Hello, I am hoping that I am at the right place, because I really need help.
After couple of months of unguided astrophotography (I am a true beginner, learning on her own), I am stuck when trying to guide to do longer exposures, and I am about to loose it. I am hoping somebody can offer advice.
First, my EQUIPMENT:
- telescope: Sky watcher Evostar 100 ED
- Mount: Skywatcher EQ35 pro
- Camera: ZWO ASI 183GT
- Guide camera: ZWO ASI 174 mini
- Guider: ZWO OAG
- connection is direct from ASI AIR pro to the mount with an ST4 cable, thus bypassing the Hand Controller.
- Lately I have also tried an EQMod cable described to work both in Mac and Windows (and downloaded the driver, plus discovered the port)
second, my PROBLEM (I):
- I can take fairly good pics of DSOs with the above set up, but with the ASI AIR pro, and guiding with it I can get at most 120 sec frames, and the guiding is awful.
- My dec is continuously oscillating in large steps (more than 4 arc/sec steps) plus drifting until I cannot longer see the trace. My DEC trace has fairly low oscillations, but again, it drifts, until disappearing from the graph. DEC and RA traces are orthogonal when I can see them both.
- I have tried adjusting the aggressiveness (every time waiting about 50 readings before changing and the changes are small (5% at the time). I have settled at 25% for RA and 20% for DEC, although with this I still get wild oscillations in RA
- I have tried to play with the guiding speed; 0.75 helps; longer exposures ( 5 sec as opposed to 2 sec) also seem to help, but not for long
- I do not have the ability to change the binning with ASI AIR pro (as far as I know; please illuminate me if there is), which I have read could improve guiding by increasing it.
- I have also played with the gain of the guider camera, up to max, to no avail.
- I have also calibrated the guiding with a star between the north pole and the horizon (and in this I also have doubts...sometimes it seems there are too many steps >50....I need to read more about this, but it seems excessive (??)
- The above is all in the presence of guiding stars, which have good signal (ie, not saturated; with a nice and narrow bell shape curve)
SO, QUESTION (I) is: What in the world am I missing that would allow proper guiding with ASI AIR pro?
that brings me to PROBLEM (II):
- Because of the lack of flexibility in the ASI AIR pro, I decided to see if I could use PHD2 instead. I realized that in that case I should use (in windows 10) EQASCOM and ASCOM, as well as the EQDIR cable from the mount to the PC, and download the EQDIR driver, ZWO camera driver and Syncam driver.
- OK, after the usual learning-curve frustrations, I managed to connect to the mount, but I could not get the guiding camera to being recognized. Note that the camera is connected to the auto guider port of the mount.
QUESTION (II) what I am doing wrong?
That brought me to PROBLEM (III):
- Because I am not a "windows" person, but rather a Mac one, I felt that perhaps I was missing something in Windows 10 that I did not realized.
- SO I went to the MAC, about which I am so much more familiar: I did everything through Cloudmaker apps: INDI, INDI console, Astroguider, AstroTelescope, AstroImager.
- Again, my mount is recognized (synscan mount) but not my cameras.
I hope somebody out there can help, as I frreekin' love astrophotography and I refuse to give up! I guess I could still get some satisfaction with 120 sec exposures and frequently reseting the guide star....but there must be a better way!
Thank you so much