Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Orion, Round Table, Mallincam, Moonlite, Speco....

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
143 replies to this topic

#1 smokin oakum

smokin oakum

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1529
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007

Posted 31 January 2008 - 01:09 PM

As suggested by dvb, I decided to go ahead and start another thread on my testing and first light of my COMPLETE Video and Electronically Assisted setup. All my parts and pieces are going to be here on this coming Monday, and I would like your input on what you would like me to cover in my report. I plan on doing a very scientific review, complete with pictures of every part of the setup, and a description on each one, as to how and why I chose to go this way with the equipment on hand. My aim is to show anyone out there how you can take a intro level scope, and for not that much money, considering, turn it into a mean DSO machine. :cool: The thing that I would like from you fine folks, is a list of points to cover that I may have over looked.

I figure that I will start out by explaining where and what time I set up, and the describe all the equipment used, and how each piece relates to the next piece. My goal here (I hope) is to weed out any questions about the need for said items. I feel that all the parts are necessary in order to make it all work in concert together. Then I will state my visceral reaction to each piece of equipment, and how it could be improved if necessary. As this will be my first light with everything I'm sure there will be some bugs to work out, but I have planed this all very carefully, and hope there won't be too many. I plan on covering five major parts of the setup individually.

1.) Orion SkyQuest XT12 IntelliScope with Object Locator
I will not be exactly reviewing the scope itself, but mainly concentrating on the COL (computer object locater) and how it works in conjunction with the Round table platform. I want to discribe what it takes to implement a star alingment and show how the RTP can still be used without having to do another alignment, once you are finished with the target on hand.
2.) Round Table Platforms
Here, I would like to show the methods on polar alignment (especially since I don't have a direct view of Polaris), then leveling, and tracking errors (if any) all the way up to zenith. This will cover using the compass and figuring out your local Magnetic Declination, and adjusting east or west for that number.
3.) Mallincam Hyper Plus Color
This will cover every function I can through at you. Now that I will have TRACKING, I plan on picking as many targets as I can (with your help, I hope) and try every integration that the object can handle, then when I get as good a view as I can, I'm going to take a snap shot of each one with all the settings listed in a star journal, so I can pass it on to you. This is one of the areas that your input on what to try out will be very much appreciated. I've only done 2 second integrations so far, so I'll be in uncharted waters here!
4.) MoonLite Dual Rate Crayford Focuser
With all the Dob guys, and gals joining this niche of astronomy, I thought it might be helpful to hear about the problems I had with the stock focuser, and trying to use a CCD camera. Many people might not have enough Back focus/In travel for CCD video, especially if you start adding focal reducers, and extension rings. This being the case for me, I'll show what solution the Moonlite offered me, and then you can decide. Moonlite isn't the only game in town, but I sure do like the game they are playing!
5.) Speco VM-905C 9" Color CRT Monitor
I almost don't have to go into much detail on this one as it's probably been reviewed more than any other monitor here, but I will shed some light on the four front adjustment knobs, and the brightness control in the back. I will also include with this part of the wright up, the differences seen between this monitor and the views on my laptop using a TV capture card.

I welcome all advice you have to give me on doing this in a professional way. The other reason to try to be so thorough is, I would like to offer this wright up to the vendors who have busted their buts in not only developing these wonderful toys, but who have shown me the best customer service I have had buying anything!

The last thing I would like your input on is the actual objects you would like to see captured. the longer the list the better. I will probably wait for the weekend to do the review in the first place so I can pull an all-nighter. I will post some pictures of the COMPLETE set up here before then, but I would like to take my time when doing a complete and fair review that might or might not influence someone else.

Well anyway, thanks for everyones time and opinion, and as allways...
Clear skies
Neil

#2 dvb

dvb

    different Syndrome.

  • *****
  • Posts: 6737
  • Joined: 18 Jun 2005

Posted 31 January 2008 - 09:10 PM

Sounds like a classic thread in the making! I'll certainly be interested in your experience with your Dob, stock focuser, and Speco.

My Mallincam Hypercolor and Speco are on the way, I hope with some clear skies, in time for the Leo/Virgo galaxy season. I'm planning to mount my 10" Dob on my EQ6-Pro for this.

#3 smokin oakum

smokin oakum

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1529
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007

Posted 31 January 2008 - 09:17 PM

Sounds like a classic thread in the making! I'll certainly be interested in your experience with your Dob, stock focuser, and Speco.

