Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

NOW AVAILABLE! Our New Explore Scientific iEXOS 100 PMC-Eight $399

  • Please log in to reply
546 replies to this topic

#526 asanmax

asanmax

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 146
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2018

Posted 01 November 2019 - 10:10 AM

Sounds about right, tonight will probably be clear *fingers crossed*, so will definitely take note of these tips smile.gif

 

 

Thanks asanmax! It's really encouraging hearing from you as if you recalled earlier on, newfiestargazer and your images gave me a sense of direction I was aiming for. 

 

Plan on collecting Sii and Oiii tonight with succesful drift alignment. Oh and btw, how were you able to make minor adjustments to the azimuth? It was quite a challenge for me to do so and it made me PA even worse on PHD2 (i gave up and decided to redo a rough PA with decent results)

 

Cheers!
Ethan

Hi Ethan,

 

So I was imaging without proper polar alignment for quite some time. I set up the correct latitude angle on the mount and was just roughly pointing the counterweight shaft North with no Polaris visible of course.

The guiding was ok, but not as great as it is now. I was getting field rotation and it was quite noticeable, especially after comparing the first and the last images taken.

One night I decided that I needed to do proper polar alignment using PHD2 drift alignment. I should say I was excited to do that as I had never done drift alignment in PHD2 before.

 

So I just read some online articles and reviews on drift alignment feature of PHD2 and the same night spent about 40 minutes to align the mount properly.

It was a challenge because I had to unscrew the Az axis a bit and do some very slight adjustments to point the mount at the celestial pole.

I'm sure with the Az adapter I would have had more fun :) as it should clearly make the adjustments in Az axis waaaay easier.

 

From then, I have not adjusted the mount at all, and I have literally zero field rotation now. I don't have good viewing conditions ever! It is always average or below average. On an average night the total RMS is sitting around 1 arcsec, sometimes dropping to 0.7 for 10-15 minutes, and on a below average night it is usually around 1.3 arcsec.

 

I read somewhere on the forums that it's better to not have the guide scope to focus precisely. They recommended to get it into focus and then screw the camera in (not out) just a tiny bit so the star image becomes a little bigger. This way the edges of the star blob become sharper and it's easier for PHD2 to detect tiny movements. That's what I did and I have a feeling that the idea works very well.


  • Ethanwyh likes this

#527 asanmax

asanmax

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 146
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2018

Posted 01 November 2019 - 11:44 AM

Witch's Broom nebula

Celestron C5

Canon T3i Ha modded

85x120sec at ISO 1600

Bortle 8

 

I feel like I really need a CLS-CCD filter as I just can't get the details of fainter parts of the objects I shoot.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Final.jpg

Edited by asanmax, 02 November 2019 - 12:25 AM.

  • eros312 likes this

#528 Jerry Hubbell

Jerry Hubbell

    Vendor-Explore Scientific

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 570
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Locust Grove, VA, USA

Posted 02 November 2019 - 02:29 PM

Hi Ethan,

 

So I was imaging without proper polar alignment for quite some time. I set up the correct latitude angle on the mount and was just roughly pointing the counterweight shaft North with no Polaris visible of course.

The guiding was ok, but not as great as it is now. I was getting field rotation and it was quite noticeable, especially after comparing the first and the last images taken.

One night I decided that I needed to do proper polar alignment using PHD2 drift alignment. I should say I was excited to do that as I had never done drift alignment in PHD2 before.

 

So I just read some online articles and reviews on drift alignment feature of PHD2 and the same night spent about 40 minutes to align the mount properly.

It was a challenge because I had to unscrew the Az axis a bit and do some very slight adjustments to point the mount at the celestial pole.

I'm sure with the Az adapter I would have had more fun smile.gif as it should clearly make the adjustments in Az axis waaaay easier.

 

From then, I have not adjusted the mount at all, and I have literally zero field rotation now. I don't have good viewing conditions ever! It is always average or below average. On an average night the total RMS is sitting around 1 arcsec, sometimes dropping to 0.7 for 10-15 minutes, and on a below average night it is usually around 1.3 arcsec.

 

I read somewhere on the forums that it's better to not have the guide scope to focus precisely. They recommended to get it into focus and then screw the camera in (not out) just a tiny bit so the star image becomes a little bigger. This way the edges of the star blob become sharper and it's easier for PHD2 to detect tiny movements. That's what I did and I have a feeling that the idea works very well.

Hi Asanmax,

 

As far as defocusing your guide scope, the reason to do this is to spread the light over more pixels so that the centroid calculation that PHD 2 is doing is more precise. That is one of the problems with using a very short focal length guide scope is because when it is focused well, the stars are would be very sharp and well under-sampled so that only a few pixels, probably < 6 have any signal at all that PHD2 can use to calculate a centroid.  Better to blob out the guide stars so that a very precise centroid can be calculated and the mount can be guided more precisely.


