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New to Group - Looking for help

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  • Ken
    I am new here and am looking for anyone that has or has had the same / similar equip. for help and advice. I am currently using a 10 LX200 classic with the
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 30, 2008
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      I am new here and am looking for anyone that has or has had the same /
      similar equip. for help and advice.

      I am currently using a 10" LX200 classic with the MX5C CCD.

      Some of the issues I am having are guiding with the MX5C for longer
      than 60 sec.

      I use also AA2.0, The Sky, Photoshop 7.

      I have the Mettler wedge on a permanent pier in my backyard observatory
      in Jackson, Ga.

      Anyone brave enough to help will be greatly appreciated.

      Thank You
    • Mike Dodd
      ... Welcome to the group, Ken. I don t have the same camera, but I did use a 10 LX200 a few years ago. Sadly,I found the LX200 (mount, not OTA) to be quite a
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 30, 2008
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        Ken wrote:
        > I am new here and am looking for anyone that has or has had the same /
        > similar equip. for help and advice.
        >
        > I am currently using a 10" LX200 classic with the MX5C CCD.
        >
        > Some of the issues I am having are guiding with the MX5C for longer
        > than 60 sec.

        Welcome to the group, Ken. I don't have the same camera, but I did use a
        10" LX200 a few years ago. Sadly,I found the LX200 (mount, not OTA) to
        be quite a challenge for imaging. The drive gearing has backlash which
        makes guiding difficult.

        Others have reported similar experiences. The recommended solution is to
        add an adaptive-optics unit in front of the camera to make rapid guiding
        corrections independent of the mount, then issue only occasional
        corrections to the mount. Unfortunately, the only adaptive-optics unit I
        know about is the SBIG AO-7, which fits only SBIG self-guiding cameras,
        not your MX5C.

        Mark de Regt (in this group) is well-known for the outstanding images he
        acquired using an AO-7 with an LX200. You can see them here:
        <http://www.de-regt.com/Astronomy/>

        Have you considered working WITHIN your equipment's limitations? In
        other words, if you can get round stars with 60-second sub-frames
        (guided or unguided), that's better than nothing. Just take a bunch of
        exposures and do a statistical combine (e.g., sigma-reject) to minimize
        noise as much as possible. You might be surprised at the results.

        I hope this helps. Keep us posted, and don't hesitate to ask more questions.

        Mike
        -----

        Mike Dodd
        Montpelier, VA USA
        http://astronomy.mdodd.com
      • dan kowall
        Hi Mike and Ken, Starlight Xpress does have an AO unit: http://www.starlight-xpress.co.uk/SXV-AO.htm I don t know if it works with the MX5C, nor do I have any
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 30, 2008
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          Hi Mike and Ken,
          Starlight Xpress does have an AO unit:
          http://www.starlight-xpress.co.uk/SXV-AO.htm
          I don't know if it works with the MX5C, nor do I have any experience with it.
          Perhaps an inquiry to the Starlight group might turn up some experienced information.

          dan kowall

          ____________
          Mike Dodd <mike@...> wrote: Ken wrote:
          > I am new here and am looking for anyone that has or has had the same /
          > similar equip. for help and advice.
          >
          > I am currently using a 10" LX200 classic with the MX5C CCD.
          >
          > Some of the issues I am having are guiding with the MX5C for longer
          > than 60 sec.
          <<SNIP>>.....The recommended solution is to
          add an adaptive-optics unit in front of the camera to make rapid guiding
          corrections independent of the mount, then issue only occasional
          corrections to the mount. Unfortunately, the only adaptive-optics unit I
          know about is the SBIG AO-7, which fits only SBIG self-guiding cameras,
          not your MX5C.

          <<SNIP>>

          Mike Dodd
          Montpelier, VA USA
          http://astronomy.mdodd.com







          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Terry Platt
          Hi Ken & All, Are you using the scope at F10? It s certainly very difficult to achieve good guiding at such a long focal length - using a focal reducer will
          Message 4 of 9 , Dec 30, 2008
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            Hi Ken & All,

            Are you using the 'scope at F10? It's certainly very difficult to achieve good guiding at such a long focal length - using a focal reducer will make life simpler. Our AO will certainly help, but it's a costly way to overcome this problem if a Meade F3.3 reducer would be sufficient.