My Mallincam Hypercolor and Speco are on the way, I hope with some clear skies, in time for the Leo/Virgo galaxy season. I'm planning to mount my 10" Dob on my EQ6-Pro for this.


Sounds like a heck of a setup dvb! We will need a write up of your own, and of coarse, Pictures!!!

You got any targets to add to the list.

I'd love for everyone to add to the list too. You guys out there?

Neil

#4 Bill Cowles

Bill Cowles

    MacGyver

  • *****
  • Posts: 2867
  • Joined: 16 Apr 2006

Posted 31 January 2008 - 09:59 PM

Yes, lots of pictures. Only 8 more weeks to go. :lol:

Bill

#5 smokin oakum

smokin oakum

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1529
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007

Posted 01 February 2008 - 11:52 AM

Yes, lots of pictures. Only 8 more weeks to go. :lol:

Bill


Not to worry Bill, I know how hard the wait is, and when I was waiting I found lots of comfort in seeing other peoples setup and daydreaming about mine. Like I said, along with a very detailed, and hopefully informative write up, I plan on having tons of pictures so all the descriptions will have one of them thousand word photos to go along with it.

Trust me, I know what you're going through!

Neil

#6 bseltzer

bseltzer

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1028
  • Joined: 28 Oct 2007

Posted 01 February 2008 - 03:13 PM

Yes, lots of pictures. Only 8 more weeks to go. :lol:

Bill


Not to worry Bill, I know how hard the wait is, and when I was waiting I found lots of comfort in seeing other peoples setup and daydreaming about mine. Like I said, along with a very detailed, and hopefully informative write up, I plan on having tons of pictures so all the descriptions will have one of them thousand word photos to go along with it.

Trust me, I know what you're going through!

Neil


Maybe we could form a "waiting for camera/platform" support group :grin: with Neil's thread as a central element.

I suspect there are more than a few of us, myself included, who might benefit from such a resource.

Regards,
Bert

#7 smokin oakum

smokin oakum

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1529
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007

Posted 01 February 2008 - 03:45 PM

That would be fine with me. I don't mind sharing this thread with whoever wants to chime in. By all means share you experiences, ideas, first lights, and any thoughts that may help someone else cope with the wait for their own setup.

Neil

#8 Bill Cowles

Bill Cowles

    MacGyver

  • *****
  • Posts: 2867
  • Joined: 16 Apr 2006

Posted 01 February 2008 - 05:43 PM

Neil, I have yet to see a MCHP in use, so I'm going entirely by the posts in this forum. I had never seen a Moonlite focuser or Atlas mount, I now have both and the best upgrades I have ever bought, just from reading all the posts on the CN forums. I think I might have to add a Moonlite to my LB.

Bill

#9 smokin oakum

smokin oakum

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1529
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007

Posted 01 February 2008 - 06:07 PM

Neil, I have yet to see a MCHP in use, so I'm going entirely by the posts in this forum. I had never seen a Moonlite focuser or Atlas mount, I now have both and the best upgrades I have ever bought, just from reading all the posts on the CN forums. I think I might have to add a Moonlite to my LB.

Bill


After using my Moonlite, I can't see going back to my stock focuser!

Bill, have you tried to reach focus with the LB, and any type of CCD camera? I'm not familiar with the focuser on the LB, but a lot of Dobs have trouble reaching focus like mine did (not enough back focus/in travel)and I was FORCED :bawling: into upgrading to the Moonlite :grin:!!! That's at least the story my wife knows. :jump:

Neil

#10 smokin oakum

smokin oakum

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1529
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007

Posted 01 February 2008 - 06:12 PM

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I just tracked where my Round Table Platform is, and it's only 3 hours away, and I have clear skies!!! Talk about being so close, and yet so far. To add insult to injury, it looks overcast here after tonight, until late next week.

Neil

#11 Bill Cowles

Bill Cowles

    MacGyver

  • *****
  • Posts: 2867
  • Joined: 16 Apr 2006

Posted 01 February 2008 - 06:47 PM

I have not used any type of imager , but I have had problems with not enough out travel , so I use a 2" extension tube. The Moonlite on my refractor must have over 4" of travel and is so easy too focus. I had planed to use the MCHP on my C6-R , because of the go-to functions of the Atlas, but will try an use the 12" LB and my Telrad and SV finder with it's illuminated eyepiece. I can locate most familiar M objects and larger NGC, it's the faint fussies, that I would like to use a go-to drive to help locate these objects. I'm concerned about being able to focus with a 9" monitor and yet not destroy my or other peoples night vision. I really don't want to have to add a 4" monitor to my scope, it already has balancing problems. See my counter weight system for my LB.