Edited by Jerry Hubbell, 02 November 2019 - 11:38 PM.


#529 asanmax

asanmax

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 146
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2018

Posted 02 November 2019 - 07:22 PM

Hi Asanmax,

 

As far as defocusing your guide scope, the reason to do this is to spread the light over more pixels so that the centroid calculation that PHD 2 is doing is more precise. That is one of the problems with using a very short focal ratio guide scope is because when it is focused well, the stars are would be very sharp and well under-sampled so that only a few pixels, probably < 6 have any signal at all that PHD2 can use to calculate a centroid.  Better to blob out the guide stars so that a very precise centroid can be calculated and the mount can be guided more precisely.

Thank you Jerry, that totally makes sense. And yeah, I use a 130mm guide scope :)



#530 wanthalf

wanthalf

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 21
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2019

Posted 03 November 2019 - 11:24 AM

Hi Jerry,

what does it mean if the green LED does not turn on? Does it not boot? Am I able to fix such a problem myself?

Thanks.



#531 Jerry Hubbell

Jerry Hubbell

    Vendor-Explore Scientific

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 570
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Locust Grove, VA, USA

Posted 04 November 2019 - 01:06 PM

Hi Jerry,

what does it mean if the green LED does not turn on? Does it not boot? Am I able to fix such a problem myself?

Thanks.

Hi,

 

When the PMC-Eight boots, the green light will come on when it starts and then go off after a few seconds. Once a connection is made and communications is active, then the green light will be on all the time. 



#532 burks

burks

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 5
  • Joined: 14 Jul 2019

Posted 12 November 2019 - 11:28 PM

I've had my mount for about 2 weeks now and the little I've used it, it has been a blast. Sorry, no photos as the mount is far more than my knowledge and skill are capable of at this point. What I am enjoying is having a solid platform that is easy to operate (movement wise and such). Even with my crap polar alignment, being able to slew "close" to objects has saved me a ton of time and effort. That alone has made the $400 so well worth it. Mount seems pretty sturdy too. Going to pour some footers this spring so I can place it on a more firm base that is already leveled.

 

Just for future reference, what is everyone using to connect to their laptop to use PHD2 for guiding? I get it's a ST4 port but any special cable? Hoping to have it autoguiding by end of year, starting out by using my webcam and a 50mm guide scope. Just need to figure out how to connect everything together and working.


Edited by burks, 12 November 2019 - 11:43 PM.


#533 asanmax

asanmax

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 146
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2018

Posted 12 November 2019 - 11:44 PM

Just for future reference, what is everyone using to connect to their laptop to use PHD2 for guiding? I get it's a ST4 port but any special cable? Hoping to have it autoguiding by end of year

Nope, it's not the ST4 port. It's the mini-USB port. You just need a mini-USB to USB-A cable. ST4 port is for the auto guider camera if you plan to use it. But with the ASCOM platform you can skip connecting to the ST4 port because the mount is controlled directly from computer via the USB cable.

I have a USB hub attached to the mount, so that the mount, the DSLR camera and the guiding camera are all connected to it. I only need to connect one USB cable from the hub to my laptop.


Edited by asanmax, 12 November 2019 - 11:45 PM.

  • burks likes this

#534 nwww66

nwww66

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 24
  • Joined: 24 Jun 2018

Posted 13 November 2019 - 07:57 AM

How do you connect via mini usb and still maintain wireless connection for the ‘goto’ Feature. 



#535 asanmax

asanmax

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 146
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2018

Posted 13 November 2019 - 11:56 AM

How do you connect via mini usb and still maintain wireless connection for the ‘goto’ Feature. 

You can only operate the mount via USB or WiFi. You can switch between the connection types in Configuration Manger.

I use Astrophotography Tool to slew to objects and then use plate solving in the same application so the object is precisely centered in the frame.

Works better than GoTo, you don't need to do the 2 or 3 star alignment.

Please visit https://espmc-eight....#iexos-100&ct=1

You'll find lots of information, including some tutorials from Jerry Hubbell on how to set up the mount and apps.



#536 asanmax

asanmax

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 146
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2018

Posted 18 November 2019 - 12:50 AM

Tonight I decided to test the Explore Scientific pair: iExos-100 mount and ES ED80 APO triplet.

I was blown away by performance of the two in my Bortle 8 backyard.

