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Please Help With Final Decision

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#1 raylinds

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 08:39 AM

I am ready to pull the trigger on the purchase of an ASI294 Pro. I have done significant research, but just would like to see if there is something I may have overlooked.

 

My primary preference for observing is always going to be visual through an eyepiece, but some of the best viewing where I live is in the cold winter months. It can get pretty bitter here in New England and my aversion to cold makes long viewing sessions in those conditions unappealing, so EAA from my warm home seems like a great solution. It will also allow me to view some DSOs that the local LP may prevent. While I may dabble with AP, it is not a priority.

 

I think that camera and SharpCap Pro with my 9.25 Celestron on AVX mount and a .63 FR would serve me well, but I am open to other suggestions.

 

Thanks for your time.


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#2 garyhawkins

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 09:22 AM

This will make a fine EAA setup.  I use very similar equipment, AVX, C8 SCT, 0.63, 533MC and SharpCap. I would also recommend the free Cartes du Ciel and a plate solver.


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#3 GaryShaw

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 10:12 AM

Hi Ray

I totally support the 294 selection. Given your potential interest in AP, be sure to spring for the cooled version. Even for EAA, the cooled version will help minimize hot pixels and allow you to build a library of master darks ahead of time so you don’t have to do one every night. 

 

Regarding remote, inside, viewing, don’t underestimate the complexity of getting this set up. You’ll need adequate horsepower in your outdoor computer that’s connected to the mount and cameras (probably you’ll want to set up a digital finder) and you’ll need good wifi/bandwidth for managing the image transfers. I’d strongly recommend you search out posts by Noah4x4 on CN and follow his recommendations. There are also posts by cmooney91 and nic35 that are particularly helpful.

 

Here’s a quick list of issues you should be aware of:

- initial outdoor alignment of your AZ or EQ mount

- initial outdoor focusing followed by indoor focusing as temperature impacts focus

- cheaper options exist but consider a flexible Intel Nuc for your scope-side computer. 

- if you’re a Mac person, look into ASIstudio to see if that’s a viable option for observing for you in lieu of Sharpcap...I’m not sure that software is ready for prime time...others may comment

- Plan on what computer you’ll use to remote into the scopeside one and what software will establish a robust connection to scopeside 

- you’ll need to decide how you’ll drive the mount from inside and set the scopeside to have all the software needed. (I’m using Cartes do Ceil but this, as all programs like it, requires a fair amount of setting up to display things as you like them and to function correctly. 
- filter wheels make sense for remote observing and require a fair amount of setup to get the backfocus worked out on a Newtonian. It may be easier with your SCT.

 

Roughing out the list above reminded me of the 6+ months it took me to research and begin to figure out this stuff and I’m still in mid-stream working out my focus wheel and starting to research autofocusers. It’s worth it but don’t under-estimate what’s involved in doing remote observing.

Good luck!

Gary


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#4 nic35

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 11:13 AM

Your setup should work well.

 

For setting up a "remote" setup - scope outside freezing, you inside being warm - you might consider an ASIAir pro. A scope-side all-in-one gizmo that provides control over most everything you could want.  A far simpler (and somewhat cheaper) set-up than NUC's.  But less flexible.  It only works with ZWO cameras and some DSLR's - but not an issue for you. 

 

Unfortunately they are on backorder at present.

 

If I understand correctly, it gets driven from inside (in your case) by either a phone or tablet ( IOS or Android device), but not a PC (or Mac? - not an apple person).  If that is an issue for you, perhaps it works on an android emulator.  

 

I find my "remote" setup to be useful in New England summer also, to avoid bugs.  

 

A caution - given what you'll be able to see with this rig, your eyepiece collection may well gather dust.

 

Enjoy


Edited by nic35, 01 October 2020 - 11:14 AM.

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#5 raylinds

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 11:18 AM

This will make a fine EAA setup.  I use very similar equipment, AVX, C8 SCT, 0.63, 533MC and SharpCap. I would also recommend the free Cartes du Ciel and a plate solver.

