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Astrophotography

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  • rodryfoos
    I also have a question regarding cameras. Anti-blooming or not? I like the sound of being able to take accurate astrometric and photometry
    Message 1 of 23 , Aug 1, 2006
      I also have a question regarding cameras. Anti-blooming or not? I
      like the sound of being able to take accurate astrometric and
      photometry measurements--actual science to go along with the visual
      photography, but how realistic is this. Anybody out there do research
      measurements with the RCX series? I have read Ron WoDaskis book (The
      New CCD Astronomy)--seems good. I am interested in measuring variable
      star magnitudes (including eclipsing binary maximums and minums). Is
      this possible? I would love to be able to hook up a spectrograph to
      the scope-anybody try this? Thanks

      Rodd
    • Mark de Regt
      Rodd, With bloom removal software, blooming rarely is a significant problem. For instance, take a look at my NGC6888, in which the four brightest stars all
      Message 2 of 23 , Aug 1, 2006
        Rodd,

        With bloom removal software, blooming rarely is a significant problem. For
        instance, take a look at my NGC6888, in which the four brightest stars all
        had huge blooms. Ron Wodaski's bloom removal software removed the blooms
        without a problem. I don't know that I would try to take, e.g., the
        Pleiades, but I don't mind blooming stars in general.

        The real advantage of NAGB is the much higher quantum efficiency of an NABG
        chip, which means less exposure time to get the same signal. I live in
        Seattle, where clear, dark skies are very, very rare. I already need two or
        three nights to take a good picture (we only get four hours of darkness in
        the summer, and nothing but clouds the rest of the year); high efficiency
        for my chip is a must.

        A lot of people do real science with their cameras, and, yes, you do need a
        truly linear chip in order to do that.

        Mark de Regt
        Redmond, Washington, USA
        http://www.de-regt.com/Astronomy


        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: RCX400@yahoogroups.com [mailto:RCX400@yahoogroups.com]
        > On Behalf Of rodryfoos
        > Sent: Tuesday, August 01, 2006 4:44 AM
        > To: RCX400@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [RCX400] Astrophotography
        >
        >
        > I also have a question regarding cameras. Anti-blooming or not? I
        > like the sound of being able to take accurate astrometric and
        > photometry measurements--actual science to go along with the visual
        > photography, but how realistic is this. Anybody out there do
        > research
        > measurements with the RCX series? I have read Ron WoDaskis book (The
        > New CCD Astronomy)--seems good. I am interested in measuring
        > variable
        > star magnitudes (including eclipsing binary maximums and minums). Is
        > this possible? I would love to be able to hook up a spectrograph to
        > the scope-anybody try this? Thanks
        >
        > Rodd
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • Phillip Coker
        Mark is right but here in the (just barely) better conditions of the Sacramento Valley, finding a bright enough guide star is of more concern to us than the
        Message 3 of 23 , Aug 1, 2006
          Mark is right but here in the (just barely) better conditions of the
          Sacramento Valley, finding a bright enough guide star is of more
          concern to us than the effects of anti-blooming with our SBIG self-
          guiding camera. Sometimes, in doing photmetric studies, we don't see
          a star brighter than tenth or twelfth magnitude in the entire field
          of view. There are several great software packages available these
          days providing easy-to-use tools to help you set up you run so that
          the target and reference objects will be on the linear part of the
          chip.

          Phillip

          --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "Mark de Regt" <deregt@...> wrote:
          >
          > Rodd,
          >
          > With bloom removal software, blooming rarely is a significant
          problem. For
          > instance, take a look at my NGC6888, in which the four brightest
          stars all
          > had huge blooms. Ron Wodaski's bloom removal software removed the
          blooms
          > without a problem. I don't know that I would try to take, e.g., the
          > Pleiades, but I don't mind blooming stars in general.
          >
          > The real advantage of NAGB is the much higher quantum efficiency of
          an NABG
          > chip, which means less exposure time to get the same signal. I
          live in
          > Seattle, where clear, dark skies are very, very rare. I already
          need two or
          > three nights to take a good picture (we only get four hours of
          darkness in
          > the summer, and nothing but clouds the rest of the year); high
          efficiency
          > for my chip is a must.
          >
          > A lot of people do real science with their cameras, and, yes, you
          do need a
          > truly linear chip in order to do that.
          >
          > Mark de Regt
          > Redmond, Washington, USA
          > http://www.de-regt.com/Astronomy
          >
          >
          > > -----Original Message-----
          > > From: RCX400@yahoogroups.com [mailto:RCX400@yahoogroups.com]
          > > On Behalf Of rodryfoos
          > > Sent: Tuesday, August 01, 2006 4:44 AM
          > > To: RCX400@yahoogroups.com
          > > Subject: [RCX400] Astrophotography
          > >
          > >
          > > I also have a question regarding cameras. Anti-blooming or not?
          I
          > > like the sound of being able to take accurate astrometric and
          > > photometry measurements--actual science to go along with the
          visual
          > > photography, but how realistic is this. Anybody out there do
          > > research
          > > measurements with the RCX series? I have read Ron WoDaskis book
          (The
          > > New CCD Astronomy)--seems good. I am interested in measuring
          > > variable
          > > star magnitudes (including eclipsing binary maximums and
          minums). Is
          > > this possible? I would love to be able to hook up a spectrograph
          to
          > > the scope-anybody try this? Thanks
          > >
          > > Rodd
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
        • Mike Dodd
          ... I ll add a different perspective to Mark s comments. For narrowband imaging (e.g., Hydrogen alpha), very long exposures are needed to overwhelm the
          Message 4 of 23 , Aug 1, 2006
            >> Anti-blooming or not? I like the sound of being able to take
            >> accurate astrometric and photometry measurements--actual
            >> science to go along with the visual

            --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "Mark de Regt" <deregt@...> wrote:
            > With bloom removal software, blooming rarely is a significant
            > problem. For instance, take a look at my NGC6888, in which
            > the four brightest stars all had huge blooms. Ron Wodaski's
            > bloom removal software removed the blooms without a problem.

            I'll add a different perspective to Mark's comments. For narrowband
            imaging (e.g., Hydrogen alpha), very long exposures are needed to
            overwhelm the camera's read noise. In this case, bright stars REALLY
            bloom. There's a limit to how much bloom-removal software can help.
            Blooms represent lost data, and when you're working with faint complex
            nebula details, the software isn't won't be able to restore it.

