locked Re: How to start guiding #astrophotography

Steve Siedentop

With Sequence Generator Pro, I enter the RA and Dec coordinates of the target.  There are different ways to get these including from Stellarium, Cartes du Ciel, Sky Safari, etc.  I use a tool in SGP called Framing and Mosaic wizard so I can compose my shot ahead of time and get the desired coordinates based on composition.  Most of the time, the RA and Dec of a target aren’t exactly in the center of what your desired frame is.  

When I tell it to plate solve, SGP slews to those coordinates, takes a picture, extracts the stars, “solves” the image to determine where it actually is pointing in the sky, then moves the scope based on the difference it calculated and runs through the process again for a few iterations until it’s within a set number of pixels if the entered RA and Dec coordinates.  It’s actually quite easy to set up, but you have to know the image scale in arc seconds per pixel of resolution.  A Google search will turn up sites that help calculate this.  NINA, ASI Air, and AstroBerry follow similar plate solving procedures.  

Plate solving will change your life as an imager.  I used to spend a gob of time framing, especially on a multi night image.  Now, with a little planning, I can set up a sequence (or imaging plan) with RA and Dec coordinates, the number of frames, camera settings, etc. and go.  

Sequence Generator Pro has a bit learning curve, but once you get your settings in place, it saves a gob of time.  Others will likely say the same thing about NINA.  

Check out Amy Astro’s videos on Sequence Generator Pro and PHD2.  Cuiv the Lazy Geek also has a lot of good stuff on NINA, plate solving, and PHD2.  PHD stands for Push Here Dummy, by the way.

I know this strayed a bit from your original question about guiding, but I hope it was helpful.


On Wed, Aug 18, 2021 at 2:39 PM Euan Milne <euan_milne@...> wrote:
Thanks that's exactly what I am looking for, so once polar aligned how do I find my target, if not using explore stars goto? 

I know plate solving will show me what's in the image frame, but I need to get the camera pointing in the right general direction, is it just a matter of star hoping and learning the sky?

Mounts: ES PMC-8 IEXOS-100
Scopes: TAL-1
Cameras:  Canon 1200D, Canon 70-210mm,  Tamron 150-600mm, 50mm prime. 
Msc: 12V Powerbank
Software: ExploreStars, SharpCap, All Sky Plate Solver

Mounts: ES PMC-8 G11 with Ruland Couplers and One Piece Worm Blocks, Skywatcher NEQ-6
Scopes: ES ED127CF FCD100, Orion 6” Mak, Stellarvue SV80EDT, Coronado Solarmax 40
Cameras:  CentralDS CDS-600, CentralDS Astro 60D, Orion Starshoot SSAG
Msc: Moonlite Focusers, Astrozap Dew Straps, Pegasus Ultimate PowerBox
Software: PixInsight, Cartes du Ciel, BackyardEOS, SkySafari

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