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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Astronomy & Celestial
Thread started 12 Dec 2016 (Monday) 12:13
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Noitca's Astrophotography Attempts

 
Noitca
Senior Member
Joined Feb 2011
Acworth, GA
Dec 12, 2016 12:13 |  #1

Hello guys.

I am creating this thread as a place to share my astrophotography attempts. I have read this forum for years and have been fascinated with what you all can capture. It inspired me to attempt some shots a few times (some of which I have shared around here), but was limited to my camera gear and tripod. On top of that, I would only attempt anything when I was at my parent's house in rural Florida, which is considerably darker than my house outside of Atlanta.

Anyway, recently I have gotten a 10" LX200-ACF, and a ton of gear that goes along with it. A friend from work (who is an avid astronomer and astrophotographer) is helping me a lot, but I also want to share with other folks to simply share and get some feedback on various things and techniques that I try.

Here is my son looking at the moon on Saturday from outside my house, in the cul-de-sac, under a street-light (cell phone shot).

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/Hobbies/Stars/i-bzZpF3b/0/L/IMG_20161210_195537933-L.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://photos.smugmug​.com ..._195537933-L.jpg&lb=1&s=A] (external link) on Smugmug

Anyway,
I plan on using this thread to share my attempts as I try to learn and sort all of this out, instead of constantly creating new threads.

I will be as active as my schedule permits. There ends up being a million other things that gets in the way of hobbies (including other hobbies).

T1i with 18-55, 55-250, 50 1.8

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Noitca
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Senior Member
Joined Feb 2011
Acworth, GA
Dec 12, 2016 12:31 |  #2

Solo setup attempt #1 - Acworth, GA outside my house. Alt-Az tracking, single star alignment (finally, with some issues).

Target #1 - The moon.

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/Hobbies/Stars/i-F7DchBN/0/XL/moon-12-10-2016-waxing-gibbous-83percent-XL.jpg

Focus was done with the focus knob on the telescope and the camera in 10x liveview mode.

Had to stitch together 4 different shots to get the whole thing. Each section was shot at 1/1250 at iso1600. It was pointed out to me today that the moon is bright and I didn't have to be at that high iso... to which I responded.. DOH! It was getting cold and that was what the camera was set on from earlier in the day (my son's basketball game). I did take 15 shots of each position, then stacked them with a mean stack mode in photoshop. Each position then got a sharpening layer (smart sharpen) before stitching the 4 together.

T1i with 18-55, 55-250, 50 1.8

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MalVeauX
"Looks rough and well used"
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Joined Feb 2013
Florida
Dec 12, 2016 12:41 |  #3

Looks fun, big scope with lots of aperture to soak in the light.

Very best,


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Noitca
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Senior Member
Joined Feb 2011
Acworth, GA
Dec 12, 2016 12:49 as a reply to MalVeauX's post |  #4

Thanks,

It is a lot of fun, and even more to learn. My actual astronomy knowledge is severely limited, which doesn't help things. LOL. Trying to enjoy the entire experience and not get frustrated with mess-ups. Up to now, I have only looked through regular refracting telescopes and had only used a max of 250mm to image anything in the sky.


T1i with 18-55, 55-250, 50 1.8

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MalVeauX
"Looks rough and well used"
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Joined Feb 2013
Florida
Dec 12, 2016 13:32 |  #5

Noitca wrote in post #18210968 (external link)
Thanks,

It is a lot of fun, and even more to learn. My actual astronomy knowledge is severely limited, which doesn't help things. LOL. Trying to enjoy the entire experience and not get frustrated with mess-ups. Up to now, I have only looked through regular refracting telescopes and had only used a max of 250mm to image anything in the sky.

Definitely a different experience to view things with that focal length and an aperture that large. What's real fun is to have a star party and have a line of kids or people taking a view of something through the scope. Seasonal big bodies are in the sky like Orion's Great Nebula, etc, when the new moon starts so you get a dark sky.

Looks like you're piercing some light pollution. Might consider looking into an eyepiece filter for that.

Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link) :: Canon 17-40L For Sale! $380! | Canon 5D Classic Bundle for Sale! $250!

