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 Add a Skywatcher Auto Focuser to a Skywatcher Equinox 66 Telescope
In the past I have attached the Skywatcher Auto Focusers to my Skywatcher ED120 and ED80 DS-Pro models, so as soon as I purchased a new Skywatcher Equinox 66 I immediately went out and purchased another Skywatcher Auto Focuser and set to work attaching it to my Equinox 66.
These simple jobs rarely are simple as I was about to find out. The main problem I previously had with the DS-Pro models was that you had to completely remove the focuser in order to attach the DC motor part to the pin part of the focuser. This time with the Equinox 66 this problem also occurred – but so did the issue that the bracket supplied with the Skywatcher Auto Focuser does not fit/line up with the screw holes found on the underneath of the Equinox 66.
But don’t worry with a couple of extra drill holes in the bracket and some bashing of the bracket with a hammer the attachment of the Skywatcher Auto Focuser to a Skywatcher Equinox 66mm telescope is possible.
Remove the focuser knob from the single speed side of the telescope focuser by inserting an allen key into the hole of the focuser and loosening it.
Drill the extra 2 holes required in the bracket so that they match the screw positions on the bottom of the Equinox 66.
Now completely or as best you can loosen all the screws that attach the focuser to the telescope, you should then be able to move the focuser at an angle, or remove it completely. Slide on the DC motor onto the pin and tighten it with the supplied allen key. Make sure you tighten it in the right position by either laying the bracket in position or by actually fitting the bracket first to see if the screw holes line up between both parts.
With the motor in place now attach the bracket by using the 4 new screws supplied with the Auto Focuser. Be careful not to dislodge and lose the small rubber washers inside the telescope focuser when tightening everything up.
Now bring together the bracket and the DC motor and try screwing both parts together with the thumbscrews and metal washers provided with the Auto Focuser. If they do not align up very well, then you will need to remove the bracket and change the angle of the bracket to bend it to the correct position. I used a hammer for this.
The End: You should now have it completed. Just try it out.
It’s been a while since I imaged Jupiter, and I have never imaged it since I got my Skywatcher 120mm ED refractor.
This was taken with a mono DMK21 camera and stacked in Registax 6. It was taken using a Televue 2.5x Powermate. I did try a 5x Powermate but the image was too blurry even once stacked and sharpened using wavelets.
I managed to do a bit of imaging today as the Sun was out all day. I went and purchased a sheet of A4 Baader Solar Filter paper from Green Witch the other day, they were the cheapest place I could find, plus I got my SPA discount as well. It also gave me my first chance to visit them in Dry Drayton.
Anyway, I produced a couple of solar filters for my LX200 and my ED80 Pro from the paper sheet so was dying to try them out (which was a nightmare trying to cut, as I couldn’t stop my fingers leaving fingerprints on the paper, plus you need to remember to remove a really thin piece of plastic that is attached to the filter paper).
Both worked really well, I have also just purchased a 2nd hand DMK21 camera, which is so much better than my SPC900 webcam, which I about to sell. So imaging with this was fun as the more practice I get on the DMK21 the better. I also used my Baader Solar Continuum filter which I have had for ages but never really got to use as I did not think that the SPC900 gave enough brightness of the object to use a dark green filter, but the DMK21 handles it with ease as you have a lot more control over your gain, exposure and gamma settings.
The great thing was that I was able to record granulation on my images, something I could never do with the SPC900 webcam, maybe it’s the Baader Solar Filter paper that made it possible, but I think it was really the DMK21 camera.
I processed them all in Registax 5 and then added some false colour in Fireworks. The distant image was taken with a Skywatcher ED80 Pro and the close-up shots with my 10″ LX200.