ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

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ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

#1

Post by Juno16 »

Hi everyone,

This evening really doesn’t qualify as a first light, but I wanted to put something up. I have been moaning and groaning about not getting any skies to get out and try my new camera. A big step from my Ha modded Nikon D5300.

My main goal the first night out was to achieve focus and a successful plate solve.

Yesterday was the first clear night since I got the camera on 9/14. We have had a really poor summer here followed by many hurricanes/tropical storms. We are very fortunate that we didn’t suffer any direct hits here, but either sides did suffer great damage. Thank you lord!

Last night was beautiful, but my son was traveling through and spent the night on the way to his next training station (US Navy), so getting outside was way out of the question. Tonight was predicted by all five of my apps to be poor, but it was looking pretty good this afternoon, so I set up.

My goal was get through the focus and plate solve before I really could give the camera a whirl.

I am an APT user and it really is amazing how much difference there is between imaging with a dslr and a dedicated cmos astrophotography camera!

Almost everything is different, from live view, focusing, plate solving, and the fits file format.

Luckily, since I was out last, the evenings are longer. Yes! I did a quick PA with Sharpcap about 7:45 just before astronomical darkness.

Next was focusing. Man, that was a major pia!

Probably because I am unfamiliar with the settings, the liveview update was extremely lagging making it rough to move the focuser and judge the outcome. I was chasing my tail for quite awhile before I switched to imaging mode and started taking 3 second exposures. Worked much better that way. I started the focusing aid in APT and measured the star HFD to get a better idea.

I thought that my setup with the ED102 and two 2” extensions would put me close, and it did, kinda. I ended up getting a reasonable focus at 7100 steps (AF motor) compared to 4200 with the dslr. Ok, took a bit, but looks pretty good.

I need to fine tune the threshold value given the new setup, but I went ahead anyway and ran an autofocus routine and finished at 7093 steps. Not bad! Stayed with that for now.

Next was plate solving. It took me awhile to initially get the exposure with the dslr quite right to get consistent blind solves (ASPS). Well, just going with the same settings, I saw an on-screen image were I could barely make out anything, but is solved well (about 10 seconds). I solved on several more stars just to make sure I was going where I planned to and consistent solves. Worked perfectly. Nice!

Ahead of the game, I moved to NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula for no better reason than I just saw it on Skysafari. Lets see what I can get!

Started guiding which was not the best at over 1 arcsec/pixel, but I did nothing but start PHD. Imaging was not the goal tonight.

With a 79% illuminated moon, I don’t expect much, but really glad that the initial steps are over, I am playing around with collecting a few images. I cooled the sensor to 0C and here is a stretched ight frame displayed in Kstars.

120 seconds at unity gain )100) with the IDAS LPS D-1 filter.
Capture.JPG
Man, this target is HUGE compared to what would have been with the dslr! Everything works so much faster with the 533 compared to the dslr.

Yes, pretty neat! We will see. The nebula is visible in the stretched frames and the stars are ok. The Crescent will go into the trees soon, but step 1 over!

Thanks for reading!
Jim

Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
Mounts: Celestron AVX with Orion MM Autoguider, SLT;
Binoculars: Bushnell 10X50
Stuff: ASI EAF Focus Motor, Stellarview FF/FR
Camera / Software: ASI 533 mc pro, Nikon D5300 (Ha mod), IDAS LPS D-1, Optolong L-Enhance, Astrophotography Tool, PHD2, SharpCap v3.2, StarTools 1.7.4xx alpha, Adobe Photoshop CC
Dog: Jack
Sky: Bortle 7-8
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

#2

Post by Mac »

Congrats on getting it up and taking first light Jim. I believe you're going to find a big leap forward with that 533.

Hope that the skies clear soon and you can get out for some real imaging sessions. Thru me for a loop when I read KStars :D but then I recalled you're using it for viewing FITS files.
Steve

Scopes : Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO - Celestron 6" SCT - Orion 50mm
Mount : AVX EQ | Software : KStars - EKOS - Stellar OS | Cameras : ZWO ASI533MC ASI1600MM Nikon D7500 ZWO ASI120MM-mini
CPU : iMac 27" - iPad Pro - Ubuntu/Debian Raspberry PI3/4 | Misc : Thousand Oaks dew controller - DewNot straps - Optolong L-enhance - Orion .8 reducer - ZWO EAF
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

#3

Post by Juno16 »

Thanks Steve!

