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Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount
  
 
astro-ep
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p.8 #1 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


There ya go, Fred. That looks super. The core remains slightly saturated. I had a similar problem with mine. I was really surprised how short of exposure I needed to be able to capture the Trapezium.

I'd call this progress of galactic magnitude. Seriously, You're coming up the same curve that took me more than a year to cover. Congrats!

Eric



Mar 19, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Sunny Sra
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p.8 #2 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Instead of a modified T4i, would a canon 60Da work better or same?


Mar 19, 2013 at 12:54 AM
harshaj1
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p.8 #3 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


This is a terrific shot Fred. Can't wait to try my astrotrac. More snow today.
Harsha



Mar 19, 2013 at 01:10 AM
ghonis
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p.8 #4 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Instead of a modified T4i, would a canon 60Da work better or same?

One reason for avoiding the 60Da model is that it does not pass the h-alpha wavelength (656nm) at nearly 100% as a true modified camera does for astro imaging. Canon did that years ago as well with the 20Da model and many had their 20Da cameras modified for astro imaging so they would capture more h-alpha. The h-alpha wavelength is important for astrophtography because that is the wavelength of light emittted by nebulae and responsible for the intense reds in emission nebulae such as the Orion Nebula, Rosette and Horsehead region

Jerry Lodriguss has a good comparison of a 60Da and astro modified T2i camera here:
http://www.astropix.com/HTML/I_ASTROP/EQ_TESTS/60Da_60D_550Da.HTM

Some believe Canon scaled back the h-alpha response in the 60Da and 20Da so that the camera would be able to better correct the color balance in-camera for normal daytime imaging as a compromise. With a true modified astro camera, reds appear brighter than they should be, even when using a Custom White Balance. One way to get good color correction for normal daytime photos with an astro modified camera is to use a color correcting filter, either a lens thread-on type or a "clip" type filter that can be easily placed and removed from a camera body.

Gary

Edited on Mar 19, 2013 at 04:55 PM · View previous versions



Mar 19, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.8 #5 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


astro-ep wrote:
There ya go, Fred. That looks super. The core remains slightly saturated. I had a similar problem with mine. I was really surprised how short of exposure I needed to be able to capture the Trapezium.

I'd call this progress of galactic magnitude. Seriously, You're coming up the same curve that took me more than a year to cover. Congrats!

Eric


Thanks Keith, Sunny and Eric.
Next time I will shoot the Orion Nebula with the T4i and make sure to add 10-second exposures for the core!
Right after I got the camera, there is nothing but clouds here in San Clemente. According to the forecast, when I get clear skies, it will be almost full moon!



Mar 19, 2013 at 03:50 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.8 #6 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Sunny,
From the reviews and comparisons I read online, a modified camera like the T4i will let 100% hydrogen-alpha pass through. With the Canon 60Da, not so much...

You can use both cameras for normal non-astro shooting as well, however in the case of a modified T4i, it will need a special clip-in filter or custom WB for accurate colors. The D60a works normally without the need for custom WB or filters.

Modifying your camera will void the warranty so it's better to get a refurbished T4i for about $500 and sent it in for a Baader UV/IR filter mod. I recommend sending it to Gary Honis. He's well-known for this job and modified my own camera.

Keep in mind that you can already start shooting with your full frame un-modified camera and the Astrotrac mount. This shot was taken with an unmodified 6D.
Modified cameras are helpful recording hydrogen-alpha in nebula. You should be fine with other targets without much Ha.

Eventually you need to add a guiding scope to your gear to be able to take many shots and stack them.

I hope this helps,
Fred



Mar 19, 2013 at 05:30 AM
astro-ep
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p.8 #7 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Fred Miranda wrote:
Right after I got the camera, there is nothing but clouds here in San Clemente. According to the forecast, when I get clear skies, it will be almost full moon!


Welcome to the world of astro. Last Fall, I spent a sizable amount on 3 new filters, it was cloudy the entire Winter A Murphy's Law Astronomy corollary states that the crappiness of the weather will be in direct proportion to the amount you spent multiplied by how anxious you are to try it out.

Eric



Mar 19, 2013 at 01:00 PM
dgdg
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p.8 #8 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Fred Miranda wrote:
Modifying your camera will void the warranty so it's better to get a refurbished T4i for about $500 and sent it in for a Baader UV/IR filter mod. I recommend sending it to Gary Honis. He's well-known for this job and modified my own camera.

Fred


When I talked to Gary Honis last year, he noted that the T3i actually had better noise performance. He has a comparison page on his web site. That is why I picked the T3i over the T4i.



