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Celestron CPC EDGEHD 925 questions

Astrophotography Beginner Celestron Catadioptric Cassegrain DSO Imaging EAA SCT Equipment
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#1 Blackhawk163

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 12:33 PM

Okay here I go.

I recently got the above titled equipment for what I consider to be a great bargain. The complete deluxe kit for less the price of the OTA. So I said fine I'll keep it forked and got a wedge. Then got myself the celestron OAG, the zwo EAF adapter.

What I'm grappling with now is to focal reduce or not reduce. I know people have been imaging for years at f/10, my polar alignment is usually within +/-10 arc sec or better on my eq6r pro. Tracking within .50 to .70. But this is all with my skywatcher 80ed pro. Attempts to do this on my lx200 8 with the .63 reducer on the same mount have not yielded the same.

Asiair pro does the work BTW.

Guiding for whatever reason has been hit or miss depending on the day. The guidecam is an asi178mm, and despite seeing stars that are round and pinpoint, the asiair guiding, with the multi star update, is constantly telling me that the star is lost. This was done using the zwo OAG and not the celestron one as I just received that last night.

I knew, and have accepted that imaging on an SCT would be hard. I'm okay with this, I like a challenge, because when it works, it works.

So thats the backdrop/side rant

Back to the questions

Will the double fork mount on the wedge using the asiair pro be sufficient at say 3-5 min subs at f/10? Or am I better just throwing sand in my eyes?

If going with a reducer is much preferred should I go with the optec lepus at .63 or the celestron at .7? Hyperstar is an option an would reduce the need for guidance, but then I'm sacrificing my resolving power (it is galaxy season after all). Come to think of it I'll opt for the hyperstar once all those beautiful nebulae come back in season, and when stock presents itself in either the used market or retail.


There's not much in the message board about using the asiair pro with the edge on a wedge. I see the option in my asiair pro menu, but since it's been cloudy here so I haven't had the chance to take it out and try pa I don't know what the work flow is. Do I need the hand controller to do a one star first then PA using the AAP?

Should I just get a dedicated small form factor pc (one that will be left outside) and just use APT/PhD2/sharp cap instead of the asiair pro? I guess I'll also have to remote into it as I plan to image inside 100% any suggestions on small imaging pc's?

One thing I've never understood is why stars are "lost" when they are clearly in the image when guiding. And this isn't limited to the bright stars, but the somewhat dimmer stars. So many times I'll talk to myself shaking my head saying "I can clearly see you."

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I understand it's AL over the place in the narrative. But I'm a little frustrated, more so with the weather, but also with these issues (guiding being the majority of it)

Because before all that, I could simply take out my 80ed and be imaging within minutes, and I know, once I get "it" with my sct it will stick.

#2 rgsalinger

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 01:30 PM

I would start without the reducer as it adds complexity (and they are not available now anyway). That's not an "easy" scope to use in any case. FWIW, the Edge scopes need to use the Edge reducer or one designed for the Edge scopes. 

 

I would recommend a much better guide camera for an F10 telescope at 2.4 meters of focal length. Your guiding image scale will be miniscule, that's not a very sensitive camera, and it has a tiny chip. Spend the money on a ZWO174 mini or a Lodestar X2 and you will thank me (use a PM). 

 

There's no such thing as perfect polar alignment and it doesn't really matter that much to get within an arc minute. My (on permanent piers) mounts are often off by a couple of arc minutes and I get tight round stars.

 

Worry about accurate focusing and how to control mirror flop. An auxillary focuser is what you need and the ASIair may not support a good one. Do not buy a focuser that simply turns the existing knob. 

 

Get rid of the Asiair would also be my advice. You will have a system that doesn't need meridian flips. You need to be able to mix and match equipment, buy used, etc. Configuring a PC is not that hard. Join your local club and/or get a mentor. That box is designed for simple started systems and there's not a thing wrong with that but once you start getting into a more sophisticated realm, it becomes a limiting factor. 

 

I apologize that some of these recommendations are expensive. I have found that it really makes long focal length imaging vastly easier if you have a really sensitive guide chip and can lock up the mirrors as best you can and refocus quickly when you need to do so. I have always felt that when you get into long focal length DSO imaging, budget constraints are one of the biggest reasons for poor results or outright failures.

 

Rgrds-Ross



#3 Blackhawk163

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 04:02 PM

I would start without the reducer as it adds complexity (and they are not available now anyway). That's not an "easy" scope to use in any case. FWIW, the Edge scopes need to use the Edge reducer or one designed for the Edge scopes.

