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  1. #1
    NightOwlZA's Avatar
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    Exclamation Auto aligning using camera connected to laptop



    Hi

    I'm relatively new to Astro photography and have the following equipment:

    Laptop
    Canon 5D Mark II
    300mm f/2.8 Lens (Plus extenders)

    EQ3 equatorial Mount
    SkyWatcher SynScan PRO GOTO Upgrade Kit For EQ3-2 Mount

    I've attached the Camera and lens to the laptop and the Equatorial mount. At the moment I align the whole setup with the goto kit's 3-star alignment, but would like to have the whole system auto-align itself using the feed from my camera and lens that comes into my laptop.

    I know I need an rs232-usb cable to connect the Synscan to the laptop, but what software do I need to make the two communicate and autoalign?

    Alternatively, is there any other autoalign solution I can look at?

    one that i've had a look at is the synguider (cant post link, since I'm new), but it does not have an adapter to attach to my camera's lcd.

    Any suggestions? I don't own a telescope, and don't plan on buying one just for autoaligning. I'm only interested in astro photography with my current Canon equipment.

  2. #2
    Canon Pete's Avatar
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    Not sure it can be done the way you are wanting it to be. No software ( that I am aware of atm ) will be able to decide if target alignment star is center or such. Focus would be another issue. Think you are going to have to have user imput at the start at least. After that you can set parameters for chosen targets.

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  3. #3
    Joe Lalumia's Avatar
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    Nope sorry-- you are talking about the Meade LS scope that auto aliens by taking a picture of the sky and comparing it to an internal database. No software exists that will do this.

    Best to do a polar alignment and a drift alignment before you start taking pictures. With a web cam taking AVIs a rough polar alignment should be sufficient.

    Watch this video:

    Andy's Shot Glass - Drift Alignment for Amateur astrophotography,ccd, Neutonians and Refractors, amateur astronomy
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    TelescopeMan Web Site

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  4. #4
    NightOwlZA's Avatar
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    at the moment I do 3-star alignment with the handset.
    What I find difficult is that I'm in the Southern Hemisphere and do not have a nice shiny point to get celestial south, like the north star in the southern hemisphere.
    The start of my alignment is already flawed, since I have to eyeball it down the barrel of my 300mm lens. Using the polarscope on the EQ3 is useless, because I have no bright references in the southern sky. 3-star alignment takes me upto an hour, because I'm so far out from celestial south to start with. Hence me looking for some sort of autoalignment solution. What if I attach a synguider to the lcd of my 5D mark II in liveview somehow?

  5. #5
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    For a presision alignment have you tried doing a magnetic alignment then fine tuning with a drift alignment?
    For a close alignment give this a try to find your magnetic declination then then do a magnetic alignment and try your three star alignment.
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  6. #6
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    Polar Alignment in the Southern Hemisphere

    Southern Alignment is Celestrons site about as well.

    An Australian Site giving help .

    There are probs many more, Google is your friend.

    Clear Skies

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  7. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Canon Pete For This Useful Post:

    ghswen (01-19-2011),NightOwlZA (01-20-2011)

  8. #7
    NightOwlZA's Avatar
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    Default

    I already know how to do polar alignment, thats not the problem. I know how to find celestial South etc.

    It's applying it to the equipment. The 300mm lens does not have a crosshair in it and there's nothing particularly bright to point it at either. I have a GPS, so I can enter my GPS coords into the handset, not a problem either.

    I set the system up eyeballing down the barrel of my 300mm on x and y axis.

    I'm looking for an electronic solution to alignment...

  9. #8
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    Maybe it would be easier to invest in a guide scope and use it to do your drift alignments. Once your aligned the scope can guide your camera for long exposures.
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  10. #9
    jenniferchristine's Avatar
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    Default

    SH Polar Alignment
    This has pics of the stars you need to put in the middle of your southern view.
    Can't you align looking through your DSLR? I have a grid in mine and software with preview will give you an even better one. APT will give you a good preview with a grid. go full zoom and work out the stars from that.
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  11. #10
    NightOwlZA's Avatar
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    Jenifer: I have a 300mm f2.8 lens attached and my problem is it collects to much damn light... I know it sounds weird, but it's seeing stars in the viewfinder that I'm not seeing with my eye, so I have no idea where in the sky I am and which one of all those stars are actually the bright one I see. The field of view is also so narrow, that I'm not sure if I actually have the bright star that I'm using for alignment in the field of view, or am I just looking at another bright star that I don't see with my naked eye.

    Something like PHD Guiding seems like it would be ideal, but they don't have the Canon cameras in their list of supported cameras.

 

 
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