Guiding was exceptional as usual but unfortunately I was only able to shoot 17 frames before the fog from the ocean came in :(

Camera: Canon T3i Ha modified

Scope: ES ED80 APO

Mount: iExos-100

Guider scope: 37mm/130mm, AR0130 sensor

Filter: CLS clip-in filter

17 frames 120 sec each at ISO 1600

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Final_processed.jpg

  • Jerry Hubbell, Devonshire and Ethanwyh like this

#537 Ethanwyh

Ethanwyh

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 70
  • Joined: 16 Apr 2019
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 18 November 2019 - 01:09 AM

The weather finally cleared up last night, managed to get some decent subs from 2am onwards. Hopefully, able to collect more data for Oiii and Sii to create a hubble palette image (just in time for Christmas too). Fingers Crossed!

 

28x 300s subs

guided on the iEXOS-100 mount

QHY183M + Optolong 7nm Ha filter

 

Fox Fur Nebula.jpg

 

 


  • Jerry Hubbell, Ahab, Devonshire and 1 other like this

#538 Ethanwyh

Ethanwyh

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 70
  • Joined: 16 Apr 2019
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 18 November 2019 - 01:12 AM


 

Hi Ethan,

 

So I was imaging without proper polar alignment for quite some time. I set up the correct latitude angle on the mount and was just roughly pointing the counterweight shaft North with no Polaris visible of course.

The guiding was ok, but not as great as it is now. I was getting field rotation and it was quite noticeable, especially after comparing the first and the last images taken.

One night I decided that I needed to do proper polar alignment using PHD2 drift alignment. I should say I was excited to do that as I had never done drift alignment in PHD2 before.

 

So I just read some online articles and reviews on drift alignment feature of PHD2 and the same night spent about 40 minutes to align the mount properly.

It was a challenge because I had to unscrew the Az axis a bit and do some very slight adjustments to point the mount at the celestial pole.

I'm sure with the Az adapter I would have had more fun smile.gif as it should clearly make the adjustments in Az axis waaaay easier.

 

From then, I have not adjusted the mount at all, and I have literally zero field rotation now. I don't have good viewing conditions ever! It is always average or below average. On an average night the total RMS is sitting around 1 arcsec, sometimes dropping to 0.7 for 10-15 minutes, and on a below average night it is usually around 1.3 arcsec.

 

I read somewhere on the forums that it's better to not have the guide scope to focus precisely. They recommended to get it into focus and then screw the camera in (not out) just a tiny bit so the star image becomes a little bigger. This way the edges of the star blob become sharper and it's easier for PHD2 to detect tiny movements. That's what I did and I have a feeling that the idea works very well.

Followed your advice on making permanent markings for ease of setting up, now i take less than 15 minutes transporting the mount to my balcony, plugging the wires and controlling everything from APT :D

 

 

Also, wished that cloud filters existed LOL


  • Glenilacqua likes this

#539 asanmax

asanmax

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 146
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2018

Posted 18 November 2019 - 01:18 AM

 

Followed your advice on making permanent markings for ease of setting up, now i take less than 15 minutes transporting the mount to my balcony, plugging the wires and controlling everything from APT laugh.gif

 

 

Also, wished that cloud filters existed LOL

Cloud filters haha, good one! The first person who invents it will become a millionaire in no time.

Great shot in Ha by the way!


  • Glenilacqua and Ethanwyh like this

#540 Glenilacqua

Glenilacqua

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • Posts: 42
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2014
  • Loc: Halifax, Massachusetts

Posted 20 November 2019 - 04:06 PM

Hi All-

 

I just saw that this system went on sale at $350. That is a shockingly good price for the stated value proposition - if it works. However, I've read through almost all of this thread today and I'm having trouble appreciating the totality of all of this to inform my purchase decision. There have certainly been a number of difficulties described by new owners. But all products have compromises, quirks, etc. I have no idea the scale of the issues, and it's hard to  know how this compares to the frustrations of using any tracking mount.

 

I guess what I'm asking is whether this is a good, safe choice for a newbie wanting to dip his toe in the AP world?

 

Also, it appears that there was an upgrade in the tripod at some point? How do I know if the one at the retailer is pre or post that upgrade?

 

I have a Sky-Watcher Evostar 72 and a DSLR. I'd like to start with shooting the moon and build my skill toward larger deep sky objects. If purchased, I'd start with an iPad, but I have various laptops that I can employ if I decide to go that way. 

 

So if you have experience with this, is it recommendation for me, or not? 

 

I really appreciate all of the feedback. Fell free to PM me if that's better for you. Thanks!


Edited by Glenilacqua, 20 November 2019 - 04:24 PM.


#541 Ethanwyh

Ethanwyh

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 70
  • Joined: 16 Apr 2019
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 20 November 2019 - 07:58 PM

Hi All-

 

I just saw that this system went on sale at $350. That is a shockingly good price for the stated value proposition - if it works. However, I've read through almost all of this thread today and I'm having trouble appreciating the totality of all of this to inform my purchase decision. There have certainly been a number of difficulties described by new owners. But all products have compromises, quirks, etc. I have no idea the scale of the issues, and it's hard to  know how this compares to the frustrations of using any tracking mount.