I would recommend a much better guide camera for an F10 telescope at 2.4 meters of focal length. Your guiding image scale will be miniscule, that's not a very sensitive camera, and it has a tiny chip. Spend the money on a ZWO174 mini or a Lodestar X2 and you will thank me (use a PM).

There's no such thing as perfect polar alignment and it doesn't really matter that much to get within an arc minute. My (on permanent piers) mounts are often off by a couple of arc minutes and I get tight round stars.

Worry about accurate focusing and how to control mirror flop. An auxillary focuser is what you need and the ASIair may not support a good one. Do not buy a focuser that simply turns the existing knob.

Get rid of the Asiair would also be my advice. You will have a system that doesn't need meridian flips. You need to be able to mix and match equipment, buy used, etc. Configuring a PC is not that hard. Join your local club and/or get a mentor. That box is designed for simple started systems and there's not a thing wrong with that but once you start getting into a more sophisticated realm, it becomes a limiting factor.

I apologize that some of these recommendations are expensive. I have found that it really makes long focal length imaging vastly easier if you have a really sensitive guide chip and can lock up the mirrors as best you can and refocus quickly when you need to do so. I have always felt that when you get into long focal length DSO imaging, budget constraints are one of the biggest reasons for poor results or outright failures.

Rgrds-Ross


Thanks Ross, I'd like to say I'm not overly worried at the moment in regards to expense, as I'm battling supply constraints, but I also don't want to throw money at issues left and right either πŸ™ƒ

I can buy and receive the optec reducer by midweek, but I don't know if I really need to I just know that it will reduce my imaging time.

The focuser adapter I could probably do without. I have a gutted meade microfocuser that has been modified to use the zwo EAF. I just find the rough focus on the primary and then lock it, then finish with the eaf as I do with the meade sct.

I have an old surface pro and a USB hub. I guess then all I need is a set of long usb 3.0 cables for the imaging and guide camera. So silly me for even asking about a pc with a smallish form facfor as I had one already πŸ€¦πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ

I'm on a wedge, do I not need meridian flips? Good to know because when I used the asiair pro in the past I had issues where it wouldn't perform the flips.

And lastly, dang it on the asi178. This is an example of not doing ample enough research. I got this to replace the asi120mm mini thinking it would be enough for oag on the sct. I guess the 178 now will guide the SW 80ed.

Thank you for your Input. I'm always very grateful and humbled by the community here.

Alex

#4 audioengr

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 07:26 PM

If you want to get fantastic shots of larger nebula (most of them), get a Hyperstar and shoot from the front at F1.9.  Go to Starizona.com to see the version for your OTA and what cameras you can use with it.



#5 Blackhawk163

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 08:55 PM

If you want to get fantastic shots of larger nebula (most of them), get a Hyperstar and shoot from the front at F1.9. Go to Starizona.com to see the version for your OTA and what cameras you can use with it.


Thanks, that's the plan once those beautiful nebulae come back here in the northeast coast. Hence my hesitation at getting a focal reducer right now. I feel like I could wait it out and try f10 until starizona gets some stock in.

#6 rgsalinger

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 11:16 PM

My goal is always to be fully automated, so I would not want to be locking and unlocking an SCT as the temperature changed or the mirror flopped. Celestron SCT's do not have mirror locks. What they have is a way of adding drag to the mirror, but it can move and it's not really locked. 

 

About 5 years ago, after my second USB hub failed I invested in Startech 7 Port USB Industrial hub which takes 12 volt power. It's never failed me and I image probably at least 75 nights a year. I have two more of these added later and again, they are all working just fine. The oldest one survived two winters at 7000 feet in New Mexico and 3 summers in the desert with 100 degree temps during the day. Putting the hub very close to the scope (or on the backplane if possible) lets you use very short USB cables and will eliminate 95 percent of your USB problems. 

 

The last thing that I would ever do is to use USB 3 cables unless I needed them for planetary imaging. It's hard to find good cables, the longest run is less than 10 feet and they are sensitive to RF. Troll around here and you'll see what I mean. 

 

Finally, I would really advise keeping the system as simple as possible until you have a solid repeatable workflow. Reducers, hyperstars all require additional thinking and planning as you add them. Making too many changes in this hobby is the (IMHO) biggest thing that makes it look hard. The best imagers at my club's dark sky site use the same equipment for years. That way they also get to take naps or socialize. 

 

Rgrds-Ross



#7 audioengr

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 12:35 PM

Thanks, that's the plan once those beautiful nebulae come back here in the northeast coast. Hence my hesitation at getting a focal reducer right now. I feel like I could wait it out and try f10 until starizona gets some stock in.

