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M81 with a GT81

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#1 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 07:22 PM

A weekend night with clear skies? Unheard of!
 
Last night the skies cleared around 11pm, and I was ready to start imaging with my new GT81. I spent the first hour or so on Orion to make sure my guiding was good, my alignment was good, my plate solving was good, etc. Easy to do on such a bright target - if anything's wrong, that bright nebula isn't in frame wink.gif.
 
I slewed back to the north and targeted M81. After getting everything setup and ready to image it was about 12:30am. M81 was going to cross the meridian at around 2:00, so I set the intervalometer to take an hour's worth of exposures. That would give me plenty of time to get back out there, change the battery in the camera if necessary, do the meridian flip, plate solve and sync again. Once that was done, I took an additional 2 hours of lights.
 
I took my flats, brought everything into the garage, set the camera up to take an hour's worth of darks and went to bed.
 
Today, I processed that data. First thing I realized was the hour's data before the meridian flip wasn't usable. I hadn't plate solved - just slewed the mount. Note to self: make sure to plate solve every time LOL.
 
So, here's the result of 2 hours of integration:
 
M81 First Attempt

 
Here's the full size image on astrobin (click the image to get the details):
 
get.jpg?insecure 
 
I need a whole lot more integration time on this target. Also, I need to get a software-supported camera so I can start dithering... future upgrade smile.gif


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#2 DJL

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 08:06 PM

What exactly is wrong with the images you didn't plate solve? Do they overlap with the set after the meridian flip? You may be able to use them and crop to the place where they overlap.



#3 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 08:36 PM

What exactly is wrong with the images you didn't plate solve? Do they overlap with the set after the meridian flip? You may be able to use them and crop to the place where they overlap.

Wrong with them? Nothing other than M81 is near the edge of the frame. I might try registering them against the reference frame from my 2 hours to see if the result is salvageable. It's cloudy again tonight, so what else do I have to do? laugh.gif

 

OK... just took the raw, uncalibrated lights and registered/stacked to see how bad it would be...

 

Way outta line

Edited by jonnybravo0311, 17 January 2021 - 09:15 PM.

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#4 Mike in Rancho

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 09:07 PM

Nice one!  Must be something about M81/M82, as I chose that for first real light of a new telescope also.

 

But, you guys with all your automated guiding and plate solving - you don't even take a test shot and compare it against Stellarium?  I usually do several in case I want to nudge the FOV a certain way, and also get some test shots to decide where I want my ISO and exposure time.  Or both at the same time.  After that I feel pretty confident letting BYN go to town.



#5 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 09:25 PM

My problem is that I'm like half-automated... my camera (the G9) is pretty much unsupported. I'm also just getting started with guiding. So, what I do is a combination of using my laptop, my guide camera and scope, my G9  and the hand controller. My mistake last night was that I had just spent an hour or so on Orion... I had slewed and synced my mount, so I just assumed that everything would be good to go when I pointed it back north. Truth be told, I was cold and wanted to get inside to warm up a bit... so I wasn't as diligent as I should have been.


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#6 DJL

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 10:26 PM

I am trying to combine exposures I took a couple of months ago with more recent ones, and often the older images are rotated with respect to the recent images.

My ASIAIR Pro can slew to a named star, an entry in one of several catalogs, or RA / Dec coordinates. I go to the target in Stellarium, frame using the rectangle for my camera and lens combination, find what I want to be the center of the photo, which might be a non-named star, copy its RA and Dec into ASIAIR Pro, slew, take a test shot and try to determine how to change the rotation to what I had in Stellarium, then manually dial that into my telescope's rotator and take another test shot until it's where I want it.  I would like to find a better way to relate the telescope's rotator to the angle in Stellarium, but I think there are too many places where rotation can happen between the camera and the telescope for this to be reliable.



#7 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 10:37 PM

I am trying to combine exposures I took a couple of months ago with more recent ones, and often the older images are rotated with respect to the recent images.