Yeah, I don't know about the data so far. With the really bright moon and limited exposure time, I expect marginal results at best. I will be happy with that.

The big thing though is the start up data acquisition. Looking good tonight.

I just stacked the last hour of data without calibration frames and the results are meh. Of course, with the 80% moon and limited data, I am okay with that.

Yes, the Kstars fits viewer is excellent! Just takes up a half of gig on the ssd just for a viewer, but that it okay.

It is just nice to finally get out and get off to a decent start. I don't expect too much tonight from the imaging, except that I am imaging!

The L-Enhance is supposed to arrive on Monday. Cool!
Jim

Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
Mounts: Celestron AVX with Orion MM Autoguider, SLT;
Binoculars: Bushnell 10X50
Stuff: ASI EAF Focus Motor, Stellarview FF/FR
Camera / Software: ASI 533 mc pro, Nikon D5300 (Ha mod), IDAS LPS D-1, Optolong L-Enhance, Astrophotography Tool, PHD2, SharpCap v3.2, StarTools 1.7.4xx alpha, Adobe Photoshop CC
Dog: Jack
Sky: Bortle 7-8
Astro Photos https://flickr.com/photos/157183480@N07 ... 7681236785
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

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Post by MariusD69 »

Congrats for the new camera, Jim! In Romania we have a wish for new objects: Keep it healthy!
I tried couple of time to work with APT, but in focus mode the image freeze. I prefer SGP and SharpCap. The new ASIStudio (free) has 4 modules : ASICap(planetary), ASIImg(DSO), ASILive (live stacking) and ASIFitsView (which I use for fits preview).
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

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Post by Graeme1858 »

Good to see you're dealing with the challenges Jim! Although, let's be honest, that's why we do it, right?!!!

Same as you I found APT handled the ASI differently from the Canon in a couple of ways. To deal with the Live view issue I raised the gain to 300 and lowered the exposure duration to 2 seconds, that seemed to give a reasonable refresh rate and captured an adequate image for focusing (Bahtinov mask, visual only).

As you say, plate solving is faster. Also, I found that APT displayed a different type of Histogram which I have yet to get used to.

Judging by the line of red squares in my forecast, it will be a while before I get to set up for go no. 3!

Thanks for the Kstars tip, I'll give that a go now, I used DSS last time but it would be good to look through the frames prior to stacking stage.

What are you going for next? I was looking at C12, the Fireworks Galaxy, it fits nicely into my FOV.

Regards

Graeme
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

#6

Post by Juno16 »

MariusD69 wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:47 am
Congrats for the new camera, Jim! In Romania we have a wish for new objects: Keep it healthy!
I tried couple of time to work with APT, but in focus mode the image freeze. I prefer SGP and SharpCap. The new ASIStudio (free) has 4 modules : ASICap(planetary), ASIImg(DSO), ASILive (live stacking) and ASIFitsView (which I use for fits preview).
Thanks Marius! I will look into ASI Live for a viewer. Kstars works very well, but since I am not using the planetary part the main part) of the application, the 400mb ssd space is significant on my small 128G ssd.

Graeme1858 wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:12 am
Good to see you're dealing with the challenges Jim! Although, let's be honest, that's why we do it, right?!!!

Same as you I found APT handled the ASI differently from the Canon in a couple of ways. To deal with the Live view issue I raised the gain to 300 and lowered the exposure duration to 2 seconds, that seemed to give a reasonable refresh rate and captured an adequate image for focusing (Bahtinov mask, visual only).

As you say, plate solving is faster. Also, I found that APT displayed a different type of Histogram which I have yet to get used to.

Judging by the line of red squares in my forecast, it will be a while before I get to set up for go no. 3!

Thanks for the Kstars tip, I'll give that a go now, I used DSS last time but it would be good to look through the frames prior to stacking stage.

What are you going for next? I was looking at C12, the Fireworks Galaxy, it fits nicely into my FOV.

Regards

Graeme

I can live with the live view in short exposures for now until I get more used to things. I was so far off initially, it took awhile to get the focuser in close focus range. I just used the Focus Aid Tool and the HFD to get close. I was happy with the Autofocus Tool results and ran it again later and got a similar focus point. Nice.

