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New setup EAA session - Nirvana found!

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#1 nicknacknock

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 09:54 AM

First a shoutout to davidparks for posting this and getting me interested, then kindly answering all my queries! 

 

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Been too lazy to setup my Celestron AVX and 6" RC and laptop for EAA, so I ended up with a Celestron C5 on the AZ GT1 in EQ configuration, tied to the ASIAir Pro, ZWO ASI533MCPro  and a generic GSO 2" 0.50x reducer, with SkySafari connected with the scope and running in the background. The nice thing about the reducer is that you can change spacing and change focal lengths, plus flats fix any issues with field curvature nicely.

 

It took about 4 minutes to setup, including setting up my recliner chair and grabbing some coffee, 30 seconds to power up, a minute to focus, 2 minutes 15 seconds to polar align, 100 seconds to take darks, 10 seconds for flats and 10 seconds for bias and I was up and running. Rest of the evening was spent in a tranquil state on my chair, hopping from object to object. Stacks were between 10 (minimum) and 20 (maximum), Gain set at 300 and cooling at -5°C.

 

While I love traditional observing through some glass, I also love EAA for the additional wealth of information it provides and a great alternative to glass, both practices complementing each other. Excluding the camera which is a tad expensive, this setup is quite cheapish and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get maximum "juice" from a minimal and relatively inexpensive setup.

 

Location was by a dam and the "work" took place from 21:30 to 23:30 on Friday. Silly me, I did not charge my Celestron LiFePO4 (it was at about 60%), so I ran out of power tat 23:30, but I was about to pack in anyway. Lesson learned, as camera fan is a gas guzzler!  Scope was running at about 920mm or so focal length, which puts me at roughly f7.25 and I have used it at home at shorter focal length by adding more spacing between camera and reducer.

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  • Location.jpg
  • Setup.jpg

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#2 nicknacknock

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 09:55 AM

Some of the objects viewed: M8, M13, M16, M17, M20

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  • M8.JPG
  • M13.JPG
  • M16.JPG
  • M17.JPG
  • M20.JPG

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#3 nicknacknock

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 09:58 AM

Also M51 and M101, NGC6888 (Crescent) and a screen shot from my iPhone of what was showing up when I zoomed in on my iPad to check out the Pillars of Creation up close.

 

To say that I am pleased with the system performance is an understatement. Yes, more darks would be better and maybe I will invest an additional 100 seconds to get to 20 darks, yes, I could do some more work on focusing (I do have a Bachtinov mask which I should use), but that's just about it. I have a system I can use from f4.5 to f10, that responds very well to flats and the combination of ASI533 and GSO 2" 0.5x reducer and I feel that this is as far as aperture and size I am willing to contemplate carrying around!

Attached Thumbnails

  • M51.JPG
  • M101.JPG
  • NGC6888.JPG
  • Pillars of Creation.jpg

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#4 nicknacknock

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 10:04 AM

Yesterday I switched the setup to 5G and connected the AZ GTI with a cable (AZ GTi only runs on 2.4) and I got me one of those nifty TPLink extenders to connect to the setup. I was pondering motorizing the focuser, but probably unnecessary and I will keep as is to keep weight down. Eager to go about it again next weekend, but for anyone contemplating EAA, or practicing EAA with say SharpCap (which I used in the past), using the ASIAir Pro simplifies and elevates the experience a lot!

 

Things to improve on ASIAir Pro: Adding a denoise algorithm, contrast and saturation controls, just to help with seeing that little bit more. Just like any smartphone image processing options - nothing overtly complicated, but something that works well enough to enhance live viewing even more :)


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#5 tjschultz2011

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 10:11 AM

Looks pretty cool! Thanks for sharing. I'd like to have a setup like that sometime.


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#6 nicknacknock

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 10:15 AM

Classifieds are your best friend. You can score a C5 and AZ GTi and reducer at excellent prices. Stock tripod of AZ GTi will not do, but there are plenty of options out there. ASIAir Pro is not prohibitively expensive and a power solution again, the same. Camera, classifieds again to score something at a decent price. 

 

The views compete with a 10" Dob based on past experience and are in color too - and I have not pushed this setup to do more stacks. It's just nice to have alternative means to observe. And given how dark sites are being constantly encroached on by light pollution, we must adapt.

 

Next time I am eager to try out the ZWO Duoband filter and see how that one does!



