Last updated: 31 December 2005
This page documents the Meade Deep Sky Imager and DSI Pro comments, tips, and photos. Contributions welcome. In order to showcase the DSI you may occasionally see images taken with other telescopes on this page.
Subject: ETX80AT M42 DSI shot Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 09:47:59 From: Mfhancock@aol.com (Mfhancock@aol.com) Took this using my ETX80 and the Meade DSI from my backyard this past week. Formed from 45 4-second exposures, dark frame removal enabled. Didn't divide out flats. Used city-light filter to reduce skyglow. Lightly processed (adjusted gross luminance a little to darken background, eroded to reduce star disc size) using AstroArt3 software. --Monte Hancock Melbourne, Florida
Subject: Moon shot for your site Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 23:33:35 From: Euan Mason (firstname.lastname@example.org) My second night out in Oregon with a Meade DSI pro attached to an ETX90RA equipped with a Meade F3.3 reducer/corrector produced this composite of two images that I thought was shareable. The ETX was effectively operating at F4.5. Scopetronix sells the adapter for ETXs that makes this attachment possible. I am tremendously impressed with the DSI. The two stitched images are each stacks of 50 that were selected, aligned and stacked _in_real_time_. I could see the images improving over the minute or so that each image took. I haven't done any further processing yet. One of the cool things about using an ETX with a DSI is that you line up the target through the scope, and then flip the mirror and everything is centred in the CCD. Cheers, Euan
Subject: DSI Pro, Virtual PC & Mac Sent: Tuesday, December 6, 2005 19:45:19 From: email@example.com Hi Mike, waving hello here as Scott Roberts mentioned you may have the missing piece of the puzzle for getting the DSI Pro to work on a Mac USB. I've run VirtualPC & XP Pro in Mac OX 10 .4.3, in Autostar I can sometimes get the LPI to fire up but the DSI doesn't get reconized, I've tried using an external power USB hub with no luck as well, also read and tried many tips at your site with still no luck, I'm grateful for any thoughts and I appreciated your help my friend I look forward to seeing you at the next outreach program. SteadSkies, gary palmer www.solarminimum.comMike here: I suspect that VPC just doesn't provide enough CPU horsepower to handle the processing of the DSI. Perhaps with a Dual G5 it might. I've used VPC 6 (haven't tried VPC 7 yet) on my PowerBook G4/1GHz with the LPI and that worked. But I don't have a DSI to try out.
Hi Mike, Thanks for your speedy reply, I have a Dual G5 so I'll try it there and see if it can fire, also it may be time to pick up a PC just for grins as we know the DSI will work on one :] I'll update you ASAP I appreciate your support and camaraderie here if there is any thing I can do for you just let me know. SteadySkies, garyMike here: I vaguely recall some early reports that VPC had problems with USB. Since I was using VPC 6 when I first used the LPI maybe I should give VPC 7 a try.
Subject: Re: Focal Reducer Sent: Monday, December 5, 2005 23:10:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) Hi Mike thanks for this reply But you didn't answer to my question: .and now I wonder whether I should use a focal reducer to increase the field of view in order to keep the target inside the picture frame. Which one is the most suitable for a beginner in astrophotography using an ETX125 which has F/15: The Meade F/6.3 or the Meade F/3.3?? .. I am looking forward for your advice Regards JeanineMike here: Apologies. Actually, neither. Check out the Scopetronix focal reducer for the ETX models.