            Regards,
            Terry (SX Ltd)


            ----- Original Message -----
            From: dan kowall
            To: ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 9:21 PM
            Subject: Re: [ccd-newastro] New to Group - Looking for help


            Hi Mike and Ken,
            Starlight Xpress does have an AO unit:
            http://www.starlight-xpress.co.uk/SXV-AO.htm
            I don't know if it works with the MX5C, nor do I have any experience with it.
            Perhaps an inquiry to the Starlight group might turn up some experienced information.

            dan kowall

            ____________
            Mike Dodd <mike@...> wrote: Ken wrote:
            > I am new here and am looking for anyone that has or has had the same /
            > similar equip. for help and advice.
            >
            > I am currently using a 10" LX200 classic with the MX5C CCD.
            >
            > Some of the issues I am having are guiding with the MX5C for longer
            > than 60 sec.
            <<SNIP>>.....The recommended solution is to
            add an adaptive-optics unit in front of the camera to make rapid guiding
            corrections independent of the mount, then issue only occasional
            corrections to the mount. Unfortunately, the only adaptive-optics unit I
            know about is the SBIG AO-7, which fits only SBIG self-guiding cameras,
            not your MX5C.

            <<SNIP>>

            Mike Dodd
            Montpelier, VA USA
            http://astronomy.mdodd.com





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Don Waid
            Hi, I ve used LX200 mounts for imaging. I also used an AO7 with SBIG cameras and have had reasonable results. Without the AO7 it is still possible to achieve
            Message 5 of 9 , Dec 30, 2008
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              Hi,

              I've used LX200 mounts for imaging. I also used an AO7 with SBIG cameras
              and have had reasonable results. Without the AO7 it is still possible to
              achieve acceptable results. You may need to "tweak" your mount to obtain
              better tracking. Dr. Clay Sherrod of Arkansas Sky Observatory has a very
              good service that "Super Charges" telescopes. You can read about it at the
              link below.

              http://www.arksky.org/supercharge.htm

              Another help is to use the .63 focal reducer.

              Hope this helps.

              Don Waid
              http://www.waid-observatory.com

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Mike Dodd" <mike@...>
              To: <ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 3:58 PM
              Subject: Re: [ccd-newastro] New to Group - Looking for help


              > Ken wrote:
              >> I am new here and am looking for anyone that has or has had the same /
              >> similar equip. for help and advice.
              >>
              >> I am currently using a 10" LX200 classic with the MX5C CCD.
              >>
              >> Some of the issues I am having are guiding with the MX5C for longer
              >> than 60 sec.
              >
              > Welcome to the group, Ken. I don't have the same camera, but I did use a
              > 10" LX200 a few years ago. Sadly,I found the LX200 (mount, not OTA) to
              > be quite a challenge for imaging. The drive gearing has backlash which
              > makes guiding difficult.
              >
              > Others have reported similar experiences. The recommended solution is to
              > add an adaptive-optics unit in front of the camera to make rapid guiding
              > corrections independent of the mount, then issue only occasional
              > corrections to the mount. Unfortunately, the only adaptive-optics unit I
              > know about is the SBIG AO-7, which fits only SBIG self-guiding cameras,
              > not your MX5C.
              >
              > Mark de Regt (in this group) is well-known for the outstanding images he
              > acquired using an AO-7 with an LX200. You can see them here:
              > <http://www.de-regt.com/Astronomy/>
              >
              > Have you considered working WITHIN your equipment's limitations? In
              > other words, if you can get round stars with 60-second sub-frames
              > (guided or unguided), that's better than nothing. Just take a bunch of
              > exposures and do a statistical combine (e.g., sigma-reject) to minimize
              > noise as much as possible. You might be surprised at the results.
              >
              > I hope this helps. Keep us posted, and don't hesitate to ask more
              > questions.
              >
              > Mike
              > -----
              >
              > Mike Dodd
              > Montpelier, VA USA
              > http://astronomy.mdodd.com
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • Mark de Regt
              I started imaging with a 10 LX200, using an SBIG ST-7E camera with a Meade .33 reducer. The space from the reducer to the chip, through the filter wheel,
              Message 6 of 9 , Dec 30, 2008
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                I started imaging with a 10" LX200, using an SBIG ST-7E camera with a Meade
                .33 reducer. The space from the reducer to the chip, through the filter
                wheel, yielded an effective focal ratio of f/4.6. I found that, most of the
                time, I could get decent results that way, generally using five- to
                ten-minute individual exposures. Decent pictures still on my website taken
                with that combination include M51, M63, M82, NGC7331, NGC7640, NGC7538 and
                my comet pictures.

