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

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#26 jjgodard

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 02:02 PM

What difference does it make if you are using ALT/AZ or EQ in regards to tracking? Isn't tracking, tracking? The only thing I could imagine is a slow rotation of the object over a very long time? And I thought EAA is not that time dependent?


Edited by jjgodard, 24 August 2016 - 02:02 PM.


#27 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 02:37 PM

OK, this one I know.

 

AltAz tracks in two directions if not set on an EQ wedge.  So it is like going up stairs.  A little right, a little up, a little right, a little up.   Whether this would be seen in the screen or not is what I am asking.

 

On a polar aligned EQ mount the tracking is all in right ascension and is fairly smooth so it is essentially linear relative to the sky.



#28 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 02:39 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.

 

I saw that video but did not understand what I was seeing.

 

So I see a pretty good image that flows off the screen.  I don't know if that was due to earth rotation or you moving the scope.

 

Then I see a whole bunch of messy stuff.   No idea what caused that.  Then there is an image again, then a mess and that cycle continues.

 

So, can you tell us what is going on in the video?   Was the scope stationary the entire time or were you moving it around?   Overall it causes me great concern, but I really don't know what I am looking at and there is no description in the text or in the video.   Just random stuff.

 

 

I also found this one.  About 24 minute into it he starts to show the monitor.  Looks pretty good but he is using what looks like a $2000 EQ mount with 120 mm acromat.  I can't tell but I presume he has it tracking since the image is stable on the monitor.

https://www.youtube....h?v=p134KP4GMGY

He has some follow-up captures here

https://www.youtube....Y&v=GSUBnEk4kBE


Edited by aeajr, 25 August 2016 - 07:25 AM.


#29 jjgodard

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 02:56 PM

OK, this one I know.

 

AltAz tracks in two directions if not set on an EQ wedge.  So it is like going up stairs.  A little right, a little up, a little right, a little up.   Whether this would be seen in the screen or not is what I am asking.

 

On a polar aligned EQ mount the tracking is all in right ascension and is fairly smooth so it is essentially linear relative to the sky.

I get that. My ETX-60 tracks and the adjustments are so fine that it can sound like a mosquito as it adjusts. Looking through the EP, the movement can be undetectable. For long exposure AP, maybe, but I can't imagine that would show up in EAA.



#30 Don Rudny

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 02:58 PM

Hi Ed and JJ,

 

I can give you my experience with both mounts and EAA.  AZ mounts will work for EAA for most objects in the sky, depending on where they're at.  Field rotation will start affecting the image in some places if you go more than 30 seconds.  If you're less than that, you're probably OK almost anywhere except the zenith where things get a little strange.  There are charts that will give you max exposure time based on your latitude and object location.  I have used a Celestron Evo6 and CPC1100, and they both track well for EAA.  Most of my exposures are less than 45 seconds and I'm at a latitude of 20 degrees that increases the field rotation problem.  I have not noticed the stair problem that Ed mentioned, but I suspect the Celestron mounts are top quality and lesser mounts may exhibit that.

 

I have also use GEMs, and they certainly can give longer tracking than the AZ, but they need to be accurately polar aligned.  That's fine when you have a permanent setup, but a pain if you have to do it every time you set up.  There are several techniques used to polar align, but the best is drift alignment that can take some time.  Even with this, 60 to 90 seconds is about the best you can get without guiding.  This is with a moderate level mount like an Orion Atlas.  If you spend 8 or 10 large on an AP mount, I'm sure you can get considerably more, but it still needs to be polar aligned.

 

If you want simple, I would suggest an AZ mount for EAA.  I follow the threads here, and many others have good results with their Evolution 6 and 8 setups.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Don


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#31 jgraham

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 03:37 PM

I think that I can help a bit here. I have actually done a fair amount of imaging and EAA with an ETX-60 and an ETX-80. I also tried using an ETX-90 and an ET-105, but the focal lengths of these were way too long for me to get reasonable results. The little ETX refractors are far more forgiving.