            My NGC6888 is a good example. I was going after the details within the
            nebula, and huge star blooms would have wiped them out. Thus I limited
            my exposures to 5 minutes with my NABG ST-8 camera. Consequently, the
            background level in these H-a images is about 130 ADU - the same level
            as a dark frame! Had I been able to exposue for 30 minutes or longer,
            I would have gained significant signal, but little additional noise,
            and the faint nebulosity would have been much smoother. Sure, with an
            ABG camera I'd have to increase my total exposure to 13 hours(!)
            instead of 10, but I think the image would have been much nicer.

            So it really depends on your personal goals. If you want to do
            photometry, a NABG camera is a must. But for narrowband imaging, I
            must say I'm tempted to trade my NABG ST-8 for an ABG model. :)

            Mike
            <http://astronomy.mdodd.com>
          • rodryfoos
            Mike, Mark & Phillip, Thank you for your input. I guess the answer is to have two cameras. Here s one for you--Am I right in assuming that a Digital SLR
            Message 5 of 23 , Aug 2, 2006
              Mike, Mark & Phillip, Thank you for your input. I guess the answer
              is to have two cameras. Here's one for you--Am I right in assuming
              that a Digital SLR camera, like the Canon Rebel, is a non anti-bloom
              device? I already know the drawbacks of a DSLR camera withr espect
              to photography--though I am tempted by the 8-10 megapixel chip. I am
              a little confused regarding enlarging pictures during processing,
              however. When I view an enlargement of a good picture, the
              enlargement itself becomes a new picture containing minute detail
              (not as minute as the original picture but still worthy of being
              called an excellent picture). My Non-SLR digital camera can zoom in
              on a picture in its memory, providing a close up view for printing.
              Is the zooming in done in this way the same as enlarging a printed
              picture and cropping the target? The camera can also zoom in prior
              to taking the picture--are the mechanisms of these two zooms the
              same? Theoretically I can zoom in prior to taking picture, zoom in
              again once the picture is taken, then zoom in a third time by photo
              enlargement and cropping. My non SLR digital has 5.1 megapixels--the
              canon rebel has 8.0 mp--many CCD cameras (SBIG< Yankee Rebel etc.)
              have on the order of .5 to 2 mega pixels. Teh reason I ask, is that
              I want to capture Neptune--which I see as a bright, clear, blueish BB
              (quite nice. I want to enlarge this for a wall photo so the planet
              is baseball size in the picture (or enlarge Bok Globules in the
              Rossette Nebula). Am I right in assuming that megapixel capacity has
              nothing to do with being able to do this? Sorry for the length of
              this message. I am just getting warmed up.

              Thanks--Rodd
            • Mike Dodd
              ... Rodd, welcome to the harsh reality of astro imaging. :) I m afraid your expectations are set way too high. It just isn t possible to take that kind of
              Message 6 of 23 , Aug 2, 2006
                > ...a little confused regarding enlarging pictures during processing,
                > however. [...] My Non-SLR digital camera can zoom in
                > on a picture in its memory, providing a close up view for printing.
                > Is the zooming in done in this way the same as enlarging a printed
                > picture and cropping the target? The camera can also zoom in prior
                > to taking the picture--are the mechanisms of these two zooms the
                > same? Theoretically I can zoom in prior to taking picture, zoom in
                > again once the picture is taken, then zoom in a third time by photo
                > enlargement and cropping.
                > [...]
                > I want to capture Neptune--which I see as a bright, clear, blueish BB
                > (quite nice. I want to enlarge this for a wall photo so the planet
                > is baseball size in the picture (or enlarge Bok Globules in the
                > Rossette Nebula). Am I right in assuming that megapixel capacity has
                > nothing to do with being able to do this?

                Rodd, welcome to the harsh reality of astro imaging. :)

                I'm afraid your expectations are set way too high. It just isn't
                possible to take that kind of high-resolution images using backyard
                equipment on the earth's surface.

                The color photo on my office calendar is a Hubble shot of Jupiter with
                shadows of three moons on its surface. Jupiter is 11" in diameter, and
                the largest moon shadow is 1/2". Even though it's a Hubble image, it's
                a bit fuzzy - you could get a sharper image from a 6MP digital
                point-and-shoot camera of an earthbound subject.

                The problem is the atmosphere. It's always moving and degrading the
                resolution of the image. To escape this, some imagers move to New
                Mexico or other high-elevation locations. Then there's the OTA and the
                mount. If you spend $30,000 you can get top-of-the line equipment that
                will give you excellent results.

                If you're just starting with astrophotography, I urge you to consider
                a "starter" camera like the Meade DSI II (or whatever the one-shot
                color model is), and learn as much as you can about the limitations of
                the equipment and your location. Then you'll have a better idea of
                what you want to do next.

                Please take a look at the images on my Web site. I have 11x14 prints
                of some of these hanging on my living room wall, and I can assure you
                that, while they are nice-looking photos, they are nowhere close to
                the quality I can get from regular photography.

                Mike
                http://astronomy.mdodd.com
              • rodryfoos
                Mike, Regarding a starter camera: I was kind of thinking the same thing (Meades DSI II). Some pictures that I have seen taken with it are pretty nice. I mean
                Message 7 of 23 , Aug 2, 2006
                  Mike,

                  Regarding a starter camera: I was kind of thinking the same thing
                  (Meades DSI II). Some pictures that I have seen taken with it are
                  pretty nice. I mean for $500 or $600 dollars it is a good way to get
                  an eventual guide camera I guess. Would you recomend the color single
                  shot or the monochrome with a color wheel. Would you recommend any
                  software besides what comes with the camera? Does processing software
                  come with it? This way I would be able to take pictures right away
                  instead of waiting 6 months to come up with $4,000. Thanks

                  Rodd
                • Michael
                  Hi Rodd, I think the DSI is just a monochrome. It s a good start but you will VERY quickly outgrow it and want to do LRGB. for another $200-$300 dollars you
                  Message 8 of 23 , Aug 2, 2006
                    Hi Rodd,
                    I think the DSI is just a monochrome. It's a good start but you will
                    VERY quickly outgrow it and want to do LRGB. for another $200-$300
                    dollars you can get the DSI PRO with filters. That would be your best
                    bet. You can always do monochrome with the DSI PRO but not the other
                    way around. Envisage comes with the DSI camera and allow you to do
                    limited processing but eventually, you won't only have to scrape up
                    that $4000, you'll want to!
                    Best Regards,