Bill

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2161308-DSC_0218.jpg


#12 bseltzer

bseltzer

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1028
  • Joined: 28 Oct 2007

Posted 01 February 2008 - 06:50 PM

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I just tracked where my Round Table Platform is, and it's only 3 hours away, and I have clear skies!!! Talk about being so close, and yet so far. To add insult to injury, it looks overcast here after tonight, until late next week.

Neil


No offense, Neil, but you won't get much sympathy here.

So far, I've got a very lonely looking Speco VM905C and all the gizmos and gadgets that should solve my power distribution/cable management concerns and that's about it.

The last time I talked to Tom O., which was just yesterday, the platform is still a couple months out. According to Jack I'm somewhere around 27th on the MCHP waiting list, and at last count, Rock had about 17 chips on hand. So it's gonna be a while before I've even got something to track.

The upside of all this is maybe, just maybe by the time these items are ready for pickup/delivery, the current batch of monsoonal weather we've been seeing out here will have passed. We'll see....

Meantime I'm just living vicariously through the posts and pictures from folks like yourself who are farther along.

Regards,
Bert

#13 smokin oakum

smokin oakum

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1529
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007

Posted 01 February 2008 - 07:46 PM

Well I thought I'd whet your appetite with my scope awaiting the Round Table Platform!

Here is the whole rig!

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2161414-Full setup.JPG


#14 smokin oakum

smokin oakum

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1529
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007

Posted 01 February 2008 - 07:54 PM

Here is the Moonlite and Mallincam!

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2161426-Mallincam & Moonlite.JPG


#15 smokin oakum

smokin oakum

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1529
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007

Posted 01 February 2008 - 07:55 PM

Here is my monitor rig!

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2161430-Speco & Laptop.JPG


#16 Bill Cowles

Bill Cowles

    MacGyver

  • *****
  • Posts: 2867
  • Joined: 16 Apr 2006

Posted 01 February 2008 - 08:23 PM

Neil, if I get another Moonlite, I think it might be your choice, already have a red and the violet looks so nice.

Bill

#17 smokin oakum

smokin oakum

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1529
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007

Posted 02 February 2008 - 12:31 AM

Well I've started planing my first night out with my dream machine, and these are the targets I'll be trying to use, to do a review of the Mallincam. Please feel free to give me other suggestions that I've over looked. I feel like I've forgotten a lot so... :question:

:bow: Mallincam First Light Targets :bow:

:help: Nebulas :help:
1.) M42/ NGC 1976 The Orion Nebula
2.) M43/ NGC 1982 The companion of the Great Orion Nebula
3.) NGC 7635 The Bubble Nebula
4.) B33 The Horsehead Nebula
5.) NGC 2034 The Flame Nebula
6.) NGC 1975 The Running Man Nebula
7.) M57/ NGC 6720 The Ring Nebula
8.) M27/ NGC 6853 The Dumbbell Nebula
9.) M1/ NGC 1952 The Crab Nebula
10.) NGC 6960 The Veil Nebula
11.) M45 The Pleiades
12.) IC 2118 The Witchhead Nebula
13.) NGC 2259 Thor's Helmet Nebula
14.) NGC 1499 California Nebula
15.) NGC 2238 The Rosette Nebula

:help: Galaxies :help:
1.) M81/ NGC 3031 Bode's Galaxy
2.) M82/ NGC 3034 Cigar Galaxy
3.) M31/ NGC 224 Andromeda Galaxy
4.) M51/ NGC 5194 Whirlpool Galaxy
5.) M64/ NGC 4826 Blackeye Galaxy
6.) M 33/ NGC 598 Triangulum Galaxy
7.) M101/ NGC 5457 Pinwheel Galaxy
8.) M63/ NGC 5055 Sunflower Galaxy
9.) M94/ NGC 4736 Spiral Galaxy

Clear skies
Neil

#18 dvb

dvb

    different Syndrome.

  • *****
  • Posts: 6737
  • Joined: 18 Jun 2005

Posted 02 February 2008 - 12:49 AM

That's an awesome looking set-up, Neil!

UPS says my Speco will arrive on Wednesday,

The Mallincam? I'll just have to be patient . . . (It's going to take Rock a few days at least just to dig his way out of the dump of snow that just followed the ice-storm in Ottawa -- :snowedin: :coldday:

And then some clear skies . . . here . . . in the Pacific Northwest . . . in February . . . (as if . . .)

