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mobile imagers vs backyard obsevatories

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#1 kbastro

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 11:08 PM

I don't know but does it seem certain companies cater more to the "fixed" imager than a mobile one?

 

AP has certain software APCC pro that is geared for the homeboy,,, and yet you ask them to program a 3 star alignment into their hand control/software and you can hear the crickets in the back ground.... no answer.....

 

Bisque is no better....

 

etc...

 

Yet statistically mobile imagers should out number fixed observatories,, by looking at local star parties and talking to folks whom 90% admit they travel to their fav imaging spot,,,

 

so general question,,, are you mobile or fixed to an observatory/roll-off for your imaging needs?

 

kb

 



#2 Jim Waters

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 11:10 PM

Mobile - About 6 different sites or locations.


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#3 ICit2

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 11:11 PM

The great outdoors for me. And QHY's PoleMaster for a dead on PA in under 8 minutes. 


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#4 wrnchhead

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 11:16 PM

Mobile. Using polar scope, aligned within 1 minute, guiding at >.50 20\minute exposures no problem. 

 

But I haven't done a star alignment in ages, is that related to being mobile?



#5 APshooter

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 11:36 PM

Fixed.



#6 rgsalinger

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 11:36 PM

This is an odd argument. If one has an AP1100, then install a RAPAS and then you will be polar aligned within 5 minutes of the time you can locate Polaris in the RAPAS. Then just run a single sync and that's that. If you have a big SCT shim it so that you get rid of any cone error. Now you don't need a multi star alignment. Worked fine for me.  

 

With a Paramount you run an accurate polar alignment (if you don't have a polemaster) and then a small TPoint model between sundown and the end of astronomical twilight. The only difference is that a Paramount needs some kind of computer on which to run the SKYX. However, that can be a iPad if you have he wisky board installed in the mount. 

 

You may not like the prices but it's easy to use an MYT or an AP1100 as a portable mount.

 

Right now my systems are in an observatory. 


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#7 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 11:48 PM

100% mobile.  Too many trees at home to image, so the scope is on a trolley that I wheel across the street to a neighbor's driveway (with their permission, of course).  Also (once upon a time) at Star Parties, after the crowds have thinned out.


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#8 Alex McConahay

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 12:01 AM

>>>>>and yet you ask them to program a 3 star alignment into their hand control/software

 

Why do you need a 3 star alignment?

 

ALex



#9 bobzeq25

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 12:35 AM

Fixed.  The old man is pretty much incapable of the overall physical effort (packing up, taking the stuff out of the car and setting up, imaging, tearing down and loading up the car, driving home) of mobile.  I do a bit of mobile with camera tracker, camera, lens.

 

Just setting up and tearing down in my backyard was getting to be a bit much.  And I hadn't setup remote imaging, so I was out there in the cold a lot.

 

If I hadn't built the observatory, I doubt I'd still be imaging.


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#10 Midnight Dan

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 07:57 AM

Fixed observatory.

 

-Dan



#11 Huangdi

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 08:06 AM

Mobile. Nothing beats dark skies!
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#12 sn2006gy

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 08:22 AM

I've found mobile imaging infuriating. I live in Texas. Home of private property. State parks are restricted so much right now you can't stay late like you used to without camping permits and camping permits are like winning the lotto. The club property is a bit of a drive and you have to request permission or notify of access and there are only soo many weekends i can leave the family and go play in the dark and only so many times i can yell at my kids to watch out for scorpions and ninja cows if they come with (they just end up on their ipad/iphone in the car anyway). 

 

The one time I found a dark road that was abandoned (clearly not in use) I was approached by a neighboring farmer with his shotgun at his side and just told to go home... it would have been perfect otherwise. I asked if i could get permission and he just saw me out.. it was a labeled road with city markers on it.

 

I love star parties... but if i only imaged at star parties i'd never image.

 

So in my backyard it is.

 

Anyone know of any land owners near austin out west of the light domes that i can get permission from?

 

Just for comparison, i have friends outside the US that park on a back country road, set up and sleep in their car without a worry... I just don't feel safe doing that here in the US. My gear would be gone and my windows smashed or the police would harass me or i'd get a tresspassing or parking violation or something absurd...


Edited by sn2006gy, 23 September 2020 - 08:36 AM.

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#13 kathyastro

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 08:25 AM

Fixed.  We chose the location for our home based on the dark skies.  I like my Zs, so it is fully automated.



#14 Astrola72

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 08:34 AM

Fixed. What Bob said.

 

Joe


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#15 lakeorion

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 08:37 AM

I'm 'mobile' but if I'm not feeling energetic the 'mobile' is carrying a complete telescope/camera/mount/tripod 30 feet from garage to driveway. That way I get the worst of both worlds. Bad light pollution at home and the requirement of redoing polar alignment and sitting out in the mosquitoes or cold.

 

If I am energetic, it's usually a half hour drive to a county park (club observatory). This doesn't change the sky much, but eliminates the direct lighting - neighborhood porch light and cars driving by.

 

My hardware is optimized for setup / teardown. The scope / camera / guider / focuser / dew heater / USB hub ride together and connect with two cables, USB and 12V. The mount breaks in to two sections, head and tripod. That with a laptop and battery box is it... Oh, a chair and table. All fits in the back of a two door Wrangler.


Edited by lakeorion, 24 September 2020 - 08:00 AM.

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#16 Madratter

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 08:39 AM

I agree with Ross. While I have an observatory, there is nothing very difficult about using a MyT in a mobile fashion other than perhaps the odd power requirements and there are solutions for that.



