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Astrophotography done with the iEXOS-2GT. Post your picture #EXOS2 #astrophotography

Jim McKee
 

It was suggested that the EXOS-2 owners also post successful photos in a single thread.  AP on the EXOS-2 is a path that takes many months to get all the pieces to work together, especially for us beginners, but on a clear night, the EXOS-2  is a very capable mount.   So here is my post from last night on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  It was very clear with a much reduced amount of haze/city lights.

The below are the result of 15 subs each w/ Darks at 640 ISO and 8 minute exposure times. PHD2 tracked well at RA of 1.1" and DEC of .65".  RA and DEC all had periodic excursions of as much as 2-3 arc-sec, but they all seemed to settle out and tracking was consistant for about 4 hours.  While they all looked like saw-teeth patterns, RMS was satisfactory.
M31, M33, M45






--
Scope:        Orion EON 115mm APO
Mounts
:      ES EXOS2-GT w/ PMC-8
Cameras:   Canon 6D Astro Mod, Canon 7D2, 1D Mk 2, EOS 60D Asto Modified
Lens:
          Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
Misc:          TELRAD, ZWO ASI120MM Guide Camera, Astromania 60mm Guidescope, Senso Sesto Focus Motor
Software:   EXPLORESTARS IOS & WIN, Stellarium. Backyard EOS, StarTools, APT, DSS
Computer:  Dell Latitude E5450, Windows 10

 

Very nice!  

--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2
Scopes: SV 102EDT, ZWO 60/280 Guide
Cameras:  Nikon D5300, Altair GPCAM2-IMX224C
Software: ASCOM, CdC, AstroTortilla, BYN Pro, Sharpcap, PHD2
Computer:  Thinkpad x230, Win7Pro/64

 

Brief clear skies a couple of nights ago, and a long session last night, on the Heart Nebula :-)
EXOS2 PMC-8, D5300 (unmodded), SV 102EDT, Hotech FF, Optolong cLS-CCD filter, DSS and StarTools.
Technique change to aggressive dithering to help manage noise.
 
Heart Nebula / IC 1805, 
10x300s + Flats and Dark Flats (dither every other)
21x600s + Flats and Dark Flats (dither every exposure)
 
4hr, 20min total
 
Just today's first try at processing this.  There's so much going on in the data, that there's more than one way to do it. :-)
 
- Bob
 
--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2
Scopes: SV 102EDT, ZWO 60/280 Guide
Cameras:  Nikon D5300, Altair GPCAM2-IMX224C
Software: ASCOM, CdC, AstroTortilla, BYN Pro, Sharpcap, PHD2
Computer:  Thinkpad x230, Win7Pro/64

Jim McKee
 

Looks great Bob.  Is your D5300 astro modified? Good pickup on Ha.  I know Nikon/Sony sensors pick up red better than Canon Sensors.  Great roundness on stars
--
Scope:        Orion EON 115mm APO
Mounts
:      ES EXOS2-GT w/ PMC-8
Cameras:   Canon 6D Astro Mod, Canon 7D2, 1D Mk 2, EOS 60D Asto Modified
Lens:
          Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
Misc:          TELRAD, ZWO ASI120MM Guide Camera, Astromania 60mm Guidescope, Senso Sesto Focus Motor
Software:   EXPLORESTARS IOS & WIN, Stellarium. Backyard EOS, StarTools, APT, DSS
Computer:  Dell Latitude E5450, Windows 10

 

Thanks, Jim!
 
Nope, the D5300 is stock.  When I did my Veil exercise / CLS-CCD first light, I got lots of advice on CN about getting modded.  I wouldn't mind, but it ain't so simple (or inexpensive) on this side of the 49th and in CAD$. And then there's my unexpectedly-fussy-about-spacing FF that I don't want to mess up.  I looked at cost and risk, and I'm pretty much ok with leaving well enough alone for this camera.  I'm actually pretty surprised at how well it's doing with Ha.  I know that it's costing me time, but so far this looks manageable. 
 