 

A couple of notes...

 

You can mount the ETX-60/70/80 in equatorial mode, however, the flex in the R.A. shaft may be too great to work well. I actually did this for a while with my ETX-60 and it gave the illusion of working, but it ended up depending on where I was pointing in the sky,

 

ETX60j.jpg

 

So, I'd leave it in altaz mode...

 

Frozen ETX-60 (12-2-2011).jpg

 

This is a stock ETX-60 (backpack version) fitted with an AC adapter and a Autostar #497 handbox so that I could control it from inside my house. The camera is a DSI III.

 

For the short exposures used in EAA, the altaz mode works fine. With the ETX-80 you'll be limited to exposures of no more than 15 seconds, with I think is a good match to the R2. I used primarily 10 second exposures with mine going up to 15 seconds only when I had to. At 10 seconds about 90% of the images showed nice round stars. At 15 seconds this dropped to about 50%.

 

The challenge with the ETX-80 will be the mount. It tends to have a mind of its own sometimes (rubber-banding) and while the tracking is fine for visual, it drifts a bit for imaging/EAA. The trick is to be patient with it. Use slower slew speeds and when you have your target in the find use the really slow slew speeds to move it around. The mount seems to settle down quicker that way and drift less once it does.

 

I've used both the camera port and the eyepiece port. Both work well, but I preferred to put my camera on the eyepiece port. The camera port can be handy as it leaves the eyepiece port open for use with the flip mirror. To use the camera port you'll need an ST-64 adapter (assuming the port still uses the ETX thread) and possibly a t-thread to 1.25" adapter. If the R2 has a t-thread you might be able to screw it directly onto the ST-64 adapter.

 

Once I got the hang of it I had an absolute blast using my ETX-60 & ETX-80 for imaging and EAA. They are just so darned simple there's almost nothing to set up, align, or guide. You just gotta be a little patient with them and use a light touch.

 

If'n it were me I'd give it a try.

 

Have fun!


Edited by jgraham, 24 August 2016 - 03:40 PM.

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#32 Censustaker

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 03:46 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.

 

I saw that video but did not understand what I was seeing.

 

So I see a pretty good image that flows off the screen.  I don't know if that was due to earth rotation or you moving the scope.

 

Then I see a whole bunch of messy stuff.   No idea what caused that.  Then there is an image again, then a mess and that cycle continues.

 

So, can you tell us what is going on in the video?   Was the scope stationary the entire time or were you moving it around?   Overall it causes me great concern, but I really don't know what I am looking at and there is no description in the text or in the video.   Just random stuff.

 

 

I set up my computer to take images every 10 seconds, when you're seeing "long streaks" that's me moving the telescope on the mount, when you see the image move in steps that's earth rotation.


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#33 OleCuss

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 04:10 PM

IMHO the easiest/simplest is to get the Atik Infinity and plug it into your ETX-80 and into your computer.

 

The ETX-80 optics are fast enough for the camera.  The Atik Infinitiy software is straightforward and works very well.

 

Simplest thing out there IMHO.



#34 jjgodard

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 04:11 PM

Thanks for explaining. I have a little more confidence that my ETX-60 will do fine when I start out in EAA.

Which I have already assured my better half, won't be for a long time.

After that "once-in-a-lifetime" TV sale that I used to justify my new EP line-up.

A long time, a long time........

 

ago in a galaxy far, far away.

 

So far, In fact, that I might need EAA just to see it..... :cool:


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#35 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 04:15 PM

I think that I can help a bit here. I have actually done a fair amount of imaging and EAA with an ETX-60 and an ETX-80. I also tried using an ETX-90 and an ET-105, but the focal lengths of these were way too long for me to get reasonable results. The little ETX refractors are far more forgiving.

 

A couple of notes...

 

You can mount the ETX-60/70/80 in equatorial mode, however, the flex in the R.A. shaft may be too great to work well. I actually did this for a while with my ETX-60 and it gave the illusion of working, but it ended up depending on where I was pointing in the sky,

 

attachicon.gifETX60j.jpg

 

So, I'd leave it in altaz mode...