#7 Forward Scatter

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 10:16 AM

Outstanding, Nick!!

 

dalek12.gif


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#8 alphatripleplus

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 02:47 PM

Very nice, Nick. Just curious - What adapters did you use to incorporate the GSO 2" 0.5x reducer in the imaging train? I assume you needed something like a SCT thread-to-2" adapter to attach  the front of the reducer to the scope, and a 2"-to-T-thread adapter to attach the rear of the reducer to the camera? Thanks.



#9 Astrojedi

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 05:40 PM

Nicely done Nick. That is an excellent and very portable EAA setup. Great images. While I still enjoy glass views and fighting it out with all the challenges visual observing brings, nothing like kicking back and letting the universe come to you once in a while.


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#10 mclewis1

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 06:57 PM

Yes, very nice Nick,

 

Just a comment about power consumption. It's actually not the fan that's the power hog, it's the Pelltier cooler (the part that gets cold inside the camera) that's drawing the most amperage.


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#11 nicknacknock

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 12:09 AM

Very nice, Nick. Just curious - What adapters did you use to incorporate the GSO 2" 0.5x reducer in the imaging train? I assume you needed something like a SCT thread-to-2" adapter to attach  the front of the reducer to the scope, and a 2"-to-T-thread adapter to attach the rear of the reducer to the camera? Thanks.

GSO reducer threads directly to the ZWO extensions. I changed the visual back of my SCT to a 2" with the addition of a SCT to 2" adapter smile.gif

 

EDIT: I was all gung-ho about getting the Night Owl 0.4x reducer, but I will pass, thank you. System works just fine with the GSO reducer and if I want further reduction for wide field stuff, I do have a Borg 76 achro, which I can pair with a GSO 0.6x reducer tested it already) and be down to 300mm focal length, for use with narrowband filters and a much wider FOV than I could possibly get with the SCT, about 2.16° x 2.16° with the ASI533


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#12 nicknacknock

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 12:10 AM

Yes, very nice Nick,

 

Just a comment about power consumption. It's actually not the fan that's the power hog, it's the Pelltier cooler (the part that gets cold inside the camera) that's drawing the most amperage.

Agreed, I just typed a generic thing re fan, but you are right. 

 

Lesson learned: fully charge power pack prior to going out!



#13 nicknacknock

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 12:12 AM

Nicely done Nick. That is an excellent and very portable EAA setup. Great images. While I still enjoy glass views and fighting it out with all the challenges visual observing brings, nothing like kicking back and letting the universe come to you once in a while.

Thanks much! Also eminently usable at f5 but the image scale is kind of small.

 

I did not expect flats to take care of the issue of field curvature so well at 920mm focal length, now I need to test at 630mm thereabouts :)



#14 nicknacknock

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 12:24 AM

I will note that the mount is close to its limits for the weight and focal length used. So, took measures to correct that by swapping tripods. Instead of my Gitzo Series 5, I shifted to the Avalon TPod-90 which should provide for more stability. There were some small gusts of wind which did cause some stacks to fail, so addressing the weak link in the chain. 



#15 davidparks

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Posted 11 August 2020 - 11:02 PM

Wonderful post Nick!  In my opinion the size and weight of the C5 is in the sweet spot for portability...  yes you can transport just about anything... but not everything is simply portable waytogo.gif  A perfect match for the equally portable AZGTi.  The C5 offers a great aperture size for detail, focal length for planetary, and reduction for mid-sized targets... very versatile.

 

Manually focusing this rig with the Bahtinov and ASIAIR is definitely the way go, it's quick and easy, and the C5 reaches ambient temperature fairly fast, so generally speaking, once you've set the focus you don't need to tweak it much... unless temperatures wildy fluctuate in your corner of the world.

 

The ASI533MC Pro is also a very well matched camera for this setup.  Many folks start with a 224, 385, or other small sensor, which is fine for starting (I did too), but the 533 or 183 make the C5 experience so much more (even though this is the most expensive piece of the setup, it's very much worth it)

 

Great EAA Pics, and the Duoband should make the Cresent (and that whole Sadr region) really nice waytogo.gif  Thanks for sharing!


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#16 nicknacknock

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 12:04 AM

Thanks David (for spending my money!) laugh.gif

 

It's such a great little setup and I will even try it at f4 to see how it performs. Hopefully if weather cooperates, I'll be at it this weekend :)


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