 

I guess what I'm asking is whether this is a good, safe choice for a newbie wanting to dip his toe in the AP world?

 

Also, it appears that there was an upgrade in the tripod at some point? How do I know if the one at the retailer is pre or post that upgrade?

 

I have a Sky-Watcher Evostar 72 and a DSLR. I'd like to start with shooting the moon and build my skill toward larger deep sky objects. If purchased, I'd start with an iPad, but I have various laptops that I can employ if I decide to go that way. 

 

So if you have experience with this, is it recommendation for me, or not? 

 

I really appreciate all of the feedback. Fell free to PM me if that's better for you. Thanks!

Just PMed you



#542 Ethanwyh

Ethanwyh

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 70
  • Joined: 16 Apr 2019
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 20 November 2019 - 08:09 PM

Cloud filters haha, good one! The first person who invents it will become a millionaire in no time.

Great shot in Ha by the way!

Thanks! I'm lookin to gather data for S2 and O3 but so far, dismal details in my subs. Even at 5 mins. Maybe it's a 183 sensor limitation for the amount of aperture i'm using LOL



#543 asanmax

asanmax

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 146
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2018

Posted 23 November 2019 - 12:43 AM

First time doing 4 minute exposures with iExos-100 from my backyard.

Pretty satisfied with the results although atmospheric seeing was below average.

I have to admit, had I used the Explore Scientific ED80, I would've spent 50% less time imaging. It collects the light incredibly fast.

Tracking was near perfect sitting at around 1 to 1.2 arcsec of total RMS, sometimes dropping below 1 arcsec.

33x240sec @ ISO1600

Lens: 3M-5CA, 500mm F8

Canon T3i modded

CLS filter

Bortle 8

Edit: cannot appreciate enough how it is easy to use the mount in combination with PHD2 and APT, setting the mount up, plate solving, framing - all works amazingly fine.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Final.JPG

Edited by asanmax, 23 November 2019 - 12:46 AM.

  • eros312, Jerry Hubbell, zxx and 2 others like this

#544 Jerry Hubbell

Jerry Hubbell

    Vendor-Explore Scientific

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 570
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Locust Grove, VA, USA

Posted 23 November 2019 - 04:56 AM

First time doing 4 minute exposures with iExos-100 from my backyard.

Pretty satisfied with the results although atmospheric seeing was below average.

I have to admit, had I used the Explore Scientific ED80, I would've spent 50% less time imaging. It collects the light incredibly fast.

Tracking was near perfect sitting at around 1 to 1.2 arcsec of total RMS, sometimes dropping below 1 arcsec.

33x240sec @ ISO1600

Lens: 3M-5CA, 500mm F8

Canon T3i modded

CLS filter

Bortle 8

Edit: cannot appreciate enough how it is easy to use the mount in combination with PHD2 and APT, setting the mount up, plate solving, framing - all works amazingly fine.T

Thanks so much asanmax for the updated report on your latest imaging. This is an awesome shot and it very gratifying to see your results. I will forward your message to our team in Arkansas.

 

Great work!



#545 Ethanwyh

Ethanwyh

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 70
  • Joined: 16 Apr 2019
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 23 November 2019 - 05:54 AM

First time doing 4 minute exposures with iExos-100 from my backyard.

Pretty satisfied with the results although atmospheric seeing was below average.

I have to admit, had I used the Explore Scientific ED80, I would've spent 50% less time imaging. It collects the light incredibly fast.

Tracking was near perfect sitting at around 1 to 1.2 arcsec of total RMS, sometimes dropping below 1 arcsec.

33x240sec @ ISO1600

Lens: 3M-5CA, 500mm F8

Canon T3i modded

CLS filter

Bortle 8

Edit: cannot appreciate enough how it is easy to use the mount in combination with PHD2 and APT, setting the mount up, plate solving, framing - all works amazinglyThi

This is an amazing shot!



#546 asanmax

asanmax

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 146
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2018

Posted 23 November 2019 - 12:02 PM

Thank you both Jerry and Ethan. I hope I'll be able to get out of the city to a Bortle 4 site next week if the sky is clear.



#547 asanmax

asanmax

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 146
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2018

Posted 27 November 2019 - 03:01 AM

Cocoon nebula

95x90sec @ ISO3200

Explore Scientific ED80

Canon T3i

I think this is as much as I can do from my backyard, I don't think I'll be able to pull out more details even if I acquire more frames.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Final-crop.JPG

  • eros312 and Devonshire like this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics