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HELP! I need EAA for Dummies - Please don't drown me in technobabble

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#1 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 08:33 AM

Friends, I come to you as innocent as a babe which means I am exactly as dumb as I sound when it comes to EAA.    If you plan to respond to this message assume you are talking to a 12 year old who has a telescope and understands how to use it.  Now you want to help them get into EAA.   I am not 12, but right now I feel that lost.

 

I started with visual astronomy about 15 months ago.  I have:

 

 

  • Meade ETX80, 80X400 mm refractor AltAz GoTo Scope.   Can not be set up EQ.
     
  • Orion XT8i Intelliscope, a 203 mm Newtonian on a manual Dobsonian base with the Intelliscope Digital setting circles system.

 

 

I have stepped into this forum a number of times but 5 posts into any of the threads and I turned tail and ran back to my eyepieces.   The flood of technobabble was overwhelming.

 

 

I learned recently of a starter kit called the Revolution Imager R2 Kit.  A complete set up for newbies.   Sounds promising.  Something even I could use.

http://www.revolutio...com/products/r2

 

Are there other such systems around?

 

 

Will these work with my current scopes or do I need a tracking EQ mount?   I don't have one and don't plan to get one any time soon.  So if that is needed I can stop here.

 

I am not interested in assembling my own systems from pieces and parts.

 

I have looked into webcam systems but these seem to be only good for solar system imaging and it is all about capture and post processing as far as I can tell.

 

 

I just want something I can plug into my scope that will give me a better view than I get in the eyepiece alone.   And, if it is convenient, let me capture that to my laptop for later processing/stacking.

 

 

Yes folks, I am really this limited in my knowledge and understanding of this EAA thing.  So I need EAA for Dummies.   Can anyone help me?

 

 

So, are there other starter packages I should know about?

 

Can you point me to a good learning article or Youtube video or other resource?    This sounds interesting but, so far, I am lost.


Edited by aeajr, 24 August 2016 - 09:36 AM.

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#2 A. Viegas

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 08:48 AM

Hi  Ed

 

The good news is that the Revolution kit is really easy.  You basically just drop the camera in your focuser like and eyepiece and run the wires out to the monitor like you would hook up an old fashioned VCR.  This will mean your ETX80 with its tracking will work fine with the Revolution camera.   However, for the Orion Dob...   without a tracking mount you will be limited.  There are kits to convert your Orion Dob to tracking but the cost is probably more than the scope itself.

Al


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#3 rob-157

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:10 AM

What's an EAA?

 

:confused:  :confused:  :confused:  :confused:  :confused:


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#4 xiando

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:19 AM

What's an EAA?

 

:confused:  :confused:  :confused:  :confused:  :confused:

 

EEA is an abbreviation for "Electronically Assisted Astronomy".  

 

So...What does that mean? I'm not exactly sure, but in my limited understanding, the main objective seems to be the use of stacking very large numbers of short exposures to mimic the results of traditional long exposure astrophotography, although I suppose Night Vision tech would also be encompassed by the vague term as well...


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#5 paulymo

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:20 AM

Thanks for asking Ed.  As someone who prefers smaller scopes and is thinking about becoming involved in more outreach for our astro club, I'm doubly interested to see the responses to this.

 

Pauly


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#6 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:24 AM

Xiando, I think EAA is different, if I understand any of this.     It seems to be the use of a camera to capture and display on a monitor rather than you looking through an eyepiece.  This is real time or near real time, I think.  

 

I found this Blog where Uncle Rod does a review of this Revolution Imaging kit.   

http://uncle-rods.bl...eo-imaging.html

 

Seems the camera grabs a few frames and stacks them on the fly for display on the monitor.  By doing this it allows you to see detail you can't see through the eyepiece.   At least that is my limited understanding.

 

Xiando, I think what you are describing is something else.   Similar but different.

 

 

And, before anyone gets on here and accuses me of working for the company, I don't.   I reference this kit because it is the only one I have heard of, but there may be others.