 

attachicon.gifFrozen ETX-60 (12-2-2011).jpg

 

This is a stock ETX-60 (backpack version) fitted with an AC adapter and a Autostar #497 handbox so that I could control it from inside my house. The camera is a DSI III.

 

For the short exposures used in EAA, the altaz mode works fine. With the ETX-80 you'll be limited to exposures of no more than 15 seconds, with I think is a good match to the R2. I used primarily 10 second exposures with mine going up to 15 seconds only when I had to. At 10 seconds about 90% of the images showed nice round stars. At 15 seconds this dropped to about 50%.

 

The challenge with the ETX-80 will be the mount. It tends to have a mind of its own sometimes (rubber-banding) and while the tracking is fine for visual, it drifts a bit for imaging/EAA. The trick is to be patient with it. Use slower slew speeds and when you have your target in the find use the really slow slew speeds to move it around. The mount seems to settle down quicker that way and drift less once it does.

 

I've used both the camera port and the eyepiece port. Both work well, but I preferred to put my camera on the eyepiece port. The camera port can be handy as it leaves the eyepiece port open for use with the flip mirror. To use the camera port you'll need an ST-64 adapter (assuming the port still uses the ETX thread) and possibly a t-thread to 1.25" adapter. If the R2 has a t-thread you might be able to screw it directly onto the ST-64 adapter.

 

Once I got the hang of it I had an absolute blast using my ETX-60 & ETX-80 for imaging and EAA. They are just so darned simple there's almost nothing to set up, align, or guide. You just gotta be a little patient with them and use a light touch.

 

If'n it were me I'd give it a try.

 

Have fun!

 

 

Man you nailed it as far as telling me exactly what I need to know.   I knew if I started a "dummy" thread someone would show up with exactly my scopes to answer exactly what I wanted to know.

 

Thanks so much!



#36 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 04:38 PM

IMHO the easiest/simplest is to get the Atik Infinity and plug it into your ETX-80 and into your computer.

 

The ETX-80 optics are fast enough for the camera.  The Atik Infinitiy software is straightforward and works very well.

 

Simplest thing out there IMHO.

 

Interesting.  Do you have a complete parts list that includes absolutely everything I need, where to get it and a budget?   

 

 

Oh, I see the camera alone is $1000.  Thanks but no thanks.

http://www.highpoint...-camera-atk0144

 

See, that is the attraction of this kit for people like me.   I have a day job and a family and other hobbies.   I am not looking to become a video astronomy tech.  

 

People tell me you should get this or that.  Great!   And when I have looked into these things in the past I found I have decisions to make about what model and what adapter and what connector and, oh, you will also have to get this other thing which I don't understand and then you need this cable that I don't know were to get and it has to connect to this software that I never heard of.   Oh, and you need a battery or an AC adapter and it has to be this voltage but be sure it is the right pin out or you will cook the component.

 

And I run right back to that eyepiece because I KNOW how to use that.   

 

I could spend $500 on stuff people mention and still not have what I need and have no idea how to use it.   Not really looking to do that.

 

A kit is really exciting.  All I am doing here is qualifying that my expectations are reasonable and that this will meet them.

 

A complete parts list with sources could also be great if I could be confident it would work.

 

 

Sorry if I am being a little winy hiny but that's how it is.


Edited by aeajr, 24 August 2016 - 05:00 PM.

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#37 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 04:40 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.

 

I saw that video but did not understand what I was seeing.

 

So I see a pretty good image that flows off the screen.  I don't know if that was due to earth rotation or you moving the scope.

 

Then I see a whole bunch of messy stuff.   No idea what caused that.  Then there is an image again, then a mess and that cycle continues.

 

So, can you tell us what is going on in the video?   Was the scope stationary the entire time or were you moving it around?   Overall it causes me great concern, but I really don't know what I am looking at and there is no description in the text or in the video.   Just random stuff.

