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Posts Made By: Gianluca Valentini

February 17, 2003 06:53 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Help needed

Posted By Gianluca Valentini

Hello everybody, My name is Luca, I'm writing from Italy and I am fairly new to the hobby. I started out about 18 months ago with a little refractor and then a little reflector. I never decided to try astrophotography with my previous instruments.
Now, I received a Nexstar 11GPS as wedding gift from a group of friends and I need some advice on a CCD camera to use with the above scope. My main interest is deep sky objects (love nebulae, of course).
Is there a good quality color CCD camera? How much quality do I have to be ready to compromise in order to reduce time using a color CCD?
Is the Fastar system the best way to go about reducing focal length, or a "traditional" focal reductor would serve equally well? In the latter case, which one would be the most indicated for my scope?
Thanks to anyone who'll take the time to answer my neophyte's question.


March 6, 2003 07:44 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Again help needed with Toucam Pro

Posted By Gianluca Valentini

Hello guys,
anybody can advice me on how to get my first images with a Toucam Pro?
I tried last night, but all I could get was pitch black everywhere I looked on the screen. I centered Jupiter with a short focal eyepiece (7mm at 400X), I had an IR cut filter mounted on so I thought I did all that was needed but NO IMAGE AT ALL. I'd browsed the web to find all infos before trying, but I may have missed something. I was working at f/10 with a Nexstar 11.
Furthermore, I read here that you should choose certain values for the different controls of the camera, but where do I read the values?? Some of the controls only have a cursor with no numerical value to refer to.
I'm a bit lost, because since I can't get any image I can't even "work" on it with the camera controls to make it better!
Thanks for any help provided guys.

March 9, 2003 02:05 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

My first extra-terrestrial shot ever!!

Posted By Gianluca Valentini

I know it is not much, but being absolutely my first image I am pretty proud of it.
Taken in poor seeing conditions (a little hazy) with C11 GPS, Powermate 2.5X, and Toucam Pro. There could be a focus problem too (hand focused), but I hope not.
Special thanks to Jonathan Croad for his good advice ("first go for the moon": I did and afterwards this and Jupiter).
Is there anything that can be done to this picture to make it better? Tried to use Paint Shop Pro, but I've got a lot of learning to do. Thanks for any advice.


April 1, 2003 08:06 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Qfocus Focus utility: Can anyone help?

Posted By Gianluca Valentini

Hello everybody,

does anyone know how to use the Focus utility contained in Qfocus? Can it be used for live video feed or is it supposed to work on still images.
I tried for veideo feed, but after a few seconds the video feed disappears and the program crashes. I use windows XP on the machine I tried Qfocus on.

Thanks for any reply.


April 14, 2003 08:58 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Jupiter Apr. 13th

Posted By Gianluca Valentini

Seeing was terrible. Tried to image at f25, but it was impossible to get even a rough focus (jupiter was wobbling like crazy!).
So I tried to image at f10: only a little better, but still bad.

NS 11" GPS+toucam pro at f10; Stacking of 150 of 350 frames in Registax; some processing in Registax.

Comments always well appreciated.
Thanks guys


April 16, 2003 07:14 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Darks & flats with a webcam: any info?

Posted By Gianluca Valentini

Hi guys,
Is there anyone who can tell me how to take darks and flat fields with a Toucam Pro? I've seen them posted (somewhere for some other webcam) but they did not mention how they were obtained.
I tried to take some images with a cover on the scope (my idea of a dark frame) using the same settings I was going to use for an AVI of Jupiter taken right afterwards. They turned out as a series of very dark pictures with no sign of noise.
Furthermore, I'm in dying need of a "flat field technique" cause I manage to leave always at least one spot of dust that invariably ends up being in a strategic position when I try to image.

Any suggestion?


April 23, 2003 03:13 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Software assisted focus on planets.

Posted By Gianluca Valentini

Hello everyone,

A general question: how do you measure focus on a large object such as Jupiter? Brightest pixel? FWHM?
I thought that for subject such as Jupiter one could use both of the above mentioned systems focusing on a satellite, but they're not always there especially when imaging at F20 or higher.
Any suggestion?

Does anyone know how to use the focus option in QCfocus? Does it need a star to work? Can I use it to focus directly on Jupiter? When I try I get an image only for a few seconds and then it just disappears never to be available again, unless I exit the program and reopen it

Bye guys

May 9, 2003 09:11 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

M3: it is just a hint, but..

Posted By Gianluca Valentini

I know it's bad, but all things considered (and there are many!), I'm quite happy with it: it is my 1st experiment with a digital SLR, unguided, focusing manually from my backyard in the center of town (no LPR filter). Furthermore, the cable to connect the camera to the pc for downloading was too short, so I had to remove the camera after each 2 shots, while checking focus. A real nightmare!

However, this is the result of aligning and adding 10 1-min exposures, applying a dark (median of two only), no flats, a little filtering, all of which was done in Astroart. The equipment is Nexstar 11 GPS @ f10 and Fuji Finepix Pro S2 @ prime focus, 400 ISO. Original images show a larger field than this one and were binned 3x3 (originals are 4256x2848).

Hopefully one day I will be able to control focus directly from the pc screen via Astroart and results may improve. I believe it's going to be fun experimenting the possibilities of digital SLR: I've seen great stuff done with similar cameras on this forum.

In the meanwhile, please be kind with comments, if any.

Ciao guys


May 15, 2003 08:47 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Guiding with a webcam

Posted By Gianluca Valentini

Hello guys,

can anyone suggest an easy and relatively inexpensive way to guide exposures using a webcam and appropriate software? I'm referring, more specifically, to the hardware part. The only solution I could come up with is to apply the webcam to a small refractor that would replace the finder and guide through that, but this would force to invest more than I would like for this experiment.

Thanks for any suggestion


May 30, 2003 08:26 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

White balance for DSO on a DSLR???

Posted By Gianluca Valentini

Hello guys, I need some help from users of DSLR for astrophotography (I learned there is more than one attending this forum). QUESTION: how do I find a good white balance setting for DSO imaging? Should I just use the AUTO settings?
If anyone has a suggestion I would really appreciate some help here.

Ciao guys