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Guiding without a guiding scope/camera

Astrophotography Imaging Software
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#26 acrh2

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 01:41 PM

The link to the video from last night is here:

 

https://youtu.be/-qucmfd5CLY

 

Alex

Well, that explains it. They were doing planetary imaging, for which you don't even need to guide.

What they are doing is useless for DSO imaging.


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#27 Alex McConahay

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 01:58 PM

 

What they are doing is useless for DSO imaging.

 Yeah, that has been said several times in this thread, including by me. But that does not mean it cannot be done to some extent using a video based system. I am just pointing out that under certain conditions, the thread starter can do what he has asked to do. But, as I (and others) have pointed out earlier----it won't work with deep space like we currently do it (with long exposure still cameras). 

 

There is no difference of opinion here. We all agree that the way most of us run deep space imaging, you cannot currently use your imaging camera as a guide camera.

 

I guess I'm just pointing out that there are other ways to take pictures than the way most of us do it. And one of those ways opens the door to guiding and imaging with the same camera and appropriate software. 

 

Alex

 

(By the way, I would not say it is entirely useless. I would not use it. But I could see the possibility that some EAA people may want to try it with their video based systems.)


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#28 DanMiller

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 01:58 PM

Equipment for guiding is relatively cheap compared to other equipment.

I think between my guide camera and guide scope, it was probably around 250/300 total.



#29 acrh2

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 02:06 PM

I think between my guide camera and guide scope, it was probably around 250/300 total.

SVBONY guide scope is $50, ASI120MM Mini is $134 = $184 total. Perfectly capable of guiding for down to 0.4" RMS - I've done it with my Mak @ 1400 mm focal length.


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#30 unimatrix0

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 02:16 PM

The absolute cheapest guide setup (from my DSLR usage era) was probably mine. 

 

I was able to guide with a SVbony 105 ($45 2yrs ago, now it's $55) camera and a ZWO 30mm clone called "angeleyes" 120mm focal mini telescope for $30, from wish dot com. 

 

PHD2 did recognize the svbony1045 under "webcam like cameras" or something similar in the menu, and even though the SV105 is unable to take longer than 1 second exposures, I was still able to guide with it. Painful to set up, painful to use LOL.   

If anyone is going to image, please get a dedicated guide camera, even a used one -  any planetary camera will do, save the ones that called "eyepiece camera", like the cheapest svbony.

 

Again, I really don't recommend doing junker setup I did, but at the time and since I have already bought them, I had to try it. I have fun doing things the hardest possible and cheapest ways. 


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#31 EarthlingUk

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 02:27 PM

Ask a question - start World War 3 on Cloudy Nights! lol.gif

 

I realise I hadn't thought it through fully and yes, I had been missing something obvious. Should I be waterboarded? Perhaps a trip to Gitmo and an orange suit? Sheesh! Calm down some of you!

 

Thanks to those who at least gave it some consideration. I had, in fact, been confusing myself with EAA/Live Stacking and exposure. My utmost apologies. waytogo.gif flowerred.gif


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#32 bobzeq25

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 04:29 PM

Ask a question - start World War 3 on Cloudy Nights! lol.gif

 

I realise I hadn't thought it through fully and yes, I had been missing something obvious. Should I be waterboarded? Perhaps a trip to Gitmo and an orange suit? Sheesh! Calm down some of you!

 

Thanks to those who at least gave it some consideration. I had, in fact, been confusing myself with EAA/Live Stacking and exposure. My utmost apologies. waytogo.gif flowerred.gif

No apologies necessary.  You're one of many beginners to suggest this idea.

 

Which is the reason I didn't give it careful consideration.  Because I'd seen it several times before.

 

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.  <smile>


Edited by bobzeq25, 05 December 2022 - 04:30 PM.

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#33 DanMiller

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 05:15 PM

Ask a question - start World War 3 on Cloudy Nights! lol.gif

 

I realise I hadn't thought it through fully and yes, I had been missing something obvious. Should I be waterboarded? Perhaps a trip to Gitmo and an orange suit? Sheesh! Calm down some of you!

