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Newbie here gonna try Astrophotography any suggestions or tips

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#1 Lasor1

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 08:23 AM

Hey there I am going to try to dabble with Astrophotography. I have a Stellarvue access sv102 refractor with field flattener/reducer a zwo asi 294mc pro and a zwo 290 mini for guide camera and a zwo 60mm guide scope. My mount is a celestron advanced vx mount. I currently cannot polar align with Polaris. Because of trees blocking view so I been doing a a all star polar alignment. Has anyone done all star Polar Alignment and successfully take photos of dso’s or am I wasting my time. I am a total beginner and I have dabbled with photography and photoshop a little bit before but I currently do not have any post processing software I have looked into an all in one software to run cameras and image processing. Anyone have any suggestions for a newbie what software they like any tips and suggestions are greatly appreciated thanks.

#2 Kaydubbed

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 08:46 AM

You are at the edge with your focal length, weight, and mount, but you shouldn't have problems pulling off 90 second subs. The important part is the tricky calibration of your 294MC and for that, there are vast resources here on CN. 

 

Also consider drift alignment in PHD2 as a good alternative to ASPA. As for processing, I like Astro Pixel Processor for stacking and most of my post-processing. I use INDI and a Raspberry Pi 4 with Ekos for everything involved in the integration from polar alignment, to capture, to mount and scope control. 



#3 droe

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 08:48 AM

Nice starting setting, actually nice setting for any level. I only do ASPA on my AVX and CGX and it has always seemed to work for me. Other methods may be better but I have never had an issue with polar alignment using ASPA.

 

With the ZWO cameras you want to like into the ZWO ASIAIR device to run your system. It should be able to handle your image session and guiding for you. No need for a computer hookup out in the field.

 

Post processing is a different beast. Many ways to do it. I use DSS (DeepSkyStacker) and Photoshop for my processing but there are better applications out there geared for astrophotography processing. Processing is definitely a learned skill that will take some time to get really good at.

 

Good luck and have fun.


Edited by droe, 17 September 2019 - 08:48 AM.


#4 Stelios

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 09:12 PM

Yes, you can take pictures of DSO's with ASPA polar alignment only. Quality will depend on the quality of your AVX--if you have a decent one, it can be quite high with the rest of your equipment, when you learn processing. When you get better, you can use drift alignment in PhD2 (the free guiding software) which takes some time but is more precise. 

 

Note that processing can always wait (of course at first, one is very impatient :)). However it's possible to rework decent data even years later to improve on it markedly. 

 

The standard "starting" stacking software is DSS (Deep Sky Stacker, free) + GIMP (or better, Photoshop).

 

Other processing packages are Pixinsight (PI) (the "gold standard", but complex with a learning curve and fairly pricey) and Astro Pixel Processor (APP). There are books and tutorials to help with Pixinsight if you want to go that way. 


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#5 numchuck

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 11:24 PM

I can't always see Polaris either ; but ASPA works okay with my CGX . Others may not agree ; but I would hold off , at first , on guiding . Instead , download SharpCap . It is a great program for beginners especially because of its live-stacking feature . You can take many exposures of less than 10 seconds and the program will align the frames as you go ; so perfect polar alignment isn't critical . You can pause whenever necessary to re-center your target , and then continue adding frames to the same stack ; or you can start a new stack and later combine everything together , with DeepSkyStacker . You also have the options to save your individual frames . And StarTools is a great program for starting  out with post processing . Once you get started , you can refine your skills and learn to implement your guide scope so  that you can optimize your exposures with more time . Here is an example of an unguided image , set up with ASPA and taken with SharpCap . It's not perfect ; but it's an easy way to start and have a lot of fun .

 

 

 

M65-66startools~3.png

 

 

Later , when you want to complicate your life , SharpCap will let you integrate your other scope and camera with a guiding program called PHD2 , and will even implement a more advanced technique of image capture that includes dithering . 


Edited by numchuck, 18 September 2019 - 09:17 PM.


#6 mic1970

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Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:58 AM

Lasor.... I just posted this:  https://www.cloudyni...beginners-view/.

 

I have used the all star polar alignment, it works, but not as accurate.  Apologies to whom gave me this advice to pass credit, but if you don't have polaris...and...you have time do the polar alignment two or three times.  Do a quick two star align that ends with a star lower in elevation.  Then do the polar align.  Reset the hand set, and do it again.  Again, time permitting, do it a third time, if it is on, go to calibration stars.  If you really want to be anal, reset the hand controller and do another 4th and final align with all your calibration stars.  As explained to me, each time you do it the mount has a better idea of where it is.  

 

My schedule was/is to set up (level and balance) just at sun down.  Grab a drink and wait for Jupiter.  Once it is up, keep an eye out for two bright stars.  When they are up, start.  I'm done with set up before it is dark enough to shoot.  

 

Next advice... thanks in advance Mr. Obvious, but read the AVX instructions end to end.  Since you have a guide scope, you can calibrate your mount for more accuracy.  Also look for the sub-section on over balancing.  Use high power eye pieces to align, use cross hairs if you have them.  Always end an alignment with the up and right buttons.  If you hold down the left button and let it go, and it keeps going, that is slack in your gears.  Give you an idea.  

 

Final advice... do you have a DSLR and 50 or 100mm lens?  Start with it.  Buy a mini dove bar for cameras or hook a ball mount, or piggy back your scope.  

 

Crazy advice... my buddy hooks his camera up to his guide scope and shoots with it.  He gets 90-180 second shots with no guiding because of the smaller focal length.  

 

 

Hey there I am going to try to dabble with Astrophotography. I have a Stellarvue access sv102 refractor with field flattener/reducer a zwo asi 294mc pro and a zwo 290 mini for guide camera and a zwo 60mm guide scope. My mount is a celestron advanced vx mount. I currently cannot polar align with Polaris. Because of trees blocking view so I been doing a a all star polar alignment. Has anyone done all star Polar Alignment and successfully take photos of dso’s or am I wasting my time. I am a total beginner and I have dabbled with photography and photoshop a little bit before but I currently do not have any post processing software I have looked into an all in one software to run cameras and image processing. Anyone have any suggestions for a newbie what software they like any tips and suggestions are greatly appreciated thanks.


Edited by mic1970, 18 September 2019 - 08:07 AM.


#7 Lasor1

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 01:34 PM

Thank you all for the info and suggestions I greatly appreciate it.


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