Thanks- I already have All Sky Plate Solver integrated into SharpCap.



#6 raylinds

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 11:31 AM

Hi Ray

I totally support the 294 selection. Given your potential interest in AP, be sure to spring for the cooled version. Even for EAA, the cooled version will help minimize hot pixels and allow you to build a library of master darks ahead of time so you don’t have to do one every night. 

 

Regarding remote, inside, viewing, don’t underestimate the complexity of getting this set up. You’ll need adequate horsepower in your outdoor computer that’s connected to the mount and cameras (probably you’ll want to set up a digital finder) and you’ll need good wifi/bandwidth for managing the image transfers. I’d strongly recommend you search out posts by Noah4x4 on CN and follow his recommendations. There are also posts by cmooney91 and nic35 that are particularly helpful.

 

Here’s a quick list of issues you should be aware of:

- initial outdoor alignment of your AZ or EQ mount

- initial outdoor focusing followed by indoor focusing as temperature impacts focus

- cheaper options exist but consider a flexible Intel Nuc for your scope-side computer. 

- if you’re a Mac person, look into ASIstudio to see if that’s a viable option for observing for you in lieu of Sharpcap...I’m not sure that software is ready for prime time...others may comment

- Plan on what computer you’ll use to remote into the scopeside one and what software will establish a robust connection to scopeside 

- you’ll need to decide how you’ll drive the mount from inside and set the scopeside to have all the software needed. (I’m using Cartes do Ceil but this, as all programs like it, requires a fair amount of setting up to display things as you like them and to function correctly. 
- filter wheels make sense for remote observing and require a fair amount of setup to get the backfocus worked out on a Newtonian. It may be easier with your SCT.

 

Roughing out the list above reminded me of the 6+ months it took me to research and begin to figure out this stuff and I’m still in mid-stream working out my focus wheel and starting to research autofocusers. It’s worth it but don’t under-estimate what’s involved in doing remote observing.

Good luck!

Gary

I am definitely getting the cooled version of the ZWO. I will search for the posts you mentioned.

 

My scope is permanently mounted about ten feet from my planned observing "station" which is a glassed in section of the deck attached to the house (my tiki bar :)  with a nice big propane heater.  I am not planning to use WiFi, but will hardwire everything. I have a very powerful gaming laptop with a very fast I& processor and 32GB Ram and a powerful graphics card.  The plan is to use that to control scope and image.  It has an HDMI output for a second monitor that I plan to use for the images while using the laptop monitor for controls. I use Starry Night 8 Pro Plus to control scope.

 

I do have autofocus capabilities.



#7 raylinds

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 11:33 AM

Your setup should work well.

 

For setting up a "remote" setup - scope outside freezing, you inside being warm - you might consider an ASIAir pro. A scope-side all-in-one gizmo that provides control over most everything you could want.  A far simpler (and somewhat cheaper) set-up than NUC's.  But less flexible.  It only works with ZWO cameras and some DSLR's - but not an issue for you. 

 

Unfortunately they are on backorder at present.

 

If I understand correctly, it gets driven from inside (in your case) by either a phone or tablet ( IOS or Android device), but not a PC (or Mac? - not an apple person).  If that is an issue for you, perhaps it works on an android emulator.  

 

I find my "remote" setup to be useful in New England summer also, to avoid bugs.  

 

A caution - given what you'll be able to see with this rig, your eyepiece collection may well gather dust.

 

Enjoy

Thanks! Do you see any problems with this plan?

 

My scope is permanently mounted about ten feet from my planned observing "station" which is a glassed in section of the deck attached to the house (my tiki bar :)  with a nice big propane heater.  I am not planning to use WiFi, but will hardwire everything. I have a very powerful gaming laptop with a very fast I& processor and 32GB Ram and a powerful graphics card.  The plan is to use that to control scope and image.  It has an HDMI output for a second monitor that I plan to use for the images while using the laptop monitor for controls. I use Starry Night 8 Pro Plus to control scope.