Next, I would like to get better data on this target (The Crescent). I got the moonlit data last night, then got clouded over. I will look at it and probably post it even though it will not be of good quality. Happy with the first trial run though.
Jim

Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
Mounts: Celestron AVX with Orion MM Autoguider, SLT;
Binoculars: Bushnell 10X50
Stuff: ASI EAF Focus Motor, Stellarview FF/FR
Camera / Software: ASI 533 mc pro, Nikon D5300 (Ha mod), IDAS LPS D-1, Optolong L-Enhance, Astrophotography Tool, PHD2, SharpCap v3.2, StarTools 1.7.4xx alpha, Adobe Photoshop CC
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

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Post by BABOafrica »

Looks like a nice camera...

Eager to see what you get once Luna exits stage left.

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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

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Post by TheButcher »

Very Nice Jim! and Congrats on your new great Camera!
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

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Post by starfield »

Congrats, Jim. That's a great camera. And once you get your L-Enhance you'll be amazed how it makes the Crescent Nebula pop!
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

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Post by Juno16 »

Thanks Joe! @BABOafrica Unfortunately, the week is supposed to have some good nights for a change, but the moon will be blaring!

Thanks Butcher! @TheButcher

Thanks Starfield! @starfield The L-Enhance will be here on Monday. Pumped up!
Jim

Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
Mounts: Celestron AVX with Orion MM Autoguider, SLT;
Binoculars: Bushnell 10X50
Stuff: ASI EAF Focus Motor, Stellarview FF/FR
Camera / Software: ASI 533 mc pro, Nikon D5300 (Ha mod), IDAS LPS D-1, Optolong L-Enhance, Astrophotography Tool, PHD2, SharpCap v3.2, StarTools 1.7.4xx alpha, Adobe Photoshop CC
Dog: Jack
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

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Post by Lowjiber »

New cam? Congratulations!:) Happiness is often a new camera. Looks pretty good for the first outing.

Thanks for the share.

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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

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Post by Jockinireland »

Thanks for the detailed report Jim. Really useful for those of us who are thinking about next steps. All things considered thats a pretty good first light and promises much for the future.

Take care

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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

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Post by JayTee »

Hi Jim,

Because I still manually focus, I use the ASI studio in the DSO mode for real-time images for focusing with my Bahtinov mask. The camera images are real time so changes in focus are very easy to see when using this software. I don't know how compatible it is though with your autofocus so it may not be a player for you.

Cheers,
JT
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

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Post by Mac »

JayTee wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:26 pm
Hi Jim,

Because I still manually focus, I use the ASI studio in the DSO mode for real-time images for focusing with my Bahtinov mask. The camera images are real time so changes in focus are very easy to see when using this software. I don't know how compatible it is though with your autofocus so it may not be a player for you.

Cheers,
JT
This is what I do when I am in the Obs. I take my laptop with ASIStudio after disconnecting from the Raspberry Pi4 and use the electronic hand controller for the EAF. Very responsive.

I only use the autofocusing for unattended scheduled sessions when sleeping.
Steve

Scopes : Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO - Celestron 6" SCT - Orion 50mm
Mount : AVX EQ | Software : KStars - EKOS - Stellar OS | Cameras : ZWO ASI533MC ASI1600MM Nikon D7500 ZWO ASI120MM-mini
CPU : iMac 27" - iPad Pro - Ubuntu/Debian Raspberry PI3/4 | Misc : Thousand Oaks dew controller - DewNot straps - Optolong L-enhance - Orion .8 reducer - ZWO EAF
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

#15

Post by Juno16 »

JayTee wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:26 pm
Hi Jim,

Because I still manually focus, I use the ASI studio in the DSO mode for real-time images for focusing with my Bahtinov mask. The camera images are real time so changes in focus are very easy to see when using this software. I don't know how compatible it is though with your autofocus so it may not be a player for you.

Cheers,
JT
Interesting JT. I always used APT in LiveView with the DSLR and got excellent results with focusing on a bright star.

I tell you though, the autofocus motor is wonderful. Even if I only used it at the imaging laptop to set the initial focus with a batinov mask and not having to contort around the scope to locate the fine focus know and being super careful not to pull any cables out, it is well worth it just for that!

I didn't even try the BM the other night. The problems that I had with Live View threw me off and I didn't even think about the BM. APT still worked well looping single images (say 5 sec) and evaluating the star HFD. That got me really close.

