Last updated: 20 November 2006

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:	Photo of M27 taken by Monte...
Sent:	Sunday, November 19, 2006 11:58:45
From: (
Attached is a photo of M27 I took at the CAV Star Party Friday night
(11/17/06) using my 25-inch telescope and DSI II CCD camera.  The object
is the first "planetary nebula" discovered (Charles Messier, c. 1761). 
The name was chosen because these objects are round, like planets. 
Actually, they are shells of gas surrounding giant stars that have
undergone explosions causing them to cast their outer layers into space.

This particular object, often referred to as the "Dumbbell Nebula" due
to its appearance as a two-lobed cloud, is estimated to be about 1200
light years away (7,200,000,000,000,000 miles).  It is visually over
100-times dimmer than the North Star (mag. 7.6), and from Earth appears
to be about 1/1500 of a degree across (a little less than 5 trillion
miles across tiny in interstellar terms).

The central star responsible for the explosion that produced this nebula
is easily visible in the photograph.  From Earth, it is about 1/20,000
as bright as the North Star (mag. 13.7), and is a blue-white dwarf with
a raging surface temperature of 85,000 degrees C.

This photo was taken in color the different colors represent the
presence of various elements (primarily Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Sulfur, and
Oxygen).  I actually created it by splicing together 4 separate images
each was about 30 four-second exposures.

25-inch f5 dobsonian reflector by Obsession... got it in April, 2006. 
Has ServoCat GOTO and tracking drive, and Argo Navis digital setting
circles.  Picture was taken at the Chiefland Astronomy Village Fall Star
Party outside of Chiefland, Florida.


Subject:	dsi ii color image
Sent:	Sunday, November 12, 2006 15:18:08
From:	Steve (
This is the only usable image I have been able to get so far using the
DSI II color camera and my 8 SC LXD55.  Its about 1/8 to 1/4 mile
distance.  The image is partially processed in Autostar image processing
and Paint Shop Pro.


I consider myself fairly mechanically minded, but I find there is quite
a learning curve with the whole set up from the goto mount, to the
imager, and image processing, but if this images truly shows what can be
done, I have to admit to being very pleased.  Unfortunately, there has
not been any clear night time weather since I figured out how to get the
imager to work!  Thanks for recommending the Meade imager over the Orion

The mount is still pretty noisy after the hypertune, but it continues to
run smoother and quieter the more I use it.  With the 40 mm Pelosi the
goto gets the target within in the field of view about a quarter of the
time and rarely misses the findersocpe.  This is quite and improvement
over the first time I used it a couple of years ago when it wound up
pointing at China!

Subject:	ETX-125 DSI Comet Swan and more...
Sent:	Wednesday, November 8, 2006 21:14:58
From:	Kevink (
some fair weather for October skies made me take out the ETX-125(mounted
on a LXD75 mount) and DSI-C(with scopetronics field doubler) for some
picture taking.

Each picture has been unsharp masked, curves to make the background
darker, saturation was adjusted, and then captioned and resized using

Comet Swan on 2 nights...

kevin (from 9 Nov)


photo Hope you enjoy the pics, it's been great using the ETX-125 on top of the LXD75 mount. Clear skies! Kevin


let me say thanks for the Mighty ETX Site! It has been a mind boggling
wealth of information for the ETX scopes.  I recently upgraded now to a
8" LX-10 OTA for my LXD75 mount. So, I won't be using the ETX-125
anymore. I'll need to sell it to help pay for the new mount and OTA.

Most of this last summer was spent visual observing, but in October, the
skies and weather are perfect for capturing some pictures of star
clusters. So, here are the last of my October pics using the ETX-125 and
the DSI-C with the Scopetronics field doubler. Each photo was adjusted
in photoshop to reduce background and to sharpen the stars...
Enjoy, Clear Skies!






Subject:	orion nebula etx80at
Sent:	Sunday, November 5, 2006 03:17:07
please tell me if i can get a mini wedge for the etx80at? taken image of
orion nebula last night 5th nov. i used single shot set at 30sec on the
dsi camera.would like to try etx on a wedge and take longer images. ive
attach images my first ever taken feel free to have good laugh. when
bonfire smoke dies down im ging to try dsi with my lx90.
clear skies



Mike here: I haven't see a wedge especially for the ETX-80 however using tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page you could make one.
Subject:	Meade DSI
Sent:	Thursday, October 26, 2006 16:28:10
From:	Michael Caldwell (
I am wondering whether any of your readers can explain why my DSI will
not work properly for exposures 1 sec and above, It has been working
fine for over a year but now when trying exposures 1 sec and more I
always get an image as attached. It seems to image alright for exposures
under 1 sec.
Many thanks for your site
Michael Caldwell


Mike here: I would guess that something is "overdriving" the sensor but I've not seen any reports of this.  Try a test (if you haven't already).  With the DSI not connected to the telescope, cover the opening and take some test exposures of varying lengths more and less than 1 second.  With no signal hitting the sensor, all exposures should be black.  Does the light band still occur?
Subject:	Harvest Moon with ETX-125 and DSI 
Sent:	Sunday, October 8, 2006 20:17:47
From:	spunkyk98 (
I can usually count on clear skies when the moon is full. I haven't
taken any pictures of the moon yet with the ETX-125/DSI combo so I
wanted to get a pic of the Harvest moon this month. I also tested out
the DSI with a make-shift Afocal setup.