 

 

I set up my computer to take images every 10 seconds, when you're seeing "long streaks" that's me moving the telescope on the mount, when you see the image move in steps that's earth rotation.

 

 

Thanks.  Now the video makes sense.  I though the camera was going haywire.



#38 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 04:53 PM

I want to offer my sincere thanks to all those who have tried to make this simple for me.  I know there are others like me who are trying to grasp this new area and are trying to understand how it works and what is reasonable to expect.

 

On behalf of all who are new to this, who need a "dummies" discussion, I say thank you.    There is still plenty more to learn and to understand and I have time, but this has been really helpful.  

 

I welcome any additional input or guidance, especially around this or any other kits that are available.   I still see my best path into this as a kit that has instructions and some kind of support from the maker of the kit.  I like that I don't need a laptop to make this work unless I want to capture the images for later processing.   My laptop is a company unit and I am not supposed to be putting all kinds of software on it or making extensive use of it for non-company purposes.    For now this is for visual use only.

 

Thanks to everyone.


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#39 tony_spina

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 05:18 PM

I'm also interested in getting into EAA. I like the idea if a complete kit or a solid simple list of known components that have been tested to work right out of the box.

 

Just like Ed mentioned for his needs, I also don't have the time to tweak and geek out on this stuff. So as a newbie in EAA what are the recommended kits we should consider. Looking for price points, key features that make one better than another.  

 

I know that Mallincam for example has a similar kit for $249. Is it better/same/worse than the Revolution 2?

 

Are there kits or recommend list at $600 I should consider that are better? What do I get for 2x the price?

 

I'm loosing the battle for dark skies, and getting to a dark site is becoming more of a challenge due to home life and work. But I need my astronomy fix to relax and unwind 

 

Looking forward to all your suggestions 


Edited by tony_spina, 24 August 2016 - 05:21 PM.


#40 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 05:31 PM

A friend of mine uses a Microsoft Surface Pro computer running Sharpcap and a ZWO ASI224 camera with his CPC 1100. Basically he has the "live view" on the Surface Pro and can also use all the functionality to stack and process at the same time. He's sent me processed images right then and there to my email while we've been observing..pretty darned cool. It's also only one cable from the camera to the computer USB3. 

 

Thanks for asking these questions as I a dummy too. I get lost in the electronics and technical jargon as well. I'm that guy at work always with computer problems banging on my computer and cursing the monitor!

 

I was looking at the Revolution Imager and I think it would be fine if I was just looking at the monitor. I however would be tempted to process and stack images. You'll need the frame grabber to do that. 

 

In in my opinion I think you'd get more out of the eyepieces, but that's just my opinion. 


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#41 mclewis1

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 05:32 PM

The Infinity is indeed a great camera and it has a number of valuable characteristics for you Ed ... but it's also quite expensive and well over the budget you've discussed.

 

There are a number things to consider when using a camera of any type with your ETX80. One issue is coming to focus. Eyepieces are placed at the focal point of the telescope, that position for an eyepiece is something call the field stop. The only thing you need to know about the field stop is that it's usually around the middle to bottom third of the eyepiece (a point usually down around the smooth barrel part). Exactly where this point is isn't important, but with a camera it's sensor needs to be placed at this same point (so down into the barrel area where you insert the eyepiece). 

 

That means that your ETX80 needs to have enough focus travel to move that focal point up above the top edge of the barrel area where you insert your eyepieces. Clearly from John's picture this works for the ETX60 ... and it should be similar for the ETX80. Putting the camera in the position where the eyepiece was also means that you don't need to worry about the camera running into the mount. Virtually all EAA oriented cameras come with a 1.25" barrel adapter, so to use the camera in place of the eyepiece you won't need to buy anything else.

 

Where this focus position is likely to cause you a problem is if you try to use a focal reducer. Without going into all the details right now I would simply suggest that you don't try and use one ... at least until you've got a camera setup that you are comfortable using.

