Testing the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

I recently purchased the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD lens for my canon.  I tested it using the SL1 and 7D that has the cropped sensor.  I was amazed with the result and it’s truly at 22.2x zoom.























The images above are not processed, no correction, without any filter, etc.  This is just a demonstration of the zoom capability of the lens.  All shots are handheld with only the VC turned On.

The Wizard Nebula (NGC 7380)

This is becoming my another favorite.  I’ve struggled with capturing and processing this object, partly because of weather and because of equipment malfunction.  The first try was good enough but I realized the sulfur-2 data was bad and processing made it like a nightmare because of all the stars.

The Wizard Nebula is located some 7200 light years away and is surrounded by developing star clusters.  With this latest image, instead of removing the stars, I felt like the stars are actually making the image really look different, different from others.  I love the color of the stars and see the dust lanes glowing because of the starlight.

The Wizard Nebula


  • ZWO ASI1600MM-Cool
  • ZWO 8 position 1.25″ EFW
  • Orion Narrowband filters (Ha, O3, S2) 7nm bandpass
  • Orion Atlas EQ-G Mount
  • Orion ED80T-CF
  • Orion SSAG (Guide Cam)
  • Orion 80mm Short Tube (Guide Scope)
  • EQ Focuser
  • EQ Switch

Capture and Processing

  • Sequence Generator Pro
  • PixInsight
  • Photoshop CC 2018

Sub/Frames Information

  • Ha – 44 x 300 secs
  • O3 – 42 x 300 secs
  • S2 – 60 x 300 secs
  • Dark – 40
  • bias – 50

EQFocuser – Instructions

EQFocuser Description

The EQFocuser started as a DIY project powered by Arduino and ASCOM.  It is completely compliant with ASCOM and so far this is the focuser that I’m using with my telescopes.  I have a couple of variations that are using different types of motor depending on the need.  The project is open source and you can download the drivers and sketch files here https://github.com/EverettQuebral/EQFocuser

Supported Stepper Motor Controller

Hardware Parts

  • 1 Arduino (Nano – $5.00, Uno – $8.00)
  • 1 Telescope specific bracket (I 3D printed mine)
  • Set of screws for your focuser
  • Aluminum Flexible Shaft Coupling ($1.50) (Please select the size for your focuser)
  • 2 Pull Up Switch (Optional)
  • 1 Variable Resistor (Optional)
  • 1 DHT11 (Temperature/Humidity) Sensor (Optional)

For EasyDriver or Adafruit Motor/Stepper/Servo Sheild

For ST35 or 28BYJ-48


Diagram Using ULN2003 Motor Driver

ULN 2003 Motor Driver

Diagram Using EasyDriver

EasyDriver Pins

The video above shows the NEMA 17 0.4AMP with 56.7oz.in torque

Github Location


Driver Download

You can download the latest Driver at the Release section https://github.com/EverettQuebral/EQFocuser/releases

3D Model Files

Available under the Resources folder

Also available at Thingiverse

Sequence Generator Pro PlateSolve Problem

I’ve been struggling with this situation in SGP and lost a lot of nights because of this issue.  See the movie with the SGP log below

