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M51- Learning new skills.

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#1 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 16 April 2021 - 08:11 PM

M51
Skywatcher 102 Mak-cass f12.8 1300mm

Svbony 50mm Guidescope, QHY5IILC guide cam. 
75x4min @ iso 1600 T6s Modified, no filters, no FDB. Dithered after every 3rd.
Platesolved, PHD2 multistar, APT, Stellarium on iOptron CEM25p Mount.
Run remotely on mini PC.

Processed in Siril, and PS.

M51-result-002xsm.jpg

 

 

 


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#2 vidrazor

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Posted 16 April 2021 - 09:05 PM

Nice! I didn't think those scopes would be good for astrophotography.


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#3 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 16 April 2021 - 09:32 PM

Nice! I didn't think those scopes would be good for astrophotography.

I picked up a brand new one for 138.00 on some kind Factory Refurb. 

I have my 1990's Ext 90mm, but has been modified with JB Weld and didn't want to chance it with what I wanted to do.

The MakCass is a very reliable scope design, they are just really slow optic, which isn't optimal.  However, night before last was first light and was amazed at the clarity.  As long long as you are guiding accurately and don't mind spending some time, they are well worth it. 

Going to hunt planets in the summer lol

Thank you !! 
Clear Skies !!



#4 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 16 April 2021 - 10:50 PM

Tonight is M106, we'll see how that goes...



#5 vidrazor

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Posted 16 April 2021 - 11:35 PM

Any more refurbs, or was that the only one? Decent price for that scope.


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#6 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 16 April 2021 - 11:43 PM

Any more refurbs, or was that the only one? Decent price for that scope.

I'm not sure, it came up on my Amazon feed, I was looking for a new back plate, and the 102 came up, and underneath the price, it said "other sellers from 138.00" I clicked on it, and it showed me Amazon Factory outlet, and showed refurb.  So I snapped it up, Came with everything in a box, in a canvas bag, and seal not even broken, but the original box was pretty beat up. Scope and everything is pretty much new, I will collimate later as it seems a bit off.. 

 

Cheapest I found was OPT for 265, and I don't know if that is one of the good ones or not.
Good ones have easily accessible collimation screws, some of the newer ones are just permanently seated.

 

Capturing m106 at the moment. 

2021-04-16_214059.jpg


Edited by galacticinsomnia, 16 April 2021 - 11:50 PM.


#7 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 17 April 2021 - 02:03 AM

Are you using the latest version of APT? I did not upgrade yet, i have a licence, but as i had no issues with the 3.82 version i did not bother to upgrade...


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#8 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 17 April 2021 - 02:43 AM

Are you using the latest version of APT? I did not upgrade yet, i have a licence, but as i had no issues with the 3.82 version i did not bother to upgrade...

I'm registered also and am on 3.87.  Its been really stable for me.  I do have an issue when I leave the pointcraft module open.  I don't think the software likes it being open through a whole session.

I am really loving APT and the pointcraft has been really reliable and a real big help when it comes to getting to objects that are otherwise really a challenge.

Thank you !! 

Clear Skies!!



#9 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 17 April 2021 - 06:20 AM

Pointcraft...? Don't know that..guess i will have to check the latest version out...in a test environment before i move it in productiongrin.gif

 

But i like APT too, i works really well for me...


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#10 limeyx

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Posted 17 April 2021 - 12:50 PM

Pointcraft...? Don't know that..guess i will have to check the latest version out...in a test environment before i move it in productiongrin.gif

 

But i like APT too, i works really well for me...

Pointcraft is the APT plate-solver. You dont need the latest for it. 


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#11 boxcorner

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Posted 17 April 2021 - 02:04 PM

Beautiful image.


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#12 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 17 April 2021 - 08:35 PM

Beautiful image.

Thank you !  Moving slow but sure.. :)

Clear Skies !!



#13 BQ Octantis

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Posted 17 April 2021 - 09:08 PM

Very nice detail on the galactic arms, but the highlights are blown out (including the core of the galaxy). I suspect it's from 4-min subs at ISO1600 (no way to tell without inspecting a raw sub). If you shoot some shorter subs (~30-60 sec), you can probably recover all of the galactic core and most of the stars.

 

BQ


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#14 Jeffmar

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Posted 19 April 2021 - 09:52 PM

Nice! I didn't think those scopes would be good for astrophotography.

