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What got you into EAA?

26 May, 2019 18:47
I was (and still am) a visual observer for many years using an 8-inch and 14-inch SCT. Even under my relatively dark skies (Bortle 4), I found myself wanting to see more color and detail in the "faint fuzzies". Since I live in Tucson, home of Starizona, I saw many folks using the Hyperstar for imaging at F/2 with an SCT. I found myself wondering about using "live stacking" with a Hyperstar to observe color and faint detail in DSO's in near-real-time, and observe DSO's with a camera instead of an eyepiece. I first learned about the concept of "live stacking" when Atik released their Infinity camera and software. I was very tempted by Atik's offering, but what held me back from purchasing was the small sensor size of the Infinity camera, which would not be a good match for my 14-inch SCT and Hyperstar.

I instead purchased a ZWO1600MC-Cool camera in 2016 for use with my 14-inch SCT and Hyperstar. But there were very few options for live stacking. I eventually found a combination of SharpCap for image capture and Astrotoaster for live stacking. This was a very versatile setup, since Astrotoaster allowed for incorporating a master flat and master dark during live stacking, as well as excellent image adjustments on the fly.

With the advent of  SharpCap's live stacking, I decided to switch to SharpCap since I liked having only one software program for image capture and live stacking. SharpCap live stacking has improved tremendously and it's now a great way to enjoy my EAA hobby.

What got you interested in EAA?

27 May, 2019 15:43
Hey Robin, every so often I have a group of kids over and we explore the sky with 2 minute B&W subs from my CDK24. Amazing how much detail you can get in 2-minutes in a 21.3 sky with 24". I'd use a color camera but then I'd have to do a lengthy swap. For now they seem OK with B&W.  smile
27 May, 2019 16:17
That's fantastic! Many kids have trouble looking through an eyepiece, so using the camera is a great alternative. I do astronomy outreach with the Tucson Amateur Astronomers and it's very rewarding for me to be able to share my love of astronomy with the public. I will be attending the Grand Canyon Star Party again this year with my portable EAA setup. Here in Tucson we even have an "Astronomy Bar" in downtown called "Sky Bar" that shares the views on large monitors.

Glad you have discovered some rewarding ways to share your hobby and excite the kids.
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