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Aug 2022 - Anyone playing tonight?


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Beautiful dark skies here tonight (B2). It's been so long since I've been imaging I expected that the night would be spent sorting out niggles, but actually got up and running quite quickly (once the miniPC had run Windows Update and a virus check 😞 ). Just as well I started early.

Letting the 150PDS / ASI533MC run on Andromeda - 3 minute subs, and I know this should be a mosaic but I was too impatient to try the new camera! Guiding running at 0.6-0.7".

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Also set up the C8 for visual in parallel, and got the most amazing views of Saturn and 5 moons and Jupiter and the 4 Galilean moons. I have never seen them so clear before, including very clear banding on both planets. Pity no GRS until 3:30am by which time I'll be well in bed.

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Solar rig setup this morning just waiting for the clouds to move. Should be good later on according to the forecast.

Then it looks good in the evenings all week for deep sky so have the other rig setup ready for that.

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Two rigs out tonight on different targets. RedCat pointing at Propeller Nebula getting some S2 to go with last nights Ha.

The WOZS103 is adding a little Elephant Trunk in Ha to data I already have from previous sessions.

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Making the most out of the current good weather, by staying away as far from the moon as possible and imaging the Iris nebula. Temperature outside is 19C, and the camera can't cool to -15 as usual. Currently at -13.6. I guess that's close enough for my -15C darks.

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Just finished a 3rd night on a row with both rigs running. The moon didn't rise very high as predicted and soon set. I was still pointing in the opposite direction taking O3 with one of the rigs. It was a very clear night with excellent guiding/seeing.

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Been out last few nights, shaking down some arduino software improvements and further attempts at collimation.

Added buttons to my joystick box for tracking enable/disable and joystick enable. Had a few bugs initially but got them sorted. Also improved comms between arduino controllers and getting immediate results of 1 arcsec guiding reliably on the beast. Improved comms now geared up for more/proper commands and started writing Ascom driver for mount to finally add Goto for use with plate solving - going well. Used camera and did lots of adjustment/shimming to focuser and finally getting collimated properly. Can see far better stars and visible coma at outer edges. Also nice difference as all cools down. so starting to tighten up on everything.

Got on M13 for a while for view of lots of stars and them shifted over to ring nebula.

All that said still not happy as imaging not right in APT - but doing a separate query in software for that.

Good luck all and clear skies.

p.s. looking forward to Astrofest next weekend.

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A night off! Hurrah! I do leave the rigs running on their own all night but also get up at around 5AM at this time of the year to close up the scopes. This is normally putting the lens caps on and placing covers on each rig to stop the early rising birds from dropping their innards onto the scopes/mounts. I also warm the cameras and shutdown the electronics. All this takes time out of my sleeping so I am glad now to catch up on much needed rest.

Roll on the next clear night(s).

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What a fantastic clear night and therefore what other than the Windows gods conspire against me and do not only lots of updates but completely obliterate my plate solvers from working. Which sadly I really need to get on small targets. So now sat in lounge rebuilding mini pc great - don't say it (rpi/air)... 

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Hi Nick. Yes it does the plate solving too. It will do blind plate solving but like most solving packages works quicker if you know the rough coordinates that the scope is pointing. You can specify different solving methods like http://astrometry.net for instance or use the inbuilt solver as I do which is excellent.

 

The Raspberry Pi’s I use have a flavour of Linux called Astroberry which is actually running atop Ubuntu. It has all the astro software preloaded using Kstars and Ekos, the latter being a complete customisable observatory control software and the former a planetarium application. There are many other astro packages onboard too.

The drivers are Indi which is the Linux equivalent of ASCOM and is being continuously updated/added to when new equipment comes along.

You can find all the instructions on how to download it/use it from https://astroberry.io and it is entirely free. You don’t need to know anything about Linux to use it BTW.

 

The way I use it due to the equipment I have (connected to the house via copper ethernet cable BTW) is: select a target, select a filter (or sequence of filters), select exposure and number of frames, select a time or ASAP and click start. I walk away and it does the rest. Slew to target, plate solve, focus, guide, meridian flip when needed etc.

 

I know your requirements are different due to the big mount but you could certainly use it as an aid.

The NUC you have can run Ubuntu-mate https://ubuntu-mate.org so you could install the OS on it and then install Kstars, EKOS and INDILIB on it without having to buy a Raspberry. You can remote into Ubuntu-mate using an RDP connection from your Windows PC in the house too.

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Thanks Terry, I'll have to give it a go, I've got a spare rpi4 somewhere, I just started with a minipc and it's never previously had problems. Key to long term is me coming up to speed on writing drivers... My rigs getting not to far from normal, I just need to push it roughly to right area first then goto will take over shortly. Then I can finally get more imaging done rather than spending the time outside in winter just getting on target.

Anyway just set up my tent last night at Astrofest 2022 and already quite a few astronomers up their with nice astro rigs so looking forward to a few weekend with fellow geeks and weather looks good so far. Sadly haven't taken the beast up there though. Cheers, Nick

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Had a great day and night yesterday here at Starfest 2022, lots of great fellow astronomers/APs and some really amazing AP rigs. Ps got a 16" F4.5 to go on the beast shortly if it doesn't stick out of obsy...  Last night it collimated nicely with so many pinpoint stars visible and through a large 56mm eyepiece as you moved a bright star out of the centre it turned into a very nice clear comet facing the centre as hoped, so CC next but really pleased and can't wait to mount and get camera on. Will be oversampling but lots of light so more exposures to choose from😎

IMG-20220820-WA0000.jpeg

Edited by Demon
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Clear night in south Northamptonshire 

Back on Elephant with Oiii - should have more than 10hrs of Oiii if this session goes to plan…..

Guiding excellent <0.5rms

Sitting in a garden chair with small pair binoculars- M31 is easy visual target tonight.

loads of satellites trundling across the skies….sigh 🙄

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It's clear (whisper it). Single rig out tonight with the Redcat 51 taking a few snaps of the Cygnus Loop to add to the many I have taken over the years. Ha tonight, OIII a few days ago when it was new moon.

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