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Newbie: equipment recommendations and some basic questions

astrophotography beginner equipment imaging Meade
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#1 lwoody7110

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 04:01 PM

Hi all

 

Please forgive the request for guidance below, there are a few basics that I've not found answers to in product write ups.  I also think I fall into the stereotype newbie camp!  Too big a scope and a lack of experience....

 

My 8" LX200 GPS has just been brought out of the cupboard after sitting in there for 5 years after previous frustrations made me give it a break.  Frustrations were many.  The micro focuser cable broke (strangled during alignment but recently fixed); general problems with 2-star alignment due to lack of understanding, dew build-up during observing, not operating the DSLR properly (learning about ISO; exposure times; focusing the DSLR etc), not having the greatest viewing location.  I was expecting to take photos of nebula but found myself sticking with the moon.

 

I'm determined to get somewhere this time.  I'm looking to invest in the scope to simplify the skills needed for success and reset my expectations downwards. 

 

I want to have kit good enough for planetary and to be able to touch on some DSO in the future once I've learnt the ropes with planetary.  I'm going to abandon DSLR and move to dedicated devices, which *should* be easier to deal with.  By eliminating one learning curve (for different one I know) I believe I'll get further than I did before and hopefully turn this interest into a proper hobby.

 

My 'perfect' is to have an air-gap between the LX200 GPS and the computer on which the images will be processed upon.  I plan to control the LX200 via Sky Safari/SkyFi III post polar alignment.

 

So the help I'm looking for is with imaging and autoguiding products to add onto the LX200 GPS.

 

1.  Image capture.  I basically don't want to go too cheap or expensive here.  I want kit good enough to eventually grow into DSO and achieve 'something' whilst getting great results with planets.  Really high on my requirement here is a WiFi enabled imager.  What I think I'm after is something like the Bresser WiFi camera.  I'm not sure how good this is.  It seems to be an entry level product.  I'm not sure if the results from this will be good enough for the investment?

     a)  I want to be get good images of Mars, Saturn and Jupiter.  For DSO, we're talking about Andromeda.  I want to be able to get really solid captures from which success here can lead onwards and upwards.

     b)  Is it possible to get the images captured to my Mac without a cable?  My neighbours have security lights which come on when I'm outside which ruin everything!

 

Could you recommend an imager that's good for planetary and can achieve some reasonable DSO, ideally with WiFi?

 

 

2.  Autoguider / guidescope.  I currently have the Meade 8x50 guide scope that came with the LX200 GPS.

    a)  Would an auto guider fit onto the 8x50 or would another guide scope be required?  Having looked at the 8x50, I can't imagine how an imager would connect with it.

    b)  I'm assuming the autoguider plugs into the LX200's own autoguider port and either 'takes over' or 'contributes to' the LX200's own tracking capabilities?  ie:  No need for a computer to be a piggy-in-the-middle between the autoguider and the LX200.  Product recommendations welcomed.

    c)  Operationally, are autoguider's a transparent device when SkySafari (or the handbox) slew the scope?  ie:  Can the auto-guider choose a new guide star itself to continue tracking after Sky Safari (or the handbox) has moved the scope to a new object - or would I need to interact with the autoguider in some way before/after slewing?

 

I'm sure answers may generate new questions.  Please be patient with me.


Edited by lwoody7110, 12 December 2017 - 04:07 PM.


#2 baron555

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 04:50 PM

Hi all

 

Please forgive the request for guidance below, there are a few basics that I've not found answers to in product write ups.  I also think I fall into the stereotype newbie camp!  Too big a scope and a lack of experience....

Yep.....and too little of a mount.

 

Please be gentle, I'm a frustrated astrophographer wannabe.

Well.....you need to be understanding and follow what you will be told.....to become an imager who enjoys the journey......and it will be a journey.

 

 

My 8" LX200 GPS has just been brought out of the cupboard after sitting in there for 5 years after previous frustrations made me give it a break.  Frustrations were many.  The micro focuser cable broke (strangled during alignment but recently fixed); general problems with 2-star alignment due to lack of understanding, dew build-up during observing, not operating the DSLR properly (learning about ISO; exposure times; focusing the DSLR etc), not having the greatest viewing location.  I was expecting to take photos of nebula but found myself sticking with the moon.