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TCampbell
Senior Member
Joined Apr 2012
Dec 14, 2016 20:32 |  #6

Hey, that's awesome that you're getting your son hooked on astronomy. As the saying goes... get your kids hooked on astronomy (and in particular, "astrophotography") and they'll be so broke buying gear that they wont have any money for drugs or alcohol. ;-)a

I'm glad to hear you have a buddy helping you out. That's a bit of a "technical" telescope, but with a bit of practice you'll quickly get the hang of it. I own the 14" version of the same scope. I can tell you that as you get into these larger aperture scopes, it doesn't require too much wind before it starts pushing the optical tube around enough to blur the images. I don't happen to own a protected observatory with a proper "dome" but I've more or less concluded that to do imaging with a large aperture scope it really helps to have a dome to protect them from wind vibrations.




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Noitca
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Senior Member
Joined Feb 2011
Acworth, GA
Dec 14, 2016 21:09 as a reply to TCampbell's post |  #7

interesting observation on the dome.

My son is likes it, he does get a little impatient with me figuring things out, but he is a trooper.

Another funny "error" that I had was the camera was still set to "auto rotate" the images... it thought it was upside down for all of the pictures. LOL.

Little goofy things.

I also have a wedge for it, but I have yet to polar align it yet.


T1i with 18-55, 55-250, 50 1.8

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DanThoman
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Joined Aug 2009
georgia lake country
Dec 23, 2016 09:07 as a reply to Noitca's post |  #8

Noitca - you need to consider joining the Atlanta astronomy club (AAC) or the Charlie Elliott astronomy club (CEA). Both have monthly meetings and observing nights which are free and open to the public. CEA is actually a chapter of the ACC which meets near Mansfield at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife center. We have a dark sky astronomy field at the center and lots of friendly knowledgeable people. If you're interested in a very dark sky site check out the Deerlick Astronomy Village.

http://ceastronomy.org​/blog/home (external link)

http://atlantaastronom​y.org/ (external link)

http://deerlickgroup.c​om/ (external link)

PM me if you want additional info.


Dan
my gear
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http://thomanstudio.co​m/blogexternal link

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Noitca
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Senior Member
Joined Feb 2011
Acworth, GA
Dec 25, 2016 20:39 as a reply to DanThoman's post |  #9

Thanks for the info. I will check those out.


T1i with 18-55, 55-250, 50 1.8

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Noitca
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Joined Feb 2011
Acworth, GA
Dec 25, 2016 20:54 |  #10

Ok. Out at my parents house in Florida. Been some pretty good nights, including tonight, but too tired to get everything set up, and got home too late.

Did get some pictures of the Orion Nebula the other night. This was the first time stacking and processing the images. 41 images and 10 darks. 8 minutes 7 seconds total time.

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/Hobbies/Stars/i-Kh457T3/0/XL/m42-2c-XL.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://photos.smugmug​.com ...XL/m42-2c-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A] (external link) on Smugmug

Had some tracking error with it too, and I have something wrong when I set up the telescope.

anyway.. I also tried to setup on Christmas Eve, but that was a complete fail, for many reasons.

T1i with 18-55, 55-250, 50 1.8

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Noitca
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Joined Feb 2011
Acworth, GA
Jan 03, 2017 06:40 |  #11

Had an interesting experience with my trip to Florida, and the result of which taught me one major thing, and raised several questions... I need more practice setting up this telescope! I was able to get out and set things up about 4 of the nights. :)

A problem that I was continually having was the alignment was somewhere between way off to slightly off. I was setting up in Alt-Az alignment mode, and when I would go to a particular star to align with, it was typically not even close. I think I was way off in the placement of the tripod/base, particularity with the compass. The plate that the mount sits on has pins that surround the base of the mount. The plate also has a compass to point the whole setup north. I am pretty sure the dial on the compass was not parallel to the axis of the mounting pins, thus the entire thing wasn't starting off right (north and level). The last night I set up, I had corrected this some, and the whole system performed better.