 

The straight through position at the back of the scope offers some additional flexibility (using spacers and adapters can position the camera in a variety of positions) but it also puts the camera in a position where it can run into the base of the mount when you point up towards the zenith. Very thin cameras (like the Infinity - see I told you there was some value to that type of camera) can often be used without problems but it's very hard to determine before hand ... most folks have to measure things a bit and then just try it out. The R2 will stick out farther than the Infinity and would be more of an issue in this straight through position. Cables hanging off of the back of the camera only add to this problem. It's all not the end of the world but it does enter into the conversation about camera choices ... just something to consider.

 

If you want to try this straight through position you should also be aware that the R2 and many other EAA cameras have a C mount connection. This is a 1" diameter thread. The 1.25" barrel adapter mentioned above would thread onto this C mount. For the straight through connection you'd need to remove an adapter like this from the camera and add something more appropriate (with the correct threads). In John's example discussed above you would need a C to T thread adapter and then a T thread to ST-64 adapter to mount the R2 in this position.

 

So if it's simpler to use the eyepiece position why would you consider the straight through one? Well one reason might be is to be able to use the eyepiece to find and frame and object (remember that the R2 acts like a 6mm Plossl eyepiece ... that's a pretty small field of view ... most other EAA entry level cameras are similar, they act like 6-8mm eyepieces).

 

If you can rely on the goto of your scope you don't have to worry about using the eyepiece first. You are really comfortable setting up and aligning your ETX aren't you? You already get pretty accurate gotos right? ... ok if not go and practice a bunch. I'm serious, you will find EAA observing very frustrating if you aren't comfortable with your scope and it offers reasonable accuracy in it's gotos. It doesn't have to be exceptionally accurate, just something where it will place an object in the field of a 25-32mm eyepiece on a regular basis ... and better than that is very helpful.

 

Now a few questions for you ....

 

- do you have a laptop PC that could be used out at the telescope?

- how comfortable are you with any PC you normally use (how computer "savy" do you feel)?

- how do you feel about learning to use some new applications on your PC?

- how comfortable are you about setting everything up (adding more complexity to your telescope setup)?

- how do you feel about cabling (think about the comment of setting up a VCR earlier in one of these threads)?

- What are your skies like? (faintest magnitude stars you can see)


Edited by mclewis1, 24 August 2016 - 05:33 PM.


#42 OleCuss

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 06:35 PM

I'm also interested in getting into EAA. I like the idea if a complete kit or a solid simple list of known components that have been tested to work right out of the box.

 

Just like Ed mentioned for his needs, I also don't have the time to tweak and geek out on this stuff. So as a newbie in EAA what are the recommended kits we should consider. Looking for price points, key features that make one better than another.  

 

I know that Mallincam for example has a similar kit for $249. Is it better/same/worse than the Revolution 2?

 

Are there kits or recommend list at $600 I should consider that are better? What do I get for 2x the price?

 

I'm loosing the battle for dark skies, and getting to a dark site is becoming more of a challenge due to home life and work. But I need my astronomy fix to relax and unwind 

 

Looking forward to all your suggestions 

 

Your NP101 should have a native focal ratio of 5.4?  Put the 0.8 reducer and you'll be at 4.3!

 

So if you already have the reducer you are already good to go so far as the optics are concerned.

 

Then it's budget.  If you want the simplest and you plan to do stacking on the computer then the Atik Infinity is still probably the choice if you can handle the price.

 

If you can't stomach that price then your next best is probably to get the ZWO ASI224.  You will be able to use SharpCap or AstroLive USB as your software and that is pretty good.  Just get an adapter to fit your focuser and run a USB cable between your computer and the camera - and you are good to go.  A little better to get the cooled version but in that case you need to run another power cable.

 

I've got the Nano-Tec mono which fits what I need to do but I've not done first light with it so I cannot yet tell you how good it is - but it is also very simple and works fine with Sharpcap and also works with ToupSky.  Before ordering from AVS make sure you read and understand how the business model works - you could have frustrating delays ( they don't bother me too much but I'm a bit of an exception).

