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Archive 2013 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount
  
 
ramdisk
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p.15 #1 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


nice setup


Aug 07, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Todd
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p.15 #2 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Great images.... Here are a few from the Texas star party in Fort Davis with my astrotrac

Rho Ophiuchus area
Nikon D800 / 70-200mm VRII @ 200mm f/3.5 240sec
1.







M8 & M20 Nikon D800 / 70-200mm VRII @ 200mm f/3.5 240sec

2.







3.

M83 Nikon D800E with a 500mm F/8 mirror lens. 8 Min ISO 1000










Aug 08, 2013 at 01:34 AM
astro-ep
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p.15 #3 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Wow, those are really great images, Todd. Are these single exposures or stacks? Really impressive shots with a DSLR.

Eric



Aug 08, 2013 at 02:05 AM
CPWarner
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p.15 #4 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


I just got my Astrotrac. Looking forward to using it once the rain stops! This thread has me excited to bring out a new avenue to pursue. I am mainly interested in incorporating the night sky into my landscape photography, so that will be an interesting challenge. The images here are very impressive.

I started simple with a Manfrotto 410 Jr geared head to mount the Astrotrac to the tripod. and using my current Arca Swiss Z1 to mount the camera. No guiding, just tracking. Should be fun.



Aug 08, 2013 at 02:27 AM
Todd
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p.15 #5 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


astro-ep wrote:
Wow, those are really great images, Todd. Are these single exposures or stacks? Really impressive shots with a DSLR.

Eric


Hi Eric,

Thanks for the comments. These are indeed single exposures. The current Nikon bodies have low noise and great dynamic range compared to canon. I have never had to stack images. I'm very happy with my Nikon D800/E bodies.

Todd



Aug 08, 2013 at 02:54 AM
dgdg
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p.15 #6 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Todd wrote:
Hi Eric,

Thanks for the comments. These are indeed single exposures. The current Nikon bodies have low noise and great dynamic range compared to canon. I have never had to stack images. I'm very happy with my Nikon D800/E bodies.

Todd


Todd, I can't disagree with anything you said, but you may be pleasantly surprised what just a few lights and darks can do to your already impressive photos.



Aug 08, 2013 at 07:48 PM
danws6
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p.15 #7 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Here's my latest attempt. I started taking this at about 4:00am after I spent hours fighting with drift alignment. I ended up just giving up and sticking with regular polar alignment. I wanted to try autoguiding but I was having equipment issues with a clamp so I went without it, but I am very happy with the result.






5D3, ISO 1000, 280mm

About 31 minutes of exposures, due to the time constraints I shot sets of 3 exposures ranging from 30 to 180 seconds, and only one dark frame for each exposure. The shots were stacked in in Deep Sky Stacker and the final iamge was processed the image in Lightroom 4. Any tips on adjusting the white balance?



Aug 12, 2013 at 03:48 PM
dgdg
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p.15 #8 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Excellent shot there. Very nice detail.
The galaxy has a bit too much magenta I think. But I see many different colored versions of this, so do what you like.
Your black point is probably too dark.
Good job.
I was camping out this am for the meteor shower but was hammered by clouds and bugs. Glad I made it out alive.



Aug 13, 2013 at 01:53 AM
Mark Schapper
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p.15 #9 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Interesting thread!

One of the reasons I haven't posted here for some time is that I got distracted into astrophotography. Is there a case for a Fred Miranda Astro board ??

Here is an image I took a few days (nights!) ago, of an object in the Southern sky rejoicing in the name NGC6188/93. It is an emission nebula/ reflection nebula/ open star cluster abot 4000light years away.
Total exposure time was 90 minutes

The tracking mount is by ASA (Austrian) and it can track with extraordinary precision (<1arcsec for at least 2-3 hours)

For anyone interested the telescope lens is 250mm aperture, f/3.6, and the camera is a cooled CCD astro camera.









Aug 20, 2013 at 07:05 AM
kwoodard
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p.15 #10 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


These are phenomenal and the conversation very interesting and enlightening. I wish I had the budget for even the basic setup.

I read all 15 pages and did not see any mention of heads like the video fluid heads and the 3-way pan heads. Are either of these workable for this kind of work (attaching the AstroTrac to it)?



Sep 10, 2013 at 11:14 PM
 

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Steve Perry
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p.15 #11 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


kwoodard wrote:
These are phenomenal and the conversation very interesting and enlightening. I wish I had the budget for even the basic setup.

I read all 15 pages and did not see any mention of heads like the video fluid heads and the 3-way pan heads. Are either of these workable for this kind of work (attaching the AstroTrac to it)?


I purchased a monfrotto geared head (410) for it and it's really the best way to go. Once you try it, you won't go back.