--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2
Scopes: SV 102EDT, ZWO 60/280 Guide
Cameras:  Nikon D5300, Altair GPCAM2-IMX224C
Software: ASCOM, CdC, AstroTortilla, BYN Pro, Sharpcap, PHD2
Computer:  Thinkpad x230, Win7Pro/64

Vince White
 

All,

I'm just getting started with astrophotography and thought I would share my second attempt (my first attempt was a frustration in alignment and motivated me to build the RPI4 box).  I built a Raspberry PI 4 box tied to the PMC-Eight via a USB serial cable and it is running INDI + KStars + EKOS, and the built-in scheduler, offline plate solver and alignment tools was a total game changer compared to my first attempt.  Having a small RPI4 box attached to the mount and being able to remotely connect to it via WiFi was also a game changer, compared to being stuck next to the telescope outside.  I'm shooting unguided, South of San Antonio in Bortle 3 skies, where 10-15mph wind gust were limiting my exposures to 60 seconds and even then, I wasn't always getting round stars.  I'm also just feeling my way through the nuances of editing the faint signals found in astrophotography.  Wife and wallet permitting, my next steps are an OAG and ZWO guide camera.

Both of these shots are with the 208mm f/3.9 Newt + 5DmkII: 30x60sec lights, 10x darks, 10x flats, 10x bias @ 1600 ISO



--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2-GT
Scopes: BRESSER 208mm f/3.9 Newt + ES HR Coma Corrector, Celestron C90 Mak
Cameras:  Canon 5DmkII, Canon EOSm
Misc: 2" Optolong UHC filter, Raspberry PI 4
Software: INDI + Kstars + EKOS, DeepSkyStacker, GIMP, Lightroom

Wes Mcdonald
 

Looking good Vince!

Do you have experience with an OAG?  These things are hard to use.  Suspect you might be better off with a guide scope.  Certainly able to guide you to the max capabilities of the mount.

Wes.


--
Wes, Southport NC
PMC-8, ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG
Electrical Engineer, Retired

 

Vince, 
 
Very nice!
 
If you're getting 60s, you're doing better unguided than I was ever able to.  I think your resolution is about 1.6"/pixel, assuming your CC is 1:1 and mine's about 1.3", so very well done!
 
These mounts are basically designed for use visual or guided, and when guided can outperform nicely for the price point.  Whether with OAG or guidescope, guiding is a good thing. 
 
- Bob
 
--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2
Scopes: SV 102EDT, ZWO 60/280 Guide
Cameras:  Nikon D5300, Altair GPCAM2-IMX224C
Software: ASCOM, CdC, AstroTortilla, BYN Pro, Sharpcap, PHD2
Computer:  Thinkpad x230, Win7Pro/64

Jim McKee
 

Good looking work Vince.   Glad you are exploring INDI and Raspberry PI.   I look forward to hearing how this progresses. 
--
Scope:        Orion EON 115mm APO
Mounts
:      ES EXOS2-GT w/ PMC-8
Cameras:   Canon 6D Astro Mod, Canon 7D2, 1D Mk 2, EOS 60D Asto Modified
Lens:
          Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
Misc:          TELRAD, ZWO ASI120MM Guide Camera, Astromania 60mm Guidescope, Senso Sesto Focus Motor
Software:   EXPLORESTARS IOS & WIN, Stellarium. Backyard EOS, StarTools, APT, DSS
Computer:  Dell Latitude E5450, Windows 10

Vince White
 

Hi Wes.

No, I don't have experience with an OAG or guiding in particular (other than reading way too many Cloudy Nights posts) and I'm not sold either way, however, the engineer in me likes the concept of utilizing the same optical light path when guiding so as to minimize the flex/movement between the guide scope camera and imaging camera.  My newtonian certainly isn't the most robustly constructed telescope around...  Most of what I've read indicates that people usually don't do OAG due to the perceived complexity and increased costs.  I don't mind the increased complexity as long as there is a gain to the total system performance in the end and pricing things out, the cost does seem to be about equal.

What, in your experience with OAG, makes it hard to use?

Regards,
Vince
--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2-GT
Scopes: BRESSER 208mm f/3.9 Newt + ES HR Coma Corrector, Celestron C90 Mak
Cameras:  Canon 5DmkII, Canon EOSm
Misc: 2" Optolong UHC filter, Raspberry PI 4
Software: INDI + Kstars + EKOS, DeepSkyStacker, GIMP, Lightroom

Wes Mcdonald
 

Vince:

So here are my thoughts.  No doubt many will have other opinions.  That's fine.  There is no right answer, but methods have their puts and takes.

Flex is something that can come up.  No doubt.  That's a take from guide scopes.  This is addressable however if your mount has the weight capacity to take the extra weight for stiffness.  

OAG steals a bit of light from the light path.  Minor take, for a scope in the 208mm range where photons are plentiful, not a concern.  

