i must say those are amongst the best 300" unguided subs i have ever seen for a CG5.
When i plan to do subs with a longer focal leght and i let the mount on it's place for a few days generally i do a drift alingment.I find it usefull personally to have as less corrections in DEC as possible.

I will try your suggestions though with the SW ASPA routine.
So far i find it very good...but i hardly remember the stars i used.
For sure during the 3 stars alingment i use bright stars, Vega almost allways, Arcturus too some times.


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Moromete
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #6001094 - 08/01/13 07:33 AM

Mike, I actualy welcome constructive critique because it helps me learn from my mistakes. For example, I dislike the obvious coma and I think my images are not sharp and I wonder why.


The lack of sharpness is due to coma, lack of guiding or low resolution of LodestarC?

How/Where do you spot tracking errors in my images?


Please be critique and help me improve my technique.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #6001295 - 08/01/13 10:58 AM

Hello Moromete,
if you check the stars even near the cecter of the pictures(it is more evident from the second picture and later) they are oval.
I might be mistaken but unless these are cropped parts of a wider field of view near the edge of it,it is unlikely(at least regarding me) that it is coma or field curcavure.
I believe it is more probable that this is caused by tracking error,and that could be Periodic error,or drift.
If we exclude drift due to polar alingment,this leaves only error introduced periodically by the gears.(in ideal conditions of wind)

These are my thoughts.
Said all that i repeat these are great unguided images!!


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Moromete
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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #6005910 - 08/04/13 07:02 AM

There was no crop. Actually the LodestarC sensor was not perfectly square with reducer's lens so this maybe could be another reason for the oval stars.

Mike, any news regarding your AZ-EQ6?


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Moromete]
      #6010237 - 08/06/13 08:05 PM

That could be too.
Not many news as I can't use it for a week or so as at the moment I'm away from my mount
Last weekend only I had time to gather a couple of hours of signal on ic1396 but that's about it.
I had tightened the backlash a little bit too much and got some binding on both axes...so I loosen them up aand went much better...still need to loosen up the dec axis though and fine tune the ra.
The process is easy but it is a sort of error and trial...
Much easier than the cg5 anyways.
Goto was not influenced, I was getting only some huge non periodic pikes on the phd graph...I hope I can fine tune them soon so can use the rest of my free days for some photos.


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Re: Celestron Nexstar vs Skywatcher Synscan GOTO pointing accuracy new [Re: Mike X.]
      #6013416 - 08/08/13 11:08 AM

Mike, I wish you best of luck with your lovely AZ-EQ6!

I'm waiting to see your unguided tests with the mount.

PS: I saw your Youtube movie with Saturn and the AZ-EQ6 seemed a woobly with C6 on top of it.


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