#19 greg

greg

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 863
  • Joined: 25 Jan 2005

Posted 02 February 2008 - 01:03 AM

Well I've started planing my first night out with my dream machine, and these are the targets I'll be trying to use, to do a review of the Mallincam. Please feel free to give me other suggestions that I've over looked. I feel like I've forgotten a lot so... :question:

:bow: Mallincam First Light Targets :bow:

:help: Nebulas :help:
1.) M42/ NGC 1976 The Orion Nebula
2.) M43/ NGC 1982 The companion of the Great Orion Nebula
3.) NGC 7635 The Bubble Nebula
4.) B33 The Horsehead Nebula
5.) NGC 2034 The Flame Nebula
6.) NGC 1975 The Running Man Nebula
7.) M57/ NGC 6720 The Ring Nebula
8.) M27/ NGC 6853 The Dumbbell Nebula
9.) M1/ NGC 1952 The Crab Nebula
10.) NGC 6960 The Veil Nebula
11.) M45 The Pleiades
12.) IC 2118 The Witchhead Nebula
13.) NGC 2259 Thor's Helmet Nebula
14.) NGC 1499 California Nebula
15.) NGC 2238 The Rosette Nebula

:help: Galaxies :help:
1.) M81/ NGC 3031 Bode's Galaxy
2.) M82/ NGC 3034 Cigar Galaxy
3.) M31/ NGC 224 Andromeda Galaxy
4.) M51/ NGC 5194 Whirlpool Galaxy
5.) M64/ NGC 4826 Blackeye Galaxy
6.) M 33/ NGC 598 Triangulum Galaxy
7.) M101/ NGC 5457 Pinwheel Galaxy
8.) M63/ NGC 5055 Sunflower Galaxy
9.) M94/ NGC 4736 Spiral Galaxy

Clear skies
Neil


I'm not sure about all of these but I think your to late for the Ring, Dumbbell, and the Veil...

You could still have go at M76 Little Dumbell...it's bright and shows a lot of color :grin:
Also maybe try M97 The owl Nebula
Greg

#20 smokin oakum

smokin oakum

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1529
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007

Posted 02 February 2008 - 01:18 AM

Thanks Greg! I'll add those to the list. As for Ring, Dumbbell, and the Veil, they are still up at night, it's just realy late when they rise, and when I do this I plan on pulling an all-nighter. :john:

KEEP EM' COMING GUYS!

Neil

#21 bseltzer

bseltzer

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1028
  • Joined: 28 Oct 2007

Posted 02 February 2008 - 01:43 AM

Well, it's too early in the process for me to be compiling a target list for my MCHP first light night, but as long as we're posting pix, I thought I'd show you guys where I am so far. I told you that Speco is looking lonely....

Now that JMI EV1 focuser fully racked in is about 2.25" tall, and it's top edge is about 9" from the secondary, so I don't know if the MCHP will focus properly. But I really like this focuser, and a good tubing cutter is a whole lot cheaper that a focuser upgrade. :p

Regards,
Bert

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2162124-scope-01feb08-25%.jpg


#22 smokin oakum

smokin oakum

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1529
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007

Posted 02 February 2008 - 08:14 AM

Very sharp and clean setup you got there Bert! It looks like you like a little woodworking. I'm just assuming that that's a bseltzer special you've got your Speco sitting on, and by the way that's a perfect hight for someone sitting down. :waytogo: Are you going to mount a LCD beside the focuser?

I've Not used a JMI EV1 focuser, but I know it is a low-profile focuser, and it's actually made with zero image shift and zero backlash, which makes it fantastic for visual and photographic work and CCD imaging. I think, not only will it work, but I don't think you'll have to modify anything.

And Bert, It's never too early to start planing your first, or at least help me with mine!

Clear skies,
Neil

#23 bseltzer

bseltzer

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1028
  • Joined: 28 Oct 2007

Posted 02 February 2008 - 11:50 AM

Neil,

I have done a bit of woodworking in my time, but these days, my shop is geared primarily toward metal work. So I can't take credit for the observer's chair. In reality, it's a Roy Hesse special. I bought the chair from him out of CN's own classifieds, and I've been very pleased with it.