OAG has a tiny take-off prism or mirror.  This ends up having a small field of view.  This is where I bit it trying to use it.  But also I couldn't get the damned thing in focus simultaneously with the two cameras.  But I was a neophyte at the time.  Also a good OAG has the focus ring for the guide camera, so it ought to be ok.  Finally, the OAG mirror is adjustable so it looks all around.  This ought not to matter, but I couldn't really deal well with it.  These are the Takes I experienced with the OAG.  Again, I was a neophyte and I have not bothered to go back.  And I had an Orion OAG which is sort of inexpensive.  No doubt if you pay enough for one some of the usability issues I had may vanish.

Using a guide scope is so easy.  And on your big scope you could put an Orion ST80.  That little scope is nice, and man does it gather light for guiding, with a large field of view.  Of course you have to work the numbers on your guide camera pixel scale relative to your main camera pixel scale.  I have a document that will help you choose the FL of your guide scope given your imaging scope and cameras.  It is mostly ok.  Still mulling a few things.

Wes.




--
Wes, Southport NC
PMC-8, ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG
Electrical Engineer, Retired

 

Vince,
 
What Wes said.  Below is a long and interesting thread from CN by someone who ran a pretty exhaustive test of OAG vs Guidescope.  I've looked at OAG too, and came to the conclusion that it was a solution to problems that so far, I've been spared. :-))  
 
--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2
Scopes: SV 102EDT, ZWO 60/280 Guide
Cameras:  Nikon D5300, Altair GPCAM2-IMX224C
Software: ASCOM, CdC, AstroTortilla, BYN Pro, Sharpcap, PHD2
Computer:  Thinkpad x230, Win7Pro/64

Vince White
 

Wes,

Thanks for the detailed reply and the guide camera paper. It'll take me a couple of months of over-analyzing things with too many spreadsheets before I'll finally decide a path forward and buy guiding hardware.  That said, I have read several less than favorable reviews of Orion branded OAGs, so it does sound like many of your usability issues are due to the Orion design.

Regards,
Vince
--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2-GT
Scopes: BRESSER 208mm f/3.9 Newt + ES HR Coma Corrector, Celestron C90 Mak
Cameras:  Canon 5DmkII, Canon EOSm
Misc: 2" Optolong UHC filter, Raspberry PI 4
Software: INDI + Kstars + EKOS, DeepSkyStacker, GIMP, Lightroom

Jim McKee
 

3/4 moon last night.  In spite of that I wanted to test new CLS CCD filter and try using NINA software based on what I have seen from others on the forum.   I think haze was not bad, so filter test was probably inconclusive.  Test of NINA was very satisfying.  I am switching over from APT for two big reasons, first is excellent autofocus process with this software and second is being able to show PHD2 graph on same screen with imaging and sequencing screens.

 

The EXOS-2 GT continues to work very, very well using long exposures and low ISO’s on the DSLR.  On average last night, these photos were shot at 240 sec and 800ISO or less.   PHD2 guiding on the mount was approx. RA 1 arcsec RMS and DEC .6 arcsec RMS.  I was able to shoot for about 5 hours continuous with no PHD2 recalibration.  I just moved from one target to the next.

 

Of note, I have found the home position for the EXOS-2GT and with good PA, targets are always in frame with the first goto.  Minor platesolving is then used to center the target.

 

Here are the results of last night.  I am still working on finding processing sweet spot.  No darks were taken due to end of evening technical issues.

 

Horsehead and Flame nebulas

 

 

M42

 

 

Veil (this was a tough one.  I will reattempt during new moon period and see if I get better contrast.   This is approx. 30 frames.)

 

 


--
Scope:        Orion EON 115mm APO
Mounts
:      ES EXOS2-GT w/ PMC-8
Cameras:   Canon 6D Astro Mod, Canon 7D2, 1D Mk 2, EOS 60D Asto Modified
Lens:
          Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
Misc:          TELRAD, ZWO ASI120MM Guide Camera, Astromania 60mm Guidescope, Senso Sesto Focus Motor
Software:   EXPLORESTARS IOS & WIN, Stellarium. Backyard EOS, StarTools, APT, DSS
Computer:  Dell Latitude E5450, Windows 10

 

Jim,
 
Very nice, and so much texture in that Flame shot... :-)
The Veil is tough. I was fortunate to have no moon when I shot mine - you'll get more when the Moon goes down.  
 
- Bob
 
 
--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2
Scopes: SV 102EDT, ZWO 60/280 Guide
Cameras:  Nikon D5300, Altair GPCAM2-IMX224C
Software: ASCOM, CdC, AstroTortilla, BYN Pro, Sharpcap, PHD2
Computer:  Thinkpad x230, Win7Pro/64