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Archive 2013 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount

  
 
buggz2k
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p.20 #1 · p.20 #1 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Very nice.
I need to get one, and start with wide field astro stuff first.
I have only shot the moon in various stages.
Oh, will this track the moon also?



Feb 07, 2015 at 06:57 PM
jforkner
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p.20 #2 · p.20 #2 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


buggz2k wrote:
Oh, will this track the moon also?


Yes it will. Works especially well during an eclipse.

Jack



Feb 08, 2015 at 08:28 AM
danws6
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p.20 #3 · p.20 #3 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


dgdg wrote:
I think the hardest part of going long with the astrotrac is finding your subject. The Orion nebula, Pleiades, and Andromeda galaxy are good proof of concept objects to try first. The high dynamic range is the main challenge.
I've imaged the sombrero galaxy, rose nebula with an astro modified Rebel, but the IQ of my 400DO was not just up to it. I'm tempted to balance my 600mmII on it and see what I get.


When I was in Kansas and actually around dark sky sites I had that issue of finding objects. I'd polar align using the wedge then use stellarium to find the constellations that would point me at what I wanted to shoot. Next I'd use the 70-200mm and a few long exposures or live preview with really high iso to get the ball head aligned with what I wanted to shoot. Then I'd pull out the 600mm II and fine tune the composition. Inevitably I'd find that my polar alignment was off at that point and go back to fix that. The 600mm is also too much weight for the astrotrac if it's not centered directly on the astrotrac, so shooting anything directly overhead didn't work.

I never did figure out how to do the drift alignment/auto guiding using the Orion 50mm scope that Fred uses. I suspect I wasn't using PHD correctly.

I'm headed to death valley in mid March and might take the astrotrac along for some wide field shots but leave the 600mm at home.



Feb 08, 2015 at 03:47 PM
buggz2k
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p.20 #4 · p.20 #4 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Okay, I ordered.
I think my niece will like to do this as well.
Any other bits and pieces you recommend?

jforkner wrote:
Yes it will. Works especially well during an eclipse.

Jack





Feb 09, 2015 at 10:25 AM
dgdg
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p.20 #5 · p.20 #5 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Fred has some tips and there are some replacement polar scope thumb screws you will want to collimate your scope. Collimating will take some time and patience during the daytime. All this should be found in the first few pages of the thread. Frankly, I'd get the scope for the Vixen Polarie and take the assembly to a machine shop for a small aluminum adapter. You'll be very happy. I never could get the Astrotrac scope set up properly. It took me much less time to spend another $100 for the aluminum adapter (one or two prototypes first to get it perfect).

Yeah, the 600mm with or without an extender is a stretch for balancing by itself. I was excited to give it a go for the comet. Fortunately there was zero wind, or it would have been a waste of time.

Have fun at death valley with the return of the Milky Way core!

There are more elaborate adapters out there by other users posting in the Astrotrac Yahoo group, but mine is basically a metal ring with two set screws (to keep it from falling out) and a large lampshade washer to keep the scope flush. With this setup, I can track 1,200 mm for 60 secs with no trailing at 100% viewing. For typical use, wide field to short telephoto is a breeze.

David


http://davidsphotography.zenfolio.com/img/s5/v122/p893846910-5.jpg

http://davidsphotography.zenfolio.com/img/s7/v157/p795636264-5.jpg

http://davidsphotography.zenfolio.com/img/s7/v164/p1049373240-5.jpg

http://davidsphotography.zenfolio.com/img/s3/v38/p882781273-5.jpg



Feb 10, 2015 at 08:41 AM
buggz2k
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p.20 #6 · p.20 #6 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Thanks.
I only ordered a telescpe mount, http://www.telescope.com/Mounts-Tripods/Equatorial-Mounts-Tripods/Orion-AstroView-EQ-Mount-amp-EQ-3M-Motor-Drive-Kit/pc/-1/c/2/sc/34/p/106938.uts
Per the suggestion.
I didn't order an Astrotrak

And yes, I have read the entire thread, probably twice.
*8^)

dgdg wrote:
Fred has some tips and there are some replacement polar scope thumb screws you will want to collimate your scope. All this should be found in the first few pages of the thread.





Feb 10, 2015 at 12:55 PM
danws6
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p.20 #7 · p.20 #7 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


dgdg wrote:
Fred has some tips and there are some replacement polar scope thumb screws you will want to collimate your scope. Collimating will take some time and patience during the daytime. All this should be found in the first few pages of the thread. Frankly, I'd get the scope for the Vixen Polarie and take the assembly to a machine shop for a small aluminum adapter. You'll be very happy. I never could get the Astrotrac scope set up properly. It took me much less time to spend another $100 for the aluminum adapter (one or two prototypes first to get
...Show more

I've got those screws and probably need to collimate the polar scope again. After DV I'm going to send my astrotrac to a buddy in CO to use since he lives in an area with very low light pollution and I no longer do. The Vixen Polarie scope is an interesting idea given how frustrating that astrotrac polar scope can be. Tracking 1200mm for 60 seconds is impressive.



Feb 12, 2015 at 02:27 AM
Gregg B.
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p.20 #8 · p.20 #8 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


I just purchased my Astrotrac and the TW 3100 wedge but I am a bit confused about the polar alignment. In the manual for the wedge says that I got to set the latitude to the latitude I'm shooting at. I'm in Southern CA and I live at about 33 degrees (right next to Fred actually) but the thing doesn't go down that far. The best I could do is set it to around 40 degrees (I think it was 37. It's hard to see such small marks) anyway still far from 33. What am I doing wrong? Any suggestions? Fred if you're reading this please let me know how did you set your wedge up? Maybe mine is broken? Huge thanks.


