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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:11 pm 
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I was going to have another go at andromeda. It was still a bit low when I started so I went for the North America nebula instead. That was practically overhead. Doesn't get much better than that for light pollution.

Amongst the routine 30s shots, I did a 5 minute one just to see what happened.

Image
303s in bulb mode, 85mm f/1.8, ISO400 raw convert + resize.

Image
100% crop from full size.

I'm happy with the tracking accuracy, although it might be more interesting once I get to longer focal lengths. I think the 150mm will cover the nebula region nicely, but that's for another day. Or night.

Right now the computer is crunching its way though over an hour of subs on the same region, so that should be ready for morning.

By the time I got that lot, Andromeda was higher up so I had another go at it.
Image
31x30s, 85mm f/1.8, ISO800. Dark and bias corrected. I messed up the flats so decided not to use them at all. Maybe I'll redo that another time. Again I think I need to get longer focal lengths pointed at this. How much is the 200mm f/2 these days? :D

And finally, I was looking up the light filters and astro conversions again. I can do two things here. I've had a rethink, and will convert the 450D to astro use only, not IR also as originally planned. The astro conversion will get me some 2 stops worth more sensitivity of the wanted red nebula glow, plus it isn't too disastrous on normal daylight use, hopefully a white balance correction will suffice else I can look at balancing filters too. So it'll still be useful as a general 2nd body.

On the light pollution reduction side, I didn't realise when I ordered the Astronomik CLS filter this was essentially the lowest "strength" filter for this function. The UHC filters are narrower pass for many key astronomical spectral lines so would help take out even more of the broadband light pollution. I'll probably order one of those too.

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:50 am 
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Very nice Popo!

I'll need to mount the 200mm F4 on with the C8 and take a go at the North American Nebula. I'd like to do some DS one day, but I need more knowledge on darks and flats still. Plus, I don't know how to use DSS, despite the fact that it's been downloaded onto my PC.

By the way, this is my 200th post! I'm 1/5 of the way to 1000! :D

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:19 am 
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popo, if I were you Id try a telelens at least at 200mm, and then shoot M31 again at the same settings. Youll wonder what you could get more.

Nice shots btw :)

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:44 am 
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EvanK, there is a simple guide on the DSS web site explaining how to take darks, flats and bias files. To me only getting a good flat is a little tricky, at least at these short focal lengths.

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3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:33 pm 
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Wow, now thats quite impressive to get 5mins unguided with minimal trailing. I would be very pleased with that.

If I were you I would try NGC7000 with maybe 4min subs and stacking those instead of the 30s. That way you will be able to get a lot more detail. Cant wait to see the results of your efforts though.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:56 pm 
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Still on my "to get" list is an external timer so I can get those longer exposures. I'm stuck on 30s since that's the maximum I can set in camera. The 303s exposure was done in bulb mode. I could look into USB control but it isn't so practical.

Also I'll start stopping down the lens once I get that, as they aren't the sharpest wide open.

The mount isn't perfect, as it currently rests on grass and I'm sure it shifts throughout the course of a session as I fiddle with kit on it. I will need to put some concrete slabs down in that part of the garden. If I look through a set of lights, there is a slight shift that is barely noticeable through the frames. I had masses of trouble aligning it one time before I realised I was leaning on the tripod, shifting it quite considerably! If the ground is soft, possibly standing nearby might shift it too...

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:48 pm 
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Not quite sure I know what you mean in your first sentence?

Are you thinking of a cable release where you can programme your shots i.e. an intervolometer? therefore you can set the exposure length and how many you want to take?

I currently use a cable release and a timer app on my Macbook, but a kitchen timer will do the same, it just means keeping an eye on it!

Have a look at DSLR Shutter this is compatible with Canons and might allow you to do what you want, plus its free :) Im not familiar with how it works so you may want to have a look at Shoestring Astronomy Store as I think you may need to buy an adapter of some sort.

Some slabs will certainly improve the mounts positioning, it would also allow you mark out where the mount needs to be placed. If your putting some slabs onto the grass you may want to consider devising some sort of vibration suppression, maybe placing the slabs on some sort of neoprene or separating layer. I know some people do get very concerned with vibration and make sure they stand well away form their set-up when imaging...

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:52 pm 
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Not quite sure I know what you mean in your first sentence?

Are you thinking of a cable release where you can programme your shots i.e. an intervolometer? therefore you can set the exposure length and how many you want to take?

I currently use a cable release and a timer app on my Macbook, but a kitchen timer will do the same, it just means keeping an eye on it!

Have a look at DSLR Shutter this is compatible with Canons and might allow you to do what you want, plus its free :) Im not familiar with how it works so you may want to have a look at Shoestring Astronomy Store as I think you may need to buy an adapter of some sort.

Some slabs will certainly improve the mounts positioning, it would also allow you mark out where the mount needs to be placed. If your putting some slabs onto the grass you may want to consider devising some sort of vibration suppression, maybe placing the slabs on some sort of neoprene or separating layer. I know some people do get very concerned with vibration and make sure they stand well away form their set-up when imaging...

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:39 pm 
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Yup, I'm currently using a simple cable release latched on for continuous shooting. I guess an intervolometer is what I'm after, anything will do that goes beyond 30s.

I do want something "set and forget" simple and I'm sure I can get something cheap off ebay.

That software tool... might not be ideal. If I go USB, I was thinking of using direct USB remote control to the camera, not going through an intermediate device that seems to be doing. I haven't looked for such software yet but with Canon's free access to their control interface I wouldn't be surprised if there is something out there. Bigger problem right now is I don't have a USB cable that'll run down from house to garden, and I'm not keen on leaving the laptop outside.

On slabs, I'm not too obsessive yet! If I put enough around that area, their weight should become higher than mine relatively dampening any impact I might have.

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:46 pm 
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Im not sure whether a direct USB connection will allow you to control the shutter (from what I have read anyway) in bulb mode, hence the need for this interface. I might be wrong though and often am!!!!

Im hoping to get a copy of Nikon Remote Control Software Camera Control Pro 2 soon to see whether that will allow me to do just that with my D200. Then, like you, I need to get a rather long USB cable!!!

With the slabs I was wondering whether you would pave an area or just lay slabs for the feet of the tripod. I would really love to build myself an observatory but Ill have to wait until I get my own house :P

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:55 pm 
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I was under the impression EOS Utilty (Canon's camera control software) allows the operation of all functions of the camera that don't absolutely require a physical switch movement. Still, I'll check up on it.

My garden is a mess anyway... I want to cover the whole lot in paving but I've been too lazy to find and pay someone to do it right. So right now it's got random slabs throw around to let me move around without going into the jungle. At the minimum I'll make a platform for the tripod. Depending on how many I have I might put some more around there as I don't like going through damp grass at night.

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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