 

The Mallincam kit uses the same ToupTek camera which the Nano-Tec is based on.  But the Nano-Tec has active cooling while the Mallincam version seems to use passive cooling.  I've not seen enough from that camera but I'm actually guessing it works OK.  The Mallincam kit doesn't include a focal reducer but with the NP101 you may not need one.  If you already have a computer you don't need the kit, however, and can just get the camera.  Again, a very simple system which you are likely to find easy to use.

 

All the above will give you HD results.

 

You can go to analog cameras but you'll generally find you have low-resolution results and you have to run the output through a video capture device so that your computer understands what you the camera saw and then run something like SharpCap.

 

Most people nowadays want high-resolution and to do stacking on the computer for better results.  This means that the simplest and easiest stuff is one of the HD cameras running a USB cable from the camera to the computer.  If the camera has cooling and you decide to use it then you run power to the cooler.  Dead simple.

 

A suggestion of a different nature, however?

 

If you already have something like a good Canon DSLR you might want to try using that with your focally-reduced NP101.  With those fast optics you might be able to use BackyardEOS to capture sub-images and then stack and display with AstroToaster.  You might be happy doing near-real-time viewing using your DSLR if you've got one!  Then again, you may not like it but the investment would be relatively minimal if you've already got the gear.



#43 charotarguy

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 06:46 PM

There's one gentleman broadcasting form Long Island, usually he is always on when it is clear and also does solar too, why don't you join his broadcast on NSN and reach out to him, maybe he can help you show his stuff.


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#44 Don Rudny

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 07:41 PM

I'm also interested in getting into EAA. I like the idea if a complete kit or a solid simple list of known components that have been tested to work right out of the box.

 

Just like Ed mentioned for his needs, I also don't have the time to tweak and geek out on this stuff. So as a newbie in EAA what are the recommended kits we should consider. Looking for price points, key features that make one better than another.  

 

I know that Mallincam for example has a similar kit for $249. Is it better/same/worse than the Revolution 2?

 

Are there kits or recommend list at $600 I should consider that are better? What do I get for 2x the price?

 

I'm loosing the battle for dark skies, and getting to a dark site is becoming more of a challenge due to home life and work. But I need my astronomy fix to relax and unwind 

 

Looking forward to all your suggestions 

 

Hi Tony,

 

One option that I recommend you take a look at in that price range is the Starlight Xpress Lodestar.  It is standard definition like some of the video cams, but is a USB digital cam that delivers cleaner images yet retains the speed of a near real time sensor.  It really doesn't need a kit because it operates off one USB cable that comes with it.  It's available in mono or color and has free third party dedicated software called Starlight Live that makes the camera work in a near live or real time view.  Images can be enhanced on the fly and captured onto your hard drive.  The software comes in both Mac and Windows versions.  I have attached a link to my gallery that includes images from both a color and mono Lodestar using various scopes, some similar to yours.  I have had good results using my SW100ed at F9.  The body is a 1.25" cylinder that slips into an eyepiece holder.  You don't really need a focal reducer, but if you want to add one, a c mount to 1.25" adapter can be added to mount the reducer or filters.

 

If you want better resolution the SX Ultrastar is the next step, but the cost is a grand, as is the Atik Infinity.  Both have the same Sony 825 sensor and both deliver good results.  The Ultrastar gives better resolution at the cost of speed compared to the Lodestar and needs faster optics and prefers darker skies.  For LP areas, the Lodestar will give deeper faster results.

 

Let me know if you have any questions.

 

Don

 

https://stargazerslo...gallery_gallery



#45 Don Rudny

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 08:02 PM

 Before ordering from AVS make sure you read and understand how the business model works - you could have frustrating delays ( they don't bother me too much but I'm a bit of an exception).

 

Reading this thread will help one understand better.

 

http://www.cloudynig...tec-usb-camera/



#46 octobass

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:11 PM

Well this has been an interesting thread...