                    Michael


                    --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "rodryfoos" <rodryfoos@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Mike,
                    >
                    > Regarding a starter camera: I was kind of thinking the same thing
                    > (Meades DSI II). Some pictures that I have seen taken with it are
                    > pretty nice. I mean for $500 or $600 dollars it is a good way to get
                    > an eventual guide camera I guess. Would you recomend the color
                    single
                    > shot or the monochrome with a color wheel. Would you recommend any
                    > software besides what comes with the camera? Does processing software
                    > come with it? This way I would be able to take pictures right away
                    > instead of waiting 6 months to come up with $4,000. Thanks
                    >
                    > Rodd
                    >
                  • Hap Griffin
                    For that price, you can find a Canon 350XT DSLR body and do some really nice work. Of course, you ll still need a guider. Hap Griffin My 350XT pictures at
                    Message 9 of 23 , Aug 2, 2006
                      For that price, you can find a Canon 350XT DSLR body and do some really nice
                      work. Of course, you'll still need a guider.

                      Hap Griffin
                      My 350XT pictures at www.machunter.org/hapspics.html

                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "rodryfoos" <rodryfoos@...>
                      To: <RCX400@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 5:50 PM
                      Subject: [RCX400] Astrophotography


                      > Mike,
                      >
                      > Regarding a starter camera: I was kind of thinking the same thing
                      > (Meades DSI II). Some pictures that I have seen taken with it are
                      > pretty nice. I mean for $500 or $600 dollars it is a good way to get
                      > an eventual guide camera I guess. Would you recomend the color single
                      > shot or the monochrome with a color wheel. Would you recommend any
                      > software besides what comes with the camera? Does processing software
                      > come with it? This way I would be able to take pictures right away
                      > instead of waiting 6 months to come up with $4,000. Thanks
                      >
                      > Rodd
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                    • Mike Dodd
                      ... Sorry, I m out of my league in recommending one DSI model over another, since I don t have one myself. My suggestions were based on what I consider fairly
                      Message 10 of 23 , Aug 2, 2006
                        > Mike,
                        > Regarding a starter camera: I was kind of thinking the same thing
                        > (Meades DSI II). [...] Would you recomend the color single
                        > shot or the monochrome with a color wheel. Would you recommend any
                        > software besides what comes with the camera? Does processing software
                        > come with it?

                        Sorry, I'm out of my league in recommending one DSI model over
                        another, since I don't have one myself. My suggestions were based on
                        what I consider fairly impressive photos taken by the camera, and the
                        fact that most were made from short unguided exposures.

                        The latest Sky & Telescope has a review of the DSI; it might be worth
                        a read. Also check various other Yahoo groups to find people who have
                        experience with the various models.

                        Whether to get the one-shot color camera or the monochrome camera
                        depends on your tolerance for additional work. I believe the
                        monochrome camera has better resolution, but you need 3X (or 4X if you
                        include luminance) as many exposures to get the color images. Also,
                        the filters aren't in a wheel, they're in a slider. In fact, the S&T
                        review griped that the filters were just hanging out there with no
                        protection.

                        I don't know what software comes with the camera, but my impression is
                        that it includes everything you need to expose and process.

                        Hope this helps a bit. Maybe someone else will chime in, or you can
                        get more opinions in a DSI group.

                        Mike
                        http://astronomy.mdodd.com
                      • Troy DuVal
                        Hi Hap, Great Web Site!!!!! Sorry for just jumping in here. Troy Hap Griffin wrote: For that price, you can find a Canon 350XT DSLR body
                        Message 11 of 23 , Aug 2, 2006
                          Hi Hap,
                           
                          Great Web Site!!!!!
                          Sorry for just jumping in here.

                          Troy


                          Hap Griffin <lgriffin@...> wrote:
                          For that price, you can find a Canon 350XT DSLR body and do some really nice
                          work. Of course, you'll still need a guider.

                          Hap Griffin
                          My 350XT pictures at www.machunter. org/hapspics. html

                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "rodryfoos" <rodryfoos@yahoo. com>
                          To: <RCX400@yahoogroups. com>
                          Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 5:50 PM
                          Subject: [RCX400] Astrophotography

                          > Mike,
                          >
                          > Regarding a starter camera: I was kind of thinking the same thing
                          > (Meades DSI II). Some pictures that I have seen taken with it are
                          > pretty nice. I mean for $500 or $600 dollars it is a good way to get
                          > an eventual guide camera I guess. Would you recomend the color single
                          > shot or the monochrome with a color wheel. Would you recommend any
                          > software besides what comes with the camera? Does processing software
                          > come with it? This way I would be able to take pictures right away
                          > instead of waiting 6 months to come up with $4,000. Thanks
                          >
                          > Rodd
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >




                          Troy Duval
                           
                        • Jim Misti
                          Rodd: One of the least expensive entry-level cameras happens to be capable of producing the most detailed lunar and planetary images - a webcam like the
                          Message 12 of 23 , Aug 3, 2006
                            Rodd:

                            One of the least expensive entry-level cameras happens to be capable
                            of producing the most detailed lunar and planetary images - a webcam
                            like the Philips ToUcam Pro in conjunction with the freeware Registax
                            can get you into high-res Lunar/Planetary imaging for under $200.
                            Google on either of these (ToUCam or Registax) to find them. One
                            advantage of starting with Lunar/Planetary work is you don't have to
                            guide or tame the mount. You can have some fun and get some great
                            images while working your way into the astrophotography world. If you
                            aren't already aware of them, the idea is to take a "movie" of a
                            minute or so at 10 to 15 frames per second with the webcam, then let
                            the Registax program select the few hundred best frames out of the few
                            thousand that you captured, and combine them into an image that is
                            surprisingly sharp. Join the ToUCam and/or QCUIAG Yahoo! groups to
                            read more about these techniques.

                            What you WON'T be able to do with a webcam is capture long-exposure
                            deep-sky images. If that's your passion, then the DSIs are decent
                            enry-level cameras. The color CCD cameras are OK for convenience, but
                            I don't know any serious imagers who don't use mono CCD cameras with
                            filters. I'm not saying you have to be "serious" to play, you just
                            need to define your goals before diving in. For instance, if you said
                            you want to produce deep-sky images that will become APODs and be
                            selected for the magazines, and felt you wanted to commit to a months
                            or years long learning curve, then mono CCD imaging would be the way
                            to go. If you said you want to learn how to quickly produce deep-sky
                            images to show your friends and family (who DON'T look at the
                            astronomy magazines), then a color CCD will get you there quicker.

                            To address one of the topics you asked about - I don't believe there
                            is ever a good reason to use the in-camera digital zoom feature that
                            many consumer digital cameras have. The only possible use of them
                            might be for preview purposes when focusing (or something like that),
                            but since you can always crop and enlarge an image in any image
                            processing program, there's no reason to do so in-camera.

                            Regarding blowing up digital images after you've captured them. A two
                            or three megapixel image would look OK blown up to 8x10 inch size.
                            But if you tried blowing it up to 16x20, you would start to notice a
                            distinct loss of apparent sharpness. The more you blow it up, the
                            less sharp it appears. A similar thing happens with eyepieces. If
                            you look at the lunar terminator with a 10" f/8 telescope and a 1"
                            eyepiece, it will look very sharp. It may continue to look sharp as
                            you go down to a 1/2 inch eyepiece, but as you keep increasing the
                            magnification, you eventually get to where you are seeing very fuzzy
                            outlines that aren't
                            very interesting.

                            - Jim Misti

                            --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "rodryfoos" <rodryfoos@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Mike, Mark & Phillip, Thank you for your input. I guess the answer
                            > is to have two cameras. Here's one for you--Am I right in assuming
                            > that a Digital SLR camera, like the Canon Rebel, is a non anti-bloom
                            > device? I already know the drawbacks of a DSLR camera withr espect
                            > to photography--though I am tempted by the 8-10 megapixel chip. I am
                            > a little confused regarding enlarging pictures during processing,
                            > however. When I view an enlargement of a good picture, the
                            > enlargement itself becomes a new picture containing minute detail
                            > (not as minute as the original picture but still worthy of being
                            > called an excellent picture). My Non-SLR digital camera can zoom in
                            > on a picture in its memory, providing a close up view for printing.
                            > Is the zooming in done in this way the same as enlarging a printed
                            > picture and cropping the target? The camera can also zoom in prior
                            > to taking the picture--are the mechanisms of these two zooms the
                            > same? Theoretically I can zoom in prior to taking picture, zoom in
                            > again once the picture is taken, then zoom in a third time by photo
                            > enlargement and cropping. My non SLR digital has 5.1 megapixels--the
                            > canon rebel has 8.0 mp--many CCD cameras (SBIG< Yankee Rebel etc.)
                            > have on the order of .5 to 2 mega pixels. Teh reason I ask, is that
                            > I want to capture Neptune--which I see as a bright, clear, blueish BB
                            > (quite nice. I want to enlarge this for a wall photo so the planet
                            > is baseball size in the picture (or enlarge Bok Globules in the
                            > Rossette Nebula). Am I right in assuming that megapixel capacity has
                            > nothing to do with being able to do this? Sorry for the length of
                            > this message. I am just getting warmed up.
                            >
                            > Thanks--Rodd
                            >
                          • Mark de Regt
                            Another thing to consider would be a used SBIG ST-7, which wouldn t cost much more, and is much more capable. It s more complicated, and requires a laptop to
                            Message 13 of 23 , Aug 3, 2006
                              Another thing to consider would be a used SBIG ST-7, which wouldn't cost
                              much more, and is much more capable.

                              It's more complicated, and requires a laptop to use, but it's an excellent
                              camera.

                              --Mark

                              > -----Original Message-----
                              > From: RCX400@yahoogroups.com [mailto:RCX400@yahoogroups.com]
                              > On Behalf Of rodryfoos
                              > Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 2:50 PM
                              > To: RCX400@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: [RCX400] Astrophotography
                              >
                              >
                              > Mike,
                              >
                              > Regarding a starter camera: I was kind of thinking the same thing
                              > (Meades DSI II). Some pictures that I have seen taken with it are
                              > pretty nice. I mean for $500 or $600 dollars it is a good way to get
                              > an eventual guide camera I guess. Would you recomend the
                              > color single
                              > shot or the monochrome with a color wheel. Would you recommend any
                              > software besides what comes with the camera? Does processing software
                              > come with it? This way I would be able to take pictures right away
                              > instead of waiting 6 months to come up with $4,000. Thanks
                              >
                              > Rodd
                            • rodryfoos
                              Thanks guys, Yes it all helps. Like anything else I guess, one can ask questions until they are blue in the face. I need to just get a camear and start
                              Message 14 of 23 , Aug 3, 2006
                                Thanks guys,

                                Yes it all helps. Like anything else I guess, one can ask questions
                                until they are blue in the face. I need to just get a camear and
                                start shooting pictures. Unfortunately the cost and number of things
                                one needs to acquire for this hobby precludes trial and error. For
                                example--the one thing I do not like about my scope is the fact that
                                the OTA can not be removed from the fork--it is very heavy. I did a
                                lot of research prior to this purchase and if I discovered the weight
                                problem--along with marginal astrophotography capability--I would
                                have bought the OTA alone and gone with a $3-$4,000 GEM. I can just
                                barely lift the scope onto a chair, then hoist it to chest level,
                                walk to the tripod and set it up. But the difficulty of this
                                operation often prevents me from setting it up for a quick (hour or
                                two) session between cloud banks, and reallay hinders taking it in
                                the car to a field or someplace. The other thing I notice is that
                                visually its almost a waste of time. Maybe that is because the
                                seeing is poor (CT skys in the summer are tough). Multiple stars are
                                great, as are planets. Planetary nebula are blurry and non-
                                descript. Emission/absorption nebula can't be seen (I can see the
                                veil nebula with an OIII filter--but it is faint. Galaxies are not
                                visible (Except M31--blurry and non-descript) and M51--barely
                                recognizable--except on a good night and then only a little better
                                (shame too--for it is large in my field of view). What I am getting
                                at is I am beginning to feel like astrophotography and variable star
                                analysis are the only thing I am going to use the scope for (that and
                                the moon-but how long can one look at the moon)--so why not go with a
                                4-5" APO that has better contrast visually, is more portable, and
                                capable of taking tremendous pictures. I am having a crisis of faith
                                here. Visually I am quiate disapointed--I had a 6" Criterion 30
                                years ago so I am familiar with observing visually--I did not expect
                                to see nebula like pictures from Hubble. But come on, I say to my
                                wife take a look at the ring nebula--or the dumbell nebula and she
                                says oh....big deal. And this is with a 14" advanced Ritchey Critien
                                that cost $10,000. I would have gotten the same effect with a 4"
                                Achromat for god's sake. Am I wrong? Would this scope in the
                                Arizona desert under pitch black skies be much better? By teh way--I
                                am not bashing Meade here--I bought their series 5000 Ultra Wide
                                Angel eyepiece set and generally like their products. I am bashing
                                all telescopes used for visual observing. Something tells me that no
                                matter which scope I use--short of a 100" reflector with adaptive
                                optics, I would bve saying teh same thing. Sure a 5" top notch
                                Takahashi might be better--but I do not think it would resolve the
                                dumbell nebula much better than the RCX. A little, maybe. But the
                                dumbell almost fills my field of view with an 18mm eyepiece.
                                Sorry for teh length people--I get started and it is tough to
                                put teh brakes on.