My ASIAIR Pro can slew to a named star, an entry in one of several catalogs, or RA / Dec coordinates. I go to the target in Stellarium, frame using the rectangle for my camera and lens combination, find what I want to be the center of the photo, which might be a non-named star, copy its RA and Dec into ASIAIR Pro, slew, take a test shot and try to determine how to change the rotation to what I had in Stellarium, then manually dial that into my telescope's rotator and take another test shot until it's where I want it.  I would like to find a better way to relate the telescope's rotator to the angle in Stellarium, but I think there are too many places where rotation can happen between the camera and the telescope for this to be reliable.

With my G9 connected to the Flat 6AIII, setting the rotator on the flattener to the "0" position sets my camera to pretty much match exactly what the default 0 degree framing is in Stellarium. I haven't yet really played around with it too much as it's still very much all new territory for me smile.gif. Previously, I got the "0 degree" framing because my camera was bolted to the mount directly, and the only way my lens was rotating was if I was taking it off the camera LOL.


Edited by jonnybravo0311, 17 January 2021 - 10:38 PM.


#8 Mike in Rancho

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 05:32 AM

My problem is that I'm like half-automated... my camera (the G9) is pretty much unsupported. I'm also just getting started with guiding. So, what I do is a combination of using my laptop, my guide camera and scope, my G9  and the hand controller. My mistake last night was that I had just spent an hour or so on Orion... I had slewed and synced my mount, so I just assumed that everything would be good to go when I pointed it back north. Truth be told, I was cold and wanted to get inside to warm up a bit... so I wasn't as diligent as I should have been.

I can understand that.  I hate the cold!  Are you just using an intervalometer and SD card - no tethering software you can make work at all?

 

My first real digital camera was a Lumix.  Little 2.1mp deal with a Leica lens.  And my SLR (no "D") was a Minolta, so I guess I was into the off-brands myself.  Luckily when it was time to replace the Maxxum I picked up a D5300, not even thinking of AP at the time.  That said, it's a good thing the Backyard EOS guy made a Nikon version.  I don't know if there are enough G9's out there to warrant putting in a request?

 

I also won't mention that it's been like 87 here the past few days...no telescope cool-down time needed in the evenings!



#9 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 11:39 AM

I can understand that.  I hate the cold!  Are you just using an intervalometer and SD card - no tethering software you can make work at all?

 

My first real digital camera was a Lumix.  Little 2.1mp deal with a Leica lens.  And my SLR (no "D") was a Minolta, so I guess I was into the off-brands myself.  Luckily when it was time to replace the Maxxum I picked up a D5300, not even thinking of AP at the time.  That said, it's a good thing the Backyard EOS guy made a Nikon version.  I don't know if there are enough G9's out there to warrant putting in a request?

 

I also won't mention that it's been like 87 here the past few days...no telescope cool-down time needed in the evenings!

Yup... an intervalometer and the SD card. There was a guy who wrote an ASCOM driver for Lumix cameras. I've been in touch with him trying to get my G9 working with it. It "kind of" works - but I wouldn't trust it to actually run an imaging session. Basically, the way the driver works is that it spoofs the camera into thinking the driver is the Tether app. It connects to the G9's internal web server and sends commands to set ISO, shutter speed, open shutter, close shutter, download image, etc. It's actually a pretty neat little hack this guy put together. There are two major issues I have with it: 1) it only works if my camera and computer are both connected to the same network and 2) it only works with downscaled JPGs sent from camera to computer. The first one is out because the G9 can't see my home network from the bottom of my driveway. The second one... JPG. Sure, the RAW and JPG are stored on the camera's SD card... so not a huge deal...

 

I've also looked at the INDI drivers, but those just don't work. The camera is recognized as a GH5 and it connects... but there's no way to control the exposure using bulb mode. Also, every image that's produced is somehow corrupted and just an unrecognizable mess.

 

Ultimately, I'm going to end up purchasing a dedicated astro camera. Until then, I'll keep on doing my half-automated workflow of using my guide scope/cam to first do polar alignment with SharpCap, then using the guide scope/cam in NINA to plate solve and sync to my target. Once I'm pointed and centered, I use the guide scope/cam with PHD2 to guide. Then I take a few test exposures with the G9 and GT81 to ensure framing, etc are good. When I'm satisfied, I use the intervalometer to run the show on the G9.


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