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My Latest Jupiters and ETX Polar Alignment

Last post 10-06-2009, 12:04 PM by Boldstar. 5 replies.
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  •  10-02-2009, 10:31 PM

    My Latest Jupiters and ETX Polar Alignment

    Hello All,

    I have been having some fun imaging Jupiter lately. I was amazed I was able to pull in the Great red Spot with my ETX-125 and LPI .

    Jupiter images:

    http://home.primus.ca/~jlebold99/photopage_Jupiter_Sept09.html

    http://home.primus.ca/~jlebold99/photopage_Jupiter_Sept1209.html

    Jupiter image GRS:

    http://home.primus.ca/~jlebold99/photopage_Jupiter_Aug3009.html

    I have a question about Polar Alignment and an ETX. What's the best way to get a accurate polar alignment with an ETX. I can't seem to get must more than 8 seconds of exposure time before I get star trails (perhaps this is as good as it gets). The drift method for polar alignment seems out of the question for an ETX due to difficulties to make small adjustments in declination and Alt-az. An adjustable wedge would help but I can't find one. Anyone have ideas on getting an accurate polar alignment with an ETX. Specifically to increase exposure times when astro-imaging. It is possible I am trying my drift method with my ETX wrong, undoing the clutches and re-tightening them to make drift method adjustments seems crude to me.

    Jeff Lebold

     

     

     

  •  10-02-2009, 11:54 PM

    Re: My Latest Jupiters and ETX Polar Alignment

    Hi, Jeff

    First of all, congratulations on some great Jupiter shots! You have captured a ton of fine detai beyond just the GRS. All the more impressive that you did it from way up north in Canada...Jupiter is pretty low in the sky for you!

    As for polar alignment, I don't believe that is your main problem (yet). Polar misalignment won't show up in exposures of some seconds, you would need to get into the minutes for that to occur (assuming you are at least in the ballpark).

    My guess is that you are experiencing periodic error (PE). I blieve the ETX-125 with Autostar 497 does support periodic error correction. I would encourage you to take the time to learn how to train it (it's really not hard at all) and see if that doesn't help.

    If you are running your LPI with Envisage you can enter autotrack mode, get the camera guiding, and then start the PE training session with the handset. The camera and Envisage will send the guide corrections for you so you don't have to stare through the eyepiece making manual corrections. Even beeps when it's done, LOL.

    HTH,

    Chuckl
    Chuck Reese
    CDIP Certified: Nebula, Galaxy, Solar System, Stars & Clusters Imager
    CDIP Mentor: Nebulae & Solar System Categories
    For information on the Certified DSI Imager Program, see:
    http://autostarsuite.net/forums/1427/ShowForum.aspx
  •  10-03-2009, 9:00 PM

    Re: My Latest Jupiters and ETX Polar Alignment

    Chuck,

    Very cool of you to reply to my post, thank you very much!

    Again, thank you for the kind word on my Jupiter images. I really enjoyed capturing them all. I am proud of them too.

    I am having great fun trying to imaging just the moon and bright planets, I am going to see how much exposure time I can get out of my ETX. To see what deeper sky targets I can image. Believe me, I am not one to give up easy and so far getting good moon and planet image has been challenging enough and I have had many-o-unsucessful nights with no images to show.

    As well, I love my ETX (don't tell my wife) and have no plans to buy another scope any time soon. I just want to see how good I can get with it. It is very versatile and I am still learning what it can do.

    Yes, I just went back to my ETX manual and read up on periodic error correction and I am going to try it next night out.

    Yes, I run the LPI with Enviage. To do the periodic trainging as you suggest..Does the ETX/ computer need to be wired up as in full computer control? Serial port to handbox. Or, just have the LPI imager connected to the computer? You said start the periodic correcting training with the handbox, this makes me want to clarify. If the software indeed will do most of the work, this is the way I am going to try for sure.

    I will keep you posted on how I make out.

    Jeff

     

  •  10-04-2009, 6:18 PM

    Re: My Latest Jupiters and ETX Polar Alignment

    Hi, Jeff

    Yes, you need to connect the handbox to the computer via the serial port (using the adapter that came with the camera).

    Then you "connect" to the scope on the "Telescope" tab in Envisage. You should see a message that says "can autotrack" or similar. Now you box a reasonably bright star & click "Calibrate". Then the software will move the scope first one way & back, then the other way & back. You will see some numbers changing at the bottom of the tab. Once it is done it will say "tracking" and you are now ready to start your PE training session.

    (this is all from memory, so hopefully you can match up my terms with reality!)

    Oh, I meant to mention regarding your alignment question - I think I would try getting it as close as possible with the mount adjustments, then fine-tune by adjusting the tripod itself. If you will point one leg due north, you can adjust the dec by lengthening or shortening the leg (or by adding/removing shims under the foot). You can adjust azimuth by rotating the the base of the scope on the tripod, or by rotating the entire tripod. Of course you would need a fairly smooth surface to work from, but this might be easier than trying to make fine adjustments on the mount itself.

    HTH,

    Chuck
    Chuck Reese
    CDIP Certified: Nebula, Galaxy, Solar System, Stars & Clusters Imager
    CDIP Mentor: Nebulae & Solar System Categories
    For information on the Certified DSI Imager Program, see:
    http://autostarsuite.net/forums/1427/ShowForum.aspx
  •  10-05-2009, 7:39 AM

    Re: My Latest Jupiters and ETX Polar Alignment

    Wow, those are really nice! Thanks for sharing. -John
  •  10-06-2009, 12:04 PM

    Re: My Latest Jupiters and ETX Polar Alignment

    Thanks again Chuck and John,

    I really appreciate your input.

    I will try the alignment Chuck, as you suggested and let you know how I make out.

    By the way, I have put up a website for all me best astro-images and my ETX set-ups.

    I am taking baby-steps, really sticking to planets and the moon (but loving it) for now. I have had small luck with a few deeper sly targets.

    It is here:

    http://home.primus.ca/~jlebold99

    Biten by the astro-imaging bug,

    Jeff

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