 

What attracts me to this is that it is easy.   All I read so far is that you get everything in the kit, plug it together and it works.   THAT  is what I would want.    I don't want to have to figure this stuff out.   I want to use it not become an integrator of components.

 

 

I have two computer assisted scopes.  I am learning to use charts and star hop but I did not want to rely on that to start so I have computer assisted scopes to help me find things.

 

I can learn about video and cameras and chips and stuff later.   If I get into this I just want it to work.


Edited by aeajr, 24 August 2016 - 09:32 AM.

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#7 xiando

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:32 AM

Xiando, I think EAA is different, if I understand any of this.     It seems to be the use of a camera to capture and display on a monitor rather than you looking through an eyepiece.  This is real time or near real time, I think.  

 

I found this Blog where Uncle Rod does a review of this Revolution Imaging kit.   

http://uncle-rods.bl...eo-imaging.html

 

Seems the camera grabs a few frames and stacks them on the fly for display on the monitor.  By doing this it allows you to see detail you can't see through the eyepiece.   At least that is my limited understanding.

 

Xiando, I think what you are describing is something else.   Similar but different.

 

 

And, before anyone gets on here and accuses me of working for the company, I don't.   I reference this kit because it is the only one I have heard of, but there may be others.

 

What attracts me to this is that it is easy.   All I read so far is that you get everything in the kit, plug it together and it works.   THAT  is what I would want.    I don't want to have to figure this stuff out.   I want to use it not become an integrator of components.

True enough. I left the bit about (near) realtime viewing, (admittedly an important component of EEA) but it's based on stacking groups of short exposures, afaik, usually using cameras that produce video format files rather than singular FITs or RAW files like we're used to with "traditional" CCD and DSLR imaging.

 

I was just trying (within my own limits) to expand on the nebulous canonical definition of EEA as ":electronically assisted astronomy" which by itself is patently meaningless when answering the question of "What is EEA?"


Edited by xiando, 24 August 2016 - 09:34 AM.

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#8 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:41 AM

Thanks.  Clearly you know a lot about this so be gentle with the details and the technical.   

 

Both my daughters drive.  Neither can operate a manual shift and neither knows much about how an engine, or drive train works.  Yet they use cars all the time.   I am at that level and want to stay at that level, for now.

 

 

Other than Uncle Rod, anyone have an experience with this kit or another starter kit?

 

 

Frankly I am looking at this, at $300, vs. two Explore Scientific 82 degree eyepieces at $150 each.   Which is going to show me more?   Should I get the eyepieces or should I keep the eyepieces I have and get something like this kit?


Edited by aeajr, 24 August 2016 - 09:43 AM.

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#9 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:48 AM

Ed,

 

I think I answered you basic question in the other thread (http://www.cloudynig...ager-r2/page-11) where you posted it also.  I provide the link here for anyone else who doesn't read the other thread.

 

As for what you read in Rod's blog, that is true, but it is also true that you don't need to stack frames to see amazing images of DSOs.  You can take single frame exposures of up to 5.12sec and see a lot in the brighter DSOs.  You can also use the in-camera averaging feature called DNR which will average up to 6 consecutive frames to smooth out the noise and bring out more detail.  Or, you can connect the camera to a computer with a video capture device and use free software like Sharpcap to stack (not average) as many frames as you like to really knock your socks off with what you can see.

 

You can find images with the R2 I took on a C9.25" SCT on an EQ mount in the thread above, or with a C 6SE on a Alt-Az mount here:http://www.cloudynig...cost-eaa-setup/

 

And you or anyone else can find additional images with this and other cameras, along with detailed setup instructions on my web site here:http://www.californiaskys.com/

 

Good luck!

 

Curtis



#10 A. Viegas

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 10:01 AM

Ed

 

Look through this website... the author has written a program for use with similar cameras to the Revolution, but the website has much information on Video astronomy and what you are trying to accomplish

http://remotevideoas....com/index.html

 

Mallincam also sells a basic kit:  http://www.mallincam...cro-series.html

 

 

The bottom line is simply this:   Your modest 80ETX will show you more with a camera like the revolution or micro than any eyepiece you can buy, period.   

