Tag Archives: astrophotography

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.

EQFocuser Now Supporting 2 Focuser Motors

Last night, I was just updating the drivers for the EQ Focuser but something came to my mind.  I was looking at my current setup with my Explore Scientific 127MM ED with the 80EDT-CF.  Both scopes are equipped with the same focuser motor, the ST35-12VDC and wondered why not use a single controller to focus both scope and that’s what I just did.  A little bit of an update on the Arduino Sketch file and some pin reconfiguration to accommodate another 4 pins for the UNL2003 stepper controller.  We’ll it worked out well in the end.

I have pushed the code to my github repository https://github.com/EverettQuebral/EQFocuser and released the installer.  Just make sure to update the Arduino with the latest sketch file.  The rough diagrams are also in there just to see the pin connections.  Not much detail on the motor as you can use any other motor aside from what I’m using.

Hoping for a clear sky.

PHD 2.5 instance already running error

If you are getting this error “PHD2 instance 1 is already running” on a Mac OS X El Capitan, you need a version of PHD2.5 that is compiled with the latest OS Version.  Luckily I have it for download.

The new version of PHD 2.5 that you can download on the main site (at the time of this blog) gives some problem to users using Mac OSX version 10.11 (El Capitan) because the available downloadable package was compiled with lower version of OSX.

I have managed to compile it and it’s available for download. PHD 2.5 Compiled in Mac OSX El Capitan.

For more information about PHD2 http://openphdguiding.org


There’s  a problem with Orion StarShoot Autoguider as I have already reported that it wasn’t able to find the camera and fails to continue and hung up.  Here’s a link to a previous version that I’m not sure where to find it and that’s the reason I’m sharing it here. PHD2.5 good for Orion StarShoot Autoguider

For the detail of the bug, it can be found here PHD2.5 Orion StarShoot bug


Nebulosity from Starks-Labs

I recently purchased Nebulosity from Starks-Labs and it was quite amazing on what it can do. I was totally impressed with it’s ability in pre-processing the images. In my current state where I consider myself as a broke astronomer where financial means are on a difficult side, I always and almost resort to using free software. I have used the Deep Sky Stacker (DSS) but it’s starting to fall short of my needs specially on capturing photo from a monochrome camera. I have a lot to say about Nebulosity specially in support ZWO from it’s beta version 4.0.3 but it is still not stable. I haven’t captured anything useful but used it for some preview and framing. Anyway here are some of my first images processed in Nebulosity

If you want to see the details on each of the astrographs displayed here, you can go to the ASTROGRAPHS section and select the target that is of interest to you.

M8 Lagoon Nebula
M8 Lagoon Nebula Details
Eagle Nebula
Eagle Nebula Details
Dumbbell Nebula (M27)
Dumbbell Nebula (M27) Details
Dumbbell Nebula (M27)
Dumbbell Nebula (M27) LRGB Details

All images are taken with the ZWO-120MM-S camera. I’ve been working on it to add peltier cooling as long exposure seems to be very noisy. You can find the details here about that camera.

SynScan Sky Tour

Having a hard time trying to look for targets at the night sky. I decided to use the sky tour from the SynScan hand controller and it gave me a couple of familiar targets. Andromeda Galaxy, Dumbbell Nebula and surprise, the Ring Nebula. Pointed the telescope and quickly checked on my camera if I can see the target. Well here it is, very small but pretty.


The Ring Nebula
100 ISO
16 min 40s (5 frames)

The Great Nebula in Orion

Orion Atlas EQ-G

Went to the Orion Telescope store in Cupertino just to buy a 182mm tube rings for my other telescope, the Celestron C6N, an old telescope that I wasn’t really able to use that much. This time wanting to fix it and learn a couple of skills such as collimating and aligning.

For some reason, already went out of the store and started the car but just can’t take my eyes on it, went back and couldn’t control my compulsive buying. Left with it unfortunately got home and the weather forecast wasn’t that good as it’s cloudy and rained for the next 4 days.

Got home and unboxed it and figured out that I don’t have the AC adapter. Good thing that I have the Celestron PowerTank that I can use the car batter adapter. Assembled to make sure everything is working, but ooopppss, the hand controller have a very old firmware, the motor controller have a very old firmware, and the motor when slewing sounds very noisy and something is not right.

