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Sorry for the clouds in SW Pennsylvania

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#1 joseph07081

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 12:48 PM

I am not sure where to post this, I could place it in Mounts, or in CCD Imaging, or in Beginning Imaging, but I can also fit it here as well, so here goes...

 

UPS just left my house after dropping off a very sizable pile of packages. I ordered from 3 different vendors across the country and the shipping worked out that they all delivered on the same day. So here is the list of new goodies.

 

William Optics Zenithstar 73ii. This is replacing my recently sold AT72ED.

William Optics Flat73A flattener.

iOptron CEM40 mount. This is going to be my portable imaging mount, replacing my trusty AVX.

ZWO Asi294MC Pro. My first dedicated astro camera.

Astronomik 2" IR/UV Cut filter.

 

The tripod box was pretty crushed, so I made sure to check that over pretty well as I have seen a few complaints from others here about shipping damage on these. It is in good shape, just a scratch or two on the counterweight. 

 

I know, pictures or it did not happen, but I have to run out with my wife for a bit, plus I want everything in the shipping boxes while they warm up to room temperature. Pictures later tonight once I assemble everything for a dry run.

 

Sorry for any impending cloud cover that may happen ( well, maybe only a little)...

 


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#2 wrvond

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 01:34 PM

Congratulations!


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#3 astro_1

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 01:39 PM

Cool!


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#4 NMCN

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 02:06 PM

The real source of this arctic blast!



#5 joseph07081

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 09:17 PM

I was setting up the mount and discovered that the alignment post from the top of the tripod is missing.

I spent a lot of time looking through boxes but could not find it.

I sent a message off to the vendor to see if I can get a replacement.

 

Love the fit and finish on the scope, but no time to get it out tonight, hopefully over the next few nights I can do that.

 

A quick photo of the mount and scope, excuse the messy background but we are in the process of moving things around in our basement/garage so things are a bit unorganized. 

 

 

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#6 sunnyday

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 09:27 PM

good evening
I'm looking for a mount.
can you give me answers after you have the chance to work with
stability, goto etc
Thanks in advance


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#7 Castor

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 09:31 PM

Congratulations on your new telescope, mount, camera and other astro-photography equipment, wow all received the same day!

 

Thanks for sharing a picture of your sweet setup and don’t worry about the background, just looking at your nice Yamaha music keyboard behind your scope was refreshing enough for my eyes! drool5.gif

 

Best luck on your next imaging venture!


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#8 joseph07081

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 10:19 PM

Congratulations on your new telescope, mount, camera and other astro-photography equipment, wow all received the same day!

 

Thanks for sharing a picture of your sweet setup and don’t worry about the background, just looking at your nice Yamaha music keyboard behind your scope was refreshing enough for my eyes! drool5.gif

 

Best luck on your next imaging venture!

Thank you 

 

What you do not see are the 13 guitars that are hanging on walls or on floor stands behind me.

I need to thin that herd as well.


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#9 joseph07081

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 10:29 PM

good evening
I'm looking for a mount.
can you give me answers after you have the chance to work with
stability, goto etc
Thanks in advance

I will do the best that I can once I get some time out under the sky.

 

Even though I have/had 2 tracking mounts, most nights I only had time to get out my manual alt-az mounts for quick peeks.

My AVX was certainly up to the task for beginning imaging but I wanted to up my commitment to my astrophotography. 

 

I will eventually erect a pier in my back yard and mount my Atlas to it, but I still have several sections of sky that are better visible from other parts of my yard. I have a Scopebuggy that I tried, but my yard is a bit too hilly to move it around, and the Atlas is just a bit too heavy for me to move from my back yard shed to the front of the house. So the CEM40 will fill that bill as well as serve as my portable mount for going to dark sites. Cherry Springs is only 4 hours from my house, so I want to travel there this coming summer.


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#10 Castor

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 03:30 AM

Thank you 

 

What you do not see are the 13 guitars that are hanging on walls or on floor stands behind me.

I need to thin that herd as well.

 

Thirteen guitars in one room, wow! laugh.gif  

 

In the early 90’s I had a few mid-level Yamaha and Korg keyboards and synthesizers but since I never had any formal education in music sometime later I sold them to fund the purchase of my first big telescope and all the needed accessories, something that I now regret because the scope never lived up to my expectations.

 

I admire your passion for music, never ever give it up, it’s a gift! waytogo.gif 



#11 wrvond

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 09:50 PM

I guess I’m far enough away to be out of your zone of influence. Last night and tonight were excellent (though pretty cold for me). 
I put a William Optics 2” 99% dielectric mirror diagonal on the AT72 ED and couldn’t be happier! The views were sharp and bright with excellent colors on Albireo.

We’re going to be clouded out for the next week or so, and I’m hoping to get proficient with a NexImage 10 on the AT before the stars show again.

 

11152019002
 
 
Edit: I got the AT72 ED from Joe. 

Edited by wrvond, 16 November 2019 - 10:18 PM.

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#12 joseph07081

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 07:50 PM

 

I guess I’m far enough away to be out of your zone of influence. Last night and tonight were excellent (though pretty cold for me). 
I put a William Optics 2” 99% dielectric mirror diagonal on the AT72 ED and couldn’t be happier! The views were sharp and bright with excellent colors on Albireo.

We’re going to be clouded out for the next week or so, and I’m hoping to get proficient with a NexImage 10 on the AT before the stars show again.

