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Thread: EQ6-R Pro - what can I expect with tracking?

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    Default EQ6-R Pro - what can I expect with tracking?



    Hello,

    I have just got a new EQ6-R Pro. I am new to tracking but wanted to set myself up right for the future without needing to buy again! I am using a Canon DSLR with a 400mm lens now with view to buying a telescope when I am more experienced and have learnt a lot more!

    I expected that I would be able to get 2 to 3 min exposures of stars without any guiding with no star trails. This was based on Synscan 2-Star alignment and a Synscan Polar Alignment using the 400mm lens.

    Is this a realistic expectation?

    I am getting small star trails now, but I do not know if this my amateur alignment and I just need to keep practising. Or if I am at the limits of this mount without guiding.

    Any useful hints?

    Note I am Southern Hemisphere based (Gold Coast, Australia).

    Thanks,

    Mike

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    Default Re: EQ6-R Pro - what can I expect with tracking?

    Hi Mike...
    Welcome.
    Even at 400 mm, you need really good PA in order to avoid star trailing.
    I would try picking up something to help with PA like a polemaster...
    PoleMaster Southern Hemisphere version comes

    Good Luck!
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    Default Re: EQ6-R Pro - what can I expect with tracking?

    1 to 2 mins at 500 fl was all i could push out on the eq6 ,consider "hyper tuning" your mount, excessive time on polar alignment.avoid putting your scope in the wind, also have a look into pec training with the hand controller,this feature can help a fair bit or make things worst if not setup correctly, from what i've read.

    If you want to go computer free,you can get a drift alignment eye piece if you have problems aligning with the south celestial pole

    it also helps to keep the counter weight end a tad bit heavy if you havn't done so,this will load the gears.

    auto guiding can be a pain with and a pain without.
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    Default Re: EQ6-R Pro - what can I expect with tracking?

    On the HEQ5, the little brother of the EQ6, I was able to get 1 minute exposures routinely at 800mm. I did try 2 minutes a couple of times, but the stars were no longer totally round. You need a really good polar alignment to go unguided. (It's good practise, though, so I recommend trying unguided first. Builds character. )
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    Default Re: EQ6-R Pro - what can I expect with tracking?

    Good polar alignment is the first step to reduce the trails in declination. Then you need to consider periodic error which produces trails in right ascension

    Analyse your star trails for direction. If you've attached your camera to the mount in the obvious way then declination is left/right and right ascension is up/down.
    If the trails are left/right then improve your polar alignment. Have a look at the DARV method. https://www.cloudynights.com/article...ert-vice-r2760
    If the trails are up/down or oblique then periodic error is also involved and you need to autoguide. Autoguiding can also correct for the drift due to polar alignment error.

    If you are technically/mathematically inclined here is what happens:
    Let's say your camera has pixels of 5um. At 400mm FL that becomes pixel scale of 2.6 arcseconds/pixel.

    For polar alignment, the rule of thumb is that the amount of drift averages to the PA error each six hours. So a 1 degree error results in 3600 arcseconds drift in 6 hours or 10 arcseconds per minute. For a 2 minute exposure that's 20 arcseconds or about 8 pixels trail. 1 degree error is huge and using DARV or even your hand controller you should be able to get to well under that. If you get to, say, 15 arcminutes then your trails in declination will be more like 2 pixels.

    Now the EQ6-R has a typical periodic error of, say, 20 arcseconds peak-to-peak and a worm period of about 8 minutes. So every 4 minutes the tracking error is 20 arcseconds one way then the next 4 minutes its 20 arcseconds the other way in a roughly sinusoidal pattern. That's a trail of nearly 8 pixels in 4 minutes worst case. If the 4 minutes overlaps the reversal it could be a low as 4 pixels. So at 2 minutes you are looking at trails of 2 to 4 pixels in right ascension at the celestial equator (declination zero). At a declination of +/-45 the trails would be 1.5 to 3 pixels.
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    Default Re: EQ6-R Pro - what can I expect with tracking?

    Thanks. I will have a look into the PoleMaster. In the meantime I will keep tuning the mount balance (weights) and practising my polar alignment.

    The technical description was interesting. Thanks. It definitely makes sense.

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    Default Re: EQ6-R Pro - what can I expect with tracking?

    I am not sure what hyper tuning is. Another item to research! Thanks.

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    Default Re: EQ6-R Pro - what can I expect with tracking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikesharrott View Post
    I am not sure what hyper tuning is. Another item to research! Thanks.
    Hyper tuning involves disassembling your mount and cleaning and polishing every mating surface to remove any
    burrs or rough spots left by the manufacturing process.
    Replacing the bearing with better ones, (Or installing bearings where shims were before)
    Going through the gear trains to remove all backlash
    You can do the job yourself, or send it out to be done at a substantial cost...
    A large improvement in both tracking and overall performance is usually the result.
    It's well worth considering.
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    Default Re: EQ6-R Pro - what can I expect with tracking?

    I would definitely have a go at Drift aligning. This will improve your exposure time a lot.
    Its time consuming, maybe an hour, but worth it.
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    Default Re: EQ6-R Pro - what can I expect with tracking?

    Thanks all for the suggestions and information. I think I am going to have to give up work to focus on this as it seems I work through and understand one technique, then twenty more appear... unfortunately that is at least 10 years away! Hopefully the results improve each step.

    The hyper tuning seems a bit extreme for where I am at the moment. I will try the other suggestions first and move to this if required. I would not have expected this to be necessary after buying what I deemed a quality but expensive mount.

    I will try the drift alignment method. But I was hoping for a quicker set-up time using the Synscan alignment. If this is not good enough, then I may need to look closer at PoleMaster.

 

 
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