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Posts Made By: Alex McConahay

August 14, 2003 03:17 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Nikon 5400 Adapter

Posted By Alex McConahay

Anybody have experience/knowledge of how to mount a Coolpix 5400 to an eyepiece for afocal.

I have the Televue 28 mm adapter, so can attach it to my eyepieces. How can I attach the adapter to the camera? I understand there is a tube extender or something that goes betwen the camera and the adapter.

Who has some advice?

Alex

August 28, 2003 06:04 AM Forum: Film Astrophotography - Imaging and Processing

Suggestions for Subjects

Posted By Alex McConahay

I would like to plan my astrophotography sessions a little better. I have looked at lots of people's sites, and see there are plenty of things to take pictures of. But the objects are of many different sizes, and brightnesses, and such, and would require different setups. If I had a list of "astrophotography's 100 greatest hits" I could choose a few objects for each night, based on location and size, and go out and get those pictures.

Does anybody know of a list of subjects for astrophotography?

I'm looking for a list of good looking objects, with information about size in degrees, surface brightness, location. Maybe even suggested exposures.

Alex


October 3, 2003 08:24 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Camera Control for NIkon 5400

Posted By Alex McConahay

Has anybody a recommendation for software for a Nikon Coolpix 5400 so that I can control the camera from a laptop? I am interesting in setting exposure, focusing, and releasing shutter from laptop. I have the standard camera to USB connector.

Thanks in advance....

Alex

October 3, 2003 08:34 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Digital Zoom

Posted By Alex McConahay

Just what is digital zoom?

DO they just bin pixels? Does the exposure just use the central pixels and then spread them out? I understand it does not improve resolution. Just what is "digital zoom" for?

Alex

November 17, 2003 12:12 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Vixen v. Celestron Motor Drive

Posted By Alex McConahay

Hi all,

I have a Super Polaris with a motor drive that is dead. (Which means I have the mounting bracket for the RA motor, but the electronics are flaky somewhere.)

I plan to use mostly visual, but would very rarely (while travelling and I can't take the G-11) use it to take wide-field Telephotos or TV-85 astrophotos.

I have several questions I would like opinions on:

Will the CG-5 version work on the Super Polaris?

How much better is the Vixen dual axis drive than the Celestron CG-5 version. I have read the Cloudy NIghts review, and it says not much difference in performance. I can sacrifice the 32x speed. Do you with experience agree?

Does the Vixen handle ST-4 autoguider input?

I know the CG-5 generic drives, since I have them on my CG-5 and find them adequate for visual and wide-field astrophotography, although I find they have a lot of backlash in the shafts themselves. Are the Vixen that superior?

I am used to paying double for some quality products--but Vixen wants more than four times as much for their motors and controllers.

Any help would be welcome.

Alex

November 18, 2003 11:22 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Astronomy Class "Lab Equipment"

Posted By Alex McConahay

I've been asked, so I thought I would throw this question out to my closest friends:

What would you buy if you had a grant of $25,000 to equip a laboratory class at the University level? Some parameters include:
You want to have twelve "kits" (identical sets of equipment, a telescope or two, eyepieces, etc.)
Each kit will serve three or four students.
The students are taking a lab class to fulfill the general education requirements. They are not in the class as part of a full astronomy program.
The school is in a light polluted suburb, and meets ten evenings during a quarter. Most meetings are on campus, but there are two dark sky field trips.
In answering the question, you want to consider what these people should be taught, and how, and what kind of equipment they need to learn this.
Portability, durability, ease of use, and such things should be considered as much as (or perhaps more than) quality of the optics.
The Lab already has half a dozen eight inch LX-90, C-8's and so forth, including three or four goto models.
The grant is not for an observatory or planetarium.

Alex

December 2, 2003 11:43 AM Forum: Meade

LXD55 Alignment

Posted By Alex McConahay

Hi all,

I would like some advice for other things to try before sending this mount to Meade.

My friend got an LXD 55 and the AR-6 tube. He never (in four months) got it to align properly. He was disgusted. I said let me take it home and work with it. I mounted my small refractor on it, tried for two nights, and finally got a good alignment. Ran through a half a dozen objects with a wide field refractor and it nailed each of them at the reticle crosshairs or off less than a few crosshair widths. Next night, tried again for three hours and got "Alignment Failed."

I have leveled the tripod, balanced the scope, use fresh power supply, am accurately polar aligned, trained the drives, checked my location, use a crosshair reticle eyepiece, and know the stars well. My scope looks like the picture of the scope in the manual when in "German North." SO--it is not any of the usual goofy things, as far as I can tell.

On an Align-Easy, the mount slews to Capella, and is 8 to 10 degrees south in declination, almost right on in RA. I adjust declination north, and press enter, (and a touch in RA), and it goes to Vega (or Deneb, depending on time of night), and is okay in right ascension but 8 to 10 degrees south in declination. I center by moving declination north, and "Alignment Failed."

Any ideas? Is there something about the way the scope itself is attached to the mount? Should the dec motor be at right angle to the scope (it seems canted just about 8-10 degrees off). I can't see any other way for it to be mounted, and it just does not seem like that could be a problem.

Alex

February 27, 2004 05:39 PM Forum: Film Astrophotography - Imaging and Processing

A real good Night--M42

Posted By Alex McConahay

I had a real good night last January, and captured five shots. Here is M 42

Elitechrome 200, push one stop, 2 x 1 hour, 1 x 10 minutes, OM-1, Losmandy G-11, St-4 autoguider, Meade 10" F4.5 tube, Landers, California, Photoshop and Picture Window post-procesing.

February 27, 2004 05:48 PM Forum: Film Astrophotography - Imaging and Processing

Good Night in January--Rosette

Posted By Alex McConahay

I had a real good night last January, and captured five shots. Here is The Rosette
Elitechrome 200, push one stop, 2 x 1 hour, OM-1, Losmandy G-11, St-4 autoguider, Meade 10" F4.5 tube, Landers, California, Photoshop and Picture Window post-procesing.

February 27, 2004 05:52 PM Forum: Film Astrophotography - Imaging and Processing

A good Night last January--Pleiades

Posted By Alex McConahay

Another from that night last January when I captured five shots. Here is Pleiades--the weakest of the five.

Elitechrome 200, push one stop, 1 hour, OM-1, Losmandy G-11, St-4 autoguider, Meade 10" F4.5 tube, Landers, California, Photoshop post-procesing.