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New toys vs Mother Nature

Tracy

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William Optics 103mm
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Anybody else ever notice that when you get some new astronomy related goodies in that Mother Nature tends to conspire against you?
I got new cameras in and was ALL fired up to start learning to use them with the equipment I had... got ONE good day of clear skies and since then EVERY night has had a layer of at least light scud clouds.

For the majority of the time since then, this has been a GOOD night for me.

IMG_1007.jpg
 

OhNo

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That sounds like the 1st Law of astronomy. If you receive it it will turn gnarly! o_O 🤣
 

Tracy

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And my wonderful view tonight off Vega. You see why I didn’t even pull the equipment out. and this was good period.

image.jpg
 

Tracy

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And to top it off, tonight is a twinkle twinkle little star night. Must have a lot of upper level winds.
 

OhNo

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Sounds like a testing night!. Iffy transparency!
 

Tracy

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Once more... mother nature said clouds and scattered storms were part of the night and for the next 4 days. So, no fun tonight.
 

Tracy

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Well, it looks like this upcoming Tuesday night starting about 1am I might get some scope time in..... if the forecast from Clear Outside holds true.
 

OhNo

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Wishin' ya luck! I am about ready for a cloudy night to catch up on sleep!
 

Tracy

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Looks promising so far for tonight compared to recent history!
11D955D2-6DF6-4460-8B40-BD5E19CF24D1.jpeg
 

OhNo

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Looks like a go!
 

Tracy

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Nice night... but now my mount won't communicate with either Stellarmate or Astroberry.. get a serial read error. don't think the cable is bad, so it may be the controller. Been fighting with it for the last few hours.

EDIT:

Derp.... don't consume a few Kentucky Mules and then go to hook stuff up.... the USB->Serial connector goes into the handset... not the base controller in the auto-guide slot. 😱
 

OhNo

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Well that's not performance. And sucks....
 

Tracy

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Well that's not performance. And sucks....
I got it all hooked up... but me and Mr. EAF are gonna have words. Get it near where it needed to be, and it would move ALL around where it actually should have been. 5000 steps this way, back 500 steps, blah...blah...blah.
There has to be somewhere in Stellarmate to set that. Guess I need to hit their site and see if they have a video on it. I manually got it into rough focus with the step buttons.... but then still had to do fine focusing by hand. I know it's just me not knowing what settings to use for the steps and whatnot.

EDIT:
And I figured out the issue AND got it so that 0 is actually the adjustment fully retracted.
Small matter of making sure Reverse Motion was disabled in the EAF setting screen in the Indi control panel. Don't ask me how that got turned on... but I had been wondering why "in" actually corresponded to moving the focuser out and vice-versa.

May have some decent sky tonight between 10PM to midnight. 🤞
 
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OhNo

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I set my focus steps to 25. The reverse setting switches the focus "In" and "out". For my EAF I found a backlash of 30 works best .
 

Tracy

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yeah, gotta play with the backlash... currently have my focus steps at 250 until I get a little more comfortable and was already thinking around 50'ish with a max of 2500 or so.
Right now I'm downloading about 23GB of FITS data of index files on the Astroberry RPi and then have to do it on the Stellarmate one also.
 

Tracy

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I will probably be a tired cowboy tomorrow... shows to be decent tonight from around 10am-3am on an app I have... and tomorrow at 11am the appliance repair guy is scheduled. I figured with all the clouds and storms we have had, it would be a safe bet to have them come out.... guess I should have scheduled them in the afternoon like I normally do. 🤷‍♂️

If nothing else... maybe I'll be able to grab a few planetary if the clouds do start moving in like they did the other night.
 

Tracy

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Now if it will just stay like this at least until 1am.

0E0A9C30-2A6F-457D-9AE2-421BC17C0B08.jpeg
 

Tracy

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Tonight has been a nice night. I've got captures of M-15, Andromeda Galaxy, Pleiades and a few more...now have to figure out how to use the stacker software and PixInsight and StarTools to process them.
The auto-focus has been a hoot to figure out...andI've figured out that the EQ-35M Pro mount is adequate... next project is a better mount. Looking at a HEQ-5 or HEQ-6.
 

Tracy

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I do believe I still need to work on gain settings.
200 on the ASI585MC seems to be a "little much" with 180 second exposures... all you see are bright blobs....not any kind of detail and very little color variation in any of the images.
 

OhNo

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Did you try shortening your exposure time? That camera is known to be a "Planetary Camera".....

There is another possibility. Your focus is wrong. I have had this happen, there are several places along the focus travel that you think are focused. I thought you mentioned you had a Bahtinov mask. Put that on and Point the scope at a medium brightness star. Adjust the focus until the extra spike is dead center. Make a not of that focus number.
 
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Tracy

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Yeah, I'm going break down and put the ASI533MM on next time I have it out. The only "strange" thing inline right now is flattener... .and it's set at about 4.6mm, which is recommended by WO for the ZenithStar 103mm. I also have the focal length set at 576mm instead of the 710 that it is without the .08 reducer.
I will be putting a rotator into play, but that will be in front of the reducer, which should not affect any of the other settings that remain the same behind the reducer (according to Agena Astroproducts support).
 

Tracy

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Think I can safely say it's focused correctly. :cool:
This was with the ASI533MM Pro.
Gain was at 150 with a 50 offset for the image... think I need to try dropping gain around 125 or so to see if it keeps the "wash" out of the image.

Screen Shot 2022-09-11 at 9.51.41 PM.png
 

OhNo

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Gain 101 Offset 50 give you the best Dynamic range.
Yes the focus is right on. BUT it may well change with each filter. You can do filter offsets in the StellarMate Filter tab. Why are the small stars elongated? What was the xposure time?
 

OhNo

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Your sensor may be too far away according to that OPT chart I shared with you.
 

Tracy

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Snapshot of my surface pro screen showing the first luminance capture of NGC7000. The camera on the phone blurred it some.
90 second exposure at 100/50.

I think I did a 1 second exposure but don’t remember for sure. 🙈
8DDD8A18-9698-4C7E-BE9D-B3CEE51C3E33.jpeg
 
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