#17 2ghouls

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 09:26 AM

Mobile. I haven't bothered with star alignment in a couple years since I got platesolving working very reliably. I would go fixed if I owned property in a reasonably dark place.



#18 ICit2

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 03:47 PM

I've found mobile imaging infuriating. I live in Texas. Home of private property. State parks are restricted so much right now you can't stay late like you used to without camping permits and camping permits are like winning the lotto. The club property is a bit of a drive and you have to request permission or notify of access and there are only soo many weekends i can leave the family and go play in the dark and only so many times i can yell at my kids to watch out for scorpions and ninja cows if they come with (they just end up on their ipad/iphone in the car anyway). 

 

The one time I found a dark road that was abandoned (clearly not in use) I was approached by a neighboring farmer with his shotgun at his side and just told to go home... it would have been perfect otherwise. I asked if i could get permission and he just saw me out.. it was a labeled road with city markers on it.

 

I love star parties... but if i only imaged at star parties i'd never image.

 

So in my backyard it is.

 

Anyone know of any land owners near austin out west of the light domes that i can get permission from?

 

Just for comparison, i have friends outside the US that park on a back country road, set up and sleep in their car without a worry... I just don't feel safe doing that here in the US. My gear would be gone and my windows smashed or the police would harass me or i'd get a tresspassing or parking violation or something absurd...

It's messed up how some folks get so territorial and try to run others off property that's not even theirs.  But it might do to check with the county and verify if indeed the road is public access.  If it is, get something on paper showing that.  Then try again.  If he shows up, politely show him the documentation.  Dark skies are hard to come by so it might be worth the effort.

 

Here in South Dakota, our club uses a dead end road on occasion similar to the one you describe.  We set up about 25 yards off the shoulder on a rocky patch of ground the local rancher doesn't use.  He's totally cool with that.  Even stopped by a time or two to shoot the bull.  When I was out there during the Mercury Transit he stopped by and we talked for nearly and hour.  Then he pointed out a private road off in the distance and said he owned that too.  And if I wanted I could set up there also.  Hell of a guy. Which go's to prove not everybody is an A-hole.


Edited by ICit2, 23 September 2020 - 03:48 PM.

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#19 TimN

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 03:54 PM

Fixed - for the reasons Bob mentioned. When you are young you have the choice. At my age - 73 - its fixed or nothing.


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#20 OhmEye

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 04:01 PM

Fixed. Because I'm busy and live in bortle 3. It's on a dolly I can technically travel with but never have. I don't even roll it back into the garage much, just leave it out with a 365 cover on it. Because I'm busy.

 

Did I mention I'm busy? I'd cut down some trees and build an observatory, but as I said... busy.

 

s/busy/lazy :)



#21 RandomJoe

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 04:24 PM

Not much clear sky at home, so mobile.  Haven't done a 3-star alignment in a LONG time.  

 

I have never even plugged the hand controller in to my EQ6-R, just do polar alignment with a PoleMaster, then slew to a target and do "Solve and Sync" in the imaging software.  

 

I have to do some sort of alignment on the AVX hand controller, but it too is quick-and-easy now.  PoleMaster alignment, then turn on mount and pick "1-star alignment".  Let it slew to whatever star it wants, hit Align.  (I don't even look to see if it's centered!)  Then plug in computer and do "Solve and Sync" in the imaging software.

 

The only time I haven't been able to Solve and Sync was when using wide camera lenses (such as 16mm fl) but then I don't really care about precision with slewing, I'll just take an image and bump it a bit if it isn't quite centered where I want it.



#22 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 04:32 PM

I have to do some sort of alignment on the AVX hand controller, but it too is quick-and-easy now.  PoleMaster alignment, then turn on mount and pick "1-star alignment".  Let it slew to whatever star it wants, hit Align.  (I don't even look to see if it's centered!) 

Instead of 1-star alignment, pick "Quick Align" and skip the slew and fake alignment that you are doing.  No alignment necessary, instantly ready for a "plate solve to target" action.


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#23 JMW

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 04:33 PM

I image more remotely but only at multi night star parties like GSSP or OSP where the gear can stay setup for 4-7 nights. It isn't worth it to drag all the gear out for a one nighter.

 

I do EAA at home and some light imaging but the light pollution is so bad that I don't bother with a lot of post processing. I have done Ha mono chrome imaging at home with better success.

 

I recently started using the ASIAIR Pro and find that the easy use of plate solving makes target centering very easy. I am so well polar aligned at home that guiding is optional when using a refractor. I do auto guide when using my f/4 10 inch newtonian.


Edited by JMW, 23 September 2020 - 04:54 PM.

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#24 Stelios

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 07:00 PM

Mobile. I'm 72, and it almost feels like being young again to pack the minivan, drive 1.5 hours to a dark site (fortunately *reasonably* secure), unpack, image, and sleep (with interruptions) in the car (COVID-19 days...) then roll up mattress in the AM, disassemble and pack, and drive another 1.5 hours back.

 

But the alternative would be not to image. Backyard is not an option due to the house and the giant neighbors' trees. I would get max 2-3 hours per night on *select* objects in Bortle 8 skies. Not worth it. 

 

I hope that I can keep doing this for another four years till my wife retires and we can move (likely to Florida) where I'll try to find a Bortle 6 site not too far from the city and build a ROR observatory.


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#25 jgraham

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 07:04 PM

Mobile-ish. I do all of my imaging from my backyard. No observatory, I set up and tear down every time unless we get a string of clear nights (very rare). I control my gear from inside my house using Starry Night Pro.


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