I had a lot of help from Charlie Stark of Markless Astronomics as well as our own Greg in terms of getting the wiring for this beast cleaned up and under control. The DSC Stalk from Charlie did a lot to get the encoder cables for the AN tucked away where they wouldn't get wrapped up during a night's observation, and I borrowed the idea for a switched DC power distribution box from Greg, adding a few ideas of my own.

We'll see how the JMI focuser work out with the Mallincam. I'm otherwise very pleased with it's performance, which is why I'll go to shortening my truss tubes if needs be rather than trying to get more inward travel out of a different focuser.

As far as a planned set of targets for the platform/MCHP first light, it will depend in large measure on what's available 2 months from now. I'll most likely stick with bright, easy to find objects at first, and concentrate more on developing a sort of standard operating procedure for the set up and use of the scope/platform/camera/monitor system rather than actual observation with it. Since you've had the equipment in hand for a while, I expect you're quite a bit farther along in that department. I anticipate a bit of shake out with the whole "center the target up in the eyepiece, mount the camera, fire up the camera, focus, frame the object on the monitor, fine tune the camera settings, fine tune the monitor settings" drill before I can do it quickly and confidently. That may sound dull, but what can I tell you? Being an engineer is both a profession and a way of life. :grin:

In any case, I'm kind of hoping your thread here will help with that as well as avoiding any gotcha's.

Regards,
Bert

#24 smokin oakum

smokin oakum

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1529
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007

Posted 02 February 2008 - 12:42 PM

I've updated the list, thanks to Gregs advice about targets.

Greg, even though the Ring, Dumbbell, and the Veil are still out, I think you're right, and maybe I should spend more time on earlier targets. I'm just not sure how much energy I'll have left at 5:00 in the morning. Most of the other targets will be visable as soon as it gets dark, minus a couple galaxies.

The Updated List...

Mallincam First Light Targets

Nebulas

1.) M42/ NGC 1976 The Orion Nebula (4.0 mag)
2.) M43/ NGC 1982 The companion of the Great Orion Nebula (9.0 mag)
3.) NGC 1975 The Running Man Nebula (7.0 mag)
4.) B33 The Horsehead Nebula (5.0 mag)
5.) NGC 2024 The Flame Nebula (6.3 mag)
6.) NGC 2238 The Rosette Nebula (6.0 mag)
7.) NGC 2359 Thor's Helmet Nebula (11.4 mag)
8.) IC 2118 The Witchhead Nebula ???
9.) M1/ NGC 1952 The Crab Nebula (8.4 mag)
10.) M45 The Pleiades (1.6 mag)
11.) NGC 1499 California Nebula (5.0 mag)
12.) NGC 7635 The Bubble Nebula (8.5 mag)
13.) M76/ NGC 650/651 Little Dumbbell Nebula (10.1 mag)
14.) M97/ NGC 3587 The Owl Nebula (9.9 mag)

Galaxies

1.) M31/ NGC 224 Andromeda Galaxy (3.5 mag)
2.) M 33/ NGC 598 Triangulum Galaxy (5.5 mag)
3.) M81/ NGC 3031 Bode's Galaxy (7.0 mag)
4.) M82/ NGC 3034 Cigar Galaxy (8.6 mag)
5.) M51/ NGC 5194 Whirlpool Galaxy (8.1 mag)
6.) M64/ NGC 4826 Blackeye Galaxy (8.5 mag)
7.) M101/ NGC 5457 Pinwheel Galaxy (7.5 mag)
8.) M63/ NGC 5055 Sunflower Galaxy (8.5 mag)
9.) M94/ NGC 4736 Spiral Galaxy (8.1 mag)

I've also numbered these in a time and priority order. Another thing I've added is the magnitude of the object. This is where I could realy use some of the user camera settings. Is there maybe a rule of thumb for exposer or integration times for different magnitude objects. I would realy like to maybe have a chart for settings out in the field. If none exists, then I plan on making one, and if one does then it will help a lot more people than just me.

Neil

Once again, please help add to the list

#25 smokin oakum

smokin oakum

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1529
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2007

Posted 02 February 2008 - 12:50 PM


In any case, I'm kind of hoping your thread here will help with that as well as avoiding any gotcha's.

Regards,
Bert


Exactly Bert! This is what this thread is for to me! Sharing ideas to get the most out of this technology and thinking about how to better the overall experience. I hope my first light report will be up to the challenge. This is why I'm being so anal about everything. It is my hope that I can save a lot of frustration for someone coming into this market in astronomy. I personaly love a challange, but for some, at least, it's a turn off!

Neil


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics