Instrumentation and Equipment

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For discussions on all aspects of equipment, from building new devices from scratch, to what ready made products are the best for your current setup. Attached the "Instrumentation and Equipment" observing section.

137 1027 By Bikeman 1 week ago

Choosing a gain setting - what noise is this?

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
MJB Tue, 11/07/2023 - 20:56

For years I have used a fixed-gain CCD camera, first an Sbig ST-10, then QSI 532, both with the wonderful Kodak KAF-3200M chip.  The 532 has died, and finding a QSI 632 on the market, which also has the same chip, I bought it only to discover that it operates with either a high (.9) or Low (2) gain setting instead of the fixed 1.29 of the prior cameras, bringing an unwanted complexity to my program.


Camera lenses

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
CrossoverManiac Fri, 10/20/2023 - 19:45

I went back and watched the AAVSO Webinar on using DSLRs and the presenter, Dr. Barbara Harris, talked about her experience using a Canon 400D (IIRC) and the 18-55mm zoom kit lens to take images of bright stars with no tracking.  I have some questions additional questions to ask anyone in the community who ever used camera lenses for photometric work.

Neutral density filters for evscope/Stellina telescopes?

tjmaccarone Mon, 10/16/2023 - 15:03

Hi, folks,

The solar eclipse this weekend got me thinking:: does anyone know if it's possible to do solar observing with the eVscope or Stellina telescopes by putting a neutral density filter on the top of one of them?

Or as small telescopes with CMOS detectors, maybe they can even handle looking at the Sun.  I wouldn't want to try this without real assurance, but I'm wondering if anyone knows about that.


DwarfLabs Dwarf II telescope for variable star work?? Wed, 10/11/2023 - 14:30

I will soon be receiving a Dwarf II telescope (see: to evaluate for variable star imaging.

1) If any reader has experience using this system, please reach out! Advice is welcome.

2) If readers would like to have certain variables imaged. Please send me your (hopefully short) list.

I'll post progress here, and will share FITS files with folks who use VPhot.





C11 on a Skywatcher EQ6 R Pro for PEP

British Astronomical Association, Variable Star Section (BAA-VSS)
Calculad Wed, 09/06/2023 - 19:07

I finally have my Skywatcher EQ6-R PRO mount.

Talking to some imaging contacts, they seem to think this mount is not up to a Celestron C11 for astrophotography.

However PEP with Optec SSP3 (with its 30s integrations) is of course more forgiving than AP.

Is there anyone out there who is doing PEP on this or similar Skywatcher mounts with a C11.

The spec does claim up to 20kg load for AP. C11 OTA is 12.5kg and SSP3 adds another 1.5kg from memory so it seems well within limits to me.

How to build a Weather Sensor Box

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
SGEO Fri, 08/25/2023 - 16:24

This is a project for you Astro Makers out there: Astronomers who like to make things to improve their observing experience.

The WeatherBox project is a sensor package that you can deploy near your observatory site and that can report back to you the local weather conditions. This report can be used to generate programmatically a safety signal when it is urgent that you close your observatory because of inclement weather.

The Need for Cooling? - Thermal Noise Versus Light Pollution

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
zinnanti Fri, 08/18/2023 - 21:33

Hi All, 

I'm new here. 

I live in a ~ Bortle 6/7 zone. When it comes to exposing in regard to light pollution, just how important is it to reduce thermal noise with cooling? It would seem that the shorter exposures for light pollution would obviate the need for cooling. 

ZWO (and some other manufacturers) have these nifty cameras that are not cooled. I wonder why they would put them on the market and to whom they're marketing.

Any comments are appreciated. 

Thanks - 


QHY600 mono cmos camera installation problem (Win 8.1 - 64 bit)

Bundesdeutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Veranderliche Sterne e.V.(Germany) (BAV)
Bernhard Fri, 08/18/2023 - 13:18


I have a brandnew QHY600 mono cmos camera and it's not working.


The Stable Ver. 20220817   All-In-One Pack (Driver, SDK and Software) for WINDOWS   is not working.



Also, after the last Beta Ver. 20230509