                                Thanks Rodd
                              • John Marks
                                Sounds to me like you need to move to a dark sky site. I have the 10 and the views are incredible out here in North Eastern Washington. Have you checked
                                Message 15 of 23 , Aug 3, 2006

                                  Sounds to me like you need to move to a dark sky site. I have the 10” and the views are incredible out here in North Eastern Washington. Have you checked collimation? Are the focusing motors working properly? Do you have any filters, i.e. LPR, Ha, OIII, etc…?

                                   

                                  -----Original Message-----
                                  From: RCX400@yahoogroups.com [mailto:RCX400@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of rodryfoos
                                  Sent:
                                  Thursday, August 03, 2006 4:58 AM
                                  To: RCX400@yahoogroups.com
                                  Subject: [RCX400] Astrophotography

                                   

                                  Thanks guys,

                                  Yes it all helps. Like anything else I guess, one can ask questions
                                  until they are blue in the face. I need to just get a camear and
                                  start shooting pictures. Unfortunately the cost and number of things
                                  one needs to acquire for this hobby precludes trial and error. For
                                  example--the one thing I do not like about my scope is the fact that
                                  the OTA can not be removed from the fork--it is very heavy. I did a
                                  lot of research prior to this purchase and if I discovered the weight
                                  problem--along with marginal astrophotography capability-- I would
                                  have bought the OTA alone and gone with a $3-$4,000 GEM. I can just
                                  barely lift the scope onto a chair, then hoist it to chest level,
                                  walk to the tripod and set it up. But the difficulty of this
                                  operation often prevents me from setting it up for a quick (hour or
                                  two) session between cloud banks, and reallay hinders taking it in
                                  the car to a field or someplace. The other thing I notice is that
                                  visually its almost a waste of time. Maybe that is because the
                                  seeing is poor (CT skys in the summer are tough). Multiple stars are
                                  great, as are planets. Planetary nebula are blurry and non-
                                  descript. Emission/absorption nebula can't be seen (I can see the
                                  veil nebula with an OIII filter--but it is faint. Galaxies are not
                                  visible (Except M31--blurry and non-descript) and M51--barely
                                  recognizable- -except on a good night and then only a little better
                                  (shame too--for it is large in my field of view). What I am getting
                                  at is I am beginning to feel like astrophotography and variable star
                                  analysis are the only thing I am going to use the scope for (that and
                                  the moon-but how long can one look at the moon)--so why not go with a
                                  4-5" APO that has better contrast visually, is more portable, and
                                  capable of taking tremendous pictures. I am having a crisis of faith
                                  here. Visually I am quiate disapointed- -I had a 6" Criterion 30
                                  years ago so I am familiar with observing visually--I did not expect
                                  to see nebula like pictures from Hubble. But come on, I say to my
                                  wife take a look at the ring nebula--or the dumbell nebula and she
                                  says oh....big deal. And this is with a 14" advanced Ritchey Critien
                                  that cost $10,000. I would have gotten the same effect with a 4"
                                  Achromat for god's sake. Am I wrong? Would this scope in the
                                  Arizona desert under pitch black skies be much better? By teh way--I
                                  am not bashing Meade here--I bought their series 5000 Ultra Wide
                                  Angel eyepiece set and generally like their products. I am bashing
                                  all telescopes used for visual observing. Something tells me that no
                                  matter which scope I use--short of a 100" reflector with adaptive
                                  optics, I would bve saying teh same thing. Sure a 5" top notch
                                  Takahashi might be better--but I do not think it would resolve the
                                  dumbell nebula much better than the RCX. A little, maybe. But the
                                  dumbell almost fills my field of view with an 18mm eyepiece.
                                  Sorry for teh length people--I get started and it is tough to
                                  put teh brakes on.

                                  Thanks Rodd

                                • Michael
                                  Sounds to me like you need to move to a dark sky site. Yes, I agree. Rodd, you need dark skies man! I have the 14 under PA skies. Dark enough to see the
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Aug 3, 2006
                                    "Sounds to me like you need to move to a dark sky site."
                                    Yes, I agree.
                                    Rodd, you need dark skies man! I have the 14" under PA skies. Dark
                                    enough to see the milky way and I also get stunning views. The scope
                                    easily pulls detailed spiral arms out of M51. To the point that the
                                    center is almost annoying!
                                    These large scopes are called "light buckets" for a reason. The do a
                                    tremendous job at amplifying light sources and will do so with light
                                    pollution too. It just sounds to me like your sky glow is the
                                    brightest thing in the eyepiecce, no matter the target.
                                    Have you tried light pollution filters?
                                    They can help but take a road trip and see what it does in the dark.
                                    I believe you did get better views with a smaller scope because light
                                    pollution affects smaller scopes exponentially less.
                                    The RCX is a very capable scope visually and photgraphically.
                                    Just look at the images Mark is getting. If those don't satisfy your
                                    need to image, then you are a hard guy to please.

                                    Regards,

                                    Michael

                                    --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "John Marks" <jmarks99@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Sounds to me like you need to move to a dark sky site. I have the
                                    10" and
                                    > the views are incredible out here in North Eastern Washington. Have
                                    you
                                    > checked collimation? Are the focusing motors working properly? Do
                                    you have
                                    > any filters, i.e. LPR, Ha, OIII, etc.?
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > -----Original Message-----
                                    > From: RCX400@yahoogroups.com [mailto:RCX400@yahoogroups.com] On
                                    Behalf Of
                                    > rodryfoos
                                    > Sent: Thursday, August 03, 2006 4:58 AM
                                    > To: RCX400@yahoogroups.com
                                    > Subject: [RCX400] Astrophotography
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Thanks guys,
                                    >
                                    > Yes it all helps. Like anything else I guess, one can ask questions
                                    > until they are blue in the face. I need to just get a camear and
                                    > start shooting pictures. Unfortunately the cost and number of
                                    things
                                    > one needs to acquire for this hobby precludes trial and error. For
                                    > example--the one thing I do not like about my scope is the fact
                                    that
                                    > the OTA can not be removed from the fork--it is very heavy. I did a
                                    > lot of research prior to this purchase and if I discovered the
                                    weight
                                    > problem--along with marginal astrophotography capability--I would
                                    > have bought the OTA alone and gone with a $3-$4,000 GEM. I can just
                                    > barely lift the scope onto a chair, then hoist it to chest level,
                                    > walk to the tripod and set it up. But the difficulty of this
                                    > operation often prevents me from setting it up for a quick (hour or
                                    > two) session between cloud banks, and reallay hinders taking it in
                                    > the car to a field or someplace. The other thing I notice is that
                                    > visually its almost a waste of time. Maybe that is because the
                                    > seeing is poor (CT skys in the summer are tough). Multiple stars
                                    are
                                    > great, as are planets. Planetary nebula are blurry and non-
                                    > descript. Emission/absorption nebula can't be seen (I can see the
                                    > veil nebula with an OIII filter--but it is faint. Galaxies are not
                                    > visible (Except M31--blurry and non-descript) and M51--barely
                                    > recognizable--except on a good night and then only a little better
                                    > (shame too--for it is large in my field of view). What I am getting
                                    > at is I am beginning to feel like astrophotography and variable
                                    star
                                    > analysis are the only thing I am going to use the scope for (that
                                    and
                                    > the moon-but how long can one look at the moon)--so why not go with
                                    a
                                    > 4-5" APO that has better contrast visually, is more portable, and
                                    > capable of taking tremendous pictures. I am having a crisis of
                                    faith
                                    > here. Visually I am quiate disapointed--I had a 6" Criterion 30
                                    > years ago so I am familiar with observing visually--I did not
                                    expect
                                    > to see nebula like pictures from Hubble. But come on, I say to my
                                    > wife take a look at the ring nebula--or the dumbell nebula and she
                                    > says oh....big deal. And this is with a 14" advanced Ritchey
                                    Critien
                                    > that cost $10,000. I would have gotten the same effect with a 4"
                                    > Achromat for god's sake. Am I wrong? Would this scope in the
                                    > Arizona desert under pitch black skies be much better? By teh way--
                                    I
                                    > am not bashing Meade here--I bought their series 5000 Ultra Wide
                                    > Angel eyepiece set and generally like their products. I am bashing
                                    > all telescopes used for visual observing. Something tells me that
                                    no
                                    > matter which scope I use--short of a 100" reflector with adaptive
                                    > optics, I would bve saying teh same thing. Sure a 5" top notch
                                    > Takahashi might be better--but I do not think it would resolve the
                                    > dumbell nebula much better than the RCX. A little, maybe. But the
                                    > dumbell almost fills my field of view with an 18mm eyepiece.
                                    > Sorry for teh length people--I get started and it is tough to
                                    > put teh brakes on.
                                    >
                                    > Thanks Rodd
                                    >
                                  • pproulxastro
                                    Rodd; Hmm... After owning a number of refractors and SCTs I was really impressed visually with my RCX 10 . Sharp crisp views of all types of objects. How
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Aug 6, 2006
                                      Rodd;

                                      Hmm... After owning a number of refractors and SCTs I was really
                                      impressed visually with my RCX 10". Sharp crisp views of all types of
                                      objects.

                                      How experienced are you with Astronomy? Seems to my a number of
                                      people jump into the hobby without researching equipment and what it
                                      really takes to use it. I suggest that you might sell your scope and
                                      join a local club. This way you could see what others are using and
                                      then decide what works best for you.

                                      And by the way I think most wives are unimpressed with their husbands
                                      telescope views! LOL