 

Thanks to those who at least gave it some consideration. I had, in fact, been confusing myself with EAA/Live Stacking and exposure. My utmost apologies. waytogo.gif flowerred.gif

Naaa, no world war three.  Shoot, you haven't seen some of my beginner(still a beginner) questions.  I still remember asking about using alt/az with an eq mount.  1. I didn't realize I had an eq mount, and 2.  I didnt understand ra/dec. I was trying to use my compass and a degree finder to target and frame my desired dso.  Wasn't working out well, and I asked about it.  

 

It's how we learn.  To be honest, if it wasn't for your question.  I would not have realized that I couldn't guide for planetary or lunar.  I just set up a different eq mount that I am still figuringr out and was thinking about trying to guide for lunar.  As it is, I am not even sure which tracking method to use for lunar.  I still like taking lunar pictures, and it has been awhile.


Edited by DanMiller, 05 December 2022 - 05:16 PM.

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#34 WadeH237

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 06:18 PM

Ask a question - start World War 3 on Cloudy Nights! lol.gif

 

I realise I hadn't thought it through fully and yes, I had been missing something obvious. Should I be waterboarded? Perhaps a trip to Gitmo and an orange suit? Sheesh! Calm down some of you!

 

Thanks to those who at least gave it some consideration. I had, in fact, been confusing myself with EAA/Live Stacking and exposure. My utmost apologies. waytogo.gif flowerred.gif

This is, perhaps, a good time to remind people to play nice :)

 

Also, keep in mind that this is the Beginning Deep Sky Imaging forum.  There is not much here that hasn't been posted or discussed at some point in the past.  I tend to expect that good questions will be repeated periodically as new people get into the hobby.  As long as there's not already a current discussion in progress, I think it's fine to go ahead and post your questions.

 

<Taking off the moderator hat and putting on the astrophotographer hat>

 

As for this particular question (and it is a good one), the thing to keep in mind is that the current generation of sensors can either capture data or read out data, but not both at the same time.  And reading the data clears if from the sensor.  So if you have a two minute capture happening, you can't "peek" at the data until the capture is finished.  I believe that this applies equally to video and still captures.  I've not watched the particular Astro Imaging Channel video mentioned here, but it seems clear that he was demonstrating this with a video stream.  With video, the per-frame exposures are so short, you don't need to wait long for the next one.  That does open up possibilities about using the same stream to both capture and guide with the same camera.

 

I have heard that there is work being done to create CMOS sensors that do have the ability to do a non-destructive read, so that you can effectively see the data as it's being captured (although you might have to briefly pause the capture to read the data, depending on how it's implemented, but this would happen very quickly).  When and if this comes to the astrophotography market, it will be totally feasible to do what you suggest.  In my opinion, that could revolutionize the way that we do guiding.


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#35 EarthlingUk

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 07:17 PM

This is, perhaps, a good time to remind people to play nice smile.gif

Oh... and I find it fun too, to see how irritated, so easily, some people can become. It's entertaining! lol.gif

 

 

With video, the per-frame exposures are so short, you don't need to wait long for the next one.  That does open up possibilities about using the same stream to both capture and guide with the same camera.

 

I have heard that there is work being done to create CMOS sensors that do have the ability to do a non-destructive read, so that you can effectively see the data as it's being captured (although you might have to briefly pause the capture to read the data, depending on how it's implemented, but this would happen very quickly).  When and if this comes to the astrophotography market, it will be totally feasible to do what you suggest.  In my opinion, that could revolutionize the way that we do guiding.

It will come. Sooner or later. I just believe it could happen tomorrow if there was sufficient motivation for it. Manufacturers of cameras losing 50% of their sales though. Hmmm. Then again, it's China, right?



#36 DanMiller

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 07:23 PM

This is, perhaps, a good time to remind people to play nice smile.gif

 

Also, keep in mind that this is the Beginning Deep Sky Imaging forum.  There is not much here that hasn't been posted or discussed at some point in the past.  I tend to expect that good questions will be repeated periodically as new people get into the hobby.  As long as there's not already a current discussion in progress, I think it's fine to go ahead and post your questions.