Finally, clear skies, went outside my backyard and tried it. Spent a whole lot of time aligning it comparing to the Celestron AVX. Mounted, placed the telescope, waited for the Polaris to show up and did a 1, 2, 3 star aligment. Again something is odd, it doesn’t point to the right direction by a complete hemisphere. Pointed to the star in the western hemisphere but pointed on the eastern hemisphere. It was a complete disaster. Only one conclusion, return or replace.

Went back to the store talked about the problem but they couldn’t believe what was wrong with it. The guy in the store tried it and obviously the motor doesn’t sound good so the head was replaced.

Again went home and opened it and see the major difference. The hand controller is newer with the latest firmware. The motors are so quiet and smooth. Probably I got a bad old copy of the mount.

It’s time to test it, alignment was so easy, choosing the stars for alignment was a breeze, a complete turn on my first experience on setting it up.

First target, Andromeda Galaxy, to test the Celestron f/6.x focal reducer/corrector. Made some error on tracking and using a very long exposure, the result was not very good.

Second target, the Pleaides, not so sure what happened as the result are not very good. Alignment was good but the images did not turn out so good. My post processing capability seems to be lacking.

I was about to give up as it’s already very late when I saw the Orion Nebula and I gave it a shot, pointed the telescope and looked at it and I was very surprised with what I got, a very beautiful nebula so I reset the tracking and the imaging cameras and added all the exposure information. Fired all my automation and slept.

Next morning, I got this very beautiful image, with a very minimal post processing that I did before going to the office.

Single Image

Before and After comparison
single exposure before and after

The final image

Stacked Image

Before and After comparison
multiple exposure before and after

The final image

Software for stacking : DeepSkyStacker 3.3.2
Final image processing : Lightroom
Total number of light images : 13
Total number of flat images : 14
Total number of dark images : 11
Exposure length : 2 hrs and 14 minutes


Orion 80 ED Carbon Fiber Triplet APO

Recently added the Orion 80ED Carbon Fiber Triplet APO to my arsenal. Used the Orion Nebula to test it and the following are the images. A more wide field sense of the Orion’s Belt with the Running Man on the left.

orion 80edcf-sl1 1hr 6mn 40s 8frames 800iso.jpg

Celestron C6N

Taken with an old Celestron Newtonian, the stars seems to glow with star pointers very visible. This is a very old telescope, one of my first and still the image is very good.

orion c6nsl1.jpg


orion 17 frames 2 hrs 25min copy

Atlas EQ-G

I recently bought an Atlas EQ-G but wasn’t really able to test since it’s been raining. Also found some problems and returned it and luckily got replaced. The replacement was a newer model, newer firmware and hand controller.

I was really impressed with the performance, with a very minimal time was I able to align and capture some cool images without the aid of an auto guider.

Please take note that no post processing done on the images below.




Also, I’m very surprised about the stability of the mount. This is what I got from Auto Guiding
Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 11.26.22 PM

Celestron Advanced VX Mount Broken

I bought the Celestron C11 with the AVX Mount last May and was so disappointed that the mount is broken. All I’m getting from the NexStar+ hand controller was Error 16 and 17, while I’m getting a better error message on the StarSense hand controller where it says “Unknown model, can’t communicate”.

Called the service center and they we’re all very helpful but again disappointed with the repair duration where it will take 30 working days. That’s technically 6 weeks of waiting. Well what can I do than to wait. This might be good for me as it buys me time to complete my Focuser.

On it's way to service
The mount on it’s way to the service center.

Yesterday I received the mount, surprised that it was early. Did a quick test and it seemed to work just fine. I noticed some problems on the mount as the cover for the RA motors seems to be missing. The cover of the declination motors seems to be touching the rotating head and I can clearly hear the friction. Took my screw driver and just readjusted to give some clearance.

Today, I just thought of checking the StarSense AutoAlign with the mount, and unfortunately it was not working. The StarSense hand controller is reporting that the mount is not known. What a bummer. Extremely dissatisfied with Celestron Repair Service.

AVX Mount with the replaced NexStar+ Hand Controller

AVX Mount with the StarSense Hand Controller

Some picture from the handcontroller

AVX mount with StarSense AutoAlign not working

AVX mount with StarSense AutoAlign not working

AVX mount with StarSense AutoAlign not working

AVX mount with StarSense AutoAlign not working

AVX mount with StarSense AutoAlign not working