Another problem I encountered was getting everything completely locked down. This was most evident on the last night. After everything was set up, and the telescope placed on the tripod, I put in the bolt to hold the telescope. The bolt holds the spreader bar that engages with the tripod legs. For some reason, the spreader bar was only engaged with 2 of the legs.... and I didn't fix it. I think this allowed some "slop" in the base (which is supposed to be north and level). It wasn't noticable at first, but as the night went on, the alignment seemed to get worse. When I was done and went to take everything down, the attachement bolt was very loose, and that started out the night very tight. I think the various vibrations from me moving the telescope around caused the base to wobble because it wasn't completely locked down.

Anyway, I was able to view quite a few things on the final night, which was awesome. Eventually, I will learn my way around the sky as well. I also tried to mount the camera to the telescope, but that hasn't worked out so well. I got aggressive and tried to take roughly 15 second shots at iso 400. I am still working on the pictures, but I had a focus problem, which leads me to my biggest question, which is about my camera.. oddly enough....

When in live view, is there a way to increase the exposure or sensitivity (iso) of the camera? I know with a lens attached if you tell the camera to focus, it will increase the exposure of the image temporarily, but with the T-mount on the camera, it doesn't do that. I was close, but off on my focus. I think the star I focused on originally was so bright, that I couldn't tell that the focus was off on the less bright things.

Anyway, the next outing I am going to try setting up with the wedge and polar align the telescope. At this point, I am unsure of when that will be though.


T1i with 18-55, 55-250, 50 1.8

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Noitca
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Joined Feb 2011
Acworth, GA
Apr 11, 2017 07:23 |  #12

OK, was finally able to get the telescope out again. Combination of busy schedule w/ my son and some horrendous weather here has kept it packed up.

We had a clear night, and I wasn't tired, and the Braves were sucking it up so I got my son and his friend who was sleeping over to go out and look through the telescope. His friend had never looked through any telescope before.

Polar alignment setup went well. Getting more comfortable with that over time. The primary target to view was Jupiter. When we set up (around 10:00 PM) it was still pretty low in the sky and the general tree line was blocking our view. So we looked at various other objects around the sky. Viewed the moon with a 26mm objective and 10mm objective. We looked at a couple of stars, including Mizar. Due to the brightness of the moon and general light pollution, Alcor was not really noticeable by eye, so that really jumped out when we looked at it through the telescope.

Due to a position setup error/oversight, we finally got to view Jupiter at around 11:15. Discovered that as Jupiter rose over the general tree line, we had a large tree in my yard right in the path, so we had to wait longer until Jupiter rose above that tree. Should have set up 30 feet East of where I was. :(

We were able to see Jupiter and 4 moons. Once the kids were finished looking at it, I hooked the camera up to try and get some pictures. Still need to figure out some procedure on focusing the camera correctly. I think I was off a little bit again, plus the seeing wasn't great either.

Here is my fuzzy attempt at Jupiter with a 2x barlow lens. Got some others, will post when I get through them (busy schedule).

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/Hobbies/Stars/i-dhdKBZs/0/XL/2017-04_g4_ap1_conv-XL.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://photos.smugmug​.com ..._ap1_conv-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A] (external link) on Smugmug

Side note, my son's friend is also on our baseball team. I overheard him talking to one of our coaches while working on the tee about what he did on the break and he was telling him all about the telescope and what we looked at. :) Seemed to make an impression.

T1i with 18-55, 55-250, 50 1.8

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MalVeauX
"Looks rough and well used"
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Joined Feb 2013
Florida
Apr 11, 2017 07:28 |  #13

Looks great!

Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link) :: Canon 17-40L For Sale! $380! | Canon 5D Classic Bundle for Sale! $250!

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AdamJL
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Joined May 2006
'Straya
Apr 13, 2017 17:43 |  #14

Loving this thread. Thanks for taking us along on your journey :)


Gear

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Noitca
THREAD ­ STARTER
Senior Member
Joined Feb 2011
Acworth, GA
May 26, 2017 06:34 |  #15

Ok, little league baseball season is over, so I *should* have less distractions to actually try some things out.

Hoping for some clear nights on/around weekends. I get up too early during the week for work to really commit any time to the telescope during the week, especially over the summer.


T1i with 18-55, 55-250, 50 1.8

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Noitca's Astrophotography Attempts
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