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#1 ericw1968

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 07:04 AM

I just bought a ZWO camera, an ASI533MC Pro, feeling this would be a good camera to start with and grow into. I have a Celestron Evolution 8 telescope.

 

I tried using the manufacturers software and a program called SharpCap. I've installed the drivers and it's seen by both programs and Windows sees it just fine as well, but when I try to do anything, capture, record, live view, all I get is a black picture or series of black pictures. I use CPWI to control the telescope and this works fine. 

 

I just can't figure out why I can see anything. I've removed the camera from the telescope and can tell it's receiving light by moving my hand in front of it and I see this in both programs. Reattach it to the telescope and back to a black view. 

 

Any help here would be appreciated.



#2 ericw1968

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 07:29 AM

I think I may have posted this in the incorrect location. Please move it if needed.



#3 bobzeq25

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 08:24 AM

Out of focus can cause this.  The camera has a pretty short spacing to the sensor, so it's easy to have this happen, and you to be very far out.

 

Try the Moon.  Or even daytime, being very careful to stay far away from the Sun.

 

Another way to check the camera is to take a 5 minute snapshot.  Don't worry about seeing stars, do you see the background?


Edited by bobzeq25, 02 August 2021 - 08:26 AM.

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#4 ericw1968

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 08:30 AM

I had the telescope pointed at Jupiter at one point so I should have seen some light correct? Regardless of where I pointed the telescope at, stars or planets, all I got was a pitch black view on the screen.



#5 Tapio

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 08:56 AM

Bob is right.

If focus is off enough you wont see anything even with Jupiter (if you have it in field).

Try it in daytime.

Focus is way off compared to visual eyepiece.



#6 StarAlert

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 09:06 AM

I went through this about a year ago. First thing I did was put a diagonal and an eyepiece in the telescope and pointed the telescope at the moon. You want to make sure you actually have an easy target in the FOV. Now swap the diagonal/eyepiece with your camera. From focuser fully racked in and no extension tubes start extending the draw tube until you achieve focus or run out of draw tube. Add extension tube if needed and repeat. Make sure to set your exposure time and gain at a reasonable level. 


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#7 kathyastro

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 09:16 AM

I had the telescope pointed at Jupiter at one point so I should have seen some light correct? Regardless of where I pointed the telescope at, stars or planets, all I got was a pitch black view on the screen.

Jupiter is a small target, and you have a very small field of view.  It is easy to miss the target.  Aim at the Moon, which is harder to miss, to establish focus.  Make sure that your finder is perfectly aligned with the scope.  Then go for Jupiter.


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#8 rgsalinger

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 09:22 AM

I agree that focus is likely to be the problem.  When I star focusing a new setup, I use 10 seconds binned 2x, so that it's easier to see stars when they are out of focus. It's also possible that if you don't have the correct spacing, you may never see stars but with the moon at least you will have something visible. 

 

I would also make sure that you've got a reasonable screen stretch set up. I can make my short exposure images completely disappear if the screen is not stretched properly. I'm pretty certain that Sharpcap's defaults for display work fine but it's possible that something has gotten altered.

 

Rgrds-Ross 



#9 ericw1968

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 02:38 PM

I have no idea really how I did this I'm guessing you guys are all right. I set it up in my garage and got it focused on some leaves on a tree across the street. Replaced the eyepiece with the camera and started the program. It was black to start with with both the ASIStudio and SharpCap then SharpCap went white. At that point I knew the camera was working. Suddenly SharpCap became pixelated in a odd fashion and seemed to stop responding so I killed the program and poof, I see odd colored leaves in ASIStudio.

 

I then started turning the focusing and go the following image. Color is way off but I'm not sure if that's because I'm doing this in the daytime or not. 

 

A couple images attached:

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2021-08-02-1922_9-CapObj_0026.jpg
  • Capture.jpg

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#10 ericw1968

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 02:40 PM

Does the camera need to reach a certain point of cooling before it can start working properly?



#11 ericw1968

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 02:50 PM

Ok, now I'm really confused. Suddenly SharpCap is working, at least, it's communicating with the camera. I get the following error message when I try to live stack.

 

I'm really hoping this is because the scope isn't aligned, although, I'm not sure how it would know that.

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Capture1.JPG


#12 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 02:53 PM

Err... as far as I know SharpCap live stacks based on aligning stars. Since you're imaging a bunch of leaves in a tree... no stars to align for a stack, hence the error.



#13 happylimpet

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 02:54 PM

Ok, now I'm really confused. Suddenly SharpCap is working, at least, it's communicating with the camera. I get the following error message when I try to live stack.

