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Thread: New Autoguider - Second Try!

  1. #1
    Juno16's Avatar
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    Default New Autoguider - Second Try!

    Hi Everyone!

    A very fustrating second attempt working with the guider and PHD. Mainly because after two evenings setting up, I had to break everything down because of cloud cover. The third night, tonight, was clear and a go.

    Even though there is a significant moon presence, my goal was to get a feel for PHD drift alignment tool, start guiding, and snap some images to hopefully see some improvement over the 60 second unguided images that I had been shooting.

    The unguided 60 second images that I was shooting up until now were plagued by 30-40% bad frames. I would preview the raw images with Windows PHOTOS and magnify to about 30 percent to check the stars. Most of the good stars were eggish shaped, but 20-40 percent of the images had stars 3-4 times as long as wide. At least one of ten images had long streaks or double star shapes like the scope had been bumped.

    Since my first attempt "New Autoguider - First Testing!", I reset the settings in PHD, set the exposure time to 2 seconds, let PHD select the guide star,and reduced the RA gear free play. I also re lubed the RA gears with Superlube. These were all recommendations from the great folks on this forum. Thanks!

    I also carefully balanced the rig (slightly East heavy). I tied up all of the cables so as not to put a drag on the ota. Definitely a nice improvement.

    Well, I tried the PHD drift alignment tool. Very frustrating, but after about 40 minutes I had at least somewhat figured out which direction to move things. Very sensitive! I though that my trend lines looked fairly good, but later looked in the PHD log and saw that my PA Error= 11.7 arc-min. Not good. Lots of work to do there.

    On to guiding anyway and snap some images. I just wanted to see how things compared to unguided even though I know that I still have issues.

    Pointed the scope to Mintaka. Heavily effected by moonlight. Started guiding.

    I started previewing the 60 second images as I had usually done. Not bad, decently round stars. I shot 45 one minute images and all looked pretty good. Some had slightly egg shaped stars at high magnification, but all keepers.

    I moved the scope from the SE to the NE and imaged stars with similar results.

    I moved the scope to the NW and imaged stars to see how sky position might have an effect and still saw decent results.

    I decreased the iso to 100 and increased the exposure time to 180 seconds. Shot five images and the stars looked as good as in the 60 second images.

    Below are links to several screenshots of PHD2 while guiding. Also, I included a jpg of one of the images of the starfield around Mintaka.

    I have a long, long way to go, but based on the comparison of unguided versus the images tonight, I am thrilled with the results so far.

    Out of the 50 images that I shot tonight, I had no occurrence of double stars images like I was occasionally seeing unguided before.

    Thanks all for the help! Once that I get more experience with guiding, I might need some more questions.

    Again, a big THANKS!

    jaetea, CamelHat, geethq and 4 others like this.
    Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
    Mounts: Celestron AVX with Orion MM Autoguider, SLT; Binoculars: Bushnell 10X50;
    Camera: Nikon D3300 and D5300(unmodded), Astrophotography Tool, PHD2, SharpCap v3.2, StarTools, PE14
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    geethq's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Autoguider - Second Try!

    glad that you have figured it out. your RMS total is around 1" which is good for AVX.
    its ok for the PA to be slightly off so PHD can only guide on one side and reduce the effect from big backlashes in DEC.
    Juno16 likes this.
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    color="#b22222">Telescope: 10" F3.9 Orion Astrograph on Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro
    Camera: Nikon D5300a + Optolong 2" UV/IR cut with Baader MPCC mark III Coma Corrector
    Guiding: 50mm Orion scope, ASI120MM mini camera
    Planetary: QHY5III 224C, Tele vue 5X Powermate, ZWO ADC, GSO 3X ED and 5X APO barlow
    Accessories: Laser Collimator, DIY Dew shields and heaters, Celestron 15x70 Bino

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