Good Evening All,
Long time lurker and occasional poster, have learned much from this forum. Anyway, was a RI2 user for EAA and decided it was time to move up to a dedicated Astro CMOS camera. That said, I did a lot of research and decided to go with the ZWO ASI533MC-Pro. It arrived last Friday and as with any new astronomy purchase, the clouds have been unrelenting since then.
Even though I did the research on the what the jump to a dedicated astro camera requires, I am starting to see that there is a very serious learning curve ahead of me. Before going further, following is a list of my basic gear:
Celestron 8SE on Alt/Az mount that came with it
Motorized Focuser (Celestron)
Celestron f6.3 Reducer/Corrector
Celestron Wifi dongle
Celestron Aux Port Splitter
Dual 12V Deep-Cycle Batteries, Cables, Thousand Oaks Dew Heater Controller and DIY resistor ladder heaters, etc
When I used the RI2, the learning curve was reasonable but ungainly as to the necessary adjustments and compromises per image that were required. I will not miss this aspect of the RI2 but overall, it was/is a good introduction to EAA.
Now, I have a couple of questions as to the upcoming first-light with the ZWO camera. First, there is no way that the camera is going to clear the mount once the 105mm+ back distance I see mentioned is reached. I have seen forum member Donstim indicate the use of a diagonal in another thread along with the possible negatives that come with its use. For me though, the question I have is how does the diagonal fit into the back distance? Is the distance to include in the calcuation to the mirror center, the bottom of the mirror, etc?
Next, given I have installed a heater on my GSO diagonal, do I need to take it off to avoid introduction of unwanted thermals in the image train that might be picked up by the camera sensor?
Finally, digging into the SharpCap "Quick" as well as "Official" manuals, I am sensing that this is a significant learning process. If anyone has a plan on the immersion (the right word?) into the abyss of SC, I am all ears! I will be running the software on a new Asus ROG Zephrus G-14 laptop (AMD Ryzen 9 4000, 16 gig ram, 1 TB SSD, Nvidia GeForce 2060) and am certain it can run the program. But what about the other software that I use for mount control, Stellarium, ASCOM platform, etc? Do others use a separate PC or tablet to run all but Sharpcap and related imaging software? I also have a MS Surface Pro 7 and am thinking that it might be where I put the mount control programs and use it in tablet form. Thoughts, ideas?
I am sure that once I get into this new phase of EAA I will have more questions but I will start with these. Thanks in advance for you guidance and suggestions. By the way, with winter approaching, my ultimate goal is remote (inside the warm house) use of the new camera just in case it will have any bearing on your help.
Waiting For Clear Skies,