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Skyguider Pro fun topic, info, pics you name it

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#101 Roscoe Primrose

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 09:56 AM

I just received a Polemaster and slightly amended the CEM25 adapter, and it fits just fine in the DEC attachment. At most focal-lengths it may be overkill, but a) it's nice not having to strain to position Polaris, and b) while the app & scope are very accurate, one is still eyeballing where Polaris goes --- and so optimum accuracy is always out of reach.

I'd like to see pics of that if you have any.  I checked yesterday afternoon, and I'll be properly aligning my polar scope tonight, but it would be nice not to have to do polar alignment by eye as I'm a rather large guy, and looking through the polar scope is a get down on your knees operation for me...  

 

Roscoe


Edited by Roscoe Primrose, 11 July 2018 - 09:57 AM.

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#102 SHFT

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 12:25 PM

Probably my biggest issue with the SGP, I'm rather tall as well and I'm always in a very awkward position while aligning.

A Polemaster does sound nice but a tad overkill as well, it costs over half of the SGP itself :D

#103 Roscoe Primrose

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 12:44 PM

A Polemaster does sound nice but a tad overkill as well, it costs over half of the SGP itself laugh.gif

True, but for the cost of (at most) a new mounting adapter you can transfer it when upgrade from the SGP...  I should have all the pieces for auto-guiding the SGP tomorrow, and I plan to move that over if/when I upgrade as well.  That too cost more than half the cost of the SGP.

 

Roscoe



#104 Dave24137

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 12:57 PM

Hi, Roscoe. Picture included.

 

I used the CEM25 adapter and it almost fit perfectly: almost.

 

I used longer pliers and gently "convinced" the adapter — carefully squeezing two opposing sides, and then the other two (you'll know what I mean when you have it in hand) until it slid most of the way in, then I lightly hammered it (with a block of wood in-between) until flush. Once installed, it will be difficult to remove, so make sure you're committed prior to installation. Also, once set, tighten the internal screw solidly, and the adapter isn't going anywhere. Just be aware of exactly where the (other) securing screw is located for attaching the camera (placed to the side is best).

 

And importantly, you'll have to grind the camera-securing screwhead for clearance to turn. It's not seen in the photo, but the small screwhead, as it was, was too large to turn in proximity to the DEC mount. So I used a bench-grinder, which took all of 20 seconds, but you could grip the screw in a regular drill and chuck, and then lessen the diameter along a metal file. 

 

That said, it's been working really well. I mentioned my choreography in an earlier post, so feel free to reference that.

 

And as I stated previously, it is overkill. But with the Z61, a better polar-alignment is necessary, whereas wide-field imaging absolutely does not require a Polemaster. (Plus a Polemaster can be used on other mounts you may own, or will own in the future: it just requires other adapters. So it's a long-term investment and not simply for the SGP alone.)

 

(Moreover, I've since replaced the Manfrotto tripod with a CF Benro 3 Series.)

Attached Thumbnails

  • DF_ SGPsetup2.jpg

Edited by Dave24137, 11 July 2018 - 01:10 PM.

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#105 Roscoe Primrose

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 01:13 PM

Cool.  Thanks.  I've got mine on one of the iOptron tripods.  I needed a little more weight to balance mine, but instead of adding a second weight, I bought a 2" 3/8-16 coupler and a 3/8-16 bolt to move the weight further off-center.  Cost about $2, and didn't add more than an ounce or two to the total weight carried by the mount...  I'll post a pic tonight.  24137, does that put you down near Smith Mt. Lake?  Ought to have good darkness down there.

 

Roscoe


Edited by Roscoe Primrose, 11 July 2018 - 01:14 PM.


#106 Dave24137

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 02:14 PM

Ingenuity goes a long way: whether weights or simple leverage, all the same.

 

I'm based in upstate New York, actually. We have decently dark skies here, particularly when embedded in one of the state parks; however, I'm looking forward to observing from Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania sometime this year — hopefully.



#107 Roscoe Primrose

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 02:28 PM

OK, thought the 24137 might be a zipcode.  Grew up in Fredonia NY myself, been in VA since the mid 80s. I'll be out at my Dad's late this month/early Aug. but unfortunately it'll be 5 nights starting two days after the full moon, so I won't have musch dark time.  Dad's is at 7800', so not much atmosphere to deal with though...

 

Roscoe



#108 dciobota

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 02:49 PM

Roscoe, if you'd rather not spend the money on a PoleMaster but you have some sort of guiding kit (camera and finderscope), you can use SharpCap's polar alignment (free if you have a version before 3.0) which works very well.  That's what I do, I only use the polar scope now to roughly eyeball polaris.

 

I have a pic of my guiding kit and how it's used as a polemaster substitute in one of my first links I believe.

 

Hope this helps.


Edited by dciobota, 11 July 2018 - 02:49 PM.


#109 SHFT

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 03:04 PM

Hi, Roscoe. Picture included.

 

I used the CEM25 adapter and it almost fit perfectly: almost.