It really is a great looking photo and I would have said the same thing about Maks. One good photo is worth more than a few hundred, armchair astronomer, opinions.grin.gif


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#15 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 19 April 2021 - 11:33 PM

Very nice detail on the galactic arms, but the highlights are blown out (including the core of the galaxy). I suspect it's from 4-min subs at ISO1600 (no way to tell without inspecting a raw sub). If you shoot some shorter subs (~30-60 sec), you can probably recover all of the galactic core and most of the stars.

 

BQ

I'm sure I pushed stretched it a bit far in Siril and the non selective use of the Clarity setting ACR was partly to blame.

Would like to get better at processing, but memory eludes me no matter how much I write down. 

Thank you for the constructive comments :)

Clear Skies !!

 



#16 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 19 April 2021 - 11:47 PM

It really is a great looking photo and I would have said the same thing about Maks. One good photo is worth more than a few hundred, armchair astronomer, opinions.grin.gif

I'm most certainly not upset about $138.00 for this scope. 

Get a better collimation, and better, tracking, and better focus, and just keep moving on to capturing more photons :)

Thank you !!

Clear Skies !!



#17 asanmax

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 01:00 AM

Holy smokes, F/12.8! You pulled out some really nice details!

The mini PC you use, can you please provide a bit more details? How is everything connected? I guess you just operate the rig remotely via RDP or a similar tool?



#18 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 01:55 AM

Hey thanks. .. 

I use an ACEpc, but is made by other sellers.
ACEPC Mini PC, Intel Core i5-5257U Mini Computer 8GB RAM/128GB ROM Windows 10 Pro 4K Micro Desktop Computer Support Triple Display, 2.5’’ SSD /6 USB Ports/ RS232 COM/WiFi/2 LAN

I have upgraded the drive to 500gb.  This unit is ASTO only and just started to save images to the local drive and the SD card in case there is an issue with one or the other.  A bit of redundancy.

Connected to this is:
1-iOptron CEM25P Connected via iOptron Commander and Ascom to the RS232 interface on the miniPC.
1-Qhy5IILC connected via a usb-2 port on the MiniPC.  Both WDM and Ascom Drivers Installed.
1-Canon T6s connected via USB-3 Port on miniPC

On the Windows 10 miniPC
Running VNC server.  I put free clients on any device I want to connect with.
I have one AC Wifi acting as a hotspot for direct connection when I am out the scope.
I have one Ethernet Cable that runs to the house hardwired (Not necessary, but I like it hardwire)

 

Astrophotography Tool - Interfaces the sessions and is the middleware or controller for the sessions (APT).

Astap is installed
Platesolve 2 is installed.

PHD2 Beta Mutlti Star tracking installed.
Dithering is enabled random x1  and APT is set to 10pixels.

Stellarium is Installed, and Server mode is activated to control the mount and communicate directly with APT.
When APT GOTO another object, the object is framed in Stellarium.  If I pick an object in Stellarium, the mount moves to the object

and is reflected in APT.

So, basically, I drag my set up to one of two locations that I have pre-marked on the sidewalk or in the backyard. 
I made marks after successful set up, because I am disabled, and makes set up easier and polar alignment close to how it was the last time :)

I polar align.
I Slew to Arcturus or Vega, or Beetlejuice :p , and focus. 

Once focus is done, I keep a session of ISO 6400 and 5 seconds, which I use to to do a platesolve where ever I took my star focus from and from there is sends the coordinates to APT in Pointcraft, I can start up stellarium or use the object in APT to GOTO my objects and they are platesolved automagically and framed to center.

I don't change things out too often so everything is pretty consistant which helps me when there is a problem. 

Hope this helps with a rundown of what is happening and what I have been doing. 

I can connect and monitor from any device in the house or out of the house if I choose, make changes, and watch the pretty graphs lol
Makes me feel like the Movie contact sitting at Aricebo

Most of my stuff started as being hacked together, but I think the kit is quite functional and powered by just one power brick and my longest run has been 12 hours straight and still had half a battery.

Clear skies are bliss, and I wish them for everyone.

Clear Skies !!

 

 



#19 asanmax

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 10:12 AM

That's a cool setup you have. Thanks for the detailed response.

Another question though. When you're around the scope, do you use a tablet to "see" the screen?

Also, is the PC sitting on the scope or on the mount? Just wondering about cable management.


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#20 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 03:07 PM

That's a cool setup you have. Thanks for the detailed response.

