Darren Ball

My first (worth shouting about!) astrophotograph – Pleiades

So, a year since starting this hobby I can finally show something that I’m happy to post.   Hopefully it’s recognisable!

It’s a bit basic for all you battle-hardened astrophotographers, but it’s my baby, and I’m a proud father 😀
(Disclaimer: It’s only a 3.5Mb export from GIMP, so the quality here isn’t optimum; I tried uploading a slightly larger file, but got errors)

Whilst building up my kit I’ve aimed for a light(ish), portable, standalone setup, so I’ve gone through the educational tribulations of setting up and getting to grips with StellarMate on a Raspberry Pi simply because it appeared to be a one-stop-shop rather than a pick-and-mix of various applications and tools.  And us geeks like to tinker 🙂

In the past I’ve had problems with using its Polar Alignment tool, but it transpires that muddling by with the wrong cable, thereby under-amping the Pi, meant that for the price of a nail the battle was lost.  A 2 quid Amazon Basics cable meant that last night was my most successful ever.  The Polar Alignment tool worked a treat, and it was only at breakdown did I realise that the I’d left the Dec clutch locked all through the session, so the fact that I’ve not got any (overly noticable) star-trailing can only be down to the polar alignment (someone please correct me if I’m wrong).

Onwards and upwards.  Orion Nebula and Andromeda are – clouds notwithstanding – in my sights!

81 Lights & 15 Darks – 30secs @ 1600iso
DeepSkyStacker & GIMP

Skywatcher 80ED+Red/Corr
Canon 450D – Modded (IR)
Skywatcher EQ3-2
Raspberry Pi 4b running StellarMate 1.4.4 (beta)