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New Life for an Old Telescope

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#1 Imager

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 03:05 PM

Born in the mid 1940's, I grew up with reflectors. Many were homemade, even the mirrors. Later I acquired a used Celestron/Vixen C6 f/5 reflector. Primarily I did planetary photography with bigger reflectors and an OM-1n film camera. This week I jumped back into DS after a 15 year pause and tried for the first time a Canon T4i (Unmodified) on the C6. Even with some bloat, vignetting and coma, this first image exceeded anything I ever did with film.

The biggest surprises were:

1 How deep a DSLR can go in light polluted skies.
2 My skies were not as badly polluted as I thought.
3 An entry level GEM may be able to do imaging if not overloaded. (Results may vary)
4 Prim focus can be reached with the "Sled" focuser and an adapter.

M13 Limiting Mag 5.1 Seeing 3.0
6/16/2017 12.57 CDT, my driveway, Marshfield, WI
Celestron/Vixen C6, f/5, reflector. CG5-GT GEM, Canon T4i unmodified
1x240s cropped, Processed in MS Photo Gallery

Harvey HermanIMG_3311b (800x573).jpg
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#2 GaryCurran

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 03:35 PM

Welcome back to the crowd, Harvey.

 

Boy, do we have some surprises for you!  :) :p

 

First, the CG-5 GT should be well suited to AP with the C6 and your camera.  Your image of M13 to beautiful, for a single frame.  However, unlike film, DSLRs bring about a whole new set of capabilities.  Things like actually 'stacking' the images, the ability to remove noise from the image by use of Dark Frames, Bias Frames and the ability to remove dust motes and other artifacts by the use of Flat frames.

 

Post processing has been opened up, too, with everything from an entry level, but powerful processor called StarTools, all the way up to the defacto standard, PixInsight, $50 to $250 price range, and there are other products which may be even more out there.

 

Then, there's camera and mount control.  You should be able to download the ASCOM platform, which will open up possibilities for controlling your mount from programs like Stellarium or Cartes du Ciel, allowing you click and go GoTo slews on your laptop.  Another program is BackyardEOS, which allows you to control the camera.  You can set exposure, get a 'Live View' select how many exposures you wish.

 

If you've been away from Astrophotography for 10 or 15 years, you'll find that the world has changed, significantly.

 

Welcome back, and have fun!



#3 Imager

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 04:01 PM

Hi Gary,

Thank you for the warm welcome! I have done some reading over the last two years but more needs to be done. I am recently retired from the biomed engineering field, I thought Photoshop would come easy. and while not yet having begun to use it, I find it intimidating. It seems like a labor intensive skill set that I may not be good enough to learn. But I would like to try it.

Reading CN over the last two years has been very helpful. You mentioned a few buzz words that I will need to check out. It is amazing how much astro imaging has changed in the last 20 years.

Harvey Herman

#4 cookjaiii

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 04:02 PM

Nice result!  I've been completely intimidated by the technology bandied about by the experts here.  Your image gives me encouragement to try something myself.  Thanks!



#5 Imager

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 04:16 PM

Thank you.

 

My choice of M13 for a first image had some thought behind it. All of those galaxies, nebulae, and faint fuzzes call out for some level of post processing. Globulars make a good choice to capture if you don't burn out their core stars. Also the simplicity of using Photo Gallery is a good way to get familiar with processing, although on a limited scale.

 

Harvey Herman    



#6 cinbody

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 04:35 PM

Hey Harvey,

 

Exactly the first thing I imaged with my 1990's era C8 and Canon 20D!

 

I found PS (and its open source analog "The Gimp") very much non-intuitive when I started with them. I am by no means a pro at this point, more of a learn what I have to to accomplish a specific goal. If you get stuck, either ask here or a pointed google/youtube search may help. Refinement will come with repetition and incremental adjustments to your process.

 

In the end, it seems that every powerful piece of software was written with a "flavor", and once you figure out the author's particular frame of mind it seems to get easier until the next program you want to learn.