 

OP wants a recommendation for beginner EAA set, without confusing "technobabble". Same position I found myself in 9 months ago.  

 

Luckily, I took the leap of faith, bought Revolution Imager (R1) specifically because it was marketed as EAA for dummies (of which I am one), loved it--and its simplicity--and thanks to Mike of OC Telescope's intuitive instructions on his website--it was very easy to learn and enjoy out of the box.

 

I Fell in love with EAA. Jumped up to the Mallincam Xterminator after learning the ropes. Love it even more.  (Yes, I know it's the "old" technology--it works great for me. I'm a very happy camper.)

 

OP wanted simplicity. Instead, he's gotten a cascade of technobabble, just what he wanted to avoid,  including a habitual and very knowledgeable poster making a  recommendation (with qualifiers) for a product from a vendor who has a reputation for delivering product with either huge delays or no delivery ever .

 

What beginner wants to start with something like that? He wants to order his camera and start playing with it.

 

Revolution Imager customers seem like a satisfied lot, based on my personal experience and the reading of multiple posts regarding the product. Any problems are promptly rectified by OC Telescope. 

 

In short...I'm a dummy. I got the Revolution Imager. It worked great, as advertised. I highly recommend it to any beginner.


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#47 aeajr

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:31 PM

I am leaning heavily toward this kit.  Not ready to buy yet but getting close.


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#48 Organic Astrochemist

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 09:59 PM

I think that I can help a bit here. I have actually done a fair amount of imaging and EAA with an ETX-60 and an ETX-80. I also tried using an ETX-90 and an ET-105, but the focal lengths of these were way too long for me to get reasonable results. The little ETX refractors are far more forgiving.

A couple of notes...

You can mount the ETX-60/70/80 in equatorial mode, however, the flex in the R.A. shaft may be too great to work well. I actually did this for a while with my ETX-60 and it gave the illusion of working, but it ended up depending on where I was pointing in the sky,

ETX60j.jpg

So, I'd leave it in altaz mode...

Frozen ETX-60 (12-2-2011).jpg

This is a stock ETX-60 (backpack version) fitted with an AC adapter and a Autostar #497 handbox so that I could control it from inside my house. The camera is a DSI III.

For the short exposures used in EAA, the altaz mode works fine. With the ETX-80 you'll be limited to exposures of no more than 15 seconds, with I think is a good match to the R2. I used primarily 10 second exposures with mine going up to 15 seconds only when I had to. At 10 seconds about 90% of the images showed nice round stars. At 15 seconds this dropped to about 50%.

The challenge with the ETX-80 will be the mount. It tends to have a mind of its own sometimes (rubber-banding) and while the tracking is fine for visual, it drifts a bit for imaging/EAA. The trick is to be patient with it. Use slower slew speeds and when you have your target in the find use the really slow slew speeds to move it around. The mount seems to settle down quicker that way and drift less once it does.

I've used both the camera port and the eyepiece port. Both work well, but I preferred to put my camera on the eyepiece port. The camera port can be handy as it leaves the eyepiece port open for use with the flip mirror. To use the camera port you'll need an ST-64 adapter (assuming the port still uses the ETX thread) and possibly a t-thread to 1.25" adapter. If the R2 has a t-thread you might be able to screw it directly onto the ST-64 adapter.

Once I got the hang of it I had an absolute blast using my ETX-60 & ETX-80 for imaging and EAA. They are just so darned simple there's almost nothing to set up, align, or guide. You just gotta be a little patient with them and use a light touch.

If'n it were me I'd give it a try.

Have fun!

I think this is great info for the OP, but it would be nice to see some images from the R2 with such small aperture.
Instant, high resolution color images of faint DSOs would be great but people tend to use much more aperture for that.
Given that the OP has only 80 mm, what important to him:
Color?
Sensitivity?
Resolution (image scale)?
Speed? (would 10 min of stacking work or does He need to see it in 10 seconds?)
No computer?

How much does the image matter? What objects interest the OP and what about them does he wish to observe?

