Friday, June 03, 2016

tested the Star Adventurer (Blue Mountains)

I wanted to get to know the new Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer product. Basic operations, anyway. Set-up, polar alignment, accuracy testing, etc.

Configured the camera. Battery grip to 40D body. New batteries installed. Rokinon fish-eye lens. Neewer intervalometer. 3 second gap between the 30 second shots.

Unboxed the main unit from the Pelican case.

Batteries were already installed—checked for power. Good. Made a note to remove the four AAs at the end of the evening.

Set up the polar scope finder. The battery covered screwed on easily this time. I swear. That's gonna get cross-threaded...

Bolted everything to the tripod.

I wondered about weight limits. When does one transition to the counterweight mode? I supposed that figure was in the manual but I didn't feel like digging for it. Then decided: let that be part of tonight's experiment. That said, I didn't think my photo gear would burden it.


4:21 PM, Thu 2 Jun 2016. Phil messaged me. Wanted to know my plans with tracking mount—Jason wanted to try it. I offered to use it Thursday night but release it for the rest of the weekend...


Twilight would ends at 11:20. An hour to go.

10:25 PM. Could not remember if I had purchased an Android app for polar aligning... Yep. I had. PolarFinder.

Fired it up. Fiddled with it a bit and was immediately confused. Could not see where Polaris was! Was the program not working? Changed the size of the star. Finally went to extra large. Uh huh. That was a bad colour decision: the location of the pole star was denoted with a green star! Under the Lee Filter deep red film, it disappeared!

Set up the Star Adventurer rig for the planets run. Just south of the Geoff Brown Observatory. Polar aligned. Pretty easy. In fact, very easy with the geared wedge!

Put the polar scope away, after removing the coin battery.

10:55. Set up the camera. Removed the petals. Did some test shots. Didn't think the lens was focused but I couldn't remember if I was to go fully clockwise or CCW... Grabbed a red flashlight to find the 8mm was at the completely wrong end. Ha! Rolled over to infinity. Verified the iris was at f/8.0.

11:02. Started the run.

(Forgot to rig up dew heater... Oops.)

1:00 AM, Fri 3 Jun 2016. Decided to conclude my imaging run. No fog on the lens. Woo hoo!

1:07. I put the cap on. I starting shooting darks. 30 seconds, again. Wanted about 20. Made a note to go our at 1:25....

1:24. I concluded my darks.

Checked my super-wide planet shots. Cool!

Wondered what I should do next. I wanted to use a longer lens. Put the kit 18-55 on. Remembered to remove the filter. Aimed toward Cygnus. Did some test shots. ISO 1600.

1:50. Did a test shot of the Swan at 30 seconds, f/4.0. Looked OK. Reframed a little. 

1:59. I checked the shot. At 2 minutes 30, f/8.0, it looked good! Not bad at all.

2:06. I got the North American! 3.5 minutes. Still round stars. All right!

2:08. Did a 4.5 minute exposure.

2:16. Checked my shots. Wow!

I went for 5½ minutes. Adjusted the focus.

Wayne dropped by before heading home. Risa cruised by. We checked my tracked Cygnus images. Pretty neat.

Turned to the south, to get the Milky Way. Reframed in portrait.

2:35. Examined the shot. Wow. I was happy. Still round stars. The Star Adventurer was working great. A treat to use.

Shot darks.

3:35. Shut down.

I planned to pack up the whole in the morning for Jason (or others) to use.


Quickly processed shots:

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