 

If you want a taste of stacking without $, look at Deep Sky Stacker (aka DSS)

 

- Chris



#7 Imager

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 04:49 PM

Hi Chris,

 

Your recommendations are most welcome. I don't know anything about Deep Sky Stacker but will make a point to learn about it. I think there are others in the astro imaging community who consider post processing to be another skill set. 

 

Thanks,

Harvey Herman


Edited by Imager, 19 June 2017 - 04:59 PM.


#8 Imager

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 04:57 PM

I must ad:

 

The image of M13 was bracketed. I did 60s, 120s, and 240s. The 240s was not too long of an exposure at f/5 for my location.

 

But I only focused the telescope one time that night, and that was on Jupiter's moons. Then I slewed to M13. Because critical focusing was done by eyeball, my question is can I do critical focus again and again or was there some luck in it this first time. There are focusing aids but I have yet to purchase one.

 

Harvey Herman



#9 GaryCurran

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:13 PM

A word about DSS.  Deep Sky Stacker, is just the first step, of many, towards a finished product.  It is far from the end all, be all.  What processing abilities it has are far from adequate.  This is not to demean the program, as a stacking program, it is what so many people use, and within that, it is very good.

 

You'll hear another term called 'stretching the image.'  Even in 'dark' images where there doesn't seem to be a lot of data, there is, and when you alter the histogram of the image, you're 'stretching' it.  This is one of the reasons Iike StarTools, it has an 'AutoDev' feature that will do a stretch for you, as well as other functions.

 

http://www.startools.org/

 

You can download a trial version which will have no Save feature, but everything else works properly.  Pricing is very good for this quality of software.

 

There's a lot out there to be photographed, and a lot of software to help you do it, and, more importantly, a lot of people here who want to help you.



#10 mistateo

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:25 PM

Welcome back Harvey!

 

I have been using the SW .85x reducer I bought from you with my Eon 120mm for every imaging session with my DSLR, and it works great.  I need to pick up an eyepiece laser so I can install the moonlite focuser I bought from you also.  I admire the classically trained Astrophotographers, I never started until others had already paved the way with much easier workflows with more modern equipment.  



#11 Imager

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:28 PM

A word about DSS.  Deep Sky Stacker, is just the first step, of many, towards a finished product.  It is far from the end all, be all.  What processing abilities it has are far from adequate.  This is not to demean the program, as a stacking program, it is what so many people use, and within that, it is very good.
 
You'll hear another term called 'stretching the image.'  Even in 'dark' images where there doesn't seem to be a lot of data, there is, and when you alter the histogram of the image, you're 'stretching' it.  This is one of the reasons Iike StarTools, it has an 'AutoDev' feature that will do a stretch for you, as well as other functions.
 
http://www.startools.org/
 
You can download a trial version which will have no Save feature, but everything else works properly.  Pricing is very good for this quality of software.
 
There's a lot out there to be photographed, and a lot of software to help you do it, and, more importantly, a lot of people here who want to help you.


Gary,

The trial version looks to be taking a lot of risk out of the purchase. That's worth pursuing.

Harvey

#12 GaryCurran

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:31 PM

Harvey, a lot of programs will offer you a trial period.  PixInsight, I believe, gives you a fully functioning 45 day trial, with the Save enabled, and the only reason I don't own it is because right now, $250 is a bit of money I can't afford to spend.

 

Here's a really good webpage on processing data from a DSLR through DSS and then into StarTools.

 

http://astro.ecuador...with-startools/


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#13 Imager

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:54 PM

Welcome back Harvey!

 

I have been using the SW .85x reducer I bought from you with my Eon 120mm for every imaging session with my DSLR, and it works great.  I need to pick up an eyepiece laser so I can install the moonlite focuser I bought from you also.  I admire the classically trained Astrophotographers, I never started until others had already paved the way with much easier workflows with more modern equipment.  

Hello!

 

Glad things are working out for you with the Orion ED scope and focuser.