                                      Peter

                                      --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "rodryfoos" <rodryfoos@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Thanks guys,
                                      >
                                      > Yes it all helps. Like anything else I guess, one can ask questions
                                      > until they are blue in the face. I need to just get a camear and
                                      > start shooting pictures. Unfortunately the cost and number of things
                                      > one needs to acquire for this hobby precludes trial and error. For
                                      > example--the one thing I do not like about my scope is the fact that
                                      > the OTA can not be removed from the fork--it is very heavy. I did a
                                      > lot of research prior to this purchase and if I discovered the weight
                                      > problem--along with marginal astrophotography capability--I would
                                      > have bought the OTA alone and gone with a $3-$4,000 GEM. I can just
                                      > barely lift the scope onto a chair, then hoist it to chest level,
                                      > walk to the tripod and set it up. But the difficulty of this
                                      > operation often prevents me from setting it up for a quick (hour or
                                      > two) session between cloud banks, and reallay hinders taking it in
                                      > the car to a field or someplace. The other thing I notice is that
                                      > visually its almost a waste of time. Maybe that is because the
                                      > seeing is poor (CT skys in the summer are tough). Multiple stars are
                                      > great, as are planets. Planetary nebula are blurry and non-
                                      > descript. Emission/absorption nebula can't be seen (I can see the
                                      > veil nebula with an OIII filter--but it is faint. Galaxies are not
                                      > visible (Except M31--blurry and non-descript) and M51--barely
                                      > recognizable--except on a good night and then only a little better
                                      > (shame too--for it is large in my field of view). What I am getting
                                      > at is I am beginning to feel like astrophotography and variable star
                                      > analysis are the only thing I am going to use the scope for (that and
                                      > the moon-but how long can one look at the moon)--so why not go with a
                                      > 4-5" APO that has better contrast visually, is more portable, and
                                      > capable of taking tremendous pictures. I am having a crisis of faith
                                      > here. Visually I am quiate disapointed--I had a 6" Criterion 30
                                      > years ago so I am familiar with observing visually--I did not expect
                                      > to see nebula like pictures from Hubble. But come on, I say to my
                                      > wife take a look at the ring nebula--or the dumbell nebula and she
                                      > says oh....big deal. And this is with a 14" advanced Ritchey Critien
                                      > that cost $10,000. I would have gotten the same effect with a 4"
                                      > Achromat for god's sake. Am I wrong? Would this scope in the
                                      > Arizona desert under pitch black skies be much better? By teh way--I
                                      > am not bashing Meade here--I bought their series 5000 Ultra Wide
                                      > Angel eyepiece set and generally like their products. I am bashing
                                      > all telescopes used for visual observing. Something tells me that no
                                      > matter which scope I use--short of a 100" reflector with adaptive
                                      > optics, I would bve saying teh same thing. Sure a 5" top notch
                                      > Takahashi might be better--but I do not think it would resolve the
                                      > dumbell nebula much better than the RCX. A little, maybe. But the
                                      > dumbell almost fills my field of view with an 18mm eyepiece.
                                      > Sorry for teh length people--I get started and it is tough to
                                      > put teh brakes on.
                                      >
                                      > Thanks Rodd
                                      >
                                    • seelyt175
                                      Hi, I recently purchased a LX 400 (RCX400) and would like to try some astro imaging with the scope. I m confused as to whether or not I need a RS232 bridge
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Feb 20, 2009
                                        Hi,
                                        I recently purchased a LX 400 (RCX400) and would like to try some astro
                                        imaging with the scope. I'm confused as to whether or not I need a
                                        RS232 bridge cable or not.
                                        Thanks, Tim
                                      • autostaretx
                                        ... Maybe, maybe not. IF you wish to have your PC control your RCX400, you need -either- a USB cable from PC to RCX, -or- an RS232 cable (or both). If your
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Feb 20, 2009
                                          --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "seelyt175" <seelyt175@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Hi,
                                          > I recently purchased a LX 400 (RCX400) and would like to try some
                                          > astro imaging with the scope. I'm confused as to whether or not
                                          > I need a RS232 bridge cable or not.

                                          Maybe, maybe not.

                                          IF you wish to have your PC control your RCX400, you need
                                          -either- a USB cable from PC to RCX, -or- an RS232 cable
                                          (or both).

                                          If your camera has an "autoguider" output, and you do NOT
                                          need/want to have the PC be part of the control system,
                                          then you would not "need" an rs232 cable, but you'd need
                                          a 6-wire cable between the autoguider output of the camera
                                          and the autoguider socket on the RCX400.
                                          But -that- connection would not be able to tell the scope
                                          where to GoTo, it would merely provide tiny adjustments to
                                          keep the image fixed on the camera sensor.

                                          If your camera does NOT have an autoguider output (for example,
                                          all of Meade's DSI cameras don't have one), then the camera
                                          talks to the PC (via USB in this case), the PC figures out the
                                          guiding commands, and a USB or RS232 cable conveys those commands
                                          to the telescope.

                                          An rs232 cable is very cheap ($20?) or you can build one yourself
                                          for about $6 (end-to-end pinout at:
                                          http://rseymour.home.wolfenet.com/LXserial.html )

                                          have fun
                                          --dick
                                        • seelyt175
                                          ... Thanks Dick, That answered my question, although it raises another question. I have an RS 232 bridge cable that I used on my ETX (although never really
                                          Message 20 of 23 , Feb 20, 2009
                                            --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "autostaretx" <rseymour@...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            > --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "seelyt175" seelyt175@ wrote:
                                            > >
                                            > > Hi,
                                            > > I recently purchased a LX 400 (RCX400) and would like to try some
                                            > > astro imaging with the scope. I'm confused as to whether or not
                                            > > I need a RS232 bridge cable or not.
                                            >
                                            > Maybe, maybe not.
                                            >
                                            > IF you wish to have your PC control your RCX400, you need
                                            > -either- a USB cable from PC to RCX, -or- an RS232 cable
                                            > (or both).
                                            >
                                            > If your camera has an "autoguider" output, and you do NOT
                                            > need/want to have the PC be part of the control system,
                                            > then you would not "need" an rs232 cable, but you'd need
                                            > a 6-wire cable between the autoguider output of the camera
                                            > and the autoguider socket on the RCX400.
                                            > But -that- connection would not be able to tell the scope
                                            > where to GoTo, it would merely provide tiny adjustments to
                                            > keep the image fixed on the camera sensor.
                                            >
                                            > If your camera does NOT have an autoguider output (for example,
                                            > all of Meade's DSI cameras don't have one), then the camera
                                            > talks to the PC (via USB in this case), the PC figures out the
                                            > guiding commands, and a USB or RS232 cable conveys those commands
                                            > to the telescope.
                                            >
                                            > An rs232 cable is very cheap ($20?) or you can build one yourself
                                            > for about $6 (end-to-end pinout at:
                                            > http://rseymour.home.wolfenet.com/LXserial.html )
                                            >
                                            > have fun
                                            > --dick

                                            Thanks Dick,

                                            That answered my question, although it raises another question. I have
                                            an RS 232 bridge cable that I used on my ETX (although never really got
                                            it to work, I think I had auto star suite issues) will that work on the
                                            Lx400?
                                            >
                                          • seelyt175
                                            ... Thanks again Dick, One thing I forgot to mention, I will be doing prime focus astro imaging with a Nikon DSLR. Does that make a difference? Thanks Tim
                                            Message 21 of 23 , Feb 20, 2009
                                              --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "autostaretx" <rseymour@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "seelyt175" <seelyt175@> wrote:
                                              > >
                                              > > Hi,
                                              > > I recently purchased a LX 400 (RCX400) and would like to try some
                                              > > astro imaging with the scope. I'm confused as to whether or not
                                              > > I need a RS232 bridge cable or not.
                                              >
                                              > Maybe, maybe not.
                                              >
                                              > IF you wish to have your PC control your RCX400, you need
                                              > -either- a USB cable from PC to RCX, -or- an RS232 cable
                                              > (or both).
                                              >
                                              > If your camera has an "autoguider" output, and you do NOT
                                              > need/want to have the PC be part of the control system,
                                              > then you would not "need" an rs232 cable, but you'd need
                                              > a 6-wire cable between the autoguider output of the camera
                                              > and the autoguider socket on the RCX400.