 

<Taking off the moderator hat and putting on the astrophotographer hat>

 

As for this particular question (and it is a good one), the thing to keep in mind is that the current generation of sensors can either capture data or read out data, but not both at the same time.  And reading the data clears if from the sensor.  So if you have a two minute capture happening, you can't "peek" at the data until the capture is finished.  I believe that this applies equally to video and still captures.  I've not watched the particular Astro Imaging Channel video mentioned here, but it seems clear that he was demonstrating this with a video stream.  With video, the per-frame exposures are so short, you don't need to wait long for the next one.  That does open up possibilities about using the same stream to both capture and guide with the same camera.

 

I have heard that there is work being done to create CMOS sensors that do have the ability to do a non-destructive read, so that you can effectively see the data as it's being captured (although you might have to briefly pause the capture to read the data, depending on how it's implemented, but this would happen very quickly).  When and if this comes to the astrophotography market, it will be totally feasible to do what you suggest.  In my opinion, that could revolutionize the way that we do guiding.

Ya know,  after reading this post. Kind of makes me think.  If you are using software(NINA) in your image process, it' knows where your files are at.  There already is pieces of that software either within the code itself, or being called that can read and interpet the images.  I'm thinking of ASTAP which reads an image and plate solves it.  I don't see why guiding couldn't be done from the image camera.

 

I mean, it really could be a plate solve after every image.  And if the RA/DEC does not match what is expected.  A nudge is sent to the mount to move it.  So,  image taken and saved  with the next image beginning to be captured.  As it is being captured, plate solve previously saved image.  When next image is complete, nudge command to mount before next image is taken.

 

I know it wouldn't be as simple as that and I can't code it.  I also know there is nothing like that out there(at least I don't think so).  But, I truly wonder if something like that  could be developed.

 

Ok, I'll shut up now.


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#37 EarthlingUk

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 07:31 PM

Ya know,  after reading this post. Kind of makes me think.  If you are using software(NINA) in your image process, it' knows where your files are at.  There already is pieces of that software either within the code itself, or being called that can read and interpet the images.  I'm thinking of ASTAP which reads an image and plate solves it.  I don't see why guiding couldn't be done from the image camera.

 

I mean, it really could be a plate solve after every image.  And if the RA/DEC does not match what is expected.  A nudge is sent to the mount to move it.  So,  image taken and saved  with the next image beginning to be captured.  As it is being captured, plate solve previously saved image.  When next image is complete, nudge command to mount before next image is taken.

 

I know it wouldn't be as simple as that and I can't code it.  I also know there is nothing like that out there(at least I don't think so).  But, I truly wonder if something like that  could be developed.

 

Ok, I'll shut up now.

Yeah shut up Dan, before the warheads are released by irritated itchy fingers! LOL

 

It's just a conversation, isn't it? Perhaps done before but tech is continuously evolving so there will come a time where someone posts the same question, long after this, and there will be a solution. 

 

Or perhaps people will just watch virtual planets and DSOs up close and personal in the metaverse! Who knows? They might even believe they're living on them! 



#38 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 07:31 PM

Ask a question - start World War 3 on Cloudy Nights! lol.gif

 

I realise I hadn't thought it through fully and yes, I had been missing something obvious. Should I be waterboarded? Perhaps a trip to Gitmo and an orange suit? Sheesh! Calm down some of you!

 

Thanks to those who at least gave it some consideration. I had, in fact, been confusing myself with EAA/Live Stacking and exposure. My utmost apologies. waytogo.gif flowerred.gif

After careful deliberation, I vote for the waterboarding.   lol.gif

 

(but seriously, your post made me laugh)


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#39 DanMiller

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 07:39 PM

I have never been on a forum where people were this helpful.  Good people here.


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#40 bobzeq25

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 08:27 PM

 

I mean, it really could be a plate solve after every image.  And if the RA/DEC does not match what is expected.  A nudge is sent to the mount to move it.  So,  image taken and saved  with the next image beginning to be captured.  As it is being captured, plate solve previously saved image.  When next image is complete, nudge command to mount before next image is taken.

 

I trust straightforward is not offensive.  Certainly not my intent.

 

Won't work.  You'll only be sending corrections to the mount in between subexposures.  They'll be too late.  They need to be sent much more often, you need to correct tracking errors occurring _within_ the individual subexposures.  Or they'll blur your subexposures.