I looked initially at the reducer but found using telescopius.com that it would not make a big enough difference with my 8" OTA.  Most nebula are too large and most galaxies are too small with the reducer.  The Hyperstar for nebula and the rear cell for galaxies works perfectly. 

 

There are a few galaxies and tiny nebula that need a Barlow from the rear-cell, as well as the planets.  I would recommend the Baader VIP Barlow and get an optimum length extender to get the most magnification you can without oversampling with your camera pixel size.  I get 2.5X with my Baader VIP from the rear-cell.


Edited by audioengr, 17 May 2021 - 12:35 PM.


#8 audioengr

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 12:47 PM

My goal is always to be fully automated, so I would not want to be locking and unlocking an SCT as the temperature changed or the mirror flopped. Celestron SCT's do not have mirror locks. What they have is a way of adding drag to the mirror, but it can move and it's not really locked. 

 

About 5 years ago, after my second USB hub failed I invested in Startech 7 Port USB Industrial hub which takes 12 volt power. It's never failed me and I image probably at least 75 nights a year. I have two more of these added later and again, they are all working just fine. The oldest one survived two winters at 7000 feet in New Mexico and 3 summers in the desert with 100 degree temps during the day. Putting the hub very close to the scope (or on the backplane if possible) lets you use very short USB cables and will eliminate 95 percent of your USB problems. 

 

The last thing that I would ever do is to use USB 3 cables unless I needed them for planetary imaging. It's hard to find good cables, the longest run is less than 10 feet and they are sensitive to RF. Troll around here and you'll see what I mean. 

 

Finally, I would really advise keeping the system as simple as possible until you have a solid repeatable workflow. Reducers, hyperstars all require additional thinking and planning as you add them. Making too many changes in this hobby is the (IMHO) biggest thing that makes it look hard. The best imagers at my club's dark sky site use the same equipment for years. That way they also get to take naps or socialize. 

 

Rgrds-Ross

My 8" Celestron EDGE HD OTA has mirror locks and they work well.  I mount and unmount the OTA many times and shoot the same object and get focus every time.  I only need to focus once on a star near the object initially using my focus mask.

 

I use a 3 meter active USB 3.0 cable to my ASI294MC camera and it works flawlessly.  I connect two other short USB 2.0 cables from the camera internal switch to my guide camera and my mount.  Always works perfectly, no issues.

 

 

https://www.amazon.c...21273411&sr=8-8

 

Hyperstar simplifies everything.  You don't even need guiding for most captures.  The only issue is routing the cables.  I use a dew shield to clamp the wires onto and stiff wire wraps to form the cables into an arc to minimize diffraction.  Works like a charm.


Edited by audioengr, 17 May 2021 - 12:48 PM.


#9 rgsalinger

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 04:08 PM

I have no idea how one can keep a C9.25 in focus all night long without re-focusing it. That would be new to me but perhaps it's possible. Without seeing some quantitative measurements it's a pointless discussion. Now, I've only used a C11 and C8 HD and not that heavily,  They both needed to be refocused when temps changed only a few degrees and they both showed mirror flop as the target reached the meridian. Here's a link about how to use an SCT from a couple of guys who are heavy users.  Maybe the newer scopes are better - been a while now since I used one. 

 

I have one active USB 2 cable that works really well - been over 2 years now - and others that have been useless. I don't want to put the computer 15 feet from the system in any case - I can't really see the point. My laptop is maybe 8 feet from the MYT that I use. I use USB 2 for everything, it's much more forgiving. I wish I knew why some people have really good luck with them and others simply do not (that's me in the latter category).

 

I've watched way too many people set up Hyperstars and struggle with focus and tilt every time they change between systems. Doesn't look like much fun to me at all. Still, it's cheaper than using (as I do) a wide field fast refractor. Again, having a small chip may make it much simpler. 

 

Rgrds-Ross



#10 audioengr

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 05:00 PM

 

I have one active USB 2 cable that works really well - been over 2 years now - and others that have been useless. I don't want to put the computer 15 feet from the system in any case - I can't really see the point. My laptop is maybe 8 feet from the MYT that I use. I use USB 2 for everything, it's much more forgiving. I wish I knew why some people have really good luck with them and others simply do not (that's me in the latter category).

The USB 3.0 cable that you buy makes all the difference.  They are not all the same.



