Re: My best < Your worst - Why doesn't anything work?

Dan Kahraman

Hi Burks:

1) Polar alignment has to be very accurate. To me it looks like you have a polar alignment issue. Use Sharpcap to help you with this. Initially make sure that Polaris is visible in your reticle scope. If you are using the same location outside, mark that spot. It will make subsequent set ups much easier. You won't have to use your reticle scope then...
2) Do you have the right files downloaded in APT to do platesolving? In addition you have to modify some of the directories. Here is a tutorial on that by Astroquest1 (
3) If you have sag or tilt in your focuser so that your stars are not round, this too will throw off platesolving. Stars have to be round! So no wedge or tilt in your optical train.
4) You have to be quite accurate in determining the focal length, pixel array of your guidescope and guidecamera. This too will make difference in whether plate solving will work.

Don't give up! This is a brutal hobby. Many are ready to help you because we have all experienced your frustrations.

Dan Kahraman

On Sat, 23 Nov 2019 at 10:45, Burks21 <nygburks2121@...> wrote:
I've had my iExos-100 for nearly 1.5 months and I've yet to taken any better photos than what I was doing by lying the camera on a picnic table and aiming it. Yes, it's that bad. 

1. I decided to get a Amazon Fire 8HD so that I don't have to keep switching programs from APT (because that is working SO well for me, Plate solving? ERROR) and ExploreStars. Guess what? Explorestars is useless on my tablet, works fine on my laptop. I've factory reset the tablet, updated it, used my mother-in-laws, transferred the database to every folder possible (zipped and unzipped, because I can), and so forth. I can move my mount, that's it. No database. No GoTo. Nothing. Ideas? Error is "Could not open database file: /storage/emulated/0/Android/data/com-blahblahblah

2. I'm assuming my polar alignment is causing my inability to take more than a 2.5 sec exposure without star trails? Even last night I had Polaris dead center in my polar alignment hole, couldn't track worth a crap. Set the speed from 1 to 100 going in increments of 5. Just....yeah....I did a better job manually adjusting the mount every couple photos. I don't expect dead nut accuracy but wow. 

3. 100+ photos last night with a Canon T3 and 75-300mm lens. This was the best I got. Can you sense my frustration? I've read articles, I've watched videos, I've swore more than a sailor with syphilis. Someone pops out their iPhone and takes a photo 10x better than this, or whatever that Chinese company is that begins with a H. 

Basically, I'm lost, frustrated, and just looking at anything related to the sky just makes my blood boil at this point. 

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