 

Guiding is actually a very elegant engineering solution to the problem of the imperfect mounts most of us use.  It's a "feedback loop" that corrects mount errors.  It can be perhaps eliminated by $10,000+ mounts with absolute encoders, and elaborate sky modeling.


Edited by bobzeq25, 05 December 2022 - 08:36 PM.

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#41 Tapio

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 08:40 PM

Actually I have read people doing this nudging in sequence because they have noticed drifting after longer imaging session.
But this is just centering, not guiding (or not in my book).
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#42 DanMiller

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 08:41 PM

I trust straightforward is not offensive.  Certainly not my intent.

 

Won't work.  You'll only be sending corrections to the mount in between subexposures.  They'll be too late.  They need to be sent much more often, you need to correct tracking errors occurring _within_ the individual subexposures.  Or they'll blur your subexposures.

 

Guiding is actually a very elegant engineering solution to the problem of the imperfect mounts most of us use.  It can be perhaps eliminated by $10,000+ mounts with absolute encoders, and elaborate sky modeling.

I was thinking that also.  So, let me ask this.  Does guiding commands get sent while images are being taken?  I'm going off topic,  sorry.  I don't mean to hijack the post.


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#43 EarthlingUk

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 09:08 PM

I was thinking that also.  So, let me ask this.  Does guiding commands get sent while images are being taken?  I'm going off topic,  sorry.  I don't mean to hijack the post.

Yes because the guide camera is taking exposures of far shorter interval than the main imager (e.g. fractions of a second to a second or so rather than 30 seconds to 5 mins or whatever). So Phd, for example, is using this input of fractions of time over the main exposure to send adjustments to the mount, if necessary.


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#44 Alex McConahay

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 09:11 PM

>>>>Does guiding commands get sent while images are being taken?

 

Are you talking about traditionally, or with the suggestion in post #36?

 

Let's be clear. In guiding there are two sets of images being taken. 

 

The guide camera is taking short (1 to 6 seconds or so) exposures, and the software is analyzing each one to see how the mount has tracked. Then the software sends a guide command. Guiding commands are given after each exposure of the guide camera (assuming they are needed).

 

Meanwhile the main camera is taking a large exposure (30 to 600 or whatever seconds). 

 

So a command is sent after every exposure of the guide camera, but independent of the main camera. The mount actually moves to get corrected as the main camera is running its long exposure.

 

Alex


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#45 WadeH237

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 09:12 PM

Ya know,  after reading this post. Kind of makes me think.  If you are using software(NINA) in your image process, it' knows where your files are at.  There already is pieces of that software either within the code itself, or being called that can read and interpet the images.  I'm thinking of ASTAP which reads an image and plate solves it.  I don't see why guiding couldn't be done from the image camera.

 

I mean, it really could be a plate solve after every image.  And if the RA/DEC does not match what is expected.  A nudge is sent to the mount to move it.  So,  image taken and saved  with the next image beginning to be captured.  As it is being captured, plate solve previously saved image.  When next image is complete, nudge command to mount before next image is taken.

 

I know it wouldn't be as simple as that and I can't code it.  I also know there is nothing like that out there(at least I don't think so).  But, I truly wonder if something like that  could be developed.

 

Ok, I'll shut up now.

As it happens, I am pretty sure that NINA can already do this, if you have a plate solver configured.

 

There is an option to have NINA plate solve each exposure and re-center the target (I don't have NINA in front of me right now, so I can't give the exact steps).  It's not effective as a guiding tool, though.  As has been mentioned, no actual guiding happens during the exposure.

 

The key to making all of this happen in a practical manner is to be able to get the data from the sensor many times during a long exposure, and that will take a new generation of sensors.


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#46 rgsalinger

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 09:53 PM

There are some interesting new sensors from Sony which are approaching what's being asked here. 
 
Rgrds-Ross
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#47 arbit

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Posted 06 December 2022 - 01:07 AM

Let me give it another shot :-)

First, am sticking to current camera technology.

Second, definitions.