 

A camera in your little 80ETX will show you more than you would see visually in a 14" telescope using a $1000 televue Ethos eyepiece....  however the image will not be as sharp and pinpoint as visual and the stars may look blocky... but for DSO or lunar you will be very pleased with any of the introductory video cameras...   

Al


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#11 Thrifty1

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 10:05 AM

Ed - I also responded on the other thread, but I would definitely spend the $$ on the R2 imager versus the eyepieces.  You will be able to see and share so much more with the R2 than what you could ever see through eyepieces.  Nebula / star clusters that are grey smudges through an eyepiece can be seen in much more detail on the R2 even if just using it by itself and no computer.  

 

I have only used it twice.  Attached are 2 images from the first night I was using it.  The camera was on full auto mode.  They are taken with my iPhone of the 7" monitor that comes with the R2.  This is using my 10" LX200R and the included .50 focal reducer which takes the scope down to f/5.

 

I will try to get some images using it on my ETX-105 tonight if skies are clear as that will be closer to what you may get from your ETX-80.  I will set it up in alt/az also as a comparison for you.  

 

Attached Thumbnails

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#12 Relativist

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 10:12 AM

Mike, do you have any examples of the R2 in use with an ETX80 or any words of wisdom for the OP regarding using the R2 with a non tracking Dob?
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#13 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 10:20 AM

Any of the ETX GoTo refractors would be fine.  I am more interested in whether the tracking of the mount is sufficient and satisfactory to be used with this system.   ETX 60, 70 or 80.

 

The later ETX  90s, which are Maks, use a similar mount but their mount allows equatorial alignment.  The 60, 70, 80 do not provde for equatorial alignment.


Edited by aeajr, 24 August 2016 - 10:21 AM.


#14 petmic

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 10:33 AM

Any of the ETX GoTo refractors would be fine.  I am more interested in whether the tracking of the mount is sufficient and satisfactory to be used with this system.   ETX 60, 70 or 80.

 

The later ETX  90s, which are Maks, use a similar mount but their mount allows equatorial alignment.  The 60, 70, 80 do not provde for equatorial alignment.

You are right, the ETX80 with 494 controller does not allow for setting the Mount to Polar. However, if you change the Telescope model in the hand controller to either ETX70 or ETX60 the option for Polar Mount appears. I tried polar alignment on an improvised wedge and it worked. 


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#15 xiando

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 10:59 AM

lol, no Ed, I not "expert" re: EEA at all.  I do pull bits and pieces of commonality from the posts I read, and that led to my response to the one question, because I thought it was an apropos question (one I still ask myself!) that deserved a roughly straight answer in less than 100 words to at least partially clarify this relatively new and vaguely defined avenue. Here to learn just like you...


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#16 S.Boerner

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 11:01 AM

Actually I do see the possibility to EQ align my ETX-70 in the menus with a 497 controller but it does need a wedge.  I the past I've done so but it really isn't needed.  With the exposure times as short as they are with EAA Alt/Az field rotation isn't a problem. 


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#17 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 11:02 AM

Any of the ETX GoTo refractors would be fine.  I am more interested in whether the tracking of the mount is sufficient and satisfactory to be used with this system.   ETX 60, 70 or 80.
 
The later ETX  90s, which are Maks, use a similar mount but their mount allows equatorial alignment.  The 60, 70, 80 do not provde for equatorial alignment.

You are right, the ETX80 with 494 controller does not allow for setting the Mount to Polar. However, if you change the Telescope model in the hand controller to either ETX70 or ETX60 the option for Polar Mount appears. I tried polar alignment on an improvised wedge and it worked. 

 
 
Interesting.  Thanks for that tip.
 
I suppose I could drop one leg of the mount to angle it to align with Polaris.  That should have a similar effect to a wedge, or am I mistaken?    I would just have to brace it so it would not fall over.   Or i suppose I could improvise a wedge.  But that is for another discussion.
 
I don't know that I need to polar align this yet.  If it works well in AltAz GoTo I can use it that way.  