I wondered if the DSI would actually capture what your seeing through a
40mm eyepiece. I tested out this Afocal setup by using a 40mm eyepiece
attached to the DSI using some parts lying around from an ill-fated
attempt at a cookbook CCD camera. At first it worked great, I was able
to focus without any problems. Here's a 1 second exposure of Altair
using this setup...


As you can see, there is some ghosting.  The real problem with this
setup was trying to take longer exposures. I tried taking a 10 second
preview pic and all I got was a bright halo in the middle of the frame. 
I didn't save any of the longer exposure preview pics. All-in-all, I
scrapped the testing for this setup. I don't think this is even a 40mm
field of view, looks more like what I'm seeing through a 26mm eyepiece.

It was then time to take some moon pics. At this time the moon was high
enough in the sky for DSI targeting. I used the DSI and the Scopetronix
Field Doubler for the pics. I could only get a quarter of the moon in
each frame. So I took 9 pics of each section of the moon and put them
all together in Photoshop to give the appearance of a one-shot full moon


This actually worked out well. I will be experimenting with this
technique with the Pleiades this month. The Pleiades will be a good
target since the field of view(even with the field doubler) is too small
to get the whole cluster in one frame. I have tried on several
occassions using drizzle to take a wider field pic, but I never got that
to work well at all.   Well that's it for now, clear skies!

Sent:	Sunday, September 24, 2006 14:23:09
From:	Ed Williams (
Thanks so much for you site. Maybe you or someone else can help. I
bought a DSI imager11 could not get image-sent it back for another
because Thousand Oaks said they thought it was bad when I described the
results. Received second DSI imager11 one pass colorsame problem 3 times
with Meade and two times with Thousand Oaks they said it must be bad
RETURN. They talked me into a DSI imager pro11 with the filters, ( which
is what I did not want to begin with) received same thing. Talked to
Meade he said have patience fine focus. I have run my laptop battery
down 4 times now trying focus on pole in daylight trying a 24mm, 9mm,(on
there recommendation) 10mm, etc no results. I am dying here.

What I get on the screen is horizontal lines in sort of columns usually
black w/ white lines then the only other thing is the screen might turn
lighter but still with the lines. It makes no difference what the magic
focus says. I have played with the gain and offset to no avail. I have
tried this on my brand new HP m7480 pc and also my new hp media center
laptop with of course 2. usb. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON? I feel like a
fool sending this one back and wonder if it is windowsxp . I turned off
the anti-virus and tried changing the screen res. Nothing.

Please help.

Subject:	DSI - "Draw a Box" query
Sent:	Wednesday, September 13, 2006 06:11:51
From:	Niall J. Saunders (
Depending on which version of Meade software you are using to talk to
your DSI, there are two instance when you can 'draw a box'. Because the
upgrade is free, I don't really see why you should still be using the
original software - the latest version - mine is v5.85 - is well worth
the upgrade effort.

In the original software you could use the mouse to 'draw a box' around
a selected object and this would then be used as the reference for the
internal 'combine and stacking' algorithm. You can only 'create' the box
when you are looking at the 'live' image tab. If you already have a box
created, then a subsequent mouse-click on the live image would 'clear'
the previously created box.

The later versions of the software - those that offer the 'drizzle'
function - allow you to select a second target, and draw a box around
that as well. The two boxes are then shown on-screen with a line linking
them. Now, when images are stacked and combined, the Envisage software
will try to de-rotate subsequent images in order to match the initial
image in the stacking process. Again, to clear any created boxes, simply
click one further time on the 'live' image tab.

So far, the press described requires NO CONNECTION between the PC and
the Autostar.

However, if you DO have an (operational) RS-232 connection then, by
choosing the 'Telescope' tab (next to the 'Stats' tab at the left of the
Envisage window) you can also invoke the Envisage 'Guiding' commands.

Initially you will want to ensure that the 'Will Cal / No Cal' option
button is set to 'Will Cal' and then you can click the 'Guide Here'
button. (see below if you only see a 'Track Here' button). You will also
want to set the gain to somewhere between 0.5 and 1.0 - initially, you
could leave it at 0.5 and see how things go, but with a high end PC and
a well-behaved scope mount, I can get the best results using about 0.8
-0.9. If you KNOW what your effective FL is, accurately, then you should
enter that for the best results.

With the correct parameters defined, and with a target 'drawn-box'
established, you can click the 'Guide Here' button - and WAIT. Envisage
will work out, for itself, what it needs to do to get the 'guide star'
to move E-W and N-S on the CCD chip. You don't need to worry about
reversing button action in he Autostar menu, or whether you are or are
not using a diagonal etc. Envisage will sort itself out.

Eventually, Envisage will change the 'Will Cal' button to 'No Cal', and
the 'Guide Here' to 'Stop Guiding' (or something similar, I don't have
my DSI attached, so cannot verify the exact wording).