[10/27/17 22:05:10.201][DEBUG] [Camera Thread] =========== Save file took 356 ms
[10/27/17 22:05:10.201][DEBUG] [Camera Thread] SGM_CAMERA_PLATE_SOLVER_CAPTURE complete…
[10/27/17 22:05:10.423][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Auto center verification frame complete. Plate solving image C:\Users\raina\AppData\Local\SequenceGenerator\Temp\plate_solve_image-1.fit
[10/27/17 22:05:10.504][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] ************* SOLVE HINTS ****************
[10/27/17 22:05:10.504][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] SOLVER: PlateSolve2
[10/27/17 22:05:10.504][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] BLIND: False
[10/27/17 22:05:10.504][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] METHOD: Max Regions
[10/27/17 22:05:10.504][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] RA: 22.786322593689
[10/27/17 22:05:10.504][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] DEC: 58.1384253501892
[10/27/17 22:05:10.504][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] SCALE: 1
[10/27/17 22:05:10.504][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] ******************************************
[10/27/17 22:05:10.510][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] FitsFileHeaderData: Angle – 0
[10/27/17 22:05:10.510][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] FitsFileHeaderData: Scale – 0
[10/27/17 22:05:10.510][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] FitsFileHeaderData: RA – 22.7862467765808
[10/27/17 22:05:10.510][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] FitsFileHeaderData: DEC – 58.1384682655334
[10/27/17 22:05:10.510][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] PlateSove2 Param: RA (RAD) – 5.9654453052217
[10/27/17 22:05:10.510][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] PlateSove2 Param: DEC (RAD) – 1.01470694428574
[10/27/17 22:05:10.510][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] PlateSove2 Param: Width – 2328
[10/27/17 22:05:10.510][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] PlateSove2 Param: Height – 1760
[10/27/17 22:05:10.510][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] PlateSolve2 Command Line:
[10/27/17 22:05:10.510][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] C:\Users\raina\AppData\Local\SequenceGenerator\\PlateSolve2.exe 5.96544530522170,1.01470694428574,0.01128646249623,0.00853272078753,3000,C:\Users\raina\AppData\Local\SequenceGenerator\\Temp\psXSolve_1.fit
[10/27/17 22:05:16.188][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] *********** SUCCESSFUL SOLVE *************
[10/27/17 22:05:16.188][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] SOLVER: False
[10/27/17 22:05:16.188][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] SUCCESS: True
[10/27/17 22:05:16.188][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] CONF: 307
[10/27/17 22:05:16.188][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] BLIND: False
[10/27/17 22:05:16.188][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] RA: 22.7867192515237
[10/27/17 22:05:16.188][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] DEC: 58.1428305771212
[10/27/17 22:05:16.188][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] SCALE: 3.23906
[10/27/17 22:05:16.188][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] FLIPPED: False
[10/27/17 22:05:16.188][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] ANGLE (EON): 89.96
[10/27/17 22:05:16.188][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] MSG: Valid solve.
[10/27/17 22:05:16.188][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] ******************************************
[10/27/17 22:05:16.189][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Checking to see if solve might be bad…
[10/27/17 22:05:16.189][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Solved scale not within 25% of scale hint!
[10/27/17 22:05:16.189][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Solve might be bad (auto center)! Solved scale is not within 25% of scale hint.
[10/27/17 22:05:26.157][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Sequence aborted due to possible bad solve…
[10/27/17 22:05:26.157][DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Adding sequence level notification: A Plate solve during auto center might be bad! Sequence aborted (or entered recovery mode)!

Capturing the Flaming Star Nebula

I’m starting a new project which is the Flaming Star Nebula.  The object rises from the horizon at the very early time of the day and the only way I can capture this is when I do everything in automation unless I’m not going to sleep.  So far what I have is the Ha which turned to be very good.  The S2 frames doesn’t really look good and probably need more time to capture some data.  Anyway this is just my first pass on my Ha data and the result is already promising.

The Flaming Star Nebula in Ha

Capturing the Heart Nebula (IC 1805)


The Heart Nebula

I couldn’t get the processing right.  I don’t know what I’m missing but struggled a lot in getting the SHO palette working together.  Anyway, so far this is what I got and hoping that I can get more data in the next couple of nights.

The Heart Nebula

Updated with a reprocessed data

The Heart Nebula



  • Sequence Generator Pro
  • PHD2
  • Stellarium
  • Stellarium Scope


  • Celestron AVX Mount
  • Orion ED80T-CF
  • Orion 80mm ShortTube
  • Orion SSAG
  • ZWO ASI 1600MM-Cool
  • ZWO 8 1.25″ Electronic Filter Wheel
  • Orion 7nm narrowband filters (Ha, O3, S2)


  • 38 Ha frames @ 5mins exposure
  • 12 O3 frames @ 5mins exposue
  • 18 S2 frames @ 5mins exposure
  • 40 dark frames
  • 100 bias frames
  • no flats
  • 10-22 to 10-23 1017

Inspecting my imaging train (CCDInspector)

I got a huge tilt in both of my imaging train and thanks to CCDInspector to validate my hypothesis that there’s a hug problem in the imaging train of both of my astrophotography setup.  The camera I used for both is the ZWO ASI1600M-Cool and it’s good to see that the curvature is different meaning that I can eliminate the camera as the source of the problem.  I may also need to use my Canon 5DMarkIII and Canon 7D/SL1 cropped sensor to validate my findings.

Explore Scientific ED127MM

Explore Scientific ED 127 MM


Orion ED80T-CF

Orion ED80T-CF

This could be my next project this weekend and will take the opportunity because it’s full moon, no image capture.

I couldn’t believe of eh curvature and amount of collimation for both of my astrophotography rig.