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Anyone playing tonight? - Early January 2023 to Spring (ish) 2023

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A clear night so shooting Orion nebula with the OSC and the Redcat 51 while it is still above the house over the road. Doing many 30 second subs as I find it works great on bright targets like this without blowing out the brightest bits.

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Got around 4 hours on my target so far.  Now with about 30% cloud so will see how much longer I can go. Snow is forecast about 5 AM so might pack it in within the next couple of hours.

The small mount is in another part of the garden from usual doing the capture.

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Great out again tonight, got some new thermal boots and socks so feet didn't freeze. I got collimated a little better, focused better and finally started to take some images, although some longer exposures for plate solving to get a decent amount of stars. Shots went pretty well considering its an absolute monster - there should be enough stars to plate solve but frustrated its not working 😞. I need plate solving otherwise I have no chance of getting on targets with such a small field of view, but I can now do some offline testing in the warm with what I got tonight. Desperate to get imaging and think I have a chance with what I saw tonight. Tracking was still average 1 arc sec so really pleased with small breeze, even though its a big sail. Good luck to all.

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Gutted, just uploaded one of the images to astrometry.net and it solved it immediately - right ballpark of sky and correct field of view - I just needed to type those coordinates in and I could have used my goto - next time...

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Good luck with that Nick, it's definitely a beast! I missed out on a completely clear night last night because the forecasts were for 100% cloud, so this evening I set up anyway in spite of them. Got set up and aligned fairly easily for once, and managed just one hour before the clouds arrived. Ha on a two-frame M42 mosaic. Not much, but hopefully I can leave the mount in position for the next few days and add to it.

Making use of the cloudy night now to shoot flats and dark flats.

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Clear again so mini rig with the Redcat51/OSC combo capturing more Orion nebula  Guiding is really good and seeing is great. Hopefully it lasts for a few hours until it sets behind the trees and neighbours house.

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Up and running since 7pm this evening with a lovely clear sky and no moon! Fingers crossed though for what's going to happen in 35 minutes time:

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Not showing any signs whatsoever of clouding over just yet.

Shooting Ha in the city. Added 1.5 hours to the 2-panel Andromeda mosaic that I started earlier in the week, and am now on the old favourite M42. I have a narrow strip of visible sky due south, so can only get 3 hours on any one target between the trees and the house rooflines.

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After I thought there was no chance and the sky dumped a load of snow it cleared.

I opened the obsy, focused then finally plate solve over the internet. I sync'd then spotted something close called the fiddlehead galaxy, looked perfect on stellarium. Slew'd then took another exposure to see exactly where it ended up. When I tried the internet astrometry site again I got the message under maintenance of very busy and the wind started getting up. I tried a few times and eventually when it didn't look like the wind was going to let up and got sick of pressing refresh went in.

I solved it later and it was off but not sure if wind hadn't already blown it off.

So postponed for another night and keep persevering, at least everything else is working well and enjoying it (keep telling myself that)...

Good luck all.

Edited by Demon
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Not imaging as such but generating calibration frames for my ASI94MM. It has been over a year since I did them so it is about time I updated them.

The ASI294MM produces files of 22.8MB in BIN2x2 and 92MB in BIN1x1 - good job disks are cheap nowadays. First hard disk I bought years ago was 200MB in size!

 

So doing Darks of 30, 60, 120 and 360 seconds at BIN2x2 and the same at BIN1x1

Also doing some 600 second darks and both BIN1x1 and BIN2x2 to prepare for doing some 10 minutes subs. Not sure my guiding is up to it but you never know.

 

I don't do dark flats BTW just sticking to the more conventional BIAS, DARKS, LIGHTS and FLATS. It works for me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back getting better and able to get the ZS103 complete with brand new set of 3nm Ha, O3, S2, and associated LRGB Antlia filters in circuit so first light for them. Pleased to say they are absolutely parfocal between all the filters.

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Glad your back is getting better.

 

I've been off with flu and missed a load of good nights, however I got out early today and got a lot done - just need to remember it all...

 

Started doing a proper collimation job on 16" - to cut a long story short its showing that my ASI178MM must have quite a significantly tilted sensor inside - so more to research on that... - other than that 16" collimates and crayford focuser works beautifully (did a little visual for first time in a long time which was lovely, sharp and bright).

 

Finally backtracked and using the ED80 got some plate solving working again quickly to test out Goto (rather than unsuccessful attempts with LB16 and small FOV) - I'm very pleased to say it is definitely working, however it has shown if I have to traverse too far it looks like something glitches - less concerned as dont need to go that far and it got it where it was supposed to (was slewing around Orion nicely).

 

A few days ago I came up with a very simple workaround idea of how to use my smaller guide scope to plate solve and get the big 16" in position without mechanically aligning them - I put forward the suggestion to APT and they are going to add it to next beta - yippee and cant wait to try...

 

However until then and (I feel slightly guilty) I finally tried out your favourite Nina - main reason is that I found out that it does have integrated plate solving via the online astrometry site (not just local) and after putting the ASI178MM back onto Lightbridge16 OTA it did successfully plate solve all the images perfectly and quickly - so I need to familiarise myself on how that works with everything. I'm used to APT and its show, sync and slew links with Stellarium and PHD2 etc, so I now need to get the equivalent working although it looks pretty good so far (a few crashes)...still cant wait to try APT also...

 

So getting on again which is really nice...and hopefully after some reading up on Nina will finally be able to get on a small galaxy and start seeing what this crazy rig can finally do...

 

 

Edited by Demon
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On 2/6/2023 at 10:41 PM, Demon said:

ASI178MM must have quite a significantly tilted sensor

You can get a tilt plate from ZWO https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/zwo-t2-camera-tilting-unit-mark-ii.html designed to alter the angle of a ZWO camera/sensor relative to the OTA. That might be worth investigating. I use one on my solar telescope with ZWO ASI174MM to minimise Newton rings.

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