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Thread: M42 Session #2 -- Bringing PHD2 Up

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    Default M42 Session #2 -- Bringing PHD2 Up



    I managed to get some imaging done tonight, which is good -- this is my second session with this rig and probably my 6th overall since joining. I learned some lessons on the first one and applied them tonight. I was able to get PHD2 working -- first time ever. It was all over the place at first and my alignment was not at all good, but -- it managed to calibrate and I did get more useable data than the first time. Once I can go through the entire procedure, I am certain I will get good results.

    I had not thought about the fact that my FOV could include the Running Man (NGC 1973, NGC 1975, and NGC 1977), but I did take some pains to get it -- especially in Star Tools -- I really pushed these two integrations. What I wound up with was 16x30 seconds, 80x6 seconds, 80x4 seconds and 80x2 seconds. I also did some 12 second subs, but -- that was before PHD2 had a good calibration. The stack looks okay, but it is not close enough to the series I just mentioned, so -- I left it out. I neglected to change the quality parameters, so -- I had one 16 minute integration and one 24 minute integration. (The 80x6 second subs did not make the cut the first time.)

    I am not 100% liking pushing the processing so much, but -- I had my imager pretty cold and the gain still pretty low, so -- I think that with more subs and better tracking, I can get the image mostly "in the can". The 6 second subs are the key to keeping the core from blowing out, I think. I continue to struggle with the green dominating once I get into StarTools, but -- I managed to drive it back down. It just took a lot more than I liked. That's another thing I will work on in the can.

    I was "supposed" to be imaging M45, but I got a late start -- that will not get any better until next winter, though. I still hope to get an hour on the Pleiades, but -- time is running out for that.

    My Bahtinov mask is still enroute, so the focus is still a bit soft, I think. I also have filthy optics -- I assume it is the objective, since the dust donuts are super huge. Next, I need to get the polar alignment down and calibration frames, especially flats. There is plenty of diffraction going on, but I don't know -- is that my soft focus, or a reflection from my CCD glass? The popular opinion is that it is the astrograph, but -- I still want that Bahtinov mask to be sure.

    The good news is that my field flattener seems to be dialed in perfectly, which helps my confidence about working out the back focus properly. I am going to add 25mm to the front end because I have to pull the bitter end out about that much to achieve focus in the first place.

    M42 16 minutes ST.png

    M42 24 minutes ST.png
    Last edited by jinzai; 03-04-2018 at 10:00 AM.
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    Default Re: M42 Session #2 -- Bringing PHD2 Up

    Good work. Reading your post reminds me how much there is to AP!
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    Default Re: M42 Session #2 -- Bringing PHD2 Up

    Very nice images!
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    Default Re: M42 Session #2 -- Bringing PHD2 Up

    Definitely a learning curve a PHD. I don't know much of the technical information displayed on the screen. I just make some adjustments if it tells me to.
    I think the second image is a bit red and prefer the first image. These will improve dramatically as you learn the process. It once took me over 2 hours to set up my equipment. I can now get everything set up, drift aligned with PHD, focused and imaging in just under an hour.

    As you mentioned the flats will be extremely useful in improving the images.

    Well done.
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    Default Re: M42 Session #2 -- Bringing PHD2 Up

    I also prefer the first image. Looks like you're learning the ropes!

    Joe
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    Default Re: M42 Session #2 -- Bringing PHD2 Up

    Hi Michael,

    Nice work. Only PHD2 can be simultaneously gratifying and frustrating! In an effort to reduce your frustration and speed up your learning curve, have you referenced (read) the PHD2 Best Practices document? If not, here it is.
    https://openphdguiding.org/PHD2_BestPractices.pdf

    Cheers,
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    Default Re: M42 Session #2 -- Bringing PHD2 Up

    These are very beautiful, kudos! johnnyb
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    Default Re: M42 Session #2 -- Bringing PHD2 Up

    Thanks everyone for the encouragement -- I appreciate it a lot. It helps me a lot to have a "feedback loop" like this forum. I get ideas, advice and understanding that way.

    I actually printed the PHD2 manual out last fall and promptly set it aside and forgot about it. I have SGP about 75% understood and configured, but --since I had not worked out PHD2, it was of little use to me. SharpCap was used to do the capturing. I probably should have tried to LiveStack it. Hindsight again is 20/20.

    The rig was the hero on this modest effort -- I am thoroughly pleased with my astrograph and mount. This week, I am getting a 100mm T2 extension and the Bahtinov mask. I also decided to get a Moonlite focuser, but will not add it until I have SGP up and running. I did manage to plate solve one of the FITS files and found my "guesstimate" rotation was only one degree off! (-89).

    I work at an insurance company that has their own "print shop" -- except it has its own building and is better than Kinko's. I might just get the full frame metal or mirror printed -- Orion's Sword. It is my first attempt on the subject and so I want to commemorate it properly.

    jinzai-albums-es80cf-astrophotography-picture174151-orions-sword-16-minute-integration-16x30-80x.png
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    Default Re: M42 Session #2 -- Bringing PHD2 Up

    wow does it ever get any better than that? Visual is fine but AP beats it all to pieces.... Nicely done.
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    Default Re: M42 Session #2 -- Bringing PHD2 Up

    Nicely done, yea phd has it's learning curve

    Now that are getting the guiding dialed in you can start stretching out the exposure durations
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