Subject: Focal Reducer Sent: Sunday, December 4, 2005 14:50:51 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) I tried to image the Planet Mars for the first time (Thanks Mike for your comments ) and I am more and more tempted by M42 Nebula now visible at the right time. Thanks to Alan Chu for his guidelines for Mars imaging with ToUcam and processing with Registax , also to Gilbert Jones for his Registax Tutorial (06/23/2004), I succeeded very modestly in getting a processed image with the right colours but to small to enjoy its geography. With the 2x Barlow I wasn't able to keep the image inside the picture frame. Thanks to all the comments and tutorials I read, I have made and I am using now an Harmann Mask, (wonderfull for focusing!) With the DSI and the 2x Barlow I have the same problems. I tried to complete my knowledge about the DSI and what a relief to find and read the tutorials of MATT TAYLOR " Obtaining your first DSI image" ( 06/05/2005 and 07/30/2005) and now I wonder whether I should use a focal reducer to increase the field of view in order to keep the target inside the picture frame. Which one is the most suitable for a beginner in astrophotography using an ETX125 which has F/15: The Meade F/6.3 or the Meade F/3.3?? Thanks for your help, it is really great for me to belong to your group and gradually solving my difficulties. Jeanine
Subject: Deep Sky Imager with Meade ETX 125 Question Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2005 15:54:01 From: John Carneiro (firstname.lastname@example.org) I just purchased the Deep Sky Imager with AutoStar Suite and Meade ETX 125, but I am confused by the directions that came with the PDF manual, and I was wondering if anyone may have some insight? Here is what it says to do to hook it up to the eyepiece: "To connect the Deep Sky Imager camera to an ETX Telescope: While looking at the back of the telescope, orient the Deep Sky Imager camera into the eyepiece holder so that the USB cable points to the left of the telescope's optical tube (see photo at right). If you are using the ETX in a "straight-through" configuration, orient the Deep Sky Imager camera in the holder so that the USB cable points downward." If I place the camera with the USB cable pointing left (from the back of the scope) it hits the finder scope and doesn't allow the camera to be fully inserted into the eyepiece holder. The only configuration that does is having the usb cable pointing to the right. Since I'm assuming this effects the AutoStar Suite's auto-guiding capabilities and image orientation, its pretty important. The manual has no pictures to guide you. Does anyone know the right configuration of the DSI camera and an ETX 125? Also does it effect the AutoStar Suite's auto-guiding capabilities and image orientation? i.e. Orienting the the wrong way will cause auto-guiding not to work. I would figure at least it would reverse the images orientation. I have everything configured to be able to control the scope via a computer. I just need the correct DSI camera orientation in relation to the ETX 125. Also, the "straight-through" configuration is pretty neat. It would be nice configure it this way to allow the eyepiece holder open for other eyepieces. I found this adapter about half way down the page called: ScopeTronix Visual Back STVB $29.95 They also sell a field doubler. http://www.scopetronix.com/etx90acc.htm Thanks for the help, - John Carneiro
Subject: ETX125 Photos Sent: Friday, November 25, 2005 22:40:14 From: BLC131@aol.com (BLC131@aol.com) You have a great website! I am still a beginner at picture taking but I am putting forth a good effort to learn more. The attached image is a composite of all the best photos I have taken so far with the Meade DSI and my ETX125 that I got for Christmas last year. The composite photo also includes a picture I took of my ETX125. I took the picture of the Great Orion Nebula and Mars in November 2005. Jupiter was taken earlier this year and I had a challenge focusing the camera. Although it is still a challenge to focus it, I am getting more used to it now. Enjoy... Bobby Collins, Huntsville Alabama
Subject: AutoSuite Deep Space Imager USB Driver for Linux Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 10:52:06 From: Jeff Szielenski (Jeff.Szielenski@Spacedev.com) I have a computer that is running RedHat Linux (kernel version 2.6.x). I would like to connect my deep space imager to the computer. Do you know of anyone who has successfully connected a DSI to a Linux computer? What driver did they use? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. Jeffrey G. Szielenski Spacecraft Avionics Engineer SpaceDev, Inc.Mike here: There is a driver for the LPI but haven't seen one yet for the DSI.
Subject: ETX125 and DSI-Pro - Need technical advise please - Sent: Monday, November 14, 2005 03:16:10 From: R. Bruggeman (email@example.com) I have a problem with focus the dsi live image, i tried several times but image won't be sharper. Do you have any suggestion? Kind regards, Raymond Bruggeman The NetherlandsMike here: Need more info. What telescope model? Are you using the DSI alone or with a Barlow Lens (or focal reducer)? What objects have you tried?
