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Posts Made By: Mike Watts

May 11, 2005 05:09 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Jupiter May 7 and 8

Posted By Mike Watts

I don't know Paul. I like the refractor shots. And I like them better than the results I'm getting with my C14. You've got me thinking about getting a bigger refractor (than my TV76).


May 21, 2005 07:36 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Southern Highlands

Posted By Mike Watts

I find that stunning, Jim! Did you put up a spacecraft while we weren't looking?

May 23, 2005 02:40 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Jupiter - first pictures

Posted By Mike Watts


I've had the most success using 30 fps, gain around the middle, and exposure as fast as can be used while getting a live video image that is considerably brighter than the one you posted. The live image should be about the same brightness as you would want in a finished image. I think you want it as bright as possible without getting saturated pixels in the stacked image.

Image scale seemed alright for a start. I wouldn't worry about trying for a longer focal length until you are getting nice images at the existing focal length. Everything gets tougher with a longer focal length.

Over time, I've concluded that I need to strive for a very good looking live video image before bothering to record. Spent a lot of time, if necessary, getting the brightness and focus right.


May 23, 2005 02:49 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Beginner Astrophotography Telescope

Posted By Mike Watts

On that type of budget you can most readily image planets with a webcam since a long exposure camera will cost a lot more.

I think the mount is the most important thing for imaging. If you get a decent mount, you can migrate through a number of scopes as you can afford better ones.

For modest astrophotography, I would agree with the previous post that an SCT will be most likely to give you some satisfaction. I would recommend you get a used one here on Astromart. I saw a C9.25 for sale recently for something like $800 - can't remember if that was just for the OTA. Some terrific photos have been taken with this scope and the ToUcam webcam. Seems like lots of bang for the buck.


May 23, 2005 02:53 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

with your significant other

Posted By Mike Watts

My wife will listen to me sometimes and is appreciative of the photos I take. She will even take a brief look through the scope if I make enough of a fuss. But she really has no desire to observe.

The Lone Ranger

May 29, 2005 09:20 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Advice on imaging faint objects please

Posted By Mike Watts

You won't get very far using the toucam for faint fuzzies. However, you can get started with dso imaging inexpensively with webcam modified for long exposure, such as the SAC cameras. You can pick up a SAC7 for a few hundred dollars - it is easy to use because it has a video mode that facilitates focusing and then a long exposure mode for imaging faint objects.

You could also use some of the low light level b&w video cameras - like the Mallencam or the Stellacam.

To track the object of interest you need a star tracker. There are several ways to do this, but I don't think any of them are what I would call simple. I think Ron Wodaskis book is absolutely necessary if you are going to think about dso imaging much less tracking.

Be glad to hear what more experience dso imagers have to say about this.


May 31, 2005 10:42 AM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Just a quick poll.

Posted By Mike Watts

February of last year I got an ETX90. Two weeks later I got a CGE1400X. Later I added a TV76 piggyback on the C14. Still trying to get the most out of the C14 when imaging.


June 2, 2005 06:57 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Evolution of the astronomer

Posted By Mike Watts

What great posts!

Except for the guys who build their own scopes, I'm all of you rolled into one. I love BEING there, actually seeing it happen. But I long to share it with someone else, which drives me to take pictures, which is a pain in the neck, frustrating, and expensive. There's nothing that can't be cured by a new observatory, a Paramount, and a 32" RC. I also sail and have stretched out on the deck and gazed in awe at the darkest skies that exist from the middle of the Atlantic. I fly, and - for whatever reason - that is connected to all this too as someone else pointed out. Maybe it's the "being in touch with nature" aspect that Ivan mentioned.

There is another common thread among astronomy, flying, and sailing - that slippery slope down the side of a money pit. :-)


June 2, 2005 07:01 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Registax problems

Posted By Mike Watts

My version 3 of registax craps out with the same message at 2334 frames (640x480).

If anyone knows a way to process more frames, I would sure appreciate hearing about it.


June 4, 2005 07:08 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System


Posted By Mike Watts

I noticed that too, Paul. But don't know why.