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Would this work for EAA

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#1 dham340

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Posted 07 July 2019 - 07:38 AM

Hi. I have a Nexstar 6se. I am looking to do EAA. Would this equipment work: zwo asi120mc (not the mini), zwo asiair.  I am looking to do everything: scope control, image capture via my iPad and SkySafari. I have a skyfi that I currently use (old version but it works) for scope control. Do a need a guide camera?  What I am really looking to do is use EAA to see things I can’t currently see in my non dark sky area. 



#2 CharlesC

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Posted 07 July 2019 - 08:06 AM

ASI120 is popular for astrophotography guiding but poor for EAA.  For EAA, consider the ASI224 color,  or ASI290 mono (ASI290 color is poor). 

You'll need stacking software such as Sharpcap and that requires Windows.

I'm not aware of any iPad stacking software.



#3 sg6

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Posted 07 July 2019 - 08:17 AM

What have you run so far?

Ask as iPad and the scope control and Skysafari did (past tense) have a problem. iPads would run an app like Synscan for scope control OR Skysafari, not both.

 

However it may have changed. I read/thought that I had to do the alignment via the Synscan app then use Skysafari for scope control. But I have an "Align" option in Skysafari - making me think I do not need to align via the app, and can do it via Skysafari.

 

Would not have thought you need a guide camera. That tends to be for imaging and .and you are more visual, additionally you will be moving to different targtets throughout the night and that negates guiding.

 

Camera, little idea which is best of the pair you have, as wifi seems to be the direction I suspect the ASIAir would be the first play point. Sharpcap seem the "standard" for camera control.

 

If the idea is to view and image with the same set up I think it could prove a slight problem. Tends to be best to do one thing alone, and not try to mix two things up - seems to work out you can do one well but both poorly and with difficulty.



#4 descott12

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Posted 07 July 2019 - 09:38 AM

Hello,

To answer some of your questions:

1) Yes, SkySafari most certainly can do an alignment and all the rest of your scope control. I do it all the time with SkyPortal on my iPhone to control my Evo 8

2) No you do not need to bother with guiding.

3) For EAA, we do live stacking. That usually means SharpCap. That will not run in iOS but will run in Parallels on a MacBook. However, I highly recommend simply getting a dedicated windows laptop. It will be alot more simple and will perform better and a decent laptop is really cheep these days.

 

EAA is really pretty simple and it works amazingly well. The attached photo is from last night.  A 30 second stack with my Evo 8 + Hyperstar + 294 MC. Exposure 5 seconds x 5, gain about 250 using SharpCap. This is from a bortle 6 to 7 zone.

 

Your scope will work fine but you will need a good camera (there are many great cameras to choose from)  and some sort of focal reduction to go faster than f10 (either a hyperstar or a traditional focal reducer). EAA at f10 is NO fun at all!

 

Good luck.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • M57.png


#5 S.Boerner

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Posted 07 July 2019 - 09:40 AM

By itself your 6se is going to get you a pretty small FOV so consider using a .5x focal reducer with what ever camera and setup you end up using.  Run all the numbers through something like Stellarium's Oculars Plugin to be sure you are happy with the FOV before you spend any money. (note:  ASIair won't platesolve for FOVs less than .4 degrees)

 

I just got an ASIair and it looks really good for DSO related imaging.  One EAA problems is it doesn't stack the images.  Also the USB 2 on the Pi inside is going to really slow down EEA on planets.  That's part of the reason others have mentioned SharpCap above, but alas it is Windows only.

 

One possibility is to get a Stick PC, load SharpCap on it and VNC into it with your iPad.  If you bring WiFi Scope into the mix you could connect SkySafari on your iPad to the mix for selecting targets. 



#6 dham340

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Posted 07 July 2019 - 10:28 AM

Thanks all for the assistance.  Focal reducer is my next purchase, for now to just make the dslr I have been trying to use more useful.  

 

I have used the iPad to control the scope. To be honest, I had to align first using hand control. Hardly ever successfully aligned using SkySafari (but I have done it)

 

Asi224 is what I will get. Sounds like asiair offers minimal benefit for me?

 

As as much as I hate to do it, I am guessing I need some kind of windows machine. Anyone have the cheapest possible option - stick, mini, netbook pc? I’d like to be less than $200, small as possible and still be able to run sharpcap.

 

in the end I may just have to get a new scope somewhere down the line. Ugh.  Just trying to get into EAA without buying stuff (eg hyperstar) I can’t use next summer with a new scope.  



#7 Gyroman

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Posted 07 July 2019 - 08:23 PM

As as much as I hate to do it, I am guessing I need some kind of windows machine. Anyone have the cheapest possible option - stick, mini, netbook pc? I’d like to be less than $200, small as possible and still be able to run sharpcap.

 

I've been researching this a bit as I'm hoping to have my EAA setup for remote operation by winter.

 

I've seen lots of people talking about PC Sticks or Intel NUCs.

 

I'm leaning towards buying a used / refurbished laptop with an i3 processor with 8GB of Ram.  Once I get it I'll swap out the drive for an SSD drive for the improved data transfer speed as they have become very inexpensive.  

 

For example, I just found this on ebay:  http://shorturl.at/eyVX7

SSD Drives at Amazon:  http://shorturl.at/qyzJW

 

For less than $200.00 you can have an 8GB laptop with 240gb SSD drive that has a screen and touchpad if you need to use it at the scope unlike the PC sticks or NUCs

 

You'll want to research the specs and make sure at least one of the USB's is 3.0.  

