Ok, as our small Facebook group (Astronomy Imaging UK - AIUK) continues in its quest to learn more and more about this fascinating hobby together, the time has come to document our successes to help with our learning curve.
In this area will be a number of guides some including photographs covering a vast range of ideas as it charts our progress.
As an example, the first major step I had to learn was Polar Alignment. I had read many guides but I was still missing the essential steps and could not crack it. However, thanks to Mark James who showed us exactly how to do it and this filled in all the missing parts that I had completely overlooked during my trials and tribulations. I have now written several guides and will place them here for all to share.
Polar Alignment using an NEQ6 Pro mount - procedure should work on other mounts also
Subs & Reference frames - what are they all about ?
Imaging Object Database - some with image photos now added
Visible Targets - Calendar for what can be seen from my location but useful for other UK locations.
Backyard EOS - fantastic Canon DSLR capture program and more (very well supported)
DeepSkyStacker - brilliant stacking and processing program - and it's free !
Other guides to follow may include ...
drift alignment - using BackyardEOS
autoguiding - QHY5 guide camera using PHD
software guides - Imagesplus and PHD
Current equipment ....
SkyWatcher Equinox ED120 refractor with Moonlite dual speed focuser mod
NEQ6 Pro mount with Synscan computer control & EQMod for remote operation
SkyWatcher Traveller 80mm refractor + LVI Smartguider for autoguiding (QHY5 as a spare)
Baader Hyperion zoom 8-24x (and 2.5x barlow) + Assortment of eyepieces & 2x barlow
Canon 5DmkIII (unmodded for widefield imaging)
Canon 450D (modified + CLS clip filter) + lots of spare batteries & mains power !!
2" Ikharos combined focal reducer and field flattener (for cropped sensor cameras)
Laptop with Backyard EOS, Imagesplus, DeepSkyStacker, Polar Finder, Ascom drivers, EQMod suite, Carte du Ciel (planetarium), Alignmaster (star alignment tool) and Adobe Photoshop CS6
RJ45 5m extension leads and USB repeaters
EQMod - now working with Carte du Ciel (planetarium software)
House now found with a good sized garden, several trees "trimmed" revealing fabulous views North, East and West - high angle viewing to the South due to other trees but still good.
Following to be done:
Pedestal, Observatory and dome to be built
Pier and possible new mount/scope (Orion Optics ODK 14" considered)
WiFi connectivity for complete remote operation using EQ Mod/Cartes du Ciel and Teamviewer
astrophotography (using telescope)
widefield astrophotography (using camera equipment)
Provide tuition on each of these astrophotography methods
Document each stage in an online blog with photographs
Continue providing a range of talks offering guidance/tuition/ideas to astronomy/photography clubs across the country