I tried the dsi-pro only directly on the Meade ETX-125 and the moon as target. I can see that the scope is pointed to the moon but can't get a sharp image. I have also a focal reducer Meade f /3.3 series 4000 with #61 variable t-adapter but won't fit on the scope. It is a other kind of thread, so i can only use directly on the scope, is this my mistake? Because with the cam came a socket to fit on the cam and install it in the oculair-socket on the ETX.Mike here: For the focal reducer you will likely need an SCT adapter; see the Accessory Reviews: Miscellanous page for one such solution. Alternatively, Scopetronix has a different focal reducer for the ETX models. As to getting a sharp focus, be certain to set the exposure very short (for the Moon) and let the vibrations settle out as you slowly turn the focus knob. It may take several adjust/wait/check/adjust/wait/check cycles to get an accurate focus. The magic eye can help sometimes.
Subject: Mead DSI Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2005 18:32:05 From: GLORIA COLE (Gloria.firstname.lastname@example.org) I have Celestron CPC 8 and Meade DSI and I know that the Autostar program wont work my scope. Do you know if there is a device or software program that I can use so the program will control the scope..Thanks.....ChuckMike here: Sorry, no, I don't.
Subject: DSI-pro with a Classic 8" LX200 Sent: Tuesday, November 8, 2005 22:11:51 From: osifuentes (email@example.com) I am a beginner at Astro photos, and was saving my money so I could by me a ccd camera of some sort, To make a long story short, I found a DSI-pro on Astro Mart, and I also found a f6.3 reducer. I read a section in yahoo where you had answer to someone, that the DSI-pro would not work in some parts with out the auto star hand controller. I have the older classic model with the Box looking hand controller. would the images still come out anyway? Would it not be considered as a different telescope then? I was also planning on using the DSI-pro on my 14" Tscope. I have a tracking platform, and I have a brand new Laptop, with the Autostar Suite Software loaded already. But have not taken any images jet, I was just trying to find some information on goggle, when I saw your reply about the lx200. It really Bum me out, and I haven't even taken an image yet! I do want to use it so bad, but I'm one of those persons that need a movie or someone pointing out what to do, until I get it. I need what you call DSI--pro for Dummies! How too! I don't even know where to start! I did make a copy of the manual from the cd that came with the DSI and I'm not looking into getting long exposure images yet! I just want to learn how to use it first. so I will be setting my telescope in the Alt- Az mode first, just to learn to take an image. Then I will set up my telescope in Polar mode for longer exposure images. Please Mike, I would hate to tell my wife that The camera she bought me won't work with my telescope! Can you Please help me at least get started? I want to take some images of MARS, but if I need too, I will practice on the Moon first and It's at half right now! One more thing should I get me a flip mirror, or a guiding type of instrument for my telescope to use with the DSI-pro? are they required? Thank-you so much for your input and please help me out! I want to start taking images with the DSI-pro, with either the 8" Meade classic LX200, or the 14" Truss Dob scope. Best regards ! Oscar SifuentesMike here: That wasn't me whose reply you saw on Yahoo. But you may have seen a reference to the DSI pages on my ETX Site. Anyway, you should be able to use the DSI Pro with a non-Autostar telescope but you won't be able to use the Autostar specific features. Straight imaging should be OK. You shouldn't need an off-axis guider with the DSI Pro. At least for some types of exposures.
I'm going to try to use the DSI-pro tonight, It DSI-pro, must be plugged into the laptop for the files to pop up for me to enter the information, is that correct? I was going to try to practice first, but it looks like it's not going to let me. Will I be able to image Mars, with the Moon as bright as it is now, and will be getting brighter? What will happen to the DSI tables if I can't input any thing? will they just accept what they have, should I enter a zero or n/a, or nothing at all...and go on to the next item on the table? I hope I'm making sense. thanks for your help! OscarMike here: The computer is used with the imager; the DSI Pro is not a standalone device like a digital camera. So, yes you will have to use the DSI imaging software for all the settings. And yes, you can still image Mars.
