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Everything posted by TerryMcK

  1. Wow is it December already? I'm going out to test the new bearings in my HEQ5Pro mount tonight. Looking for good RMS on both axis. The small rig is also out and going for a totally different target, yet to be decided, so going for double bubble tonight.
  2. I've just been trying out the EZ Live Stack in PixInsight which is part of the EZ Processing Suite from https://darkarchon.internet-box.ch:8443/ It is really easy to use and similar to the DeepSkyStacker Live application but a whole lot quicker (not that it matters when you are taking 6 minute subs). When I used DSS Live a while back I could never get it to autostretch either but maybe somebody else knows how to do that. However you can incorporate darks, flats and bias masters to the process too. I tested it out by creating a folder and placed a light sub into it. Then selected a dark master and a flat master. Then set it to monitor the original folder and simply dragged individual lights into the folder to simulate what would happen when capturing. It autostretches too so you see the image unlike DSS Live. There are a few more options and it isn't intended to produce images of fantastic quality but mainly to show you what you are pointing at. The image was ok with one frame of course as Ha on the heart is very strong but it gradually built up with more an more data arriving. Might be a useful option for you to see live stacking as the subs come in. Not sure about the banding on this forum image as it wasn't apparent on the PI screen.
  3. Wind, snow and now rain has stopped play - I don't need to mention cloud as that is normal. Need to stop buying astro gear.
  4. Nice work Eric. I’m like Dave and sit inside when imaging. However I still occasionally venture outside when I have to polar align and like to take in the sky when it’s not too cold.
  5. Bearings do fail but as you say failure after 18 months of low speed loading is unusual. The unknown manufacturer factory fitted bearings that I removed from my mount have play between the inner race and outer race on a couple of them. Again low speed, relatively low loading but moderate wear after about 2 1/2 years of intermittent usage. I didn't see any black particles in the grease so probably not worn so much that metal wear was leaching out. One of the small bearings that holds the worm drive shaft had a bit of a click at one point in its revolution so replacement was probably a good idea at this stage. I used some Loctite Super Lube PTFE based grease which is supposed to work over a wide temperature range -23°C to 176°C not that it ever gets remotely as low as that in the UK. Of course the higher temperatures are when the bearings are in something like a motor that run at hot temperatures.
  6. Interesting. I completed the whole bearing upgrade yesterday, also setting the worm drive backlash in both RA and DEC and it is now really smooth in both axis with no stiction. The bearings are all Swedish SKF if the packets can be believed, the tapered roller bearings are made by Timken which I believe are USA made. I’ve also taken the opportunity to reconfigure/simplify the cable management to ensure the head does not carry any devices/peripherals at all. The only extra thing that is on the moving part of the mount, on the RA part, is the voltage stabiliser. The mount will now carry just the scope in use at the time. I think I had previously added so much extraneous weight to the moving parts of the head it upset the balance and guiding. Now the scopes balance really well in both axis and the cables no longer add to the resistance of movement. I have simply made larger loops. I have some open mesh split sleeving on order to encapsulate the cables.
  7. Clear here but decided against doing anything due to the storm - which has died down drat!
  8. PixInsight 1.8.8-11 has been released https://pixinsight.com/forum/index.php?threads/pixinsight-1-8-8-11-released.17563/
  9. No it was just ordinary amber coloured grease. Just too much of it.
  10. Yes it is OIII or O3. They are normally used to view nebulae or planetary nebulae. You do need a big aperture scope though to get benefit from them. It'll probably work ok on your 120mm scope.
  11. So I started stripping down my HEQ5 Pro. One of the original DEC bearings has issues. I noticed that the outer race moved quite independently of the inner race. Not talking about rotation which it is designed for but rocking in latitude. I took it off the shaft and it didn’t have any manufacturers markings but did have the model type. Certainly not SKF or FAG quality. Also there was a lot of grease inside the DEC housing, too much in my opinion. There was also some paint residue inside that hadn’t been removed at the factory. It looks like Skywatcher quality control is a bit lax. Even though the design and manufacture of the parts is really good it is attention to detail they are not doing. Anyway when I have finished with it then it will be as it should have been when it left the factory.
  12. You may be taking your flats incorrectly Rob. Taking 30 x 3min flats is not correct. You need to cover the scope with a light source. Some people use a tee shirt stretched over the end of the scope. Then illuminate it by placing an iPad or other tablet set to just display a white screen. The tee shirt diffuses the light. Then you set the exposure of the camera so that the histogram is about 30 to 50% of maximum. This is normally a short period of time around a second or so dependant upon what filters you are using. Then take about 30 flat exposures with this setting. You can also buy dedicated flats panels or other generators like a tracing panel. Amy explains them below. APT has a flats aid to help you determine the correct exposure duration but its ages since I used that software but Kirk explains how to do it here: Amy explains how to make a flats panel
  13. We haven't posted anything in this thread for a while. We need to revive it as there is a lot of useful info inside. Also merged some of the recent release information into the thread.
  14. A great setup you have Dave. That moon, or blobby as we call it, is an ever present issue. Of course what is worse is the ever present UK cloud which is a feature we have to work around.
  15. I think on this occasion the framing as it is smack centre gives maximum impact.
  16. It looks like a great project and l look forward to following it through Bryan. Those 3nm Antlia filters are great. I saw a review from AstroBloke the other day on Youtube comparing the 3nm Antlia directly against an old version of the 4.5nm Baader S2 he had (not the current ones that Baader have recently released). No contest. The Antlia was so much better. I think I will invest in another set of SHO filters for the 2nd rig.
  17. You can do astrophotography with a Canon DSLR attached to a telescope in exactly the same way as any other brand Nikon, Sony etc. So you may have misunderstood that bit of the video (not that I have watched it). Lower ISO settings are better as less noise is introduced into the sensor. High ISOs are normally used, but not limited to, capture lower light in terrestrial photos but even so do introduce more noise. The ideal with my Canon for instance was to go no higher than 800 ISO with long exposure images. My EOS 400D could not take longer than 30 second duration shots so had to be controlled by an external computer controller electronic box with the camera set to BULB. Or I also used a intervalometer which is a cheap, simple electronic timer device and does exactly the same task but without a computer. I took exposures of around 2 minutes with my 400D with a delay between shots of about 15 seconds to allow the sensor to cool down a bit.
  18. Clouds stopped play but still got 20 x 6 minutes decent subs of S2 on my target.
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