 

I'm determined to get somewhere this time.  I'm looking to invest in the scope to simplify the skills needed for success and reset my expectations downwards. 

The better statement ( and suggestion ) should be invest in a new scope and better mount.

 

 

I want to have kit good enough for planetary and to be able to touch on some DSO in the future once I've learnt the ropes with planetary. 

Two totally different things....which in imaging, need different equipment.

 

I'm going to abandon DSLR and move to dedicated devices, which *should* be easier to deal with. 

Bad move...stick with the DSLR.

 

By eliminating one learning curve (for different one I know) I believe I'll get further than I did before and hopefully turn this interest into a proper hobby.

 

My 'perfect' is to have an air-gap between the LX200 GPS and the computer on which the images will be processed upon.  I plan to control the LX200 via Sky Safari/SkyFi III post polar alignment.

Not do-able...just yet.  How about a long cable?   Or, remote via your home network...but will need a computer located at the mount.

 

So the help I'm looking for is with imaging and autoguiding products to add onto the LX200 GPS.

 

1.  Image capture.  I basically don't want to go too cheap or expensive here.  I want kit good enough to eventually grow into DSO and achieve 'something' whilst getting great results with planets.  Really high on my requirement here is a WiFi enabled imager.  What I think I'm after is something like the Bresser WiFi camera.  I'm not sure how good this is.  It seems to be an entry level product.  I'm not sure if the results from this will be good enough for the investment?

     a)  I want to be get good images of Mars, Saturn and Jupiter.  For DSO, we're talking about Andromeda.  I want to be able to get really solid captures from which success here can lead onwards and upwards.

     b)  Is it possible to get the images captured to my Mac without a cable?  My neighbours have security lights which come on when I'm outside which ruin everything!

 

Could you recommend an imager that's good for planetary and can achieve some reasonable DSO, ideally with WiFi?

Nope, two different requirements and imaging methods.  ASI224MC for planetary and ASI1600MM with filters for DSOs.

 

 

2.  Autoguider / guidescope.  I currently have the Meade 8x50 guide scope that came with the LX200 GPS.

    a)  Would an auto guider fit onto the 8x50 or would another guide scope be required?  Having looked at the 8x50, I can't imagine how an imager would connect with it.

    b)  I'm assuming the autoguider plugs into the LX200's own autoguider port and either 'takes over' or 'contributes to' the LX200's own tracking capabilities?  ie:  No need for a computer to be a piggy-in-the-middle between the autoguider and the LX200.  Product recommendations welcomed.

I don't think that's how it works.

 

    c)  Operationally, are autoguider's a transparent device when SkySafari (or the handbox) slew the scope?  ie:  Can the auto-guider choose a new guide star itself to continue tracking after Sky Safari (or the handbox) has moved the scope to a new object - or would I need to interact with the autoguider in some way before/after slewing?

The latter.

 

I'm sure answers may generate new questions.  Please be patient with me.



#3 droe

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 05:00 PM

Ok, my 2 cents; others can give you more experienced and detailed information.

 

First off, your LX200 8in with a 2000mm fl should be OK for planetary imaging. You may need a good barlow though. If you want to image bigger nebulas or the Andromeda galaxy you will probable need another telescope, maybe a 80mm refractor with a <500mm fl. You also need a equatorial mount or a alt-azm on a wedge.

 

As far as guiding, you will need a guide scope that supports a 1.25" eyepiece. You then slide the guide camera into the guide scope like you would an eyepiece. You then need to connect the guide scope to your computer and then from your computer to your mount. A program like PHD2 will run your guiding. Your current guide scope I don't think supports this so you would need a new one. There are other ways to setup guiding like Off-Axis Guiding but guide scopes seems to be the easiest.

 

There are some auto-guide scope setups that you can plug directly into your mount with no computer required but I have no experience with them. Not to sure if they work very well.

 

Since I use a DSLR I have never researched WIFI cameras so I am not sure I can help you. If I wanted a wireless setup, I would probably hook everything up to a controlling computer and then use a remote connection with another computer to control the controlling computer. As long as there is some kind of network connection (wireless, direct or even a power-line connection) it should work.


Edited by droe, 12 December 2017 - 05:09 PM.


#4 photoracer18

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 05:08 PM

OK.

1. Forget that Bresser camera. It has an extremely tiny chip, which can work for planets but is useless for any kind of DSO, especially with an SCT scope which has a very long focal length. For something like M31 you need a camera lens and a DSLR in most cases because you need a large imaging chip and no more than 400mm of focal length because M31 is larger than the full moon. Generally most cameras do not do wifi. DSLRs can by using WiFi enabled SD memory cards while some DSLRs are WiFi capable themselves. It should be possible to do wireless to your Mac but since I don't use one I can't tell you how. Imaging is as much art as skill. You will need to spend as much time in post processing as you do to get the raw images generally. As for a camera there are plenty of good ones although most are more specialized than general depending on pixel size, sensor size, etc., and few if any are directly WiFi capable. You get around that by using an extremely small computer at the telescope, controlled remotely, that you can have forward the images to your main computer. The small computer controls what the scope needs to do, sort of like a poor man's remote imaging that the large and expensive mounts can do.

2. a) The Meade 8x50 is a finder scope not a guide scope. You can't just stick a guide camera in it and go. Guide camera scopes need actual focusers with a minimum of 1.25" focuser tubes. Guide cameras are one of 2 types, either stand alone (Celestron NexGuide, SBIG ST-4) or computer controlled (Orion Autoguider and most other guide cameras). That is where having a small computer at the scope can help tie it all together.

b) Yes it plugs into the Autoguider port and takes over the telescope mount control. But not quite as simple as that. You need to figure out what amount of guiding movement and amplitude your need for your image. The guider's software is there for that.

c) You have to turn off the guiding when you plan on slewing the scope to another target (which is where the computer comes in unless you do it manually, which you indicate might be a problem). So in your case I would go for a computer run guider so you can set it up for another target. Bear in mind that most astro-imagers tend to stay with one target per night or maybe for several nights if the target is dim and/or small. So the likely hood you will need to do that is slim. Of course if you are doing EAA or video imaging you might.

 

Just as an aside I started imaging with film around 1961. Since that time I have dabbled in both film and digital imaging with large gaps of time where I only do visual work. Right now its been a few years so my cameras are not as current as some. But I worked for a dealer and did some instructing for customers (2000's time frame) and have used everything from DSLRs to SBIG cameras.

I am sure there are others who will chime in on this but I suggest you get a decent book on the subject if you have not. I personally would not start with an SCT, especially one on a fork mount. Not as easy to get a decent polar alignment compared to a GEM type mount. But its what you have so you should make the best of it. Lots of short exposures stacked can make up for mediocre polar alignment. Focusing well is fairly serious and not as easy as it seems particularly for dim DSOs, which is why focus aids and computer control help out a lot.



#5 APshooter

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 06:21 PM

For planetary imaging I would suggest looking at the ZWO 224MC coupled with their ADC and a 2x barlow. I agree with the others in suggesting a larger chipped camera for DSOs.

#6 lwoody7110

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 07:42 PM

Hi all

 

Thank you all for the help.  Each response helps me understand the hardware and software along with the limitations of the kit I happen to have.

 

The big takeaway is that I need a PC with the LX200, on which software to control the various elements separately will be required.  MacOS seems to be nearly there but it looks like Windows has the wider range of control software.  It would seem that the SkyFi III is not required.  

 

Autoguider
It looks like having a PC local to the scope offers more options.  I've some more thinking to do here.

 

Imaging

It seems there is lots of love for ZWO's 224MC.  Its price seems reasonable and interestingly the product documentation suggests it can be used for DSO.  However, based on the answers given, I'll assume its not likely to offer particularly good results, especially with my scope.

 

Barron555

 

 

I'm going to abandon DSLR and move to dedicated devices, which *should* be easier to deal with.
Bad move...stick with the DSLR.

Could I ask you to elaborate on your reply about sticking with DSLR please?  My camera happens to pre-date my 1st stab at AP.  I chose it for normal photography, and later discovered I could connect it to the LX200. Its a Sony a55.  Its a great camera but it's too old to be computer controlled.  I assumed that dedicated sensors such as the ZWO's would be superior.



#7 droe

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 08:03 PM

BackyardNikon or BackyardCanon are great software packages for running your camera. I would suggest getting a Nikon or Canon DSLR because you can also use them to do normal photography too. You don't need the best model they make and if you get just the body with no lens it can be cost effective.