The nice thing about autofocus (Autofocus Aid in APT) is that you can keep the scope on the target and stop imaging. Pick a suitable star in the imaging field, and run the tool. Usually, the focus motor steps are really close to the initial focus with the BM. The focuser steps start to lower as the night goes on and the temperatures drop. So, after about a five minute pause to focus, you can continue imaging never stopping PHD2. I really like not having to move to a bright star to use the mask in the middle of a session, then go back to the target, start PHD, and resume imaging. Just me.

APT has a fully automatic focus routine now in the beta version, that can be inserted into the imaging plan or stimulate an AF whenever the temperature drops the value that is inputed. I will wait until I get better familiar with things before trying that out though!

As always, thanks a lot JT for your input and helpful suggestions!

Mac wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:25 pm

This is what I do when I am in the Obs. I take my laptop with ASIStudio after disconnecting from the Raspberry Pi4 and use the electronic hand controller for the EAF. Very responsive.

I only use the autofocusing for unattended scheduled sessions when sleeping.

Thanks Steve!

I don't have a fully automatic focusing routine yet (it is in the APT beta version though). I didn't get the hand controller for the EAF. I just control it with APT from outside (or inside).

If I find that the 5 second single image loops with APT are troublesome, I will try out the ASIStudio application just for initial BM focusing. Thanks!
Jim

Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
Mounts: Celestron AVX with Orion MM Autoguider, SLT;
Binoculars: Bushnell 10X50
Stuff: ASI EAF Focus Motor, Stellarview FF/FR
Camera / Software: ASI 533 mc pro, Nikon D5300 (Ha mod), IDAS LPS D-1, Optolong L-Enhance, Astrophotography Tool, PHD2, SharpCap v3.2, StarTools 1.7.4xx alpha, Adobe Photoshop CC
Dog: Jack
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Astro Photos https://flickr.com/photos/157183480@N07 ... 7681236785
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

#16

Post by Mac »

Juno16 wrote:
Tue Sep 29, 2020 12:17 am
[

Thanks Steve!

I don't have a fully automatic focusing routine yet (it is in the APT beta version though). I didn't get the hand controller for the EAF. I just control it with APT from outside (or inside).

If I find that the 5 second single image loops with APT are troublesome, I will try out the ASIStudio application just for initial BM focusing. Thanks!

I didn't buy it initially with the hand control but found it easier to use for the initial focusing vs. KStars/Ekos software. It was much more convenient and had a slow/fast switch which is lacking in Ekos. You can set in preferences the step size, but there is no course and fine ability, just one step which I have set to 100.

I think the zooming function in ASILive app is also superior to Ekos.
Steve

Scopes : Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO - Celestron 6" SCT - Orion 50mm
Mount : AVX EQ | Software : KStars - EKOS - Stellar OS | Cameras : ZWO ASI533MC ASI1600MM Nikon D7500 ZWO ASI120MM-mini
CPU : iMac 27" - iPad Pro - Ubuntu/Debian Raspberry PI3/4 | Misc : Thousand Oaks dew controller - DewNot straps - Optolong L-enhance - Orion .8 reducer - ZWO EAF
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

#17

Post by Kanadalainen »

Nicely done Jim, I feel your pain wrt to getting used to new equipment. :)

The FOV is much more "concentrated", which is cool.
Ian

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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

#18

Post by Juno16 »

Kanadalainen wrote:
Tue Sep 29, 2020 12:59 pm
Nicely done Jim, I feel your pain wrt to getting used to new equipment. :)

The FOV is much more "concentrated", which is cool.
Thank you Ian. I am finding out with the responses to my thread viewtopic.php?p=115510#p115510 that there is much more than I realized moving to an dedicated astro camera from the dslr concerning exposure.

It is all good though and through the learnings will pay off in better results!

Yes, the FOV is much smaller with the 533. I originally planned on the 294 because I like the larger (near dslr cropped sensor) fov, but I opted for the newer electronics and the back lit sensor with no amp glow design. The good thing about the fov is that it will open up a new world of imaging smaller targets.
Jim

Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
Mounts: Celestron AVX with Orion MM Autoguider, SLT;
Binoculars: Bushnell 10X50
Stuff: ASI EAF Focus Motor, Stellarview FF/FR
Camera / Software: ASI 533 mc pro, Nikon D5300 (Ha mod), IDAS LPS D-1, Optolong L-Enhance, Astrophotography Tool, PHD2, SharpCap v3.2, StarTools 1.7.4xx alpha, Adobe Photoshop CC
Dog: Jack
Sky: Bortle 7-8
Astro Photos https://flickr.com/photos/157183480@N07 ... 7681236785
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yobbo89
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

#19

Post by yobbo89 »

congrats on your new camera and running your target sequence .

i hope you don't mind, i had to see what was behind that sky glow, sky glow is a value that can be easliy removed or significantly reduced .. gradiants on the otherhand ...