 

For a few more dollars you can upgrade to an i5 or even i7 chip.

 

Once its all setup and running, you can setup teamviewer or some other remote desktop software that should work fine on your ipad.


Edited by Gyroman, 07 July 2019 - 08:28 PM.


#8 Noah4x4

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 12:33 AM

I've been researching this a bit as I'm hoping to have my EAA setup for remote operation by winter.

 

I've seen lots of people talking about PC Sticks or Intel NUCs.

 

I'm leaning towards buying a used / refurbished laptop with an i3 processor with 8GB of Ram.  Once I get it I'll swap out the drive for an SSD drive for the improved data transfer speed as they have become very inexpensive.  

 

For example, I just found this on ebay:  http://shorturl.at/eyVX7

SSD Drives at Amazon:  http://shorturl.at/qyzJW

 

For less than $200.00 you can have an 8GB laptop with 240gb SSD drive that has a screen and touchpad if you need to use it at the scope unlike the PC sticks or NUCs

 

You'll want to research the specs and make sure at least one of the USB's is 3.0.  

 

For a few more dollars you can upgrade to an i5 or even i7 chip.

 

Once its all setup and running, you can setup teamviewer or some other remote desktop software that should work fine on your ipad.

 

 

 

 

Of course you can buy a cheap or even used laptop provided that your camera is of the same previous technology vintage. The challenge is that modern camera sensors have raced ahead of affordable computing power. For example, if you purchase a modern 10 or even 16 megapixel CMOS camera I predict your i3 processor may choke as it will be right on the limits. Anything approaching 4k UHD resolution and an i5 is the minimum desirable.

 

The reason we adopt Compute Sticks or NUCs is that many of us are pursuing dual computer wireless remote control and aspire to cordwrap free rigs. If you use a laptop at the scope you need a table, so that is more stuff to carry/set up. You also don't need a screen at the scope when pursuing wireless remote from an indoor "mission control" so the Stick or NUC can run "headless".

 

You mention TeamViewer. The current 'free' version must run over the comparitively slow Internet. If you want 'peer to peer' you need to pay a subscription. Teamviewer now demand this to check if it is commercial use. Once again, if bound to the slow Internet, you might face challenges with modern cameras. The better solution is Windows Remote Desktop with RemoteFX compression disabled to permit data to flow at (up to) 433 mbps over a typical 802.11ac local WAN.

 

The reason there are many pages of description about EAA rigs in Cloudy Nights is that many of us have been there before you and had our fingers burnt by buying computing, networking and battery power that isn't up to the job. We repeatedly see people suggesting Raspberry Pi or slow processors disregarding their limits.

 

My advice is you really need to take a holistic look at EAA and start with the question "what camera" then "what will I need to support that?" and work backwards. Many of us have made the mistake of cobbling together a cheap DIY proof of concept then we upgrade to be better camera and find we need to upgrade everything else leaving a large hole in our wallets and a pile of redundant kit. An i3 processor is fine for entry level budget priced cameras, but for anything more serious, don't skimp on processing power else risk frustration. 


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#9 airscottdenning

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:28 AM

I do EAA on a macbook pro with TheSkyX and it works like a charm. No windows necessary at all.
 
Attached are two exports from last night: M8+M20 and M16 (cropped). Both were live-stacked on the Mac using TheSkyX connected to my Paramount + C8EdgeHD+Hyperstar + ASI294c imager. Both are stacks of 5-second exposure with total integration of about 4 minutes.

 

No darks, and my flat frame was bad, but you get the idea. 

 

They looked better live on the screen, but between the export function and the CN image attachment function they lose a lot of detail.
 
I used to use this same setup with SharpCap running in Parallels, and it works just fine. 
 
But it's way simpler to just skip Windows altogether and do the EAA straight in the Mac.
 
I also do the 2-computer trick described above, but prefer to run linux on the scope+mount rather than windows. This also works just fine with TSX.

Attached Thumbnails

  • M8.M20.jpg
  • m16.4min.48x5s.jpg

Edited by airscottdenning, 11 July 2019 - 10:29 AM.

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#10 airscottdenning

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 12:18 PM

On the other hand, SharpCap is a very nice program. 

 

If you are committed to using it and really want to switch to Windows, a cheap laptop may or may not be the most cost-effective option.

 

There are sub-$200 windows laptops, but they tend to be seriously underpowered (2 GB RAM, tiny disks, atom CPUs). Your existing laptop may be better, and you've already paid for it.

 

You could buy Parallels ($80) and Windows (about $100 for a legitimate license) and install everything on your Mac.  

 

You can therefore set up Parallels+Windows+SharpCap for less money than buying TheSkyX with Addons (at least $479).

 

Despite what some have written here, I find that Parallels+Windows works just fine for controlling my mount, guider, imager, focuser, and capture software. I have run SharpCap many times with this configuration.

 

The advantage of using Parallels is that you get to use the hardware you already own. Also you can use the rest of your Mac software at the same time (for example SkySafari).



#11 descott12

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 12:28 PM

 

 

You could buy Parallels ($80) and Windows (about $100 for a legitimate license) and install everything on your Mac.  

 

 

I use Parallels and Windows for many of my customers and you can get Parallels 13 and Windows 7 Pro for 39 + 25 USD respectively.   I can provide the links if you are interested. Obviously, those aren't the latest versions and I know many people recommend using Windows 10 for driver compatibility but I think the concern may be a bit overblown




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