#8 bobzeq25

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 10:03 PM

Another big takeaway from what has been said (easy to overlook, and not at all intuitive), is that the difference between planetary and even "bright" DSOs is a chasm.  There is no such thing as a setup that's good for both.

 

Planets are sunlit.  It's like taking a snapshot in daytime.  Even something like the Orion Nebula is like taking a picture with a long telephoto lens.  At night.  From a moving car.  <smile>

 

Now the most important thing is the mount.  That big scope, so useful for planetary, is a boat anchor when trying to get into AP of DSOs.

 

The two biggest beginner mistakes, seen over and over again here, are an inadequate mount and too big a scope (yes, it can be "too big").

 

What you want for DSOs is a good German equatorial mount (my minimum recommendation is the Sirius/HEQ5, $1200), and a 65-80 mm (no larger) refractor.

 

"Using what you've got" is a ticket to frustration, and to not learning what you need to learn.  That lesson has been seen over and over again here.

 

""Of all the recommendations though, if you want to get into imaging then a short imaging refractor is probably the best one (IMHO).  I have a C8 and this was the scope I learned AP on.  It was a long, tough struggle and I have no good pictures to show for it.  I could have easily saved a year by starting with a more image-friendly scope."

 

"Small 80mm refractor (triplet APO if you have the funds), and the best mount you can afford. This is my new (second try) beginner AP setup after not following the forums advice the first time around."  (There was an attached picture of the Stellarvue SV80ST, and an AP1100 mount, $5K+.  Perhaps a bit of overkill, but it's common for an experienced imager to put a $1000 scope on a $5000+ mount.  You simply cannot get too good a mount.

 

"Better a $1000 scope on a $2000 mount, than a $2000 scope on a $1000 mount."  That's not even a close call.

 

If that's not within your budget, an excellent way to get into DSO imaging is camera/lens/camera tracker.  The scope is what messes people up.  Yeah, not intuitive at all.


Edited by bobzeq25, 12 December 2017 - 10:09 PM.

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#9 lwoody7110

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 04:32 AM

 

"Using what you've got" is a ticket to frustration, and to not learning what you need to learn.  That lesson has been seen over and over again here.

I have to admit that I am indeed finding the DSO side to be counter-intuitive.  My lack of experience is clearly showing, and I'm now doubting the capability of auto trackers based on the general tone of the replies.

 

My logic in advance of seeking wisdom here is that my Meade's own mount, polar aligned on a wedge, with assistance from an autotracker would be as good as any other autotracked polar aligned mount.  I accept the consensus that a better mount is required but I'm struggling with the logic in my head. Is the benefit of the mounts suggested something other than tracking accuracy when autotracker assisted?  Is it that the mount's suggested are easier to set up and align?  I'd appreciate more insight here.  Is my current setup (with an autotracker added) ok for planetary?

 

I think from here on that I'll quit the idea of DSO as I think it's out of reach for my current equipment/upgrade budget/experience level.  The replies suggest that my LX200 should give me good results with planetary.

 

droe

 

BackyardNikon or BackyardCanon are great software packages for running your camera. I would suggest getting a Nikon or Canon DSLR because you can also use them to do normal photography too. You don't need the best model they make and if you get just the body with no lens it can be cost effective.

I've not considered switching from Sony to another brand as I've invested in lens.  I've a similar request to ask why you suggest a DSLR over dedicated such as the ZWO's?  As an example, a modified Canon EOS 1300D is £399 here.  Their quantum efficiency is lower than the ZWOs.  Is the lower number better?

 

Also - you mentioned a 'good barlow' in your earlier reply.  Could I ask for a suggested product please?  I ask as it's something to add to a growing shopping list to budget for.

 

Kit list for planetary on LX200...

1.  Remote PC.                               Currently considering MINIX NEO Z83-4 @ £160.  Reusable for DSO in the future.

2.  Power to remote PC.                 Just a comment to myself as my 7ah power tank probably isn't man enough to cope with the addition of a PC as well as an autoguider and Image Capture device.

3.  Software on remote PC.            I'll look into software requirements in more detail once the kit list is finalised.

4.  Image capture.                           Currently thinking about the ZWO ASI 224MC USB 3.0 Colour Camera @ £235

5.  Barlow

6.  Autoguider setup

7.  Field flatener                              @ £100


Edited by lwoody7110, 13 December 2017 - 06:08 AM.


#10 bobzeq25

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 11:28 AM

 

 

"Using what you've got" is a ticket to frustration, and to not learning what you need to learn.  That lesson has been seen over and over again here.

I have to admit that I am indeed finding the DSO side to be counter-intuitive.  My lack of experience is clearly showing, and I'm now doubting the capability of auto trackers based on the general tone of the replies.

 

My logic in advance of seeking wisdom here is that my Meade's own mount, polar aligned on a wedge, with assistance from an autotracker would be as good as any other autotracked polar aligned mount.  I accept the consensus that a better mount is required but I'm struggling with the logic in my head. Is the benefit of the mounts suggested something other than tracking accuracy when autotracker assisted?  Is it that the mount's suggested are easier to set up and align?  I'd appreciate more insight here.  Is my current setup (with an autotracker added) ok for planetary?

 

I think from here on that I'll quit the idea of DSO as I think it's out of reach for my current equipment/upgrade budget/experience level.  The replies suggest that my LX200 should give me good results with planetary.

 

droe


 

Believe me, your view of DSO imaging is common.  It's hard to wrap your brain around how different things get with long exposures and intensive processing.

 

Autotracking is necessary to get the best out of a mount.  But it's far from perfect (not because of the equipment, there's a lot of unavoidable noise in the system), doesn't change a mediocre mount into a good one.  Or people wouldn't buy good mounts, they're expensive.  Good mounts work because the best autotracking is as little autotracking as possible.

 

A fork on a wedge is not a great mount.  The fork wasn't designed to be used in that orientation.  What you may be missing is how tiny a tracking error messes things up.  .005mm pixels are very unforgiving (unlike your eyes), 1/1000 of an inch is way too much.

 

Your setup is fine (excellent) for planetary,  Long exposures (even a few seconds) are what change the game.  Drastically.

 

Do think about some DSO imaging with a camera and a lens, it's a great way to learn.  Knowledge/experience is the antidote to the unintuitive nature of DSO imaging.  With a wide angle lens (minimizes tracking sensitivity) you can even just use a tripod.  This book takes you through the process.

 

http://www.astropix....bgda/index.html


Edited by bobzeq25, 13 December 2017 - 11:36 AM.

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#11 baron555

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 02:44 PM

 

 

"Using what you've got" is a ticket to frustration, and to not learning what you need to learn.  That lesson has been seen over and over again here.

I have to admit that I am indeed finding the DSO side to be counter-intuitive.  My lack of experience is clearly showing, and I'm now doubting the capability of auto trackers based on the general tone of the replies.

The auto guiders work great....but only with decent mounts and even better with better mounts....but they won't make a mount poor for DSO imaging into a great mount.

 

My logic in advance of seeking wisdom here is that my Meade's own mount, polar aligned on a wedge, with assistance from an autotracker would be as good as any other autotracked polar aligned mount.

Because the basic mount is just not up to par.....plus DSO imaging from an Alt-Az mount is very painful.  

 

 I accept the consensus that a better mount is required but I'm struggling with the logic in my head. Is the benefit of the mounts suggested something other than tracking accuracy when autotracker assisted?

As stated above, guiding will not make a poor mount into a good one.  The better mounts can actually track well, for imaging purposes, with no guiding...or very little.  It's huge.

 

  Is it that the mount's suggested are easier to set up and align?  I'd appreciate more insight here.

No, they are just better built.

 

  Is my current setup (with an autotracker added) ok for planetary?

Yes

 

I think from here on that I'll quit the idea of DSO as I think it's out of reach for my current equipment/upgrade budget/experience level.  The replies suggest that my LX200 should give me good results with planetary.

 

droe

 

BackyardNikon or BackyardCanon are great software packages for running your camera. I would suggest getting a Nikon or Canon DSLR because you can also use them to do normal photography too. You don't need the best model they make and if you get just the body with no lens it can be cost effective.

I've not considered switching from Sony to another brand as I've invested in lens.  I've a similar request to ask why you suggest a DSLR over dedicated such as the ZWO's?  As an example, a modified Canon EOS 1300D is £399 here.  Their quantum efficiency is lower than the ZWOs.  Is the lower number better?

