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11/30/-1
    
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
Wide Field Imaging Setup Testing
 
Tonight I had one objective while the clouds were parted for a while and that was to test my wide field setup I've been working on.
 
 
The Setup
Mount:
Celestron CG-5 ASGT

Camera and Lenses:
Canon 1000D DSLR (stock, unmodified)
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
Nikon 50mm f/1.4 50mm manual focus lens
 
Guide Setup:
Vixen 7x50 Finder OTA used as a guide scope (160mm focal length @ f/3.2)
Meade DSI Pro for guide camera
Shoestring GPUSB guide port interface
 
Other Info:
Mount control with Starry Night Pro via USB to Serial adapter through the hand controller
WalterLee Technologies heliFocus belt drive focuser motor
Rigel Systems nFocus controller
Triopo JB-1 Ball Head (10lb capacity and dove tail style mount)
Probably more stuff I could mention too...
 
Of course there are a variety of accessories required to make it all work
 
 
The Test Run
The good news is, it's all working swimmingly. Mount control, guide system, camera control, power management, everything. Sweet! It's ready for a first light... kindof... in my test run within about 15 minutes the dew was solid on my camera lens so I'll be needing to figure out dew control. I have dew control on my other setup and since they will be side by side I might just use some extension cords to send the heat over to the other mount as well. It would probably be better to just buy another dew heater controller, but I might try this first.
 
 
The Setup Pictures
The pictures of the setup show the modified version of the mounting that allows the camera to tilt. It raises the center of gravity 3.8" which isn't a big deal with a setup like this which is only a few pounds.

 
The Screen Shots 
I have pictures of the setup to post, but I'm posting the screenshot of everything working with totally fantastic guiding as well.
 
In Screen Shot 2 it's great how the DSI, in 1 second exposures, can see M51 in the little 50mm guide scope. Woot!
 
Also in Screen Shot 2, you can see in the background that the 3 minute sub is pretty much nothing because the lens was completely covered in dew. Bummers.


Image Gallery For This Session
00 Setup 1 00 Setup 2
01 Setup 1 02 Setup 2
03 Screen shot 1 04 Screen shot 2
   

00-Setup-1.jpg
Click picture above for larger version
If the picture seems too bright or too dark, try adjusting the brightness below.
Brightness:
|
  



Comments:
On 03/27/11 at 01:23am Brian wrote:
Nice setup Neil. I now plan on setting up something similar...Lots of good ideas from your posts!

I am not familiar with the CG-5 but if you are getting allot of backlash, there should be a way of adjusting the gears to take allot of that out. I have adjusted my LXD 75 and have taken out most of the backlash.

On 03/25/11 at 08:03pm Jeff W wrote:
Hi Neil,

I love the look of that thing, looks like a robot or transformer or something, like johnny 5 from short circuit. As long as it gets the job done is the important bit, but looking cool too doesnt hurt.

Jeff W.

On 03/24/11 at 12:48pm Neil Heacock wrote:
@West: Thanks... I think... LOL. By "gawd awful looking piece of machinery" I think you mean "an elegant solution that accommodates excellent functionality and stability". 8^)

@Jim: Yes. Absolutely. This is not a recommended mount in favor of a Sirius.

However, for 6 lbs of stuff on it and wide fields of only 180mm down to 18mm, it's a decent solution, particularly for those on a budget. I would have purchased another Sirius, but I just couldn't afford it when everything is tallied up (see my March 14 entry).

I've only had it out testing and I can tell you it's annoying with the wide swing backlash clearing every time it needs nudged from Starry Night. You can't make minor movements with this mount from the software so I had to put a 5 foot extension cable on the hand controller. Which adds another annoying thing where the hand controller cord doesn't come off so I have this coiled cord which I'd like to replace with a straight cord, but would have to take the hand controller apart to do so.

I picked up the mount used for $450 to get the job done and when I go to sell it, I'm sure the going rate for a used one will still be around $450. I'll most likely sell it when I'm ready to upgrade the Sirius and then I'll move the wide field setup to the Sirius.

On 03/24/11 at 12:29pm Jim wrote:
Wait... "Celestron CG-5 ASGT"? Isn't that the mount you advised against in favor of the Orion Sirius due to GOTO problems and minor movement issues??

On 03/24/11 at 08:27am West wrote:
That is one gawd awful looking piece of machinery... but as I've stated in a previous post... I like that. This thing looks like it gets the job done well... without all the crap that goes along with it to make it look "pretty"... which, incidentally, increases the price. =)

Well done, Mr.Heacock.



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