 

I used longer pliers and gently "convinced" the adapter — carefully squeezing two opposing sides, and then the other two (you'll know what I mean when you have it in hand) until it slid most of the way in, then I lightly hammered it (with a block of wood in-between) until flush. Once installed, it will be difficult to remove, so make sure you're committed prior to installation. Also, once set, tighten the internal screw solidly, and the adapter isn't going anywhere. Just be aware of exactly where the (other) securing screw is located for attaching the camera (placed to the side is best).

 

And importantly, you'll have to grind the camera-securing screwhead for clearance to turn. It's not seen in the photo, but the small screwhead, as it was, was too large to turn in proximity to the DEC mount. So I used a bench-grinder, which took all of 20 seconds, but you could grip the screw in a regular drill and chuck, and then lessen the diameter along a metal file. 

 

That said, it's been working really well. I mentioned my choreography in an earlier post, so feel free to reference that.

 

And as I stated previously, it is overkill. But with the Z61, a better polar-alignment is necessary, whereas wide-field imaging absolutely does not require a Polemaster. (Plus a Polemaster can be used on other mounts you may own, or will own in the future: it just requires other adapters. So it's a long-term investment and not simply for the SGP alone.)

 

(Moreover, I've since replaced the Manfrotto tripod with a CF Benro 3 Series.)

 

How do you like that red dot finder? Still looking for a decent one.

 

Is it this one?

 

https://www.teleskop...ucts_id=8872#cs


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#110 Dave24137

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 05:14 PM

SHFT, I think it's the same (https://smile.amazon...e?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

 

The quality is excellent and it maintains accuracy. If you're using a DSLR, it's tough to beat. Also, it's hard to see in the pictures, but it's metal construction, which is nice. I was pretty surprised when I first opened it. 

 

The hotshoe connector uses two small screws to lock in place and then the unit slides on. I replaced the main screws on the unit with screws that have a larger head, otherwise one has to use the included hex-wrench each time.

 

The only real annoyance is the battery (one of those CR kinds, rather than AAA), so it's important to have a backup ready in your kit.


Edited by Dave24137, 11 July 2018 - 05:16 PM.

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#111 Roscoe Primrose

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 09:06 PM

Roscoe, if you'd rather not spend the money on a PoleMaster but you have some sort of guiding kit (camera and finderscope), you can use SharpCap's polar alignment (free if you have a version before 3.0) which works very well.  That's what I do, I only use the polar scope now to roughly eyeball polaris.

 

I have a pic of my guiding kit and how it's used as a polemaster substitute in one of my first links I believe.

 

Hope this helps.

Links?

 

Roscoe



#112 Roscoe Primrose

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 09:11 PM

Here's a pic of mine, with the red-dot finder & the counterweight rod extension.  The red-dot I made my own mount for, got a 2" picatinny rail section and mounted it on the back of an arc-swiss clamp which attaches to the l-bracket on the camera.

 

SGP_SETUP1.JPG

 

Roscoe


Edited by Roscoe Primrose, 11 July 2018 - 09:27 PM.

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#113 dciobota

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 01:30 PM

Links?

 

Roscoe

The pic is in post #2 of this topic.  Here's a direct link:

https://www.cloudyni...e-it/?p=8459915



#114 Roscoe Primrose

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 10:11 PM

The pic is in post #2 of this topic.  Here's a direct link:

https://www.cloudyni...e-it/?p=8459915

Thanks.  Got my guiding setup ( ZWO mini scope & ASI120MM) in the mail today, and got phd2 and SharpCap 2.9 talking to the camera.  Need to get a loooong extension cord so I can power the laptop during guided sessions, too many trees right around the house, I've got to setup >100' from the house to get clear views of the sky.  Also went through the alignment procedure for the SkyGuider Pro and verified that the polar scope was properly aligned.  Ready for the weekend ;)

 

Roscoe



#115 SHFT

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 04:33 PM

Time to put the SGP to work!. My Z61 arrived and clear skies for 10 days straight, someone must like me up there! lol.gif



#116 Dave24137

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 05:24 PM

Give credit to unguided good timing, which statistically balances all the bad timings I'm sure you've experienced in life.

And don't forget, the sky is below you as well. roflmao.gif

 

Best of luck with the Z61, an excellent little scope.



#117 SHFT

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 07:40 AM

Ok after a pleasant night of finally putting the SGP to its full potential, some thoughts:

 

  • Polar alignment at 51 latitude is not fun and rather difficult.
  • First time I used such a "long" focal lenght and I did have small star trails at 30sec exposure due to bad alignment
  • Finding a target was a disaster, I will probably get better at it but tonight no success.
  • The dec plate is not a easy to use with the Z61 on top of it.

 

I'm not regretting my purchase because the SGP is a beautiful piece of equipment but I think it is more for the advanced user, for someone wwho already knows how to handle a normal mount such as a Sirus or CEM25, they are a lot easier to use I think.

 

I am thinking of a Polemaster now though, it is a lot of money but so is everything else in this hobby and it is too crucial. I can always use it on the next mount as well. Or do you guys have some tips/tricks, probably experience will help as well...