Astro cameras just add another layer(s) of complexity.  DSLRs are less complex and are suggested for the beginner.  You have no idea how steep the learning curve is.

 

Also - you mentioned a 'good barlow' in your earlier reply.  Could I ask for a suggested product please?  I ask as it's something to add to a growing shopping list to budget for.

I use Televue Powermates.

 

Kit list for planetary on LX200...

1.  Remote PC.                               Currently considering MINIX NEO Z83-4 @ £160.  Reusable for DSO in the future.

2.  Power to remote PC.                 Just a comment to myself as my 7ah power tank probably isn't man enough to cope with the addition of a PC as well as an autoguider and Image Capture device.

3.  Software on remote PC.            I'll look into software requirements in more detail once the kit list is finalised.

4.  Image capture.                           Currently thinking about the ZWO ASI 224MC USB 3.0 Colour Camera @ £235  That would my recommendation.  I have that, it's great.

5.  Barlow

6.  Autoguider setup

7.  Field flatener                              @ £100

 



#12 bobzeq25

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 05:17 PM

I'll respectfully disagree with baron555 about planetary cameras.  DSLRs are generally ill suited for planetary, just too slow, and, in planetary, speed equals quality.  The more frames you capture, the better "lucky imaging" works.  A one shot color astro specific camera like the 224 MC is far better for planetary, and arguably, even easier to use, the integral region of interest feature is very useful, very easy to use.  Surely a 224 MC is not significantly more difficult than a DSLR for planetary/lunar.


Edited by bobzeq25, 13 December 2017 - 05:18 PM.


#13 APshooter

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 08:56 PM

Couple that camera with Firecapture and you have a powerful imaging system.  Plus, with its usb 3 capability its capture speed is very good.  Combine that also with the ability to guide on a planet via Ascom and now it really shines.


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#14 drt

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 02:23 PM

Maybe this is wrong place, but I will ask anyway.
Is something wrong with my camera, ASI120mm-s?
I am a newbie in respect of ZWO cameras...

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#15 Stelios

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 05:57 PM

Maybe this is wrong place, but I will ask anyway.
Is something wrong with my camera, ASI120mm-s?
I am a newbie in respect of ZWO cameras...

It's a fine guide camera. 

For planetary imaging it'll be OK, however it's monochrome, and to take color images with it you will need a filter wheel (FW) and filters. 

For DSO imaging the FOV is too small (and it's uncooled, as well as requiring FW and filters).



#16 miwitte

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 10:55 PM

if your asking about the lines, its probably a USB setting or frame rate. Thankfully you got the 120mm-s. I have same camera I have no lines like you have going on so I suspect its a setting.

#17 lwoody7110

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 06:43 AM

Kit list for planetary on LX200...

 

1.  Remote PC.                               I've bought a 2nd hand Intel i5 laptop with 3x USB ports (2 of which are USB 3.0).  Reusable for DSO in the future and much more powerful than a new very low energy PC such as the MINIX NEO Z83-4. This should provide a solid foundation for the LX200 + autoguider + ZWO.

2.  Power to remote PC.                 Just a comment to myself as my 7ah power tank probably isn't man enough to cope with the addition of a PC as well as an autoguider and Image Capture device.  I'm gonna get a sparky in to install outside power.  Tips on protecting the laptop from dew when its outside would be appreciated.

3.  Software on remote PC.            I'll look into software requirements in more detail once the kit list is finalised.  Thanks for tips given so far.  £0 

4.  Image capture.                           Currently thinking about the ZWO ASI 224MC USB 3.0 Colour Camera @ £235.

5.  Barlow                                        To kick off, I'll use a cheap Celestron and consider an upgrade to better glass soon.  £0

6.  Autoguider setup                        Starwave 50mm Guide Scope with GPCam Mono Guide Camera @ £235

7.  Field flatener                              Meade f/6.3 Focal Reducer @ £100

8.  Bahtinov Mask(s)                       1x for LX200 @ £15.  Would I need a bahtinov for the autoguider?

9.  USB 2 serial cable                     @ £15

 

I've also got a Coronado SolarMax II 60mm.

1.  Solar filter                                   For Starwave autoguider

2.  Mount                                         Some mount kit to piggyback onto LX200 for Solar imaging and take advantage of the Starwave for guiding.