                                              Thanks again Dick,
                                              One thing I forgot to mention, I will be doing prime focus astro
                                              imaging with a Nikon DSLR. Does that make a difference?
                                              Thanks Tim
                                              > But -that- connection would not be able to tell the scope
                                              > where to GoTo, it would merely provide tiny adjustments to
                                              > keep the image fixed on the camera sensor.
                                              >
                                              > If your camera does NOT have an autoguider output (for example,
                                              > all of Meade's DSI cameras don't have one), then the camera
                                              > talks to the PC (via USB in this case), the PC figures out the
                                              > guiding commands, and a USB or RS232 cable conveys those commands
                                              > to the telescope.
                                              >
                                              > An rs232 cable is very cheap ($20?) or you can build one yourself
                                              > for about $6 (end-to-end pinout at:
                                              > http://rseymour.home.wolfenet.com/LXserial.html )
                                              >
                                              > have fun
                                              > --dick
                                              >
                                            • autostaretx
                                              ... Although it will fit loosely in the LX400 s socket, it is electrically compatible for this usage (i did it for years). If it s a real official Meade
                                              Message 22 of 23 , Feb 20, 2009
                                                --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "seelyt175" <seelyt175@...> wrote:
                                                > That answered my question, although it raises another question.
                                                > I have an RS 232 bridge cable that I used on my ETX (although
                                                > never really got it to work, I think I had auto star suite issues)
                                                > will that work on the Lx400?

                                                Although it will fit loosely in the LX400's socket,
                                                it is electrically compatible for this usage (i did it for years).

                                                If it's a "real official Meade" cable, you can -replace- the
                                                cable portion with a typical 4-wire telephone line cord,
                                                and that will fit snugly at both ends.

                                                The "didn't work" could be due to bad connections inside the
                                                RJ11/DB9 adapter (i had two Meade ones which were flakey)
                                                or poor crimp connections. Only an ohmmeter can tell you true.

                                                > One thing I forgot to mention, I will be doing prime focus astro
                                                > imaging with a Nikon DSLR. Does that make a difference?

                                                (a) thus you have no autoguider socket on the camera.

                                                (b) You still haven't described the *rest* of the setup.
                                                Are you planning to do all of the GoTo's (etc) from the handbox?
                                                Are you planning on "guiding"?
                                                Manual (handbox) or automatic (camera feeds PC, PC commands scope)?

                                                If "everything from the handbox, no PC involved", then you do NOT
                                                need an rs232 cable.

                                                have fun
                                                --dick


                                                > Thanks Tim
                                                > > But -that- connection would not be able to tell the scope
                                                > > where to GoTo, it would merely provide tiny adjustments to
                                                > > keep the image fixed on the camera sensor.
                                                > >
                                                > > If your camera does NOT have an autoguider output (for example,
                                                > > all of Meade's DSI cameras don't have one), then the camera
                                                > > talks to the PC (via USB in this case), the PC figures out the
                                                > > guiding commands, and a USB or RS232 cable conveys those commands
                                                > > to the telescope.
                                                > >
                                                > > An rs232 cable is very cheap ($20?) or you can build one yourself
                                                > > for about $6 (end-to-end pinout at:
                                                > > http://rseymour.home.wolfenet.com/LXserial.html )
                                                > >
                                                > > have fun
                                                > > --dick
                                                > >
                                                >
                                              • seelyt175
                                                ... commands ... yourself ... Thanks for all your informative responses. For right now I would like to set up autostar suite with my PC. I am looking into
                                                Message 23 of 23 , Feb 21, 2009
                                                  --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "autostaretx" <rseymour@...> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "seelyt175" <seelyt175@> wrote:
                                                  > > That answered my question, although it raises another question.
                                                  > > I have an RS 232 bridge cable that I used on my ETX (although
                                                  > > never really got it to work, I think I had auto star suite issues)
                                                  > > will that work on the Lx400?
                                                  >
                                                  > Although it will fit loosely in the LX400's socket,
                                                  > it is electrically compatible for this usage (i did it for years).
                                                  >
                                                  > If it's a "real official Meade" cable, you can -replace- the
                                                  > cable portion with a typical 4-wire telephone line cord,
                                                  > and that will fit snugly at both ends.
                                                  >
                                                  > The "didn't work" could be due to bad connections inside the
                                                  > RJ11/DB9 adapter (i had two Meade ones which were flakey)
                                                  > or poor crimp connections. Only an ohmmeter can tell you true.
                                                  >
                                                  > > One thing I forgot to mention, I will be doing prime focus astro
                                                  > > imaging with a Nikon DSLR. Does that make a difference?
                                                  >
                                                  > (a) thus you have no autoguider socket on the camera.
                                                  >
                                                  > (b) You still haven't described the *rest* of the setup.
                                                  > Are you planning to do all of the GoTo's (etc) from the handbox?
                                                  > Are you planning on "guiding"?
                                                  > Manual (handbox) or automatic (camera feeds PC, PC commands scope)?
                                                  >
                                                  > If "everything from the handbox, no PC involved", then you do NOT
                                                  > need an rs232 cable.
                                                  >
                                                  > have fun
                                                  > --dick
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > > Thanks Tim
                                                  > > > But -that- connection would not be able to tell the scope
                                                  > > > where to GoTo, it would merely provide tiny adjustments to
                                                  > > > keep the image fixed on the camera sensor.
                                                  > > >
                                                  > > > If your camera does NOT have an autoguider output (for example,
                                                  > > > all of Meade's DSI cameras don't have one), then the camera
                                                  > > > talks to the PC (via USB in this case), the PC figures out the
                                                  > > > guiding commands, and a USB or RS232 cable conveys those
                                                  commands
                                                  > > > to the telescope.
                                                  > > >
                                                  > > > An rs232 cable is very cheap ($20?) or you can build one
                                                  yourself
                                                  > > > for about $6 (end-to-end pinout at:
                                                  > > > http://rseymour.home.wolfenet.com/LXserial.html )
                                                  > > >
                                                  > > > have fun
                                                  > > > --dick
                                                  > > >
                                                  > >Dick,
                                                  Thanks for all your informative responses.
                                                  For right now I would like to set up autostar suite with my PC. I am
                                                  looking into guiding down the road. I just want to keep it simple at
                                                  this time and absorb it all in.
                                                  I will be setting the camera up for prime focal photography.
                                                  Thanks, Tim
                                                  >
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