Sep 11, 2013 at 02:32 AM
dgdg
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p.15 #12 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


yeah, the manfrotto geared head is a must for polar aligning. don't bother with the fluid/pan heads.

Here is a cross post, but pertains to the thread here.

Astrotrac with Vixen Polarie scope,using 24-70mm f2.8 at 24mm.






Athabasca Glacier



Sep 11, 2013 at 08:26 PM
jim bennett
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p.15 #13 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


The images in this thread have me in complete awe. Great work all!


Sep 18, 2013 at 06:27 PM
jim bennett
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p.15 #14 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


dasams wrote:
Shooting at 800 or 1600 is preferred over 100 for several reasons. First of all, the higher ISO means a shorter exposure time which allows for more shots in a given session. Secondly, stacking images improves the S/N ratio as hot and variable pixels are removed. Shooting multiple darks also gives a reference for subtraction of high ISO noise. Finally, shorter exposures also reduces tracking errors. I'm sure there are other reasons I've missed so please chime in. Dave

Can someone help me with understanding what shooting multiple darks is? I've seen reference to it a lot but not an explanation. Is it shooting some images in the same framing at a shutter speed and exposure that results in completely black images that are used in post processing to reduce ISO noise?


Edited on Sep 18, 2013 at 06:58 PM · View previous versions



Sep 18, 2013 at 06:36 PM
Socalastro
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p.15 #15 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Jim,

sounds like you got the gist of it. A dark frame is taken:
1. at the same duration, iso, and temperature** as the light image.
2. The lens or sensor is covered from all light so that all that is recorded by the sensor is the noise.

Subtracting a dark from from an image helps reduce the noise. While a single dark frame may contain some other sources of noise such as cosmic ray hits and such, averaging a bunch of dark frames gives you a better representation of the fixed pattern noise.

One would then use the "master" averaged dark file to subtract from your light images.

**Noise changes with temperature, colder is better. Dedicated astro camera have regulated cooling to keep the sensor at precise temperature. Thus, dark and light frames are all taken at the same temperature. This is not possible with DSLR's but taking dark files on the same night as the images are taken is close enough (and better than nothing).


Cheers,
Leon



Sep 18, 2013 at 06:56 PM
jim bennett
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p.15 #16 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Socalastro wrote:
Jim,

sounds like you got the gist of it. A dark frame is taken:
1. at the same duration, iso, and temperature** as the light image.
2. The lens or sensor is covered from all light so that all that is recorded by the sensor is the noise.

Subtracting a dark from from an image helps reduce the noise. While a single dark frame may contain some other sources of noise such as cosmic ray hits and such, averaging a bunch of dark frames gives you a better representation of the fixed pattern noise.

One would then use the "master" averaged dark file to
...Show more

Thank you Leon! I later ran across this link, as luck would have it that breaks down dark, light, bias frames.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=876394



Sep 18, 2013 at 06:59 PM
dgdg
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p.15 #17 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Deep sky stacker is great. I tried processing my recent images in DSS for luminance and saturation which initially looked ok, but examining the TIFF closely I noticed that the brighter stars had a central black 'crunchy blotch'. Looked like some black hole scab. Even small stars had them but it was not noticeable zoomed out. So, I saved the tiff "without applying edits" and the blotches went away. Net effect was the stars looked less crunchy especially the milky way core. Why go through all that effort by yourself in the cold at night with bears possibly watching you if it looks awful when you get home? Maybe I did something wrong, but I did cruise through a couple tutorials. For Canon cr2 raw files (recommend raw) I have to convert them to TIFF files first, o/w DSS won't work properly. You can do most editing in Lightroom except for overlaying the foreground with the sky portion (if you do a composite image).


Sep 18, 2013 at 07:45 PM
BenV
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p.15 #18 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


I never get bored looking at these images


Sep 19, 2013 at 01:49 AM
Mystery57
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p.15 #19 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Anyone using an Astrotrac Wedge with their setup - Im a newbie to the hobby and just acquired one of these to use, from someone giving up the hobby.

No instructions as to how to use it though

Any help / manual link would be great

thanks Andrew



Oct 29, 2013 at 07:02 PM
dgdg
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p.15 #20 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


It's a great wedge. The manual isn't much.
You can find a copy of it in the Files section of the Astrotrac Yahoo group. Looking for the file link, I see you just joined the group and posted there.

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/astrotrac/files

The greater challenge will be collimation of the polar scope (keeping the center on axis as you rotate it). It was pure misery likely for something I must have done wrong in the past, and I suspect some others have needed counseling afterwards. I gave up and had an adapter made for my Vixen Polarie Polar scope. Enjoy your new toy!

p.s.
welcome to FM



Oct 29, 2013 at 07:21 PM
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