#11 Blackhawk163

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 10:45 PM

Thank you both for the replies. I finally took it outside to see if I could get it situated and wire management done. So far I'm foregoing getting a reducer, 1 second exposures were surprisingly bright. I checked the collimation and it was spot on. Perfect donuts. Getting the guide cam focused was made easy using the ruler technique that I happened on to on this site. Because my Asiair pro (AAP) needed the cpc to be initialized and ready before being able to connect (I also have an error telling me that I need to update the HC) I didn't do anything other than check the collimation and focus.

I also need to install and then calibrate the finderscope so that I can do my preliminary alignment (should have done that earlier)

I will be installing my zwo EAF to my edge. I think at this point it would be silly not to, but I did read up on the inherent risks to mirror flop and since I'm new and not easily deterred, I'll live with throwing out frames here and there if it comes to that, it won't be the first or last time that happens.

While I do love my little AAP, I'll buy a mini pc to run all the "big boy" software. Which is funny, because that's how I started out. Laptop and APT and my Canon eos rebel. Such simpler times trying to get it all to work. Plus this will give me months of experience using phd2 and other programs like sharp cap come nebulae season.

What's some quality outdoor rated usb3 cables?

Hyperstar is on order, two months back order, but I'm in no rush, I think once I crack it, f10 will be just fine.

BTW my edge hd has a triad of mirror locks which are offset.

#12 rgsalinger

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 10:53 PM

Except that they are not actually locks as you may learn if you put a modestly heavy imaging load on the back of the scope. The back won't move but the mirror will. 

 

With that scope getting the OAG spot on focused and correctly positioned with regards to the main camera chip (as far in as possible) will be your keys to guiding success. 

 

Good luck.

 

Rgrds-Ross



#13 Blackhawk163

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 11:23 PM

Except that they are not actually locks as you may learn if you put a modestly heavy imaging load on the back of the scope. The back won't move but the mirror will.

With that scope getting the OAG spot on focused and correctly positioned with regards to the main camera chip (as far in as possible) will be your keys to guiding success.

Good luck.

Rgrds-Ross


Thanks again Ross. I've made it my mission to get the oag camera on point. I think that's what was throwing me off before on my meade. The pick off prism is as far as it will go and aligned with the top/bottom of the sensor, and is casting no shadows.

I was just reading up on how to PA the scope in regards to the wedge. An exercise for tomorrow (weather permitting) I think I have the darn thing facing the wrong direction! I read that it's the top of the fork arm that should be facing north and that the wedge should be facing south, so that the OTA when indexed it should be facing south and not north. πŸ€¦πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ

I really need to read up more, and less going about things like a bull in a china shop.

Lastly if I do get a dedicated focuser. Like a moonlight etc, that eats up back focus doesn't it?

#14 rgsalinger

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Posted 18 May 2021 - 11:05 AM

Well, what you can do (if money is no object) is look at getting something like the LEO focuser that Optec makes. There's one on the Edge 11 that I use. We first use the focus knob to get close. Then we lock the mirror and use the LEO. Works great, but it's a lot of money. The LEO takes up 30 mm of back focus and it has to be positioned just right to not hit the mirror locks. I have to say that the slickest approach is to focus by moving the secondary. Then you use no back focus at all. I know that Optec also makes one and I know that it's also expensive. 

 

With a big system like the one you have, if you can make some investments in quality add ons - focuser, OAG, etc. - it turns the whole thing into something simple. Still, no one will argue that the best thing you can do if you want to do AP is to buy the best mount your budget will permit.

 

Rgrds-Ross



#15 Blackhawk163

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Posted 18 May 2021 - 01:24 PM

Well, what you can do (if money is no object) is look at getting something like the LEO focuser that Optec makes. There's one on the Edge 11 that I use. We first use the focus knob to get close. Then we lock the mirror and use the LEO. Works great, but it's a lot of money. The LEO takes up 30 mm of back focus and it has to be positioned just right to not hit the mirror locks. I have to say that the slickest approach is to focus by moving the secondary. Then you use no back focus at all. I know that Optec also makes one and I know that it's also expensive.

With a big system like the one you have, if you can make some investments in quality add ons - focuser, OAG, etc. - it turns the whole thing into something simple. Still, no one will argue that the best thing you can do if you want to do AP is to buy the best mount your budget will permit.

Rgrds-Ross


Nice! While a bit pricey this is something I might look into once I get a bit out of the β€œnewb” phase and start reading up on the hobby. But I agree, mount will have to come first before I invest in specialized parts such as focusers and the like (guess I should cancel the hyperstar) At this moment it’s more of getting the basics nailed and then delving deeper.

Thanks again for the input.