"Guiding" (to me), is making minor mount movements during a main exposure to ensure that the mount movement over the length of the exposure stays within (say) a pixel. Main objective -keep single subs sharp.

"Recentering" is after a frame has been taken - it plate solves the previous image and moves the mount so that the target goes back to the centre for the next image. Main objective - keep target incentre over a session so that you don't get huge black borders after stacking, recover from a wind gust, animal bump, or whatever.

With typical set of ZWO/QHY etc hobby astro cameras, guiding and imaging simultaneously with the same camera is not possible.

What you can do, in NINA, Sharpcap, Firecapture and others, is recentering with the same camera. You do need to set a tolerance for drift - after which recentering is triggered.

If the frame exposure is long, say 2 min like DSO, you can recenter with the same camera but the mount will get a correction signal only after 2 min. It has no way of correcting within those 2 min.

If the frame exposure is very short, like 10ms in planetary, Sharpcap or Firecapture will recenter much faster, in maybe a hundred or milliseconds (depending on tolerance set). Because of the very short times involved, this may be practically indistinguishable from guiding, but is technically recentering as the mount move happens only after the previous frame is analysed and not during an exposure.

Planetary capture has another feature called ROI centering. here the software moves the ROI to ensure the planet is centered in it even if it is moving all over the sensor. Again, it will look like the planet is steady in the centre, but this is a third animal, neither guiding nor recentering.

Hope that helps :-)


Edited by arbit, 06 December 2022 - 04:59 AM.

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#48 DanMiller

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Posted 06 December 2022 - 10:22 AM

So, with the recenter option.  Would the software wait until an image has completed and make the correction before the next image?  Courious about this.  



#49 Tapio

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Posted 06 December 2022 - 10:30 AM

So, with the recenter option.  Would the software wait until an image has completed and make the correction before the next image?  Courious about this.  

Yes.


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#50 rms40

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Posted 06 December 2022 - 11:49 AM

Hi Earthling, What you are asking about may be available one day. There has been research on non-destructive readout sensors that can read and download from the sensor while an exposure continues. But, there isn't anything yet that would work and may never be for us.

 

You asked about Sharpcap. That is a great program for lunar and planetary images. For deep-sky images, you typically use different software. I started with EZcap that is free and works with QHYCCD cameras. ZWO has something similar. It is easy to use but in this hobby, easy usually means limited functionality. Still, easy is great when you are starting out..

 

It is possible to image unguided where the stars and target stay on the same or nearly the same pixels. That requires a good mount and the best polar alignment you can achieve. You also want to apply PEC to the mount to adjust for any slight shift that happens with internal gears. Even on less expensive mounts, you should be able to get a minute or two with round stars if you work on getting the mount setup the best you can.

 

In practice, it takes too much time to get a portable mount to work well unguided. I started with a small guide cam and guide scope - the QHY mini guide scope and QHY5ii that threaded on the mini scope. IMO, that is the easiest way to learn to guide. A guide scope has plenty of guide stars to choose from. You don't need the guide scope to point at the center of your target - like a finder. It just needs to be parallel to your scope tube. My guide scope was attached with a Vixen shoe where a finder would go. You can find these used on CN often. The only issue with a guide scope is that they can slightly change where they are pointing due to temperature changes during an exposure. A sturdy guide cam and attachment will allow several minute exposures without the stars becoming elongated. This "differential flexure" doesn't matter except when there is too much during an exposure. So, you may be able to take longer exposures and just keep the best ones when the temperature was more stable.

 

For a beginner, there is a lot to learn. I would suggest working on your polar alignment first. When you guide or use short exposures, polar alignment doesn't need to be perfect.Then, get a guide scope and guide cam setup and learn to guide well using PHD2 or other guide software. Once you get that working, you will be able to capture many nice targets. And, don't forget to keep your scope focused well. Some scopes need refocus as often as every 30 minutes.

 

You want to image bright deep sky objects at first. Stacking many short exposures works well on bright targets. The Orion Nebula is perfect and this is the right time of year for it. One minute exposures (or even shorter) will produce good signal to noise (SNR) on it. Other easy beginner targets are globular clusters.

 

Randall


Edited by rms40, 06 December 2022 - 02:45 PM.

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