#49 xxTRIPODxx

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 10:12 PM

I agree octobass. The kit mike put together is a good way for people to put a foot in the door of EAA at a very reasonable price.

 

Everthing needed is right there in the case, there is a website to cover anything you may need help with, menu setting and such. And Mike stands behind his product.

 

I was actually a little underwhelmed at the vision i saw the atik infinity producing, it certainly has a HD pricetag but i couldn't justify buying one for what seemed a minimal increase in resolution.

 

There are other options for people to consider, lodestar and mallincam seem to have a good name but i haven't used their products so cant comment. 

 

The Revolution Imager i have used and still use and can recomend to anyone who is interested in dabbling in some eaa, a great all-you-need to get started product at a good pricepoint and plenty of other users have stated the same.

 

Clear skies, xTripodx

 

Organic astrochemist, OP stated he would not use a computer.


Edited by xxTRIPODxx, 24 August 2016 - 10:15 PM.

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#50 Dragon Man

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 06:21 AM

 

 

I also found this one.  About 24 minute into it he starts to show the moitor.  Looks pretty good but he is using what looks like a $2000 EQ mount with 120 mm acromat.  I can't tell but I presume he has it tracking since the image is stable on the monitor.

https://www.youtube....h?v=p134KP4GMGY

He has some follow-up captures here

https://www.youtube....Y&v=GSUBnEk4kBE

 

G'day Ed.

 

Those are my videos   :)

 

Often the whole process of Video Astronomy (or EAA as it gets called in here) is explained in a very complicated way.

 

It really is simple.

 

Wack a little camera into the scope, plug the other end into a TV or monitor, and BINGO! Live Solar system objects and Near-Live DSO's.

 

Yes, I use a $1700 EQ mount. But you don't need to. A basic Alt/Az will do. All it needs to do is track, and not even accurately.

That 120mm Achromat you mention that I am using in the video, is a pretty cheap scope. You can even use a simple little 60mm Achromat if you want. Aperture doesn't matter with Video Astronomy. Your ETX will be ok to use.  :waytogo:

 

You don't have to worry about accurate tracking, or field rotation, or bumps and knocks to the mount, or thin cloud, or wind, or light pollution.

Because these cameras are very sensitive they catch views in a very short exposure time (often called sens-up).

For Solar System objects you would be using settings like 1/500th of a second, so it would be instant video like with a webcam. So any movement in the mount doesn't matter. In fact, little movements add to the 'Live' experience.

 

As for DSO's you will need to lengthen the exposure times (sensup) anywhere from 1 second to 5 seconds. You don't need to internally stack. You don't need a computer. You don't need to do anything except go to the object and see it on screen  :)

 

In one post I notice that you (or someone else) explained Alt/Az tracking as up a bit, to the right a bit, up a bit, to the right a bit, like a staircase. No, not exactly. Alt/Az tracking is diagonal. Both Alt movements and Azimuth Movements happen simultaneously so it is a smooth graceful diagonal tracking.

The only time you would notice any field rotation is if you were to stack several longer exposure frames. And even then it wouldn't be much. Not like long exposure Astrophotography.

 

I made some graphics for my website to show how easy this is to set up:

 

With a Monitor or TV

Basic-Video-Astronomy1.jpg

 

With a Computer 

Basic-Video-Astronomy2.jpg

( I think Mike at Revolution Imager supplies a Video Grabber so no need to buy one)

 

With a USB camera

Basic-Video-Astronomy3.jpg

 

If it all still sounds too complicated, there are a lot of Video Astronomy beginners getting help with really helpful tips and answers at a Forum devoted totally to Video Astronomy HERE

 

The camera settings for the Revolution Imager, and other Analogue style cameras are pretty easy and even though they have a lot of options to fiddle with, you'll probably never us many of them. You only need to choose a few settings. 

It all looks and sounds complicated at first, but relax. It is really quite simple. 

 

I hope this helps  :waytogo:

 

Cheers,

Ken


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