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Recent Acquisition - Wanting to add video.

EAA equipment imaging Orion dob
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#1 Peeps

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 01:38 AM

I recently acquired a 14" Orion Dob and would like recommendations for adding equipment to it in order to have a live video feed from it.

 

It is a GoTo variant and also needs automated focusing added as well.

 

Hoping someone here has been down this road and can help me out with recommendations.

 

My end goal is to place this scope at a remote location outside of Fairbanks, AK and access it from my home which is here in the lower 48.

 

Thank you to everyone in advance!



#2 Noah4x4

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 04:03 AM

It's possible, but with the likely DIY solutions the challenge is going to be what do you do when something goes wrong when you are not on (observatory) site?

 

1.  It seems to me you need an observatory with perhaps a mechanised remote controlled roll on roll off roof. 

2.  Some means to detect a change in the weather.

3.  The ability to align, control and hibernate the scope using remote control

4.  The ability to focus remotely.

5.  The ability to remotely control camera and transmit its screen data between locations.

 

3, 4, 5 are easy if at one location (for example, observing from indoors at home). You can simply set up a PC at the scope, load all your software on that and remotely control it over your local LAN or WAN network from a second PC using Remote Desktop software. There are many threads in this EAA Forum that explains. However, if a technical issue arises, it won't be easy to fix if nobody is on site.

 

However, to answer 1 & 2 we need an awful lot more information about how you plan to set up the observatory and communications between it and your location. Indeed, is this a serious enquiry as the challenges are significant and costs likely to be of similar magnitude.



#3 Peeps

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 12:28 PM

Noah- these are all good points and while I had considered #1 and already have a semi-quasi plan worked out with family who live at the location- I had not considered #2 beyond using this ( https://www.cleardar...nksAKkey.html?1 ) to plan my viewing schedule.

 

Since there are extended duration's of light and dark at this location my viewing window is limited to about 3 months of nearly 24 hour of darkness with the 6 months of varying levels of the sun moving across the horizon to 3 months of nearly 24 hours of sunlight it will truly be a feast or famine for viewing.

 

3,4,and 5 are what is not easy for me.... I keep poking around and cant find anything specific for this scope.



#4 Noah4x4

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 11:58 PM

This post might assist you.

 

https://www.cloudyni...l#entry9081710 

 

I doubt if you will find anything specific for your DOB. But these tips are largely generic.


Edited by Noah4x4, 04 August 2020 - 12:00 AM.


#5 Peeps

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 10:42 PM

Thank you for that post!!!

 

Very informative and helpful...

 

You are right that while it lacks specifics in regards to the scope- it had very good information about the things that are needed to make it work and that is even more important!

 

I will keep reading the other posts as well.

 

Thank you!



#6 Peeps

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 12:46 AM

Well!  I have been digging and digging more in terms of this subject and what to use on my scope.

 

I have sourced an auto-focuser and that should be here on Tuesday.

 

But.... I gotta reach here again to ask about cameras....  Looking for insight and recommendations for "live" video output to a monitor.

 

They are incredibly varied in price and features....  cooled, not cooled, color, monochrome, small pixels, large pixels, etc, etc....

 

I would love to not end up with a "first time purchase" that sits in a box not used because it is not good for doing what I need.

 

Any suggestions would be most appreciated.



#7 Noah4x4

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 02:21 AM

Depends what you mean by 'live' video? Let, me put this into some context...

 

It is possible to "video" some bright astro objects with a fast frame capture webcam or even mobile phone camera, for example, Moon or Planets. However, depending on atmospheric conditions, as regards (say) planets, what you see might be quite blurry. The way to improve your image is to live stack. This means taking and overlaying multiple frames until they sharpen. This process is done by software, and is not 'live', merely 'near live'. You get the illusion of 'video' because the objects move so slowly, hence you don't really notice the process occurring in the background.

 

However, photons from dijmmer, more distant deep sky objects take an enormous time to arrive. You need far longer exposures to capture enough light. With a fast frame camera (as above), you won't capture enough photons to see the detail in (say) nebula and galaxies. Ideally you need frames of at least 2 seconds to 30 seconds duration each and to 'stack' them. To succeed with exposures at 2 seconds you need around f/2, but at f/6.3 or f/10 you need around 20 seconds. I doubt if you can succeed with any longer exposures using a 14" Dobsonian. Here, now think about a movie camera. Of course, the slower the frame rate, the more stuttering a terrestial video of (say) a fast moving car might be. But because you are imaging objects travelling across the sky (due to Earths rotation) at merely a slow 15 degrees per hour, you don't notice this effect with EAA astrophotography. Sticking a video camera on the end of a telescope will be limiting, but NightVision (NV) devices do work (but are hugely expensive).

 

So what you need at a basic level is a decent astro camera and stacking software such as Sharpcap. After that, it is largely a question of budget. A 14" aperture rather lends itself to a high resolution, larger sensor, CMOS and if you want to image DSOs then a cooled camera is a benefit. But how much do you want to spend on a camera?

 

But you will want a reliable set up as you won't be able to service any mishaps if you are not on site, albeit that you have some family there.

 

That begs the question, what methodology do you propose to use to remote control everything? To do what I believe you want to do, I think you need to be thinking from the outset in the context of a holistic budget. You could easily spend $1,000 on a decent camera then find you need another $2,000 on a local computer, autofocusser and similar to manage it. You will need a permanent location else you won't be able to easily align and hibernate everything.  My personal view is keep things simple. Start with an objective of learn how to remotely control your scope simply from indoors at home before considering anything more ambitious. There are numerous threads that explain remote control etc. Then when you have a holistic plan, and a total budget, you can carve that up into what you can afford to spend on each item.


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#8 Peeps

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 01:08 PM

For the computer I am planning to utilize an HP SB Z2 G4 Workstation- it is 8.5" X 8.5" X 2.3" and weighs 4.25lbs.

 

This will give me Windows 10 Pro, I7 9700 8-Core 9th Gen CPU, 1 TB Samsung Pro 970 NVMe, 64 Gigs Ram, Nvidia Quadro P1000

 

It would sit not far from the scope (less than 14' of cable run) in an environmentally controlled enclosure.

 

Power and other cabling from PC to scope would be delivered via a cable management arm that sits over the scope (looks like one of the arms at a self serve car wash that holds the hoses).

 

Remote monitoring I was planning on using windows native RDP with modifications to the registry to maximize throughput and minimize latency.

 

For the autofocuser I plan to use a Moonlite CR 2" Format Focuser with the high resolution stepper motor with Mini Controller V2- Mounted with their 14" Universal Installation Kit.

 

The camera is the sticking point- I noticed that ZWO cameras have a direct correlation between price and the diagonal size of the sensor- and resulting resolution.

 

While there are cameras that are $165k- (I have to be honest and admit that my marriage is not that strong... but then who's is?).

 

There are also camera's such as this one: ZWO ASI294MC for $1k... and then there is everything else in between.

 

After I select a camera.... what about filters? Light pollution filter, other filters to do different objects?

 

Gets a bit daunting quickly....




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