#16 audioengr

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Posted 18 May 2021 - 01:30 PM

What's some quality outdoor rated usb3 cables?

I believe this is the one I use:

 

https://www.amazon.c...21273411&sr=8-8

 

I added superglue to the covers over the electronics because if you step on them, they pop apart otherwise.  With a 15 foot cable, you have plenty of slack so you can leave it connected to the camera as the OTA slews to all points in the sky.  You can put the laptop on a table away from the scope.  You can walk around the scope without fear of tripping on the cable.  I also have a long flat-cable to power the camera cooler.

 

As for focuser, I use the Celestron motorized focuser.  Works quite well once it's installed.  Very fine focus is possible.  I still use the HC for controlling the focuser, not an app.  I use a Tri-Bahtinov mask for focusing and collimation.


Edited by audioengr, 18 May 2021 - 01:49 PM.


#17 audioengr

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Posted 18 May 2021 - 01:37 PM

I was just reading up on how to PA the scope in regards to the wedge. An exercise for tomorrow (weather permitting) I think I have the darn thing facing the wrong direction! I read that it's the top of the fork arm that should be facing north and that the wedge should be facing south, so that the OTA when indexed it should be facing south and not north.

 

With a wedge, for initial auto alignment using StarSense, you need the OTA to be pointed due south with the OTA perpendicular to the mount arm (detent position).

 

I use SharpCap for PA and it works fast and accurately.  After your initial alignment, just go-to Polaris and start viewing stars with SharpCap.  Select PA in SharpCap and adjust gain and exposure until you have at least 15 stars being sensed (no stretch) and follow the instructions.  I use the digital numbers in SharpCap to get the wedge dialed-in, not the star-track.  You will need to do another alignment after the PA.


Edited by audioengr, 18 May 2021 - 01:51 PM.


#18 Blackhawk163

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 05:40 PM

With a wedge, for initial auto alignment using StarSense, you need the OTA to be pointed due south with the OTA perpendicular to the mount arm (detent position).

I use SharpCap for PA and it works fast and accurately. After your initial alignment, just go-to Polaris and start viewing stars with SharpCap. Select PA in SharpCap and adjust gain and exposure until you have at least 15 stars being sensed (no stretch) and follow the instructions. I use the digital numbers in SharpCap to get the wedge dialed-in, not the star-track. You will need to do another alignment after the PA.


So I finally learned how to get the PA process to work (after hijacking a thread πŸ€¦πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ) I was going to follow something similar and tried using the PA method on my AAP, and much to my dismay I do not have the clearance because of the camera, to PA that way. I'll give it a few weeks of more trial and error before I think about deforking it.

#19 audioengr

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 06:40 PM

So I finally learned how to get the PA process to work (after hijacking a thread ‍♂) I was going to follow something similar and tried using the PA method on my AAP, and much to my dismay I do not have the clearance because of the camera, to PA that way. I'll give it a few weeks of more trial and error before I think about deforking it.

I use a Baader diagonal with the camera clamped into the quicklock.  I put the diagonal directly into the rear-cell with a locking nut from Baader.  This gets you a very short extension from the rear-cell.  The diagonal is very high quality and does not seem to affect the shots at all.  With the Evolution mount, I never need to change the diagonal direction.  Here is my Crab Nebula shot through the Baader diagonal:

 

M1 Crab Nebula RGB session 1 Lpc Cbg Csc St PCCAL PS


#20 robodan

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 08:07 PM

I have no idea how one can keep a C9.25 in focus all night long without re-focusing it. That would be new to me but perhaps it's possible. Without seeing some quantitative measurements it's a pointless discussion. Now, I've only used a C11 and C8 HD and not that heavily,  They both needed to be refocused when temps changed only a few degrees and they both showed mirror flop as the target reached the meridian. Here's a link about how to use an SCT from a couple of guys who are heavy users.  Maybe the newer scopes are better - been a while now since I used one. 

 

I have one active USB 2 cable that works really well - been over 2 years now - and others that have been useless. I don't want to put the computer 15 feet from the system in any case - I can't really see the point. My laptop is maybe 8 feet from the MYT that I use. I use USB 2 for everything, it's much more forgiving. I wish I knew why some people have really good luck with them and others simply do not (that's me in the latter category).

 

I've watched way too many people set up Hyperstars and struggle with focus and tilt every time they change between systems. Doesn't look like much fun to me at all. Still, it's cheaper than using (as I do) a wide field fast refractor. Again, having a small chip may make it much simpler. 

 

Rgrds-Ross

 

 

i never have to refocus my evolution 9.25 ether. Stays in focus




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