 

 
 
 
Edit: I got the AT72 ED from Joe. 

 

I am glad my AT72 has found a good home and will get lots of use. 



#13 joseph07081

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 07:58 PM

I have been busy with honey-do stuff the past few days, but I did manage to get the rig together.

 

I added the Orion guide scope, Pegasus Pocket Powerbox, and an ASIAIR. I worked out most of the cable management, but need to fine tune it once I get it out under the stars. One of the reasons I went with the CEM40 was the cable management options. Hopefully there will be far fewer concerns about snagged cables. 

 

Again, excuse the mess....

 

 

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#14 wrvond

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 08:09 PM

Looking really good, Joe!

What is the benefit of leaving the tripod legs wrapped?



#15 joseph07081

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 08:51 PM

Looking really good, Joe!

What is the benefit of leaving the tripod legs wrapped?

No benefit at all... I just have not gotten around to taking it off yet :)


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#16 coopman

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 08:20 AM

Congrats on the nice new imaging rig.


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#17 joseph07081

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 09:26 AM

Since I am in the middle of my on call week, and things have been pretty much clouded over here, I have spent some time fine tuning the cable management on the mount. I am trying several different approaches to mounting the Pocket Powerbox and the ASIAir, with the latest being mounting them both on the side of the scope using some hardware store angle brackets, expanded PVC sheets and some velcro. I have also just picked up a new Z8350 based stick computer as a comparison to the ASIAir, so I want to keep things flexible with the mounting and cable management. More on that part later.


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#18 CounterWeight

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 10:43 AM

Congratulations on your new imaging scope and rig!

 

There is a guitar thread in the off topic observatory, can you post a picture of you guitars there?



#19 joseph07081

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 10:58 PM

So far the new scope/mount/camera/eyepiece curse has held firm. I have been working on the cable management a bit and have the routing worked out. Also purchased a new stick computer to compare with the ASIAir. Just finished loading that up with N.I.N.A, Ascom and associated drivers and PHD. Tested that in the house today using remote desktop and it works pretty well. I have it all set up so that I can swap in the PC or the ASIAir in a few minutes using all of the same cabling. 

 

Oh, I also purchased a Minnkota battery box along with a new battery which will be here tomorrow. I am adding an Anderson Powerpole chassis mount connectors for a better connection between the battery box and the Pocket Powerbox on the mount. The only cable coming from the mount in either configuration will be one power cable.  All control will be through tablet or desktop PC wirelessly. 


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#20 joseph07081

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 11:02 PM

Had first light with the mount, scope, camera and ASIAir tonight. The skies were clear tonight and judging from the weather forecast, it was my only chance that I would have for the next week or longer. I jumped in with both feet testing the mount, scope, camera and ASIAir all at one time as a complete noob with each. I set up on my deck, did a rough align with Polaris and fired everything up. 

 

The first thing I did was to connect my iPad to the ASIAir and make sure everything was connected and had the correct parameters entered. I had previously set all of that up in my game room, but wanted to double check it all. Once I was sure everything was connected, I proceeded to focus the guide camera and the main camera. Each was easy enough to accomplish using the preview for each camera. One thing that helped was using the hand controller for the ZWO EAF focuser, it made getting the rough focus much quicker than jabbing my finger on my iPad screen. Once rough focus was close, I used the built in Bhatinov mask on the ZS73 lens cap. This is the first time I have used a Bahtinov mask and it did make things a bit easier.

 

After that was done, I moved on to the ASIAir polar alignment routine. Without getting into the nitty gritty of it, I did find the altitude and azimuth adjustments on the mount a bit sensitive, so I struggled a bit with that and finally settled on a fair alignment. I am sure as time goes by I will improve and get better alignment. Once that was all done I reset the mount to the zero position and did a plate solve, which successfully detected the mount position. After that, I used the ASIAir to chose M31 as a target and sent it on its way. The mount slewed to the target, did a plate solve, made a small adjustment and there was M31 right in the middle of my screen. I went over to the guiding screen, allowed the ASIAir to choose a guide start and started guiding. The graph indicated that I was staying within +/- 2 seconds, so I was happy. 

 

At this point, I was one happy camper, but I decided to shoot some quick images, so I set up a short sequence of 20 lights at 30 seconds each, no darks or flats this time around. I let it run and watched each frame show up on my iPad screen using auto-stretch to enhance the view. Honestly, I was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. After the sequence was done, I shut everything down and packed it all up, and called it a night. I am completely unfamiliar with post processing workflows, so no images to post here yet. I have much to learn on that front.

 

All things considered, I am very happy with the setup. I was very rushed tonight, so there were many things that I did not do. The back focus on the camera needs to be adjusted, I could have balanced things better than I did, I even forgot to put the IR cut filter in, so my stars were a bit bloated, but I have time to get that all sorted out. The rig accomplishes what I wanted, lighter weight, easier setup and tear down, and a stepping stone into a dedicated deep sky photo setup. I have the OTA, ASIAir and Pocket Powerbox all mounted to the dovetail, so I can carry the mount out, then attach the scope and connect a few cables and I am ready to go. I still have the stick computer setup to test, but I want to spend more time with the ASIAir to get familiar with that. 

 

I am done rambling for now, but I have one quick snapshot I took with my phone before I packed everything up for the night. 

 

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#21 sunnyday

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 11:12 PM

thanks for posting




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