                I have always been a bit of an exposure freak, so I didn't mind throwing
                away a significant percentage of my exposures. Randomly, despite my best
                efforts, guiding would fail anyway. And if guide exposures were longer than
                one second on the luminance images, I was dead. But it worked out pretty
                well; I learned a lot solving problems, and got some decent results. The
                downside was that I enjoyed it so much, I've spent a small fortune on this
                hobby in the intervening years. :)

                The added benefit to using a focal reducer with a small chip is that you
                have a significantly larger field of view. But you will have to look out
                for distortion at the edges of the chip. One of my favorite images taken
                with that combination was the Bubble Nebula (NGC7635); but you certainly can
                see some distortion in the corners.

                Hope this helps.

                Mark de Regt
                http://www.de-regt.com/Astronomy
              • Kevin Rasso
                Hello, I will be brave enough, with the caveat, I am also relatively new to the whole astrophotography thing. This is my first post to the group, I ve been
                Message 7 of 9 , Dec 31, 2008
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                  Hello,

                  I will be brave enough, with the caveat, I am also relatively new to
                  the whole astrophotography thing. This is my first post to the group,
                  I've been mainly lurking just trying to learn as much as possible. I
                  will tell you though that you can do some great things with the LX200
                  mount. I have the 10" LX200GPS SMT. It was one of the last SCT
                  versions left, and I can tell you it has performed remarkably for the
                  last 2.5 years out of the box. I have lugged this thing to many
                  astronomy outreach events that my local club gets involved in, as well
                  as a few hundred miles to the last three MASPs. The only upgrade I
                  have put into it is a set of Bob's Knobs for ease of collimation (which
                  I have had to do once). You just have to make sure you keep everything
                  balanced, and follow the training procedures every now and again. I
                  have yet to use PEC as I do not have a permanent setup.

                  I made a folder named Kevin's Astro Photos. All photos were taken with
                  my WO ZS 80 ED II with a TV .8X FR and a QSI 532ws-M1 piggy backed on
                  my LX200. Some are unguided with 2 minute subs and another is with 5
                  minute guided subs. I have yet to image via the main optics with this
                  camera, but it was explained to me that I would be a lot less
                  frustrated learning the fundamentals with a shorter focal length set
                  up. In appreciation I would like to give a shout out to Robert and
                  Mike that I met up with at MASP...you know who you are, and thanks!

                  Again, I am only starting out in image processing, and by no means are
                  these pictures going to be the jaw dropping images that you will see
                  some incredible imagers here post. But for where I am, I'm comfortably
                  sharing these with the group. I hope my wife took the hint for some
                  birthday gifts...Ron's books! Any critiques appreciated!

                  Respectfully,
                  Kevin
                • Mike Dodd
                  ... You got good advice. I m not familiar with your camera, but I d guess that the 80ED with the 0.8 focal reducer would yield an image scale of about 3 to 3.5
                  Message 8 of 9 , Dec 31, 2008
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                    Kevin Rasso wrote:
                    > ...you can do some great things with the LX200
                    > mount. [...]
                    >
                    > I made a folder named Kevin's Astro Photos. All photos were taken with
                    > my WO ZS 80 ED II with a TV .8X FR and a QSI 532ws-M1 piggy backed on
                    > my LX200. Some are unguided with 2 minute subs and another is with 5
                    > minute guided subs. I have yet to image via the main optics with this
                    > camera, but it was explained to me that I would be a lot less
                    > frustrated learning the fundamentals with a shorter focal length setup.

