Tag : maxim-dl

Guiding in Maxim DL with a Finderscope Guider

At last my guiding seems to be working, after using a finder guider for a couple of years with mixed results, I think I have it cracked.

I originally used to expose my QHY5 camera on my Skywatcher finderscope every 2 seconds for guiding, and have aggressiveness setting of 4-5. I also used to use my finderguider un-binned with a calibration time of 25 seconds.

This is now my Maxim DL autoguiding set-up:

2x Binned QHY5 camera
5 second exposures
Aggressiveness of 6 and 6.5
Calibration Time: 40 seconds
Waiting time between frames: 65 seconds

These are the settings when imaging through my Altair Astro 80mm Triplet at f4.8 at 3.46 arc seconds per pixel. These settings may change when I image with my 8″ RC scope.

How To Stop Maxim DL cycling through filters

One of the main problems I found with Maxim DL when setting up the Autosequences was that if I set it up to do LRGB imaging and repeated each filter by say 20 times, instead of Maxim doing 20 frames in Red, then moving onto the Green filter to do 20 frames, it would do 1 frame in Red and then move onto 1 frame in Green and then onto Blue etc etc.

This seems a bit crazy and it also means your filter wheel is constantly on the move and it may wear down your filter wheel faster than you think.

Another downside to this is that you really want to take all your frames through one filter then take your flats for that filter, as the filter wheel may not move the filter back into exactly the same position again once you have moved filters.

To stop Maxim DL doing this choose the option “Group by Slot”.

It can be found by clicking on the ‘Autosave’ button on the ‘Expose’ tab then when in the Autosave Setup screen choose ‘Options’ and select ‘Group by Slot’.

Ian King Advanced Imaging Day

On Saturday 13th November I headed on over to a small village outside of Rugby to attend an Advanced CCD Imaging Course run by Ian King. I did not know what to expect when it came to the venue, all I knew was that it was in a village hall. Well usually village halls conjure up visions of a dark, old and very cold hall where the local scout troop meets up. But I was very pleasantly surprised to find a 3 year old village hall with all the latest mod cons.

Advanced Imaging DayThe day began at 10.30am with a short introduction about what was happening in the course and then we went straight into learning about monochrome imaging with John Evans.

After a short tea break, John Evans then talked more about how he processed his monochrome images and the equipment that he uses. John was actually buying Hasselblad lenses from eBay and attaching them to QSI CCD cameras in order to take wide field images with Hydrogen Alpha filters.

Ian King then gave a talk on the latest active and alternative optics and how amateur astronomers can use them. Lunch followed the talk – which was included in the price of £35 per head for the day.
Ian then gave another talk on motorized focusers. It covered all the various models that can be purchased and what telescopes the motorized focusers fit. He also gave use a live motorized focuser demonstration by using Focus Max in Maxim DL which was connected to refractor with a motorized focuser which was pointing at an artificial star.

Advanced Astro Imaging DayNik Szymanek then took over and gave us two 1 hour lectures. His first talk included a discussion of RGB and LRGB imaging and processing and how he uses FITS Liberator. Nik took us all the way through his image processing regime, which was very insightful and really opened up for us the kind of ‘black box’ of imaging techniques the top astro photographers in their field use.

Nik’s second talk included more about processing narrowband imaging. This included processing Ha, OIII and SII images, as well as the Hubble palette and Bi-Colour image processing. He also covered the usage of the program Neat Image and other noise control programs and methods in image processing.

John Evans closed the day at 5.30pm with a short talk practices best avoided, how to progress your imaging and he also took questions from the group.

The day ran from 10.30am until 5.30pm, included lunch and all tea and coffees etc. and all for just £35 per head. We thought it was amazingly good value as we both learnt so much during the day about image processing.

Ian King runs these CCD imaging courses every now and again, and it is worth checking his website for more information. He also runs a beginners imaging day, and that is something I have now also booked.