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Finally - A Galaxy Image - M101 Pinwheel

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First image from this year's galaxy season - I only image a few galaxies as I do not have a long focal length telescope that can fully frame many of the populat targets.


I do however still enjoy imaging a few of the larger galaxies and show them in a wider field context as we transition out of nebula, through Galaxies and then take a break for a few months until astro-dark returns in late summer.

This image was taken over two nights - but only 98 minutes of integration - lost quite a number due to tracking issues and clouds, in addition I had major crashes with astroberry that cut short  the second night session, frustating as it was night of new moon and crystal clear all night - but that's astro imaging - wait 7 weeks to get a clear night and the equipment has a melt down.....

So, although it pains me to do it, I am not going to continue using RPi-4 with Astroberry.


My frustration is because I have had such a great experience with the ZWO ASIAir since buying one last July,  which is also Raspberry Pi based and works extremely well and reliably.

Based on the ASIAir experience I no longer ger have the patience or perseverence to try and make astroberry work with my AT106EDT based rig - it uses Moonlite motor focus, Starlight Express Lodestar for guiding  with OAG, I am not changing any of that for ZWO product. 

My solution is that I have just bought a small BeeLink NUC, N95, runs off 12v has 4 USB 3 sockets, runs Windows 11 and I am gong to run N.I.N.A on it and hope I get significantly better reliability.  I know some of you use astroberry very sucessfully, but for me it has been a bit of a love/hate relationship and my experience on Wednesday night was the final straw.

M101 - NASA info:
The giant spiral disk of stars, dust and gas is 170,000 light-years across — nearly twice the diameter of our galaxy, the Milky Way. M101 is estimated to contain at least one trillion stars.
Pierre Méchain, one of Charles Messier’s colleagues, discovered the Pinwheel galaxy in 1781.
The galaxy is located 25 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major
M101 has an apparent magnitude of 7.9


Image Info

Dates:            17 Apr 2023 ·  19 Apr 2023
Frames:         49×120″(1h 38′)
Integration:    1h 38′

Telescope:     AT106EDT f/l 690mm

Camera:          ASI2600MC


Processed with APP, PI, BlurXT, NoiseXT, GHS






Annotated - as there are quite a few faint and not so faint fuzzies in the frame






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I can understand the frustrations that Astroberry gives sometimes, especially when an update or "enhancement" introduces something that one hadn't considered and breaks something. I am still persevering with my three PIs but good luck with the Windows route.

I don't have to tell you to make sure you turn off Windows updates or at least set it to update during the day as that was the reason I dropped APT and Windows 10 a few years back for Linux. I have seen lots of great successes with NINA. Good that it is open source too.


I do still use a Windows PC running sharpcap for solar stuff though as the Pi can't grab high speed video well.


I too considered the ASIAIR but have Lakeside focusers on two scopes and Deep Sky Dad focusers on the other two so am reluctant to change them to ASI focusers.

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Sorry to hear about your equipment problems, I hope you get them sorted. Nice M101 Galaxy image. I place equipment and software reliability near the top of my decision list when putting together a system. While windows is a pain with its near constant updates, I find it works well for my observatory setups. From experience, I always start up my PC’s early to ensure I clear any updates before the evening session starts. 

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Very nice image of the pinwheel galaxy and processing Bryan  👍  I agree on the asi air it's a great piece of kit and extremely reliable however the downside is it completely locks you into zwo products. Good luck with the new mini pc & I'm sure you'll have an equally reliable experience with NINA .

Cheers Paul

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