Actually I do see the possibility to EQ align my ETX-70 in the menus with a 497 controller but it does need a wedge.  I the past I've done so but it really isn't needed.  With the exposure times as short as they are with EAA Alt/Az field rotation isn't a problem.


This is great information for me and for others.

Edited by aeajr, 24 August 2016 - 11:05 AM.


#18 bobhen

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 11:08 AM

The good news. The Revolution Imager System is where you want to start. Everything is included. The cost is very reasonable and it’s pretty fool proof.

 

The not so good news. Neither of your scopes are really best suited for video imaging. The Dobsonian does not have tracking and the 80mm’s image scale will be small – like always using low power.

 

I would suggest you consider an SCT of 6 to 8 inches on a German Equatorial Mount like Celestron’s AVX. For something more compact, a Celestron Evolution 8” SCT would work but you might be limited to the length of your exposure because the Evolution series uses an alt/az mount. I would also suggest that if you do get an SCT you might want to get a .3 or .4 reducer in addition to the .5 reducer that comes with the Revolution Imaging system.

 

With video imaging you need BOTH image scale and speed. That is why fast reducers are included. I find that a 600mm focal length to 1000mm focal length with 6 to 11 inch SCTs give excellent results. An 8” SCT working at F5 instead of F10  (200mm x5) = 1000mm focal length. That is fine for most galaxies. An 8” SCT working at F3 instead of F10 (200mm x3) = 600mm focal length. That is fine for larger nebula.

 

SCTS also have rear ports that are convenient and moving mirrors that can handle in-focus or back-focus issues.

 

Bob


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#19 Censustaker

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 11:32 AM

Ed,

 

take a look at this site: http://www.weasner.c...ager/index.html which covers in-depth the user of the revolution imager R2 in an ETX scope


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#20 Censustaker

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 11:41 AM

The only worry I would have in your case would be if the R2 will come to focus in the ETX80 with or without the focal reducer, but the tracking should be fine. especially at the FoV given by an 80mm f/5 scope. Am I correct in thinking the etx80 has that focus mechanism where the focuser moves the objective lens up-and-down the tube?


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#21 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 11:50 AM

Ed,
 
take a look at this site: http://www.weasner.c...ager/index.html which covers in-depth the user of the revolution imager R2 in an ETX scope

 
 Thanks for the link.  I will go read that.

The only worry I would have in your case would be if the R2 will come to focus in the ETX80 with or without the focal reducer, but the tracking should be fine. especially at the FoV given by an 80mm f/5 scope. Am I correct in thinking the etx80 has that focus mechanism where the focuser moves the objective lens up-and-down the tube?

Yes, the focuser moves the objective back and forth.

 

There are two ports on the ETX 80.  There is a top port where you put the eyepiece and the angle to direct the light that way.   Then there is a port on the back where people usually put the imaging equipment.   I think this is why they focus by moving the objective rather than moving the eyepiece.  You flip the mirror out of the path and the light goes directly to the rear port.

 

I have seen quite a few reports of people deforking the ETX and mounting it on larger scopes to ride the EQ mount and use the ETX 60, 70, 80 as their imaging scope.  The new ETX 80 is now ring mounted to make this easier than the old models which were integrated into the Goto mount.

 

I am not sure where I would put this device or if I can use the rear port.  Perhaps the link above will provide some insights.
 



#22 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 01:01 PM

Ed,

 

take a look at this site: http://www.weasner.c...ager/index.html which covers in-depth the user of the revolution imager R2 in an ETX scope

 

 

I read through the discussion.  Helpful but not on the money for me.  He is using one of the Mak versions but overall a pretty good report.



#23 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 01:25 PM

Let's keep the question away from AP and stacking large numbers of images and more around visual.  

 

I am told that the image size would be similar to what I would see with a 6mm eyepiece. Is that true?   On the ETX 80 that would be about 66X without using the FL reducer.   Add a .5 FL recucer and that would be 33X.   I don't know how to estimate FOV in degrees.

 

 

I have the camera in the eyepiece hole.     I am watching the monitor.   No capture to a computer, no concern about stacking at a later date.