 

I'm really hoping this is because the scope isn't aligned, although, I'm not sure how it would know that.

i think livestack needs stars to align it - not leaves!



#14 StarAlert

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 03:15 PM

Does the camera need to reach a certain point of cooling before it can start working properly?

No. 



#15 StarAlert

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 03:15 PM

i think livestack needs stars to align it - not leaves!

Correct



#16 kathyastro

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 05:46 PM

And, since the issue of focusing came up, the focus position for leaves across the street is very different from the focus position for stars and planets.  If the leaves are in focus, the stars will not be.


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#17 StarAlert

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 05:57 PM

And, since the issue of focusing came up, the focus position for leaves across the street is very different from the focus position for stars and planets.  If the leaves are in focus, the stars will not be.

Absolutely. The drawtube will have to be racked in significantly from in-focus leaves to focus on objects at infinity. 



#18 SnowWolf

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 06:00 PM

And, since the issue of focusing came up, the focus position for leaves across the street is very different from the focus position for stars and planets.  If the leaves are in focus, the stars will not be.

Indeed.  When I got the Edge HD 800, I started with focusing on a power pole about 200 yards away during the daytime (that's the furthest thing I can really see out the window).  When it came to using it on stars, the focus was way off, but close enough that I could see some faint large donuts in place of the brightest stars.  This let me dial in the infinity focus.

 

So, daytime focus on the furthest thing you can find.  Even then, it'll be off, but hopefully close enough to then let you see stars.


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#19 ericw1968

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 05:17 AM

Getting my star finder as accurate as possible was a huge help but it was definitely a focus issue. 

 

Got it set up in my garage and get it lined up real good with Deneb and took some extra care to get the star finder as close as possible. Installed the camera and started turning the focus knob back and forth in small amounts and it came into view within a few turns.

 

Thanks folks. I really appreciate it.

 

Great place here with a lot of helpful people. smile.gif



#20 Rac19

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 06:16 AM

There are two frustrating things that I remember from my early days in astrophotography, getting the target into view and getting the focus into the ballpark? It can be a frustratingly circular argument. I was using the ASI120MC (with a 1/3" sensor) which was almost impossible.

 

As suggested, if the Moon is visible, that's a good place to start, to get some sort of focus and an idea of alignment after a GoTo. Once you have the moon sorted out you can try for a planet or star, making sure to increase gain and/or exposure as the moon brighter than anything else in the sky.

 

The planet (or star) may or may not be in view on initial GoTo, although with a 11 mm square sensor at f/10, you should be in luck most of the time. This is where a well aligned finder comes into its own,

 

I always found it difficult to mechanically align the finder accurately with the man 'scope/camera, the adjustment screws are not precise enough.

 

These days I have a smaller, cheaper camera (the ASI120MC in fact) fitted to a 190 mm finder-scope (anywhere between 100 mm and 200 mm will do), and when I have a target centred in the main scope, I use the "X, Y Readout" tool in Sharpcap 4.0 to note down the X and Y sensor pixel coordinates in the finder. Next time, if I move my target to the same X, Y coordinates in the finder, it will definitely be in view, first time, in the main scope, even at f/25. I have suggested to Sharpcap that there should be a way to save this information for future use to be loaded from file as either an X, Y Readout or reticle.


Edited by Rac19, 03 August 2021 - 06:33 AM.


#21 alphatripleplus

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 06:36 AM

Getting my star finder as accurate as possible was a huge help but it was definitely a focus issue. 

 

Got it set up in my garage and get it lined up real good with Deneb and took some extra care to get the star finder as close as possible. Installed the camera and started turning the focus knob back and forth in small amounts and it came into view within a few turns.

 

Thanks folks. I really appreciate it.

 

Great place here with a lot of helpful people. smile.gif

Glad you at least got it focused on a star. You'll find that SharpCap has a few bells and whistles, but it is well documented. There is also a  test camera mode that allows you to try out various features of the software without a scope or camera attached.



#22 Rac19

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 06:48 AM

A couple of other points, mostly mentioned already.

 

You don't want to be using Live Stacking while performing basic focusing and and target acquisition, Live View is more appropriate.

 

I tired of turning the focus knob eventually, and fitted a focus motor. Full mirror travel is about 45 to 50 turns. Not touching the scope to focus. pretty much eliminates vibration. Choosing a suitable focus motor is a whole new subject, I am on my fourth one at the moment.

 

I have started recently to use ASICap for planetary imaging, it is simple and has fewer distracting bells and whistles. I use SharpCap on the finder scope, purely for the X, Y Readout tool. 




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