Phil Leigh

Problems, problems...

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by , 08-23-2012 at 01:54 PM (1464 Views)
I've been having serious problems getting everything to align/track properly. Eventually I traced the root cause to a balance problem. Basically, with the Samsung camera on the N6SE I couldn't get the scope to balance properly in RA. The setup is far too camera-heavy. I tried to locate some counterbalance weights for the N6SE but they have been out of stock in the UK for months. In desperation I ordered an ADM dual saddle (vixen/losmandy) replacement for the saddle/puck on the HEQ5.

Wow - what a great piece of engineering. I expected the vice-like, non-marring grip but the whole thing is very impressive and importantly MUCH longer than the original. This means I can safely fix the scope about 5 inches further forward than before - and that means I can get proper balance with the Samsung - and also with my cooled DSLR (which I haven't even looked at for over a month!).

I spent last night carefully balancing everything and realigning scope, finder and guide cam. Then I did a quick guiding test with very satisfactory results - nice flat PHD graphs. On the next clear night I'm going to collect the PHD logs to calculate PE and see what my guided vs unguided PE is. I may also try and use the data to drive EQMOD VSPEC (because I use ASCOM pulse guiding not ST-4... EQMOD will merge the VSPEC and guiding data in real-time for the most accurate guiding)

Assuming all goes well on that front, I'll finally get round to giving Alignmaster a proper workout then to get on with some imaging. I'll probably do some DSLR imaging first then go back to the Samsung to try and crack this "video astronomy" thing.

Video Astronomy needs good guiding in order to get the best results from long integration periods. My camera can only do 20 seconds (2 auto-integrated frames) but apparently the experts say that if you get good guiding the image "locks in" and improves over a minute or so.

My aim is to do a quick "grab" of various interesting DSO's that I can actually see from my tree-bound location, then go back and image them in depth with the DSLR.

Like all plans, this may not work!

The Astroshed now has lighting and a fan (it gets hot in there during the daytime). All the electrics are now complete and everything is working OK. I just need to sort out some heating for the winter months...

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  1. Astronewb's Avatar
    Very nice report Phil, looks well thought out and executed. I just received my ADM dual saddle for the iEQ45 a couple of weeks ago, you're right, it's a nice piece of kit. I installed it with the hope of finally using my Comet Hunter for some nice wide field imaging (Vixen mount), but haven't had an opportunity to use it due to my other imaging projects. That will be a whole new bag of clams when I start using it I'm sure, with the coma corrector and what with the Dslr at the top of the tube throwing balance to the winds. Meh, just another hurdle to get over.

    Grats on the Astro Shed, my heating consists of all the layers of clothing I can put on, followed by a dash into the house as soon as possible once the imaging string starts.

    Hoping your plans work as intended.


    Phil Leigh likes this.
  2. Phil Leigh's Avatar
    Thanks Paul - I'm realising that the journey is still only just beginning - but it's thanks to folks like you on here that I am able to make quite a lot of progress in a relatively short space of time!
  3. DaltonSkyGazer's Avatar
    Glad to see you sorted the problem out, ADM makes some fine components the dual saddle is a great accessory to own, love mine! This gives you so many configuration options. Congrats!
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