I get a good starting set of values withmy ZWQO 178 MC

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Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:17 pm

I get a good starting set of values withmy ZWQO 178 MC

Post by directgumby » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:38 pm


Last night was my first night trying to use my setup...
So, as that goes, you learn a lot on a night like that.
Truth is I only had about an hour to try to get something setup and going.

My target for the night was “Bode’s Galaxy” and below will give you an idea that, well I didn’t really get any shots of it. 😊 but I sure learned a pile and could use some feedback.

In the end I realized I had a few key problems and as a result - well, I didn't get anything done.

My areas to keep learning:
1) Align the mount better before I start
--- given things were not as on target as I expected, I decided to try and use the "plate solving" tool.
--- This is what leads to my next issue
2) Figure out how to get a reasonable picture to show

It is the second issue I want to ask for some thoughts on.
1) Is there a good way to have things "auto calibrate"?
- I ask because I tried the "Auto" buttons across the board and well, had trouble getting a usable image.
when it would do the plate solving I kept getting an error saying:
"Failed, only one star found, change the sigma (or something like that) in the options"
--- um, OK --- so first thought here is -
-- Why does SharpCap not adjust the sigma, let you know, and try another run?
-- Why do I have to go and find some setting so that it can try it again?
-- the above felt odd because when I could click the lightning bolt on the display histogram I could see stars.
2) When using the "Brain" to look at image capture time I was wondering:
--- Why, if it knew my camera it did not auto populate with the suggested electrons per pixel?
-- I get not all cameras may not match what is on the website, but it feels like a good starting point.

3) It took me way longer than I would have expected to "dial in any image"
I tried the "auto' buttons for color, for gain and everything that had an “auto” button... but it just never looked good, maybe I was not using the proper image stretching and display stretching early on in the process.. but, this brings me back to being a NOOB, I really wish it would have just picked better settings to start with so I could easily see what was going on..
The end result of the night was that I ended up spending most of my time just trying different numbers until I got something that started to look good.

After that that it was able to find 8 stars and plate solve.
Now, the next challenge was to understand the dialog that said “sync to mount”
OK, I was able to sync it to the mount, but then when I went to retarget the object, it did not seem to move the mount. So I was never sure if I was on the target or not.

As noted above, my target was Bode’s Galaxy.
From there I tried to find another bright start… and then the louds were rolling in and I was ready for some rest.
If anyone has thoughts on:
1) Good starting numbers for a ZWO 178 MC that would be sweet!
2) If anyone has other suggestions all up – I’d love to hear them.

Thank you for your time an dhelp,
SharpCap 3.2
SkyWatcher AZ GTI Mount (In AZ mode)
SynScan App Pro (Windows: 1.17.3)
Apatura 60
Windows 10 (1903 build 18362.295)
Laptop SurfaceBook (16 gigs of RAM)

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