Edited by lwoody7110, 19 December 2017 - 06:45 AM.


#18 ginjaninjaa

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 05:42 PM

Maybe this is wrong place, but I will ask anyway.
Is something wrong with my camera, ASI120mm-s?
I am a newbie in respect of ZWO cameras...

Its the refresh rate of your laptop screen/lights in your room conflicting with the refresh rate of your camera. Play around with some settings and you'll be fine!


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#19 psandelle

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 06:02 PM

Might I suggest a few books as well? I read everything I could get my hands on to understand what equipment to get after deciding what my goals were (wide-angle, non-planetary).

 

There are lots, but off the top of my head:

 

1. The Deep-sky Imaging Primer by Charles Bracken (sp?): can be very technical at first, but covers a lot of ground.

2. The Astrophotography Manual by Chris Woodhouse

3. Splendors of the Universe: A Practical Guide to Photographing the Night Sky by Terrence Dickinson & Jack Newton (I think)

4. Michael Covington has some good books.

5. Many others.

There are some good books on planetary imaging as well (I don't know the specific ones, though).

 

These books will both inform you and get you salivating to take images.

 

Paul



#20 bobzeq25

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 06:12 PM

Kit list for planetary on LX200...

 

1.  Remote PC.                               I've bought a 2nd hand Intel i5 laptop with 3x USB ports (2 of which are USB 3.0).  Reusable for DSO in the future and much more powerful than a new very low energy PC such as the MINIX NEO Z83-4. This should provide a solid foundation for the LX200 + autoguider + ZWO.

2.  Power to remote PC.                 Just a comment to myself as my 7ah power tank probably isn't man enough to cope with the addition of a PC as well as an autoguider and Image Capture device.  I'm gonna get a sparky in to install outside power.  Tips on protecting the laptop from dew when its outside would be appreciated.

3.  Software on remote PC.            I'll look into software requirements in more detail once the kit list is finalised.  Thanks for tips given so far.  £0 

4.  Image capture.                           Currently thinking about the ZWO ASI 224MC USB 3.0 Colour Camera @ £235.

5.  Barlow                                        To kick off, I'll use a cheap Celestron and consider an upgrade to better glass soon.  £0

6.  Autoguider setup                        Starwave 50mm Guide Scope with GPCam Mono Guide Camera @ £235

7.  Field flatener                              Meade f/6.3 Focal Reducer @ £100

8.  Bahtinov Mask(s)                       1x for LX200 @ £15.  Would I need a bahtinov for the autoguider?

9.  USB 2 serial cable                     @ £15

 

I've also got a Coronado SolarMax II 60mm.

1.  Solar filter                                   For Starwave autoguider

2.  Mount                                         Some mount kit to piggyback onto LX200 for Solar imaging and take advantage of the Starwave for guiding.

Looks decent.  You don't need a Bahtinov for the guider, BUT...

 

PhD2 is unfortunately sensitive to bad focus.  It just refuses to work, at all.  I prefocus using a bright star and something like Firecapture, you just have to be in the ballpark.



#21 bobzeq25

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 06:19 PM

Might I suggest a few books as well? I read everything I could get my hands on to understand what equipment to get after deciding what my goals were (wide-angle, non-planetary).

 

There are lots, but off the top of my head:

 

1. The Deep-sky Imaging Primer by Charles Bracken (sp?): can be very technical at first, but covers a lot of ground.

2. The Astrophotography Manual by Chris Woodhouse

3. Splendors of the Universe: A Practical Guide to Photographing the Night Sky by Terrence Dickinson & Jack Newton (I think)

4. Michael Covington has some good books.

5. Many others.

There are some good books on planetary imaging as well (I don't know the specific ones, though).

 

These books will both inform you and get you salivating to take images.

 

Paul

Good book for planetary.  It says DSLR, much of it applies to CMOS.

 

http://www.astropix....gdpi/index.html


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#22 APshooter

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 10:55 PM

Tips on protecting the laptop from dew when its outside would be appreciated.

I bought a lapdome for use in sunlight as well as dewy nights.  I've found though, on most nights a folded bath towel to do quite well in keeping dew off, plus it keeps the laptop warm on cold winter nights.




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