This will also be accompanied by the appearance of a yellow circle, with
yellow cross-hairs. This is the 'target' box, and all further Envisage
commands issued to the Autostar will have the effect of trying to get
the crosshairs of the 'drawn-box' (red box with green cross hairs,
representing the 'brightest' pixel in the box) to appear at the same
location as the yellow 'target' crosshairs.

If you now click the 'Set Target' button, THEN click somewhere on the
live image window, the yellow target icon will be moved to where you
clicked, and Envisage will send commands via the Autostar to move the
OTA such that the 'drawn box' ends up in the same place as the yellow

Similarly, when you click the 'Center Target', the OTA will be moved to
bring the 'drawn box' to the very centre of the CCD imager. This is
exactly what you would want to happen if you wanted to perform a
'perfect' SYNC to Object - for example, during the Alignment procedure,
or when using High Precision (by the way, when using any imager, I
THOROUGHLY recommend enabling High Precision - it makes like SO much
easier, and gives you a target to confirm that your focusing is still

Now, the downside - if your scope is 'sloppy', or your training has not
been carried out well enough, or your Backlash Percentages have not been
tweaked, or you haven't recently done a Calibrate Motors, then you may
find that you just can't get the OTA to 'chase' the little yellow target
icon. Basically, if you cannot get your scope to 'behave' when you use
x1 Guide Speed, then you are going to be less than likely to be able to
get Guiding to work.

If you CAN get the OTA to do EXACTLY what you want at the slowest
control speed on the Autostar, but you still can't get good results from
the Guiding section of Envisage, then you may need to give serious
thought to the spec of the attached PC. I have a 400MHz P-II, with 512MB
of RAM (running XP Pro SP2) and this is HOPELESS for using a DSI. It
just takes TOO LONG to get each image processed (up to 30 seconds per
exposure, irrespective of exposure length) and that is AFTER we upgraded
the PC to USB2.0. 

In fact, the LOWEST spec PC that I am prepared to work with is a
Pentium-M 1.2GHz, again with 512MB RAM (same XP and USB2.0). This has an
overhead of 1 to 2 seconds per exposure. Manageable, but still not
'fluid' when trying to do things like PEC training etc. where the actual
exposure time is in very small fractions of a second.

My favourite PC for working with the DSI - this one, with a 3.6GHz
Pentium P-4, and 2GB of DDR-2 RAM. There is NO appreciable lag, and
images seem to 'stream in' with no real time lag between images.
Certainly 3-5 images (FITS, no compression, colour) per second is easily

Finally, a brief reprise of the difference between 'Track Here' and
'Guide Here'. As far as I am aware, the Guide Here option is only
available if you have a DSI connected (not an LPI) and if your scope is
Polar Mounted (or has a Dick Seymour 'patch-kit' installed in the
Autostar. That said, I have never experimented to see what can, and
cannot, be done if you only have the 'Track Here' option being shown.

In any case, I hope these jottings and ramblings help.

Niall Saunders
Clinterty Observatories
Aberdeen, SCOTLAND


From:	R.L. Creedon (
You've done it again ! Us electronic cripples need all the help we can
get. Thanks yet again. Lew Creedon

Subject:	DSI
Sent:	Saturday, September 9, 2006 11:35:45
From:	R.L. Creedon (
Sorry to bother you again but you have turned out to be the only
reliable help. Does the "draw a box" only function when the rs232
connection is made? I havn't tried that yet but get an occasional box on
the screen for no  reason I can perceive. Nobody says what controls
instigate the "draw a box " function. Thanks again for all your help.  
Lew Creedon.
Mike here: I haven't used that so can't say for certain. But if that is the same as the "spiral search", then yes, it would need to talk to the AutoStar. If that is something for the stacking process, then I wouldn't think the serial line needs to be active.
Subject:	cables
Sent:	Saturday, September 2, 2006 18:19:53
From:	R.L. Creedon (
As an additional piece of experience you should know that during the
course of these discoveries I have destroyed a focusing & a usb cable by
simply rotating the vertical axis. It's very dark here !!!   Lew
Mike here: Bummer.  Perhaps adding some luminescent tape would help...
Subject:	Installing DSI Pro
Sent:	Saturday, September 2, 2006 03:25:33
From:	Jan H Kolst (
I've installed Autostar suite for my LPI on my pc.I'm soon getting my
DSI Pro.What do I have to do to use my DSI Pro?Just connect the DSI to
my computer and install drivers from the Autostar suite? Or do I have to
reinstall Autostar suite? Appreciate some advice on this issue.

By the way I have come to terms with OPT and they have treated me very
nicely after having some trouble with my new ETX 125 which I bought 8
months ago.So in the future I'll recommend OPT to anybody.They(Rayna and
Emily at OPT) really treat customers decently,even abroad. That's my
experience.Thanks a lot.
Jan H Kolst
Mike here: Glad to hear that things have worked out. As to the DSI, you shouldn't need to reinstall the AutoStar Suite; just connect the imager to a powered USB 2.0 port. The CD-ROM that comes with the DSI should have any drivers you might need.

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Copyright ©2006 Michael L. Weasner /
Submittal Copyright © 2006 by the Submitter