I'm making a file just to hold your notes. So can I use the f6.3 reducer to my 8" LX200, then put the DSI on it? Instead of asking 1000 questions, I guess 2 or 3 would do at a time. I saw a note on the October Magazine of Sky & Tel. where it says that "Your first night out" It is saying that there is an exceptionally helpful tutorial in the 41- page of the DSI manual...." How to set up a DSO in 20 steps!!" I didn't find it in the manual I copied from the cd that came with the DSI-pro. any ideas? and last, I started to separate the manual, a section on Polar Alignment, the section on Auto star, the hand controller, which I don't use., the Meade Instruments Autostar Suite, the software itself, and a section on -Autostar Computer Controller Instruction Manual, Which I don't need right? The only other part of the manual that I think is the correct one that I need is Meade Deep Sky Imager: The Basics.... Is there a manual for DSI-pro only? Thanks OscarMike here: Yes, put the DSI into the focal reducer. And I'm not aware of any other DSI manual except the one on imaging with the DSI. That is the only piece of software you'll be using.
The other thing, I know how to use Alt/-Az mode, can I just use that for now? I do need to tell the software that I will be using that mode right? I noticed that on the File Settings Tab page 24 it says Meade Imaging on the table.... will this tables only show up when I plug in the DSI to the computer and the laptop and only then?Mike here: I believe the DSI Pro can do field derotation in software. As to tables, I presume that all has to be connected and working; I don't have a DSI or DSI Pro.
Sorry Mike, But believe it or not, you have provided so much info. already, I must have misunderstood what DSI is, Deep Space Imaging, But, It could mean the same thing, but using all types of other camera equipment, not jut DSI-Pro. maybe I have to start saying MEADE DSI camera? OscarMike here: There are two models of the DSI (Deep Sky Imager): the original DSI and the newer DSI Pro. The Pro model has more features and capabilities.
Yes Mike I got the DSI PRO, It came with the colored filters and the slider, But I believe the instructions for both DSI are the same, until you use the filters. I'm getting ready to plug the DSI into the laptop and telescope, to see what happens, If anything, I should at least get a table of some kind for me to fill with information, we will see, I will let you know tomorrow! Thanks for all your help! Oscar
Subject: DSI Pro Power Sent: Tuesday, November 8, 2005 11:19:22 From: Stuart Kendall & Melanie Duggan (firstname.lastname@example.org) My USB 2.0 card does not supply enough power to run my DSi pro. Do you happen to know where i can get hold of a portable, rechargeable 5V 500ma power unit? I have been emailing many companies looking for such a device and also for a 14.8V unit to run my laptop for longer than my 2 batts will (in the cold only 4 hrs max). Until I can purchase one I shall just have to use my DSI pro with USB 1.1 whch is visibly and indeed significantly slower. Any help would be gratefully appreciated. Regards, Stuart.