Capture232.jpg
btw you have stunning pleiades nebula image, i'm not too sure if this image is purley a test run or you may need help on the sky glow . forgive me in advance..
scopes :gso/bintel f4 12"truss tube, bresser messier ar127s /skywatcher 10'' dob,meade 12'' f10 lx200 sct
cameras : asi 1600mm-c/asi1600mm-c,asi120mc,prostar lp guidecam, nikkon d60, sony a7,asi 290 mm
mounts : eq6 pro/eq8/mesu 200 v2
filters : 2'' astronomik lp/badder lrgb h-a,sII,oIII,h-b,Baader Solar Continuum, chroma 3nm ha,sii,oiii,nii,rgb,lowglow,uv/ir,Thousand Oaks Solar Filter,1.25'' #47 violet,pro planet 742 ir,pro planet 807 ir,pro planet 642 bp ir.
extras : skywatcher f4 aplanatic cc, Baader MPCC MKIII Coma Corrector,Orion Field Flattener,zwo 1.25''adc.starlight maxi 2" 9x filter wheel,tele vue 2x barlow .

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Juno16
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Re: ASI 533 MC Pro First Light (well, maybe 1/2 light) and Impressions

#20

Post by Juno16 »

yobbo89 wrote:
Tue Sep 29, 2020 5:16 pm
congrats on your new camera and running your target sequence .

i hope you don't mind, i had to see what was behind that sky glow, sky glow is a value that can be easliy removed or significantly reduced .. gradiants on the otherhand ...


Image

btw you have stunning pleiades nebula image, i'm not too sure if this image is purley a test run or you may need help on the sky glow . forgive me in advance..
Hi Yobbo (Rob, right?),

Thanks! So much to learn!

Yes, that first night was fun. I at least got ready to start taking images.

Of course I don't mind you removing the sky glow! Looks like you did a fine job at it too! That light frame looks great! The moon was about 80% the evening that I shot this image.

I do heed help. I have a thread out there viewtopic.php?p=115510#p115510. I am trying to get a good starting point for determining exposure.
Ken gave me some great help, but I still am still struggling with understanding.

First off, you probably read that I had the gain much higher than I wanted. I thought that it was set to unity (100), but either using live view in APT where APT was automatically adjusting the gain to 300. Or, the gain changed in plate solving.
Being a former dslr user, I went by the histogram and set exposure at 120 seconds. From what Ken is saying and what it looks like to me, is that my lights were WAY overexposed.

I am in a Bortle 7-8 zone and want to get out tonight just to play around with the camera. The moon will be 97% illuminated. I need to get a good starting exposure time though. I just received a Optolong L Enhance filter that I plan to use.

I am having some trouble understanding what Ken is saying, but from his calculations, I should have a median ADU of my lights in the 500 range. My lights from the session a few nights ago measure a median ADU of 14000!

If I do get out tonight, I will try to get an exposure where the median ADU is under 1000 (as long as it isn't like 5 seconds) and go from there. I will have to deal with a 97% moon though and I am sure that this will be a big influence.

Sorry if I dumped too much on you! If you have any suggestions (about anything) please do!

Thanks a lot on the Pleiades comment! Much appreciated!
Jim

Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
Mounts: Celestron AVX with Orion MM Autoguider, SLT;
Binoculars: Bushnell 10X50
Stuff: ASI EAF Focus Motor, Stellarview FF/FR
Camera / Software: ASI 533 mc pro, Nikon D5300 (Ha mod), IDAS LPS D-1, Optolong L-Enhance, Astrophotography Tool, PHD2, SharpCap v3.2, StarTools 1.7.4xx alpha, Adobe Photoshop CC
Dog: Jack
Sky: Bortle 7-8
Astro Photos https://flickr.com/photos/157183480@N07 ... 7681236785
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