Feb 20, 2015 at 10:24 PM
AvianScott
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p.20 #9 · p.20 #9 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


The wedge should be a full 90 degrees. This image shows it going to 30 and certainly below.

http://www.optcorp.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/w/e/wedge-latitude-scale-l_1.jpg



Feb 20, 2015 at 10:44 PM
Timmeh
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p.20 #10 · p.20 #10 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Gregg B. wrote:
I just purchased my Astrotrac and the TW 3100 wedge but I am a bit confused about the polar alignment. In the manual for the wedge says that I got to set the latitude to the latitude I'm shooting at. I'm in Southern CA and I live at about 33 degrees (right next to Fred actually) but the thing doesn't go down that far. The best I could do is set it to around 40 degrees (I think it was 37. It's hard to see such small marks) anyway still far from 33. What am I doing wrong? Any
...Show more

Hey Gregg,

The knob that adjusts the altitude only has a range of about 15 degrees. In order to change the range of the altitude knob, there is an Allen wrench hole 90 degrees clockwise from the altitude knob itself. You use the long Allen wrench provided to loosen it up, alter the range, and lock it back up. I circled where the hole is in red.

Tim







Feb 22, 2015 at 08:12 PM
dgdg
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p.20 #11 · p.20 #11 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


It's a bit tricky fiddling with the latitude allen head screw (gross adjustment) making sure it goes into the proper hole, to allow for your location with the fine adjustment knob. It has to go into one of those holes, not just tight against the metal anywhere.
I always adjust my latitude gross and fine screws well ahead of going out and keep the wedge attached to the astrotrac. Use a leveling head as well, and Polaris will be easy to find. Otherwise you'll waste a cold hour in the dark with screws/knobs and adjusting tripod legs.
The real fun is the polar scope.



Feb 22, 2015 at 10:18 PM
dgdg
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p.20 #12 · p.20 #12 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


It's summer time!
Where are all the tracked astro-landscapes?

http://davidsphotography.zenfolio.com/img/s7/v169/p1102015759-5.jpg



Jul 15, 2015 at 07:47 AM
buggz2k
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p.20 #13 · p.20 #13 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Nice photo.
My problem is that I can't see Polaris for the trees, sigh...
Have to find another location.

dgdg wrote:
It's summer time!
Where are all the tracked astro-landscapes?






Jul 19, 2015 at 02:31 PM
dgdg
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p.20 #14 · p.20 #14 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


The Lonely Speck website put out a nice article on lens aberrations.
http://www.lonelyspeck.com/a-practical-guide-to-lens-aberrations-and-the-lonely-speck-aberration-test/
Many times things like 'what's coma, did you mean chroma?' comes up. This article sums things up well for night sky photographers.

David



Jul 20, 2015 at 02:07 PM
ITR010342
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p.20 #15 · p.20 #15 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


I bought one of the iOptron trackers because of this thread and I haven't been able to take a shot worth a crap with it... I need some lessons! ! I have used the app as well... nice shots here all!


Jul 22, 2015 at 10:43 AM
dgdg
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p.20 #16 · p.20 #16 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount




After you point your camera, are you still polar aligned?

David



Jul 22, 2015 at 02:56 PM
Todd
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p.20 #17 · p.20 #17 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


What lens was used here for this shot?

danws6 wrote:

Thanks for the clarification. The site I've been going to is fairly dark but there is some light pollution still. I'll hit you up for details on camera modifications.

The same night I also was able to capture Andromda. The core is blown out a bit but overall I am happy.

http://www.coloradolsx.com/pics/andromeda.jpg


Here was my prior attempt using a 200mm + 1.4x extender: https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1192050/14#11737806




Aug 18, 2015 at 11:52 AM
kwilliam8
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p.20 #18 · p.20 #18 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


If anyone is following this thread, and they are thinking about trying an AstroTrac system, I have one for sale on the FM buy/sell boards:
https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1443512
Btw, here is a recent image that I took with this system:
https://photos.smugmug.com/Things/Events/i-M3SwLqS/0/XL/20160730-_DS55042-Edit-2-XL.jpg
Keith W.



Aug 04, 2016 at 12:00 AM
pizdets17
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p.20 #19 · p.20 #19 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


with ioptron. Foreground got botched a bit. 1 min exposure at f2

Livingstone Falls by dmitri voyevoda, on Flickr



Aug 09, 2016 at 05:10 PM
Todd
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p.20 #20 · p.20 #20 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


I thought I woul awaken this thread. I know some posts and questions have come up regarding Astrophotography. Here is what I am now using. A Stellarvue SV70T a 70mm triplet apo. It is 340mm f/4.8 with focal reducer and field flattener. I had to order a new polar alignment scope, mine is off a bit. Can't expose beyond three minutes with the SV70T. Can't Collimate the polar scope either, screws are bad. So hopefully the new one will help.





  iPhone 7 Plus    iPhone 7 Plus back dual camera 3.99mm f/1.8 lens    4mm    f/1.8    1/30s    80 ISO    0.0 EV  







Short Orion photo

  NIKON D810    0.0 mm f/0.0 lens    360mm    f/4.5    240s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  







M81 & M82

  NIKON D810    0.0 mm f/0.0 lens    360mm    f/4.5    240s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  




Mar 30, 2017 at 06:34 PM
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