 

Can someone recommand some easy big targets? I'm going to try and frame Lagoon and Trifid because Saturn will pas through it and I can definitely frame it.

 

cheers



#118 andrewweeks

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 07:55 AM

You could try the North America nebula which is easy to find with Deneb in Cygnus or the Andromeda Galaxy. 

 

You'd need more than 30 seconds on NA nebula though.

 

The Ring Nebula is easy to find too.



#119 SHFT

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 09:33 AM

I know 30 seconds is too little but I really struggle to polar align properly, I turn down the brightness of the polarscope but I'm having a hard time to find Polaris in it or even identify it. If I can align better, I can up the shutterspeed.



#120 lucutes

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 12:16 PM

Nice Setups.

I am curious how you managed to attach a Pole Master. 

I got my mini setup out to a dark sky site last week. Used my Z61 and ASi071MC.  Cooled to -20.

 

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#121 dciobota

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 01:29 PM

That is one of the coolest milky way pics I've ever seen, as a blurred backdrop to your kit, amazing!  Can you give some details on that pic?

 

Also very nice work on the NA nebula.


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#122 Dave24137

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 03:47 PM

SHFT:

 

"Finding a target was a disaster, I will probably get better at it but tonight no success." I mentioned this to Roscoe several posts back. Having some kind of finder with that focal-length is especially critical. If you're using a DSLR, I recommended a certain red-dot, again posted earlier.

 

"The dec plate is not a easy to use with the Z61 on top of it." In another previous post, I explained why I use a ball-head on top of the short-side of the DEC mount: which allows me to balance the Z61 as well as more-easily rotate when centering an object.

 

"I'm not regretting my purchase because the SGP is a beautiful piece of equipment but I think it is more for the advanced user, for someone wwho already knows how to handle a normal mount such as a Sirus or CEM25, they are a lot easier to use I think." Those mounts require time to learn, too. Long nights of setting up and then achieving little-to-no results will happen, even to those with experience. It's frustrating while you're in it and frustrates even into the next day, but just re-group and plan a little more for next time; and it never hurts to practice setting up inside, so it becomes effortless when you're in the field.

 

"I am thinking of a Polemaster now though, it is a lot of money but so is everything else in this hobby and it is too crucial. I can always use it on the next mount as well. Or do you guys have some tips/tricks, probably experience will help as well..." I like using the Polemaster (I wrote on this in another previous post), but you will be adding more complexity to what you're already experiencing. I would suggest nailing your alignment with a DSLR and shorter lens, and then working up to the Z61. It's always tempting to dive into the deep-end, but building up your routine takes time. Get 30-second subs with pin-point stars. Then a minute. When you can do that consistently, then upgrade to a Polemaster if compelled. But the built-in alignment scope can get you 1-minute subs quite easily (and use PS Align Pro rather than iOptron's app, which is problematic). 

 

Also M57 is not a great target, even with the Z61. I enjoy photographing M51, which I have to crop significantly, but M57 is far smaller. Not much detail. Try M51 or M81/82: relatively bright galaxies.

 

 

Lucutes:

 

I described the installation of a Polemaster in an earlier post (https://www.cloudyni...-5#entry8696237)



#123 SHFT

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 04:17 PM

Thanks for the wise words Dave, it's easy to get lost in buying a lot of gear and forget it can be done with less too.

I'll start back with the basics, as soon as the evening clouds disappear, these were not on the forecast bawling.gif


Edited by SHFT, 16 July 2018 - 04:17 PM.


#124 Dave24137

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 10:14 AM

I certainly share your frustration sometimes!

 

To reiterate, master an easier (wider) setup and build up to the Z61. Consider the first sessions as practice, rather than nights devoted to imaging. With that mindset you'll get better and more refined, and you won't be affected by poor results (I use this mindset when playing golf, and it prevents me from throwing my remaining clubs into the woods...)

 

Once you consistently get dimmer, less-detailed -- but sharp! -- results, then you can confidently increase your focal length. And then every session can be focused on imaging.

 

With the Z61, we're pushing the SGP past what it's really intended for (wide-field), in spite of how it's marketed. But it's nevertheless possible with practice.

 

Keep us posted, SHFT.


Edited by Dave24137, 17 July 2018 - 10:15 AM.


#125 lucutes

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 03:25 PM

That is one of the coolest milky way pics I've ever seen, as a blurred backdrop to your kit, amazing!  Can you give some details on that pic?

 

Also very nice work on the NA nebula.

Thanks! It got put on the front cover of the online magazine (amateur astrophotography). It's on my Flickr page. Just click the link below for all the details.  Bottom line is take a photo like you would of the milky way but focus your equipment instead.

 

I am going to try OAG with this setup and see how it does. If I can get longer subs all the better. My only complaint about this setup is the tripod. I thought it was really sturdy but it wiggles a bit when you are moving the gear. For the price though I can't complain. I found the perfect tripod, beefy, light but they want $600... I can live with this for now.  Oh and btw, you definitely need a second 3lbs CW.  


Edited by lucutes, 17 July 2018 - 03:27 PM.

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