 

My start in astrophotography was very humbling. Hyper sensitizing and cooled emulsions was not prominent. Guiding was done manually with eyeball to the eyepiece and lots of perseverance. Very few of my images were able to be shared with friends, most went into the waste paper basket. Unsharp masking was a technique the darkroom photographers used to some degree of success, and was another skill I never tried to learn.

 

As a pioneer, I tip my hat to the young crowd who have brought to this hobby today the technology, software and hardware tools,  energy and willingness to share what they have learned. If we could just roll back the clock on light pollution.....................

 

Harvey Herman



#14 Imager

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:58 PM

Harvey, a lot of programs will offer you a trial period.  PixInsight, I believe, gives you a fully functioning 45 day trial, with the Save enabled, and the only reason I don't own it is because right now, $250 is a bit of money I can't afford to spend.

 

Here's a really good webpage on processing data from a DSLR through DSS and then into StarTools.

 

http://astro.ecuador...with-startools/

Thanks. This will definitely help me get started.

 

Harvey



#15 James Paulson

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 07:04 PM

Welcome back to the hobby. Not quite as old as you but from the time I last dabbled in AP using a Cave-Astrola 10" Newt and a Minolta X370 with 1600 and 3200 ISO film, to coming back into this digital world is mind blowing, the quality of images people are taking. When I got my DSLR I was surprised how well they worked, but like you, was a bit intimidated with processing, and I have a lot to learn about it too, but today there is YOUTUBE. And YOUTUBE is loaded with excellent tutorials on everything from using processing software, to guiding software and working your mount and camera, so it is a great resource.

 

I have a lot of respect and appreciation for the old timers in this hobby now that I am one too. I think you guys appreciate what is out there just so much more because back in the old days, nothing we had was as good as all that is available today, nothing. Just look at the refractor market, or the eyepiece market, or the mount market and all the fantastic choices available. You can get it any way you want today, and more.


Edited by James Paulson, 19 June 2017 - 07:05 PM.


#16 Imager

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 07:33 PM

Welcome back to the hobby. Not quite as old as you but from the time I last dabbled in AP using a Cave-Astrola 10" Newt and a Minolta X370 with 1600 and 3200 ISO film, to coming back into this digital world is mind blowing, the quality of images people are taking. When I got my DSLR I was surprised how well they worked, but like you, was a bit intimidated with processing, and I have a lot to learn about it too, but today there is YOUTUBE. And YOUTUBE is loaded with excellent tutorials on everything from using processing software, to guiding software and working your mount and camera, so it is a great resource.

 

I have a lot of respect and appreciation for the old timers in this hobby now that I am one too. I think you guys appreciate what is out there just so much more because back in the old days, nothing we had was as good as all that is available today, nothing. Just look at the refractor market, or the eyepiece market, or the mount market and all the fantastic choices available. You can get it any way you want today, and more.

Hi James,

 

YouTube is a remarkable resource. It may never be referred to as continuing education without accreditation, but it is a great teaching tool. Working with a big Cave and a slr, you surely paid your dues.

 

Less I stray, in posting the image of M13, I had hoped to inspire others to give imaging another try, particularly if they assumed light pollution would render their effort as hopeless. Plus some types of images need less processing work which is a big plus for a beginner.

 

Harvey Herman


Edited by Imager, 19 June 2017 - 07:37 PM.


#17 mistateo

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 08:05 PM

Star clusters are pretty forgiving with the light pollution.  Nebulas can be dealt with, but I have NO idea how these guys nail galaxy shots with horrendous light pollution.... If I see the moon ANYWHERE in the sky, I won't even touch galaxies.



#18 Imager

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 08:21 PM

Star clusters are pretty forgiving with the light pollution.  Nebulas can be dealt with, but I have NO idea how these guys nail galaxy shots with horrendous light pollution.... If I see the moon ANYWHERE in the sky, I won't even touch galaxies.

Point well made. NGC 6207 is seen in the full scale image which I did not post. But without post processing it is nothing more that a faint short feeble stretch of light. This is where processing would have really helped as I thought there was hidden detail in that galaxy. Without confirming this, I believe GNC 6207 is not a visual object from my location with a 6 inch telescope.

 

Harvey Herman  




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