Subject: New image of M8 at f5.6 Sent: Sunday, November 6, 2005 08:29:55 From: Steve Dang (email@example.com) M8 DSI on 300 mm EOS Lense. Piggy back on etx 105. F5.6 Victoria Star Party - Nhill. 5.7 secs exp. 11 frames Stacked. StevenD
Subject: m42 7 images 6 sec exposure at F7 Scope configuration 2 x stacked .6 moggs focal reducers to achieve Fstop 7 on etx. Meade DSI mounted at prime with visual back on etx 105 ec. 7 frames 6 sec exposure. Picture was taken on Tuesday, October 04, 2005, 1:28:37 AM UTC +10
Subject: Is my DSI defective after all?? Sent: Saturday, November 5, 2005 10:43:50 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) Thanks Mike for replying to my message so quickly. I just joined the Yahoo ETX and DSI groups, I got 3 personal replies concerning my DSI difficulties and I appreciate very much the suggestions (bad USB cable, exposure level, USB ports of my laptop, daylight photos overloading the DSI) essentially because that keeps me thinking about other reasons: the fact is that I just planed to uninstall y reinstall the DSI, I did it and I would appreciate again your opinion about what happens now: Autostar Suite isn't open, I just plug the DSI, (with its cap and standing vertically), to the 2.0 USB port and I opened the DSI from Start->All Programs->Meade->DSI and the DSI image screen stays as a greyish or coloured active mosaic for about 5 minutes and then is suddenly replaced by a fully black inert screen. Then I close the DSI screen, unplug the DSI, restart the laptop, plug the DSI, open the DSI Image Screen and get the same black inert screen UNLESS I plug again the DSI after a long time ( before lunch up to after lunch) OR if I uninstall and reinstall again the DSI. That's all, thanks for your time Jeanine GOODWYNMike here: I don't have a DSI but since you indicated you left the cap on I shouldn't be surprised by a black screen. It could be lighter until it "warms" up due to electronic noise; just guessing here.
Subject: DSI User Problems - October Sent: Tuesday, November 1, 2005 09:28:18 From: M. J. The Madjordainain (firstname.lastname@example.org) Been a while since I've looked in on your sight here! On the recent problems posted by some new DSI users most recent updated October 31 a few suggestions and points. I have never had much use for the "Magic Eye" focus, do not rely on it to determine or help you focus folks, it's a bit whacked! The same on using the parfocal ring, due to some variations in seeing conditions I have found it best to use some form of a fine point marker line or pencil line on the focuser eyepiece holder. When setting up the DSI for focus I move it to the line quickly then always have to do a super fine adjustment in either direction to gain good focus. When focusing I have found it best to go just past the focal point in both directions just enough to begin to see some coma on the object of interest then bring it in to a fine focus. Some times to gain the finest focus takes the just barely perceivable movement of the focus knob. When focusing another helpful aid is to initially use a star in the 4 Mag range. (I have a darker than average site so, On a good night I can always see most of the Milky way, but recently some of the dimmer new move-ins in the neighborhood have felt the necessity to put up mercury lights!!?) Once you get the star to focus in to a nice bright little pinpoint you are there, now uncheck the auto-contrast, I never use it except to gain the first DSI looks at dimmer objects, it over compensates for things a bit. Tick it on only to gain the initial pick up of your target, then turn that puppy off! If you are using Fts3P or FITS for your saving process the contrast and histogram have no effect or consequence to your captured image. I have always used the Align & Combine feature over the Kernel Filter, and for DSO targets I set the process to 30 - 40% quality with 5 for the evaluation, 50% for planetary & lunar shots. Another key to gaining good focus is a 'fast' connection & exposure timing, this means USB 2.0 & exposure timings of 1 second or less, this is why I always like to use a 4.0 mag star or so near the target to gain focus before centering on my target & getting the exposure timings set up. The graying out, black out, white out of the screen is usually related to focus, auto-contrast issues, and exposure timings. Some times it's a connection issue, but most of the time one of the three I just mentioned and in that order, or it could be you do have a bad ccd chip. The other piece to the puzzle is image processing, if you are using the Fts3P or FITS your going to have to do some scaling adjustments in AS-IP to see your results most of the time. With the other capture processes WYSIWYG from your initial computer screen captures. The contrast and histogram do have an effect on the image in all of the other image file formats, but the other image file formats are not as good for processing out your noise & such from your image. To demonstrate I have attached a few images with & without scaling them first. On a final note; Mike has an excellent site here he helped me out tremendously when I first started this imaging thing with the DSI last February, but be sure to look for other input too. There a at least a couple of user groups on Yahoo, they have a lot good information & knowledgeable people on them here's a good one. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Meade_DSI/ Later, The Mad One AKA: Mark Jordan
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