#8 GazingOli

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 12:14 PM

+1 from me. I got a CPC800 and will get the uncooled ASI294 next week.

 

CS.Oli


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#9 alphatripleplus

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 02:54 PM

Thanks! Do you see any problems with this plan?

 

My scope is permanently mounted about ten feet from my planned observing "station" which is a glassed in section of the deck attached to the house (my tiki bar smile.gif  with a nice big propane heater.  I am not planning to use WiFi, but will hardwire everything. I have a very powerful gaming laptop with a very fast I& processor and 32GB Ram and a powerful graphics card.  The plan is to use that to control scope and image.  It has an HDMI output for a second monitor that I plan to use for the images while using the laptop monitor for controls. I use Starry Night 8 Pro Plus to control scope.

The only concern I would have is if  the scope is on the same wooden deck as your observing station. You may have issues with image motion during image capture from vibrations if you move around the deck while your camera is livestacking. If you are stationary and looking at a screen, I doubt that you will have a problem.


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#10 raylinds

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 03:12 PM

The only concern I would have is if  the scope is on the same wooden deck as your observing station. You may have issues with image motion during image capture from vibrations if you move around the deck while your camera is livestacking. If you are stationary and looking at a screen, I doubt that you will have a problem.

Very good point, I will need to be aware of any movement.


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#11 nic35

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 09:44 PM

Ray:

 

I see no issue with a hardwired setup.  At 10 feet you're not beyond and USB limits.  But a powered USB hub might solve any "wrinkles".

 

I'd suggest getting the cooled camera.  It makes flat management easier, and I suspect it enhances the resale value. You can't  add cooling afterwards !

 

j


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#12 raylinds

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 06:45 AM

Ray:

 

I see no issue with a hardwired setup.  At 10 feet you're not beyond and USB limits.  But a powered USB hub might solve any "wrinkles".

 

I'd suggest getting the cooled camera.  It makes flat management easier, and I suspect it enhances the resale value. You can't  add cooling afterwards !

 

j

Thanks,

The powered USB hub is a good idea- I will be ordering the cooled ASI 294 today.


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#13 Forward Scatter

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 09:41 AM

Thanks,

The powered USB hub is a good idea- I will be ordering the cooled ASI 294 today.

You won't regret that decision.

Be sure to share some of your images. We are looking forward to them.

 

Here's to some clear skies! waytogo.gif


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#14 alphatripleplus

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 11:25 AM

 

I think that camera and SharpCap Pro with my 9.25 Celestron on AVX mount and a .63 FR would serve me well, but I am open to other suggestions.

 

Thanks for your time.

 Just a comment on the EAA sofware - I have both SharpCap Pro and ASILive. For a GEM, like the AVX,  SharpCap Pro is a great value just for the Polar Alignment capability which is superfast and accurate. It has more bells and whistles for actual image capture and viewing than ASILive. At the moment, I use SharpCap for Polar Alginment and the integrated platesolving, but I still use ASILive for image capture and livestacking. ASILive is worth a try if you have a ZWO camera  - some prefer the simpler learning curve compared to SharpCap, while others prefer the more heavily featured SharpCap Pro. It is good to have two options.


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#15 alphatripleplus

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 12:37 PM

Also,  SharpCap Pro polar alignment with a camera is faster and more accurate than Celestron's ASPA  that you can use with the AVX. ( I've tried ASPA with a CGEM that I used to own).


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#16 raylinds

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 03:23 PM

 Just a comment on the EAA sofware - I have both SharpCap Pro and ASILive. For a GEM, like the AVX,  SharpCap Pro is a great value just for the Polar Alignment capability which is superfast and accurate. It has more bells and whistles for actual image capture and viewing than ASILive. At the moment, I use SharpCap for Polar Alginment and the integrated platesolving, but I still use ASILive for image capture and livestacking. ASILive is worth a try if you have a ZWO camera  - some prefer the simpler learning curve compared to SharpCap, while others prefer the more heavily featured SharpCap Pro. It is good to have two options.

