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Remote Family EAA in Northern Minnesota

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#1 Randy.prudhomme


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Posted 04 December 2019 - 11:58 AM

OK since I am new to using electronics in astronomy I thought my original question was an AP one but those wonderful people told me it is an EAA one so here I am. After looking through this forum for few hours last night i have decided to re frame my question.


My family likes to see what I find using the telescope but are getting frustrated with me tinkering with it for a while to find objects and center them in the eyepiece for them. I am looking into to using my Celestron C6 SCT to remotely control it to look at the night sky or sun using a tablet or laptop while projecting the images either on my TV or a projector on a screen for my family to enjoy with me at either real time or near real time.  


Like I said I currently have a C6 SCT that I want to keep that sits on a cheaper video camera tripod that is very touchy that works for me but not my family.  With that I am looking for some suggestions on upgrading everything except the telescope including a new laptop/tablet that can run outside in the cold while I sit inside with my family.  I usually don't use the telescope in the winter with only doing naked eye or small sessions of binocular astronomy so I will also need some help with heating.  My current budget is between $2k and $3k and this is what I have come up with so far.  I would also like to keep in mind the upgrading of the OTA possibly up to a 9.25" SCT or a 10" Newtonian in the future.



Celestron C6 SCT



Celestron Advanced VX Equatorial Mount






Celestron Focus Motor for SCT and EdgeHD


Focal Reducer/Corrector

Celestron f/6.3 Focal Reducer & Corrector


WiFi Connections

Any suggestions would be great.



Any suggestions would be great.



Any suggestions would be great.


Heating and heating control

Any suggestions would be great.


I'm sure I'm probably leaving things out but this is what I think I may need.  Thanks in advance for any and all help you may be able to help me with.






#2 OleCuss



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Posted 04 December 2019 - 12:45 PM

I don't know if I can help you all that much but I really wanted to welcome you.


Crookston. . .  Not that far from Thief River Falls.  Pretty unsavory characters. . .   OK, OK, I did most of my growing up in TRF and I liked Crookston as well.  Generally great folk but there are always a few bad apples.


If you are committed to your current OTA (not a bad choice) and want to observe with the camera?


I'd get an Advanced VX mount.  I'd get the Starizona Night Owl reducer/corrector.  Get the ASI533 camera - you won't really need the cooled camera in the winter but in the summer it makes it much easier to set up the calibration frames.


So far as doing remote stuff?  I'm not into that and can't help you much with that.


Enjoy those beautiful dark skies (if you are out of town even a little way).  I really do miss Minnesota - especially in the North it is a great place!

#3 Gary Z

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 12:47 PM

Now, believe it or not, if you are just getting into this hobby, I suggest you take your time and learn what these options can do for you.  Don't let the show and tell for your family cause you to rush in and make decisions.


My suggestion as to using your C6 would be to go for a more solid based mount.  At your price point. and given the overall great opinions on this mount, I would go for the Skywatcher EQ6R Pro!  They do make a wifi adapter.  It's not as cheap as the AVX, but very highly regarded especially when used with the EQMod software.


Laptop/software/  You have a great deal of options:


1) ZWO ASIAIR (be advised the pro version comes out sometime in January.

2) Stellarmate (both devices are small IOT devices that contains software to control and image with your mount.   The Stellarmate has much broader support vs ASAIR that only supports some DSLRs and ZWO ASI Cameras.


If you go with a laptop, you'll have more options vs using a tablet.  Look for an I5, Ryzen 3 or 5 with 8g of memory.  Both will work well.  They don't have to be speed demons to give you what you want.  Do get a SSD drive.


As for heating and control, I'll let others chime in.  Preferably by someone that lives in the same type of climate you do. 



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#4 cmooney91



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Posted 04 December 2019 - 02:05 PM

Any 4 core 4Gb-8Gb laptop should be able to run sharpcap, the camera and the mount. 


I use a little mini PC that I remote desktop into, but I would not start that way. There is enough to learn as it is, the complexity of networking can come later. 


I started with a Chuwi Hi10 windows tablet, but I kinda wish I started with a laptop, because all of the programs are laid out for mouse and keyboard, so I end up using one with the tablet which is clunky. A laptop is much better suited. Make sure to get one with full size USB 3.0 plugs, and preferably an 8hr+ battery.


For software SharpCap is EAA standard issue.


For heating there are plenty off the shelf shrouds and dew heaters for a C6 corrector plate. For the laptop, you can use it in a open sided box or Tupperware tote, it heats itself, so it doesn't need much. Note if you take it in from the cold it will condensate, so put it in a carrying bag before taking it in. the same goes for the camera and optics.


For the C6 or C8, I think an AVX would be fine, but only if you get focal reducer <f5 (maybe f6.3). If you can get your exposures under 15s then tracking wont matter much. Sharp cap will  take care of the frame to frame drift when it aligns the incoming frames. 



For a bigger C9.25 or 10" f4 newt you will probably want a bigger mount for ease of mind. 


I use a 8" f4 newt with a old Vixen Super Polaris (75% of a AVX) and it is sketchy, but it works.


I'm planing to build a beefier mount.

#5 S.Boerner


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Posted 04 December 2019 - 07:03 PM

If finding and centering is taking too much time resort to plate solving...it is wonderful!  Better screen images will come from live stacking and an ASIAir doesn't (I have one).  The soon to be released Pro version is expected to live stack.  If your FOV is too small (and I bet it will be) try a .5x focal reducer.


Software wise I'll recommend SharpCap (https://www.sharpcap.co.uk/).  There is a free version, but I'd recommend the yearly $15 licensed Pro version.  It will help you align your mount to the NCP, align your OTA to the sky, call a plate solve program to find & center your goto object, control your camera, live stack your images, and let you adjuct your histogram to improve the image.   While it doesn't plate solve by itself, it does support a number of the astrometry.net local solvers like ANSVR(https://adgsoftware.com/ansvr/), AstroTortilla (https://sourceforge.net/p/astrotortilla/home/Home/) and All Sky Plate Solver ((http://www.astrogb.com/astrogb/All_Sky_Plate_Solver.html).  Both ANSVR and All Sky have provisions to download the needed index files. 


One of the "fears" about plate solving is getting things set up.  That was particularly true in the early days of AstroTortilla.  SharpCap gets around that issue by using a generic configuration that has worked well for me. 


With everthing set up I do a GoTo.  My camera gives me a FOV similar to an 8mm eyepiece so the field is pretty small and the object isn't always there.  Pressing the plate solve button in SharpCap takes a picture, solves it, syncs my mount to the actual place it is pointed, and then does a new GoTo.  Doing that a couple of times puts the object dead center with a couple of minutes with no effort on my part.  

#6 roelb


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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:36 AM

Don't forget a Bathinov mask!

#7 Gamewarden


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Posted 05 December 2019 - 06:52 PM

I am using a 6SE ota and mount just starting out.


I do have the ,63 reducer, must have. I stay inside where it is warm and use wifi, CPWI to control mount. I have a new ZWO 224 camera which does have a very small chip and FOV to get use to. I have purchased a starsense for xmas to align automatically from inside using CPWI. Aslo for xmas I am getting a focuser to focus from inside with CPwi. To date I plug in my scope for power which is 30 feet out on my back porch. The only cable I have is a 32 foot usb2 for the camera. Still lots to fiquire out such as plate solving. Oh and using Sharpcap Pro to see live.

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