                    You got good advice. I'm not familiar with your camera, but I'd guess
                    that the 80ED with the 0.8 focal reducer would yield an image scale of
                    about 3 to 3.5 arcsec/pixel. This makes a HUGE difference. Imaging at
                    f/10 with the 10" SCT gives you an image scale of about 0.75
                    arcsec/pixel. Even using a 0.63 focal reducer, as Mark suggested, the
                    image scale is still in the neighborhood of 1 arcsec/pixel.

                    A 3.5 arcsec/pixel image scale hides many mount deficiencies. With PEC
                    trained and enabled, it might very well be possible to expose longer
                    than 60 seconds without noticeable star smearing.

                    The comments in this thread related to imaging with the LX200 were based
                    on using the LX200 SCT at f/10 or with a focal reducer at about f/7. At
                    the 0.75 - 1 arcsec/pixel image scales I mentioned above, ANY mount's
                    deficiencies (not just the LX200's) become major factors to deal with,
                    and that's why people suggested an AO unit or short exposures.

                    I used a 9.25" SCT on a Celestron CGE mount and also on a Losmandy G-11.
                    In both cases I had difficulty getting round stars with 300-second
                    guided exposures at f/10. Even with a focal reducer that yielded f/7.5,
                    stars sometimes were slightly elongated.

                    So while it's true that you can make nice images with an LX200 pushing
                    an 80mm wide-field refractor around the sky, it's also true that imaging
                    with an LX200 SCT at f/10 is challenging.

                    Mike
                    -----

                    Mike Dodd
                    Montpelier, VA USA
                    http://astronomy.mdodd.com
                  • Neil Fleming
                    Good way to start, Kevin.  The shorter focal length stuff is indeed the way to go!      ...Neil www.flemingastrophotography.com  Direct from Boston -
                    Message 9 of 9 , Dec 31, 2008
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                      Good way to start, Kevin.  The shorter focal length stuff is indeed the way to go!
                       
                         ...Neil


                      www.flemingastrophotography.com 
                      Direct from Boston - brilliant diamonds in pea soup
                      Also check out the astro_narrowband Yahoo group!

                      --- On Wed, 12/31/08, Kevin Rasso <vitozilla@...> wrote:

                      From: Kevin Rasso <vitozilla@...>
                      Subject: [ccd-newastro] Re: New to Group - Looking for help
                      To: ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Wednesday, December 31, 2008, 5:31 PM

                      Hello,

                      I will be brave enough, with the caveat, I am also relatively new to
                      the whole astrophotography thing. This is my first post to the group,
                      I've been mainly lurking just trying to learn as much as possible. I
                      will tell you though that you can do some great things with the LX200
                      mount. I have the 10" LX200GPS SMT. It was one of the last SCT
                      versions left, and I can tell you it has performed remarkably for the
                      last 2.5 years out of the box. I have lugged this thing to many
                      astronomy outreach events that my local club gets involved in, as well
                      as a few hundred miles to the last three MASPs. The only upgrade I
                      have put into it is a set of Bob's Knobs for ease of collimation (which
                      I have had to do once). You just have to make sure you keep everything
                      balanced, and follow the training procedures every now and again. I
                      have yet to use PEC as I do not have a permanent setup.

                      I made a folder named Kevin's Astro Photos. All photos were taken with
                      my WO ZS 80 ED II with a TV .8X FR and a QSI 532ws-M1 piggy backed on
                      my LX200. Some are unguided with 2 minute subs and another is with 5
                      minute guided subs. I have yet to image via the main optics with this
                      camera, but it was explained to me that I would be a lot less
                      frustrated learning the fundamentals with a shorter focal length set
                      up. In appreciation I would like to give a shout out to Robert and
                      Mike that I met up with at MASP...you know who you are, and thanks!

                      Again, I am only starting out in image processing, and by no means are
                      these pictures going to be the jaw dropping images that you will see
                      some incredible imagers here post. But for where I am, I'm comfortably
                      sharing these with the group. I hope my wife took the hint for some
                      birthday gifts...Ron's books! Any critiques appreciated!

                      Respectfully,
                      Kevin


                      ------------------------------------






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