Another question though. When you're around the scope, do you use a tablet to "see" the screen?

Also, is the PC sitting on the scope or on the mount? Just wondering about cable management.

Yes exactly.  The reason I use the wifi hotspot is that it turns my tablet into a monitor, keyboard, mouse to control the miniPC when I log use it's wifi hotspot and start the vnc client.

The cables are all run to a central point in the middle of the mount, and feed down the west side where the mini PC resides always connected to the mount, currently with some bungy cords.

Cable management took me a bit.  Keep the minipc low in the front of the mount, out of the way.  Keeping cables running on the west, seems to provide the best and free movement.  I have a twisted metal hanger I cut and screwed to the base of the dovetail that makes it so I can place the cables where I see fit.  I keep and extra USB cable at the end to facilitate a different guide scope or other device.

Developed-toJPG-IMG_2021-04-20 12-59-55sm.jpg

I know a lot of folks love using those Pi controlled units, but since last July, this unit has run solid, no hiccups, no config probems, everything has just been great, and for a beginner, disabled first timer, this has been the shortest distance to successful imaging.

Been a lurker here for a really really long time, just didn't want to sign up until I had my stuff together, the forums helped me make a plan 

Kudos !

Clear Skies !!


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#21 asanmax

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 04:38 PM

Nice. Adding those bubble levels is a smart idea that I am going to borrow :) 


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#22 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 04:42 PM

Nice. Adding those bubble levels is a smart idea that I am going to borrow smile.gif

Hey thanks.  :)  I used some UV resin to put them in place.  The first time was contact cement, that didn't last long and required me to shorten the length by grinding the sides off the bubble levels.  It's a really cheap mod that helps a lot with PA.
Did the same thing on my Skyguider pro.

Clear Skies !



#23 EPinNC

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 03:28 PM

What a fantastic image!  This particular photo is very encouraging to me, because I have an Orion Apex 102 Mak which seems to be basically the same instrument.  I have an equatorial mount on order and I'm hoping to achieve something about 10% as good as your photo. bow.gif

 

Thanks for sharing!


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#24 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 03:59 PM

What a fantastic image!  This particular photo is very encouraging to me, because I have an Orion Apex 102 Mak which seems to be basically the same instrument.  I have an equatorial mount on order and I'm hoping to achieve something about 10% as good as your photo. bow.gif

 

Thanks for sharing!

Wow thank you.. Appreciate that. smile.gif

What mount are you getting or have ordered.?

I started to collimate the scope yesterday and found the back end, whole focuser/mirror assembly to be very wobbly, so I am collimating today, and am glad there are adjustment screws and instructions on how to do that. 

Hoping for clear skies to get out again, but collimation is first. 

The Orion is a good scope and I think you are right about them being pretty much the same, probobly another synta product (guessing). 
The Orion does have the same collimation screws in the back which is a nice plus.  The kits come with a scope without collimation screws which really stinks.

Here is the proper link for collimation if ever needed.  Not a first step, even out of collimation you can still get great images, they just have flaws..
https://smallscopefo...casscollim1.pdf

Here is a moon shot taken before I started my collimation adjustments. 

Developed-IMG_2021-04-23-10-12-07sm.jpg

Clear Skies !!

 


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#25 EPinNC

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 07:16 AM

I'm getting an Orion AstroView EQ kit with the motor.  Not top-of-the-line, but I'm hopeful that it's a good basic mount.  Telescope with DSLR attached weighs about 7 pounds, so it should be decently stable for the 12-pound rating.  It's supposed to be shipped today, so cue the obligatory two weeks of cloudy skies!

In any case, it should be a big improvement over my current setup.

Thanks for the collimation PDF!  I got a similar document directly from Orion, and I've actually done one minor collimation.  The scope was aligned very well out of the box, but after a while I noticed a slight asymmetry in out-of-focus star images, so I tried to fix that.  One thing I have to watch out for is slight play in the telescope/T-ring/camera connection.  If all of that is not tight, then it seems like I can get a bit of misalignment there.

That moon shot is stunning!  In visual use, my Apex 102 is similarly sharp, but I have not been able to get photos quite as sharp as yours.  I think it has a lot to do with vibration in my crude tripod setup, even with fast shutter speeds.  Hoping for better results with something more stable.

Thanks again for your inspiration!  I'm very optimistic!

I hope you have more clear skies!


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