 

So, the camera takes up to 6 frames and "stacks" them on the fly and I see an image in near real time.  That image is more detailed than what I would see in the eyepiece.  Right?

 

Is that static as it captures the next 6 and stacks them and then updates the monitor?   Or is it a running 6 frames so that the monitor is constantly being refreshed?

 

Is the monitor going to flicker as it updates?

 

 

 

Let's assume my mount is not trackng.   I presume the image would move across the monitor just as it would move across the FOV of the eyepiece.    Correct?   I can bump the scope from time to time to keep it in view.   Yes?    

 

 

 

Let's assume the ETX 80 is tracking altaz, not equatorial/RA.   I presume I would again see the image on the screen, being refreshed every 6 frames.   I would think that at worst I might see some slight image jump from time to time but overall the image would be stable and reasonably centered to the degree that the mount is accurate and consistant.    Correct?

 

 

This is all about setting expectations.

 

 

Knowing I could capture this to a computer for later processing is cool, but not my primary interest at the moment.    Right now I am all about visual.   Do I spend $300 on eyepieces or do I spend $300 on this?     I am not buying right now.  Probably on the Christmas list, unless I get a big bonus of some kind.  So I have time to research.   But I plan my spend and I am seeing that those ES 82 degree eyepieces might not be where I want to invest.  This might be the better path.

 

 

AP and stacking SW and all that is a bonus to be explored later.


Edited by aeajr, 24 August 2016 - 01:33 PM.


#24 Censustaker

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 01:38 PM

It's a running 6 frames, so you will see an update every ~5 seconds if you're at the max exposure time for the R2. If your mount is not tracking then you are correct, however depending on the field-of-view, exposure time you pick and the location in the sky are pointing at you may see "smearing" of the image. But the exposure times are pretty short on the R2 and the fov on an etx80 is pretty wide so that "should" be rare.

 

You can also get results using a non-tracking mount with a small scope with wide field of view, take a look at this video i took using an R2 on a 102mm refractor with no tracking: https://www.youtube....h?v=ff9VUVYI4iU - i will caveat and say i was at a location with a fairly dark sky.


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#25 jjgodard

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 01:49 PM

Friends, I come to you as innocent as a babe which means I am exactly as dumb as I sound when it comes to EAA.    If you plan to respond to this message assume you are talking to a 12 year old who has a telescope and understands how to use it.  Now you want to help them get into EAA.   I am not 12, but right now I feel that lost.

 

I started with visual astronomy about 15 months ago.  I have:

 

 

  • Meade ETX80, 80X400 mm refractor AltAz GoTo Scope.   Can not be set up EQ.
     
  • Orion XT8i Intelliscope, a 203 mm Newtonian on a manual Dobsonian base with the Intelliscope Digital setting circles system.

 

 

I have stepped into this forum a number of times but 5 posts into any of the threads and I turned tail and ran back to my eyepieces.   The flood of technobabble was overwhelming.

 

 

I learned recently of a starter kit called the Revolution Imager R2 Kit.  A complete set up for newbies.   Sounds promising.  Something even I could use.

http://www.revolutio...com/products/r2

 

Are there other such systems around?

 

 

Will these work with my current scopes or do I need a tracking EQ mount?   I don't have one and don't plan to get one any time soon.  So if that is needed I can stop here.

 

I am not interested in assembling my own systems from pieces and parts.

 

I have looked into webcam systems but these seem to be only good for solar system imaging and it is all about capture and post processing as far as I can tell.

 

 

I just want something I can plug into my scope that will give me a better view than I get in the eyepiece alone.   And, if it is convenient, let me capture that to my laptop for later processing/stacking.

 

 

Yes folks, I am really this limited in my knowledge and understanding of this EAA thing.  So I need EAA for Dummies.   Can anyone help me?

 

 

So, are there other starter packages I should know about?

 

Can you point me to a good learning article or Youtube video or other resource?    This sounds interesting but, so far, I am lost.

Thanks for asking this... good stuff.


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