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Some more hardware/software related questions --

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#1 dhaval

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 04:42 PM

Hello all,

Not new to astrophotography, but certainly new to planetary imaging. No clue what I should be doing and how to go about it. So, I am going to start with the basics first - 

 

Decent equipment to use? I will say this - I am finalizing on a Meade LX200 12in F10 ACF scope, but other than that, I am not sure what all I need. I believe I will need the following -

 

a) Barlow - what power and which one? Money matters - so a decent yet affordable one (I know those two don't go together in AP, but have to ask).

b) Planetary camera - I have the ZWO 290MM-mini and the QHY5II (equivalent to ZWO 120MM) - both are mono, so not sure if it will be good to just sell those and get a color camera or buy filters (the question being, is it better to get RGB filters and "maybe" get better images or sell the two cameras and just get a color camera)? If the recommendation is going to be color camera, please point me to which one (on the flip side, if the recommendation is to buy filters, please point me to which ones as well). I realize seeing is important, but it seems that we in Central TX are blessed with good seeing (LP is an issue and summer months are cloud heavy, but the seeing is typically very stable when it is clear).

c) I am leaning towards the ZWO ADC - is that worth the cost?

 

With regards to software - 

a) Acquisition software - I guess SharpCap is what people prefer? I have never used it, so any guidance will be helpful, including pointing to resources on the web that I can learn from.

b) processing software and tricks - don't know what's out there for planetary. I do have most operating systems covered - Windows, Linux (Ubuntu) and Mac OS X. Ideally, I would like to use either Ubuntu or Mac, but if I have to, I will use Windows as well.

 

Anything else that I am missing either hardware or software wise?

 

CS!



#2 Tulloch

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 05:35 PM

Hi there, these tutorial videos will tell you a lot - they are made by Steve (aka WarmWeatherGuy) who posts here also. Watch them now!

http://planetaryimagingtutorials.com/

 

I capture in colour so I would suggest you get the ASI224MC (very popular around here) or even the brand new ASI462MC (but this hasn't really been tested yet). Others can advise on colour filters and automatic filter wheels.

 

The barlow lens you need is defined by your camera - optimal focal ratio is about 5x the pixel size, so for the ASI224MC you are looking at a 2x Barlow, the 462 will be a 1.5x Barlow. If you like maths, have a look at the working below.

 

Given your location, an ADC is advisable, the planets are quite low for you right now and these can work wonders.

 

Personally, I use FireCapture to capture the feed and find it is really good. You also need AutoStakkert!3, Registax and your favourite photo editing software (PhotoShop, GIMP, etc). AS!3 and Registax are Windows only programs, but apparently run under an emulator like Wine, etc. These programs are described in the tutorial videos linked above.

 

Finally - watch the tutorial videos above. Start from the top and go through smile.gif

 

Hope this helps,

 

Andrew

Attached Thumbnails

  • Focal ratio 5x pixel size proof.jpg

Edited by Tulloch, 30 June 2020 - 05:40 PM.

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#3 AstroEthan

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 06:32 PM

Hi Dhaval,
 
I image about an hour and a half south of you so I get planets at a very similar altitude. The ZWO ADC is a good tool if you have a color camera. It should help with monochrome cameras hypothetically, but it would be difficult to use and I see no one doing it in practice.
 
I second the recommendation of FireCapture and AutoStakkert. The stable version of FC on Linux and macOS supports ZWO and QHY cameras and the beta adds INDI support for filter wheels, focusers, etc. You will need Wine or Windows to run AutoStakkert and RegiStax. Since you have PixInsight, you could use ATrousWaveletTransform instead.
 
BTW Andrew, Wine is not an emulator wink.gif


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#4 dhaval

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 08:54 PM

Tulloch and Ethan - thanks both of you. Tulloch, thanks for pointing out to the website, much appreciated.

 

Ethan - I assume that you use a mono camera (based on what I read on your website) - what filters are recommended for planets? Are there "good" ones as compared to ones that I should avoid? Is it worth the trouble or is an OSC good enough? (Good enough = I am not looking to frame my images, but they do need to look decent to me i.e. capture sufficient detail and look aesthetically pleasing). 

 

BTW, I will most likely use a Windows computer for capture - I do like to lean towards Ubuntu/Mac for processing however, but if there is not a good software, I will stick to Windows - that's fine by me.

 

One other question - the importance of aperture - I am in a position to get either a 12in F10 scope or a 14in F10 scope. The 12in scope is a bit cheaper (obviously) so it will allow me to spend on a good Barlow and has a very good focuser. The 14in, well, it is 14in - but I am worried that it will become a chore after using it for a couple of times and I am certainly not getting any younger - so, will the 12in do the job adequately? 

 

CS!



#5 AstroEthan

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 05:39 PM

I use Chroma RGB filters for the C14 setup and ZWO filters for the C8. They are close in terms of quality, but the ZWO filters are much less expensive. I prefer mono cameras because that is what I'm used to, but plenty of people get good results with color cameras and I use them occasionally for time-lapses.

 

Getting a good electronic focuser relatively affordably could potentially be done with a GSO Crayford focuser for SCTs (or the linear variant for $50 more) fitted with a Rigel nFOCUS system. I have a GSO focuser on my Lunt and it's very nice, but no idea how well the nFOCUS works so you'll have to do some research.

 

You'll also have to decide for yourself on whether the heavier 14 inch scope is worth the extra work to get out, but I can say getting a good scope cover and leaving a C14 out as long possible is better than taking a C8 out every night.


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