Thanks- I've downloaded the ASI software and will give it a try.



#17 raylinds

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 03:24 PM

Also,  SharpCap Pro polar alignment with a camera is faster and more accurate than Celestron's ASPA  that you can use with the AVX. ( I've tried ASPA with a CGEM that I used to own).

Thanks. I have PoleMaster, but I may now end up selling it.



#18 alphatripleplus

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 07:37 AM

I should add that the free version of SharpCap will measure your PA error, but you would need the subscription version (SharpCap Pro) to get access to the iterative procedure for doing the adjustments for polar alignment - which is along the same lines of Polemaster.

 

I don't have a Polemaster, so for me the annual SharpCap Pro subscription is well worth it for the PA tool alone, but as you already have Polemaster it might be an additional consideration.


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#19 raylinds

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 09:31 AM

I should add that the free version of SharpCap will measure your PA error, but you would need the subscription version (SharpCap Pro) to get access to the iterative procedure for doing the adjustments for polar alignment - which is along the same lines of Polemaster.

 

I don't have a Polemaster, so for me the annual SharpCap Pro subscription is well worth it for the PA tool alone, but as you already have Polemaster it might be an additional consideration.

I got the subscription to SharpCap because of the additional features and I thought the price was reasonable and the developer should be supported for his efforts.


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#20 raylinds

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 03:11 PM

I ordered the ASI294 Pro yesterday morning and look what just arrived!

 

50413641537_1afec10f57_k.jpg

 

I also got a Baader Varilock to dial in the backfocus. The bad news is my laptop died, so I can't get this up and running yet.

 

Now I'm off to research the backfocus with a 6.3 FR.



#21 Forward Scatter

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 03:31 PM

I ordered the ASI294 Pro yesterday morning and look what just arrived!

50413641537_1afec10f57_k.jpg

I also got a Baader Varilock to dial in the backfocus. The bad news is my laptop died, so I can't get this up and running yet.

Now I'm off to research the backfocus with a 6.3 FR.


Congrats on the new acquisition!!!!
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#22 raylinds

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 04:25 PM

Congrats on the new acquisition!!!!

Thanks! I am very excited about this acquisition as I have been wanting to do EAA for years. Would love to set it up tonight, but my laptop died.  I have a powerful desktop I built for image processing that I decided to dedicate to the EAA, but I had to order a monitor for it that won't be here until tomorrow.  Naturally tonight will be the last clear night for days.

 

Oh well, that gives me a few days to set up everything right.



#23 alphatripleplus

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 05:00 PM

Congrats. You could set up indoors and connect to a desktop running SharpCap, just to test the basic features of the software with either the 294 focused on a distant object, or with one of the test camera options (without the 294 connected) in SharpCap. That way you can practice the software before you get a laptop for outside use.


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#24 GazingOli

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 05:10 PM

congratulations!

I ordered an uncooled ASI294 second hand and will get it next week.

 

Now I'm off to research the backfocus with a 6.3 FR.

have a look at this:
https://www.cloudyni...help/?p=9249182

 

We are not yet done but at least for the uncooled version I will present a solution ... unfortunately in about 10 days or so. I have to travel to Paris and Southern Italy next week.

 

CS.Oli


Edited by GazingOli, 03 October 2020 - 05:11 PM.

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#25 donstim

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 07:56 PM

congratulations!

I ordered an uncooled ASI294 second hand and will get it next week.

 

have a look at this:
https://www.cloudyni...help/?p=9249182

 

We are not yet done but at least for the uncooled version I will present a solution ... unfortunately in about 10 days or so. I have to travel to Paris and Southern Italy next week.

 

CS.Oli

Much better off with this one:  https://www.cloudyni...-focal-reducer/


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