Mar 19, 2013 at 04:57 PM
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p.8 #9 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


astro-ep wrote:
Welcome to the world of astro. Last Fall, I spent a sizable amount on 3 new filters, it was cloudy the entire Winter A Murphy's Law Astronomy corollary states that the crappiness of the weather will be in direct proportion to the amount you spent multiplied by how anxious you are to try it out.

Eric


So now I have the best of both worlds.
Clear skies for astro and clouds for landscape photography!



Mar 20, 2013 at 12:26 AM
Mickey
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p.8 #10 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


How is everyone powering the Astrotrac? The 8xAA pack wasn't available. Also what is the second cable for?


Mar 20, 2013 at 03:24 PM
 

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p.8 #11 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


dgdg wrote:
When I talked to Gary Honis last year, he noted that the T3i actually had better noise performance. He has a comparison page on his web site. That is why I picked the T3i over the T4i.


I have used the T4i and 6D for astro it's amazing how much more you can stretch a full frame file compared to the crop.
For hydrogen-alpha rich nebulas, I will be using the modified T4i but for everything else, I am grabbing the 6D and a super-tele.

Gary posted a T4i review a couple weeks ago. From his samples, the newer T4i seems to have a little less noise once the dark frames are subtracted.
IMO, all Canon 18MP crop sensors seem to perform very similarly.
http://garyhonis.com/T4iReview/T4iReview.html



Mar 20, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.8 #12 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Mickey wrote:
How is everyone powering the Astrotrac? The 8xAA pack wasn't available. Also what is the second cable for?


I'm using the Celestron Power Tank. It powers my laptop and the Astrotrac mount. It's also a very nice spot light.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00008Y0U5

The other cable you may be referring to is the RA guiding cable. This cable will connect to a guiding camera and the Astrotrac.

One more for the club!



Mar 20, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Mickey
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p.8 #13 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


When the power pack gets here and the weather improves (read that as warmer) I'll be out there. I'm reading a lot. Who knew, the earth REALLY is round!


Mar 20, 2013 at 09:53 PM
jhenderson0107
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p.8 #14 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Fred -

Which autoguider camera and lens are you using with the AstroTrac?



Mar 20, 2013 at 11:13 PM
harshaj1
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p.8 #15 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


jhenderson0107 wrote:
Fred -

Which autoguider camera and lens are you using with the AstroTrac?

I am also curious to find out what others using for auto guiding.
Harsha



Mar 21, 2013 at 01:29 AM
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p.8 #16 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


jhenderson0107 wrote:
Fred,
Which autoguider camera and lens are you using with the AstroTrac?


harshaj1 wrote:
I am also curious to find out what others using for auto guiding.
Harsha



Here is the gear I'm using for auto guiding with the Astrotrac mount:

I have tried the LVI Starshooter but was unhappy with the results. It would not lock on dimmer stars and when it did, it would lose the lock during shooting. Very frustrating.

I did a little research and most shooters are happy with the Orion Startshooter guiding camera. That is the one I'm using. You need a laptop to operate it and the PHD guiding software with special drivers is included (PC and Mac)
The Orion 50mm scope works great. Orion created a bundle (50mm scope with the guiding camera) for about $350.

I bought mine from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Orion-Magnificent-Mini-AutoGuider-Package/dp/B004SFQ9QM/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1363713053&sr=1-2&keywords=orion+mini+package

Check out some pictures of the entire set-up with the Canon 400mm f/5.6L lens and T4i body. (640mm FL)







The rail and clamps are from Sunwayfoto. They are actually very well made.
You can find them here:

Sunwayfoto DPG-3016 Stereography Rail:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/844960-REG/Sunwayfoto_DPG_3016_DPG_3016_Stereography_Rail.html

Sunwayfoto clamps (You need two. Once for your lens and the other for the guide scope)
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/906573-REG/Sunwayfoto_DDC_60i_Screw_Knob_Clamp.html

Fred



Mar 21, 2013 at 01:58 AM
harshaj1
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p.8 #17 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Thank you so much.
Harsha



Mar 21, 2013 at 02:12 AM
AvianScott
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p.8 #18 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Fred - What alignment method did you use? Did you simply align using the polar scope, or did you drift align, or a different method?


Mar 21, 2013 at 02:23 AM
danws6
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p.8 #19 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Fred, what's the largest lens that you estimate you could use with that set up? It looks like a really nice set up.


Mar 22, 2013 at 12:15 AM
Sunny Sra
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p.8 #